Who: Amy Sabin (keyboards, vocals), Jason Sartain (guitar, vocals), Jesse Elizondo (bass, vocals), Casey Logan (drums, vocals).
Sounds like: Goths raging against the dying of the light.
For fans of: Chelsea Wolfe, Johnny Jewel's darker moments, Beach House, the Cure.
Veterans of various Portland punk and garage bands, the musicians in Shadowlands took their time developing their new project, exploring various sonic themes before landing on their ominous and melodious brand of post-punk.
"It was good for us to have that time to mess around and find our direction and let the sound really coalesce on its own," says singer Amy Sabin. "We weren't in any big hurry because we are truly doing this for ourselves. Of course, we want people to be into our music and be moved by it, but we really went into this with no expectations."
That patience pays off on the upcoming 002, a mature and foreboding collection of songs befitting the tumultuous times in which we currently find ourselves. Sabin's lyrics tend to be deeply personal, and songs like lead single "Newborn" reflect Sabin's misgivings about the future that awaits her husband, Shadowlands drummer Casey Logan, and their children. Despite the often heavy lyrical themes, the songs on the EP crackle and pop with a melodic anxiety that never feels overly heavy or bogged down under the weight of their subject matter. Album closer "Possession," in particular, swells with a hopefulness that showcases the band's ability to rise above both the bleakness of modern life and what one might typically expect from a post-punk band.
Shadowlands owes much of their musical dexterity to their members closeness. Each musician is a skilled multi-instrumentalist—sometimes switching instruments midsong—and although Sabin is the primary songwriter, she says the band's songs are very much the fruit of a collective effort.
"Collabs are a huge part of what we do, and I feel like I've been really able to grow as a songwriter because I am so supported by them," she says. "Plus, I'm an identical twin, so I think I'm used to always taking others' perspectives into mind."
Shadowlands also draws a great deal of inspiration from the city in which they reside and count themselves lucky to be based in Portland, with a tight-knit scene around them and a label—This-a-Way Records, run by members of long-running local gloom-rockers the Prids—that has their back, something Sabin says helped her overcome her creative and social anxieties.
"This-a-Way Records has created a community of bands that intentionally come together and create an atmosphere where the community can flourish," she says. "It's very encouraging and we appreciate it so much. We also just really appreciate these smaller venues that are really, really supportive of the bands and the community. I love it here despite all the changes. It's still a really great city—a lot better than most."
SEE IT: Shadowlands plays Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., with Daydream Machine, the Orange Kyte and the Young Elders, on Saturday, March 17. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+. Get tickets here.