Friday’s Performance by Sounds Major Has Seattle Audiophiles Cheering

If you’ve been waiting to see what two of Seattle’s most talented musicians can do when they combine their powers (for good, of course) and make sweet musical love to create a brainchild, wait no longer. Sounds Major has arrived and is already rocking your favorite music venues in a style all their own.

Recently changing their name from Temp Score to Sounds Major, the band’s first official headlining performance last night at the Crocodile in Belltown had new fans pouring in, eager to hear what Sean Nelson and Kyle O’Quin’s newest venture had in store for an indie-music lover to devour.  Prior to yesterday’s concert, you may have seen Temp Score perform in their unofficial debut at Neumos earlier this fall during KEXP’s 2nd Annual Reykjavik Calling or possibly at the Three Imaginary Girls’ holiday showcase at the Columbia City Theater back in December.

Bringing together the talents of Sean Nelson and Kyle O’Quin who have been writing songs and performing in Seattle with other bands and individually for over a decade, the band combines the unique performance style and passion of Sean’s singing voice and Kyle’s masterful key work, giving Sounds Major a melodic, tightly wound alt rock sound with a sardonic sense of humor. With Kyle on keyboard, Thomas Hunter on bass, and Aaron Benson on drums (all of whom have played together for a number of years on various other projects prior to Sounds Major) — and no guitar — the music they produce has a raw and distinct indie-pop/rock sound that highlights the masterful lyrics and the musicians’ talented playing.

The songs’ lyrics are reminiscent of the alt-indie rock songs you’ve heard from the likes of Sean Nelson and company before: Lots of falling in and out of love, troubled times, happy times, and all woven together with a clever, cynical poetic style, with alternating undertones of hope and despair.

Sean puts it best when previously describing the band:

It’s piano + vocals + bass + drums. No guitars. Fairly up. Rather catchy. Very nimble, mid-’60s-esque, British-influenced piano pop in the Zombies/Kinks/Rubber Soul-era Paul mold, with a few droplets of solo Graham Nash, my usual tablespoon of Morrissey, and maybe a soupcan of pre-rock melodic influence. Mostly it’s just pop songs about the usual rock subjects: girls, feelings, blame, regret, suicidal despair, milkshakes cold and long. It’s a good band. Kyle is amazing.

The combination of me and him doing the writing, and those three guys (who play together ALL THE TIME) with my very different performance style, makes for a very exciting hybrid of stuff. We’re hoping to make a record next month.

Last night, the band debuted several songs that sounded well polished. Each song carried a different, unique tone, the mood constantly changing like a musical roller-coaster ride.

Mr. Nelson, as he is wont to do, bantered and jeered at the crowd, feeling out his newest audience. Certainly, everyone seemed pleased with the diversity of songs and charismatic stage presence of the ensemble.  I certainly look forward to more of what Sounds Major has to bring to long-time and the already adoring new fans.

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