Hazy, fuzzy and totally spaced out, the Ghost Ease is a relatively new Portland trio whose sound meshes the jazzy punk of early Sonic Youth with the more ethereal explorations of Cat Power, all run through the crackle and pop of amps knobbed to seismic volumes. This is music played and listened to with eyes closed, the better to float all groovy and nimble on the interstellar tide — except during those soaring moments when the dam breaks to let through a roar of feedback-laced guitar and crashing symbols, with singer Jem Marie’s hypnotic vocals tripping the light fantastic. Imagine Phil Spector’s legendary “wall of sound” halfway-gilked on psych meds, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of wherefore the Ghost Ease goes. The band is out there.
On their 2013 eponymous debut, the Ghost Ease prove themselves able purveyors of that classic Northwest loud-quiet-loud aesthetic, moving with mesmeric momentum between squelchy, loose-limbed progressions and agitated jams that crescendo in an orgy of pulsing noise. On “Supermoon (in Scorpio),” the rhythm section of bassist Fabi Reyna and Nsayi on drums lays down a meandering thump until it all goes boom with Marie’s crunchy, discordant guitar work, recalling the aeronautic whoosh of a Crazy Horse-sloppy Neil Young. Feedback, plucky twangs and beastly bar chords dominate the album, often underpinned by the sensual exhaustion of Marie’s voice, part prayer and part sneer.
Word has it the band made quite a splash at last year’s PDX Pop Now! showcase in Portland, and indeed — with the ongoing ascension of another dream-psych outfit, Warpaint (also NW-connected) — the members of Ghost Ease, who are similarly surreal but harder edged than their sisters in arms, seem primed to light up. Catch the band now, in its rough-hewn infancy.
The Ghost Ease plays with Snow White 8:30 pm Wednesday, March 19, at Wandering Goat; $5.