Ben Barnett is back! The prolific Kind of Like Spitting frontman all but disappeared from the music scene when that band broke up in 2006. He resurfaced in 2007 as the music director at Seattle's School of Rock, but he (sadly) didn't appear to be working on any of his own material with any regularity.
Then, just months ago, Barnett announced a new band with a new sound—they're called Blunt Mechanic, and they just released their debut full-length, World Record, on April 20 (of course). The all-ages CD-release show is May 7 at the Vera Project.
The band summons the guitar- driven, fuzzed-out sound of the early '90s—think Sebadoh and Pavement—with lyrics that are more positive and lighthearted than the mental breakdowns Barnett chronicled in Kind of Like Spitting.
The track that most exemplifies Barnett's growth is the simple acoustic number "Get Home Safe," on which Barnett sings, "Rejoice because now you feel better/Rejoice because your chemicals have decided to settle down."
Listening to it for the first time, I couldn't help but think of my favorite song from Kind of Like Spitting's 2002 album Bridges Worth Burning, "We Are Both Writers," on which an anguished Barnett shouts, "While you're at it, you can polarize my chemicals/I'm so sick of trying to fight my body!"
I've held on to that Kind of Like Spitting line for years, and as someone who's also dealt with depression and frustrating chemical imbalance, I've often wondered if Barnett ever got that brain of his under control.
"Get Home Safe" sounds like the happy ending I've been waiting years to hear—so cheers to new bands and new beginnings, balanced chemicals, and Blunt Mechanic.
Thurs May 6: Sound Off! CD-release party with Candysound, Hooves & Beak, Sea Fever, the Cat from Hue at EMP, 5 pm, free.
Fri May 7: Blunt Mechanic, Title Tracks, Police Teeth at the Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $9 ($8 w/club card).
Sat May 8: Jason Clackley and the Exquisites, Like Claws!, Mega Bog at Porchlight Coffee, 7 pm, free.