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Mirrorgloss are a breath of fresh air

Dancefloor crashing

Tacoma's Mirrorgloss release their debut album, Parking Lot, Saturday. Photo credit: Abby J Kok

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There's a certain amount of stagnation that comes with the Tacoma music scene. Some years are blooming with activity, while others recede into monotony. This is the result of being a relatively small town situated nearby a bustling hub of music activity. Bands that are unique and popular tend to either leave or collapse under the weight of their chaos. What we're left with is a sea of garage rock and punk bands, with some folkies around the edges. While some of these bands may be wholly worthwhile, there's a longing for something different that churns inside of me.

This is why I am so excited for the existence of Mirrorgloss. While their dance-rock may not be the most groundbreaking thing in the 2014 music landscape, they are utterly unique and entirely welcome to Tacoma's currently hibernating scene. Not only do they bring dance to the indie scene, but - and this must be said - they are led by two awesome black women, which is far from the defining element of Tacoma's music culture. Diversity remains a problem in indie music, and it's fairly evident in the Pacific Northwest. That it's noteworthy to have a bill mostly made up of black women - as it will be when NighTraiN join Mirrorgloss at the New Frontier Lounge - means there's clearly something askew.

Najamoniq Todd and Del Brown lead the trio of Mirrorgloss, and they bring with them a big history of loving music (and DJing, as part of the Future Bass dance night), if not a recent history in making music.

"I'd had books and books of poems and stanzas of lyrics that never had any music," says Todd. "I never had any real thought of putting them to music. I was just writing, stream of consciousness. ... Me and Del have always been looking for new music, just hungry for what's the next new sound. Del's really great at finding new and exciting bands before they actually get big. For instance: Chromeo. Me and Del have listened to Chromeo for the extent of our relationship as friends, so over ten years, we've been listening to this band, and no one knew who they were."

The lessons of Chromeo are apparent in the music of Mirrorgloss. With Del and Naj as dual lead vocalists, they curate blissfully moveable dance-rock that flirts with disco and punk. Their soulful voices give flesh to the indelible skeleton laid out by guitarist and beat-programmer Danny Kenny. Much like the underrated guitar work of Ricky Wilson from the B-52's, Kenny's guitar fills out the empty spots so masterfully that it feels like three guitarists are onstage.

Saturday, Mirrorgloss will be releasing their first EP, Parking Lot, following a whirlwind few months that saw not only their debut as a band, but immediate rising through the ranks and an EP produced by Eliot Lipp. It's a lot for a band that just started at the end of last year, and Todd agrees that the whole thing has been a little overwhelming.

"We've had some amazing friends help us out," says Todd. "James Bender, Willow Eskridge, Abby Hooyer - we've just had so many of our friends, who we've maybe helped out on projects and things, and that now they've turned around and given back to us. Other musicians, like Kim Archer, that are so great and have been coming out to see us and give us support and advice - even Eliot Lipp, who did produce our CD, but I think we're even more excited in his hand trying to guide us and letting us know the things that we don't know.

"Basically," says Todd, "while we have talent, it's really been more so our friends and family and other artists in Tacoma who've really helped to push us forward. We're very thankful for that."

Every time I get down on Tacoma, I see a case where we rise to push forward one of our own. Mirrorgloss are more than deserving. Let's keep this trend moving.

MIRRORGLOSS, w/ NighTraiN, Wheelies, 9 p.m., Saturday, May 3, The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, cover tba, 253.572.4020

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