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MP3 Pioneers West - Move West

An artistic and at times borderline
experimental mix of indie rock sensibilities, punk edge and pop overtones, Pioneers West harnesses a
sound that Larsen references as “Western doom.”

8 MP3 Songs in this album (36:41) !
Related styles: Rock: Industrial Rock, Rock: Progressive Rock, Out-and-Proud

People who are interested in Built to Spill Modest Mouse The Doors should consider this download.

Pioneers West was formed in 2008 by guitarist/vocalist Luke Larsen, guitarst Mike Busch, and drummer John Patterson. Shortly after forming, bassist Jason Locking joined the group. The music
resembles a hard edged 90''s Indie sound. Influences include such bands as Fugazi, the Jesus Lizard, Modest Mouse, and Built to Spill. Matt Driscoll of the Tacoma Weekly Volcano states, "Much as the name
suggests, Pioneers West is a band forging new territory in Tacoma. An artistic and at times borderline experimental mix of indie rock sensibilities, punk edge and pop overtones, Pioneers West harnesses a sound that Larsen references as “Western doom.” Voted 2010 Best Indie Band (Tacoma Weekly Volcano,
"Best of Tacoma") , and featured in "Tacoma Bands to Watch in 2011" by City Arts Magazine. Following the release of "Move West" (2010), Pioneers West is set to release the "City Crime" EP this spring.

Local bands booked with: Roy, Mount Eerie, Coffin Break, Colonies, Kusikia, the Fucking Eagles, Basemint, Blue Horns, Goldie Wilson.
Local venues played: the New Frontier, Hell''s Kitchen, the Comet Tavern, the Viaduct, the High Dive, the Sunset, Bob''s Java Jive, the Peabody Waldorf.

Article: The News Tribune

The gloom and doom spirit of Pioneers West

Among Tacoma’s most promising indie bands is Pioneers West, an up-and-coming quartet with an intense sound that has similarities to Modest Mouse and Built to Spill.

After two years and change on the local music scene, the band is ready to unveil its debut CD, “Move West,” with a release party Saturday night at the New Frontier Lounge.

I caught up with three-quarters of Pioneers West to get the skinny.

Personnel: Luke Larsen (guitar, vocals), Mike Busch (guitar), Jason Locking (Tacoma’s “J. Lo,” bass) and John Patterson (drums).

Roots: Pioneer West’s can be traced back to Bellarmine Preparatory School, which Larsen, Busch and Patterson all attended. But the band started in earnest as a trio after Larsen got back from Montana’s Carroll College in late 2007.

Locking was a regular at Top of Tacoma Bar & Grill, where Larsen tends bar. “We talked about music a lot,” he says.

Then Larsen posted the “bass player wanted” sign at the bar.

“I got mad at him,” Locking says, laughing. “I was offended. ‘That’s what I do, bro!’”

Making the album: Pioneers West took a D.I.Y. approach. Kyle Brunette of Tacoma indie-pop outfit the Nightgowns produced the album, which was recorded in two days at Larsen’s loft above New Frontier.

“We set up a studio and recorded six tracks in one night,” Larsen recalls. “We did the whole things live, vocals and everything, which was kind of risky.”

Aesthetic: “We like to call it ‘western doom,’ ” Larsen says. “It’s very pastoral (and) dramatic, you know. I like to reflect upon the negative, how grotesque the western movement in America was. ... Every band’s an ‘indie’ band these days, so it’s kind of fun to cut out your own niche.”

Apocalyptic themes: “This is kind of a concept album. We were going to call it ‘We Come from the Water and Live on the Land.’ But it was way too long of a title,” Larsen says.

“A lot of it comes from the poetry I studied in college, (with) T.S. Eliot influences, big time. ... The subject matter’s all about how it’s kind of inevitable that things will come to an end. I think it’s easy to find inspiration in things that are ugly.”

That rumbling vibrato: “I was awful at singing in high school when I would try,” Larsen says. “It was really, I think, working with the musical coaches in (college) musicals that I developed that powerful booming kind of singing. I learned that I could pull that off. It kind of goes along with the intensity of the music.”

Yep, he’s a rock star: Larsen cops to being a bit mercurial, and recalls the night he was convinced the opening band was trying to ruin his set.

“I had this Gibson Les Paul that I got in Bozeman,” he said. “I broke it over my knee.”

“Tried to break it over your knee,” Busch corrects.

“I was pretty dramatic for a while,” Larsen says.

It was the band’s first breakup. “It lasted about 30 minutes,” Busch says.

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