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Heartache on tape

Wild Moccasins made a shimmering pop wonder out of love lost

The music of Wild Moccasins is infectious, strutting with a prideful pain and a dance floor energy. Photo credit: Facebook

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In the history of rock music, there exists a certain specific oddity that -- while it doesn't happen very frequently -- is always fascinating to encounter: the meta breakup album being recorded about the breakup that is currently happening between members of the band. Broken hearts, love triangles, high drama -- it's all laid bare in albums that give the listener the sensation of peering behind the curtain to see the nitty-gritty truth. As wild and possibly terrible an experience it was for Fleetwood Mac to record Rumours, or for the Go-Betweens to record 16 Lovers Lane, there's something thrilling about being given this sort of access. And really, occasionally, don't you wish that your life was crazy enough that you could record a Rumours of your own?

With the 2018 release of Look Together, Houston, Texas, indie pop outfit Wild Moccasins had the opportunity to make their own Rumours. Founding Wild Moccasins members Zahira Gutierrez and Cody Swann had been a couple for quite some time, but on the duration of a lengthy tour, found themselves breaking up. The songs on Look Together, while not recorded during the split, were certainly written during that time, and reflect the messy push-and-pull that occurs between people during the dissolution of a relationship. Gutierrez and Swann remained friends and bandmates after the split, using these songs almost as a form of therapy to work through their issues and come out intact on the other side.

These open wounds and candid vulnerability come dressed in some of the most infectious, shimmering pop I've heard in some time. Certain songs, like album highlight "Longtime Listener," sound like they could've slid quite easily onto any John Hughes film's soundtrack; others, like the title track, strut with a kind of prideful pain and dance floor vibe that could double as a Robyn song. Along the way, Gutierrez cements herself as one of the most striking vocalists out there, effortlessly navigating ambitious melodies while simultaneously conveying a deep well of emotion. Even as the instrumentation -- leaning deeper into dance mode and pristine production than earlier Wild Moccasins releases -- swirls deliriously abut, Gutierrez's voice acts as the grounding center to pull the listener in to a more fulfilling experience.

If ending romances always resulted in something as special as what Wild Moccasins have made, then maybe we'd all be a little less afraid of heartache.

WILD MOCCASINS, w/ La Fonda, 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, Airport Tavern, 5406 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $8, 253.212.0709, tickets at


The day before Wild Moccasins take the stage at Airport Tavern, Seattle indie rock legends the Posies will be performing on the Fawcett Hall stage of Alma Mater. After a successful 30th anniversary tour last year, Posies founding members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow are setting out on another run of shows, this time presenting their songs in the stripped-down form of a duo. While the Posies sound has always been full and driving -- indebted to the power pop that was taking hold in the underground when they formed -- this minimalist setup of two guys with guitars (and some piano, they say) will highlight the sometimes overlooked cleverness of their songwriting. Once again, Alma Mater is providing a show that might not otherwise find its way to Tacoma, which is something to be thankful for.

THE POSIES, w/ Carrie Akre, 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1, Alma Mater, 1322 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, $20-$25, 253.302.3926, tickets at

Finally, in Olympia this Saturday, we have one of the fastest rising acts to emerge from the hip-hop underground in recent years: Clear Soul Forces. The collective, made up of L.A.Z., Ilajide, E-Fav, and Noveliss, made a quick connection in a studio in Detroit, and has been tearing it up ever since. With each MC trading bars on their songs, it's fun to see how their differing styles play off of each other, with Ilajide's production providing a crackling bed upon which each member can show what they do. Mixing braggadocio, social consciousness, and a good bit of humor, Clear Soul Forces make for a rich listen.

CLEAR SOUL FORCES, w/ Noveliss, Afrok, iLL-USiON, DJ Koolhandz Luke, 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, Octapas Café, 414 E. 4th Ave., Olympia, $10, 360.878.9333, tickets at

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