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There are two categories that a musicians side project can fall in to. There is the spinoff band that is so similar to the original, more famous band, that fans decide to cut out the middle man with nothing particularly distinctive to offer, essentially disregarding the side project. Then there is the band that competes with it’s predecessor because it offers something new and original, while still remaining connected to it’s forefather. Pitchfork said it right when they classified The Postal Service and The Dead Weather as bands of this rivaling type. Seattle freak folk rockers Poor Moon are somewhere in between these two extremes.
Led by Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott, bassist and keyboardist respectably, for the Fleet Foxes, Poor Moon has done a great job defining their own sound which is separate although obviously reminiscent of their more renowned associated act. Poor Moon has a lot of similar elements to Fleet Foxes, in terms of instrumentation, song structure, and vocal style, but they are very much their own entity. Christian Wargo has said that Fleet Foxes was lead singer Robin Pecknold’s band, and that Poor Moon is more of his personal outlet.
In early 2012 Poor Moon released an EP entitled Illusion, and had a full length record released in August of 2012. Christian said that he chose the ten songs on the the full length album because they all seemed to form a more cohesive collection, and he then chose five other songs for the EP that could stand on their own.
With two of the six musicians in the WERS studio today wearing graphic tees with kittens on them, the tone was set that Poor Moon was here to have some fun while playing their music. Judging from the recorded album, a listener would not expect that Poor Moon is as relaxed and funny as they really are, and that type of unpredictability is great to see.
To begin their set, Poor Moon opened with their wintry yet tropical ode to the pleasures of just getting away with, “Holiday.” The performance was flowingly smooth from start to finish and felt intentionally written, from the glockenspiel intro to the chorus defining handclaps.
When asked how the band came together Christian noted that he had written a lot of the songs on his own and the band was now “getting out on the road for the first time and figuring out how things work in a live setting.” Because there is always so much mentioned about Poor Moon’s associated acts, Christian made it clear that playing together as a band with Poor Moon will inform what they do next, more so than what they have done up until now.
Poor Moon followed “Holiday” with “Phantom Light” from their August released self-titled LP. The antique washboard on this song helps define the sound of these eclectic performers and was a comforting contribution to the velvety vocals of the band’s three singers. The last song that Poor Moon graced the WERS studio with today was “Birds” which begins with 30 seconds of softly arranged “oohs” that introduce some of the best sounding chord progressions on either of Poor Moon’s releases.
Poor Moon mentioned that a lot of people would have never heard their music on the FM, if it were not for noncommercial radio, and stations like WERS have helped them out a lot in getting their music out to the public.