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Seattle Sludge Revival

Sometimes a band’s strength lies not in its particular sound but in each player’s ability to unite fully behind the sound, to present a single battlefront, to commit individual expression to one common purpose — to communicate, combust and even, at times, self-immolate as a whole.

Hard-hitting Seattle trio So Pitted does just that on its impressive Sub Pop Records debut Neo. Guitarist-vocalist Nathan Rodriquez tells EW his band is “very much a punk band” in the vein of Bleach-era Nirvana. Neo’s sound also references the myriad side projects of legendary producer and musician Steve Albini.

And Rodriguez even cites the unlikely influence of Janet Jackson and what he calls the “hard, industrial R&B” of the new jack-swing era.

Each member of So Pitted has “different ideas of what a song can sound like,” Rodriguez explains, but the final product is sludgy, grimy, brutal and doomy with a sly wink, as if to say, “Look out: We’ve arrived to tear shit up and have fun while doing it.” 

Guitarist Jeannine Koewler supplies guitar lines on a nasty low-end, acting almost like a bass. Drummer and vocalist Liam Downey is a passionate lover behind the kit. So Pitted are most formidable when Koewler and Downey lock together in mosh-inducing, militaristic grooves, such as on “Holding the Void.” Throughout, Rodriguez gulps, gargles and barks like a young Kurt Cobain, somehow always managing to stay tuneful. 

Rodriguez says signing to Sub Pop still “has a lot of prestige in this [Seattle] area.” He adds quickly that So Pitted is still a small band, committed to the DIY ethos of all-ages venues like The Boreal, where So Pitted play this time through Eugene. Rodriguez says he discovered music in venues like The Boreal, which unfortunately have become all too rare around Seattle. 

So Pitted plays alongside Chastity Belt, VCR and iLee 7 pm Tuesday, Aug. 23, at The Boreal; $10, all ages.