Who: Sam Wenc (guitar, vocals, synth), Nathaniel Kornet (bass and synth), Julian Morris (drums, vocals and also synth).
Sounds like: The Clientele, Beach Fossils, The Sea and Cake, Silver Jews
For fans of: If Wes Anderson asked Real Estate to score a mumblecore film about an aimless acid-damaged Harvard dropout who's too smart for his own good.
It's not uncommon for a songwriter to create music as an escape. What's much less common is for a band to cultivate a sound based on that escape, which in the case of Post Moves is a migration from the stodgy academia of the East Coast to the more relaxed environs of the West. Their sound is a bit too smart to land amongst the ranks of a label like Burger Records, but their sonic ambitions are more than just a coincidence.
"That idea is totally relevant," says drummer Julian Morris. "Because we all came out here for a reason. That reason was to get the fuck out of Massachusetts."
Despite hailing from the same state across the country, it wasn't until Morris, singer-guitarist Sam Wenc and bassist Nathaniel Kornet landed at Lewis and Clark that the trio bonded over artists like Townes Van Zandt, Michael Hurley and Gram Parsons—all of whom Wenc describes as falling under the blanket of "drifter folk."
"I grew up with a foundation of '70s country rock like Neil Young, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons," says Wenc. "There's always been this lonesome folk-drifter kinda vibe that I always dug both lyrically and cosmically."
"Cosmic" is a better qualifier than any to describe the peculiar lyrics and the tendency to drift into the ether that make Post Moves debut record, Boogie Night at the Edge of Town, such a compelling listen. Though Wenc's intricate web of glistening guitar work is the most immediately inviting element of the record, it's his offbeat stories about bummed-out surfers and mysterious grifters that provide direction for Boogie Night's many strange twists and turns. Like a Thomas Pynchon novel interpreted by one of New York indie label Captured Tracks' many dreamy guitar bands, the album's strongest moments have a penchant for vanishing into a haze as soon as they start to make sense.
Had Post Moves met back in Massachusetts at a place like Berklee, it's possible most of the time they devote to floating in space on songs like "Mick's Surf Shop/Playa Pulpos" and "Reg" would be replaced with the kind of heady diversions that have drawn joyless chin-scratchers to Steely Dan all these years. When all is put to tape, the draw of West Coast Americana is far too strong with Wenc and Morris to garner any interest in going further down that road. And thank god for that.
"We have that component of the heady, old school academic vibe," says Morris. "And there are parts of that you can appreciate that you simultaneously want to push back against…those riffs are intoxicating, but with Sam the progression doesn't end there. Lyrically, there's a lot more to the story. Just harnessing those Steely Dan moments of excitement is not what we're trying to do."
Post Moves play Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave., with Sawtooth and Gulch, on Thursday, July 6. 9:30 pm. $5. 21+.