Sellout is one of the best tracks to come out of Seattle this year.
"Sellout" is one of the best tracks to come out of Seattle this year. Chiara Neyman

Black Ends, “Sellout” (self-released)

Led by guitarist/vocalist Nicolle Swims, Seattle trio Black Ends recently impressed a large Chop Suey crowd while opening for the Black Tones at the latter's album-release party. Further impressiveness arrives with Black Ends' new Sellout EP. Its four odd rock songs bear a subtle darkness and sense of unease. Swims's guitar seems to be tuned to a cool, strange mode that generates faded twangs and muted chimes while her voice has a downered, Chrissie Hynde-esque nasality that's distinctive. Swims's song structures gently skew in a manner reminiscent of obscure, women-dominated groups such as Quix*o*tic and Oh-OK. I can imagine Black Ends—who include bassist Ben Swanson and drummer Jonny Modes—signing to a respected label such as K or Kill Rock Stars in the near future.

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My favorite cut on the EP is "Sellout." It moves with a spasmodic elegance, accelerating and decelerating like those amazing Raincoats and Slits songs from the first wave of post-punk, or maybe early Throwing Muses. The guitar tone is insanely piquant, needling a weird tattoo onto your gray matter while shooting liberal doses of adrenaline through your nervous system. Listening to it over and over, I feel an urgent thrill unlike anything I've experienced this year. "Sellout" is one of the best songs to come out of Seattle in 2019.

Black Ends perform Thursday, July 11, at Central Saloon, and Thursday, July 25, at Highline.

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