Moon Darling is one of those bands that captures you with a single image before you’ve even pressed play. “Pressed” play vs. “clicked” play, for a reason. In the digital age, the Seattle-based foursome’s smoky sound emerges from an era when guitars mattered. When riffs ruled. When guys named Slash wrote “licks.”
Taking it back even further, Moon Darling’s Michael Julian Escobar – don’t let his lack of a one syllable stage name deter you – started on guitar by learning Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.”
Escobar’s fierce fretwork on the upcoming Moon Darling EP "By The Light of The Moon” (Jan. 26th, 2018) is matched by some Madison Square Garden-level vocals. Style and substance converge under a head of hair that gives Escobar a Brian May look with a Plant-Jagger swagger. See where this is going? Escobar is a living reference to some classic guitar greats, and some of the most legit of music history’s preening front men, too.
With all respect to the sensitive egos of rock n’ roll band leaders everywhere, Moon Darling’s compelling presentation isn’t all Escobar. In fact, the not-so-hidden ace here is likely drummer, Michelle Nuño.
No one wants to belabor the concept that a rock band of dudes with a female drummer is merely “interesting,” because what’s actually interesting here is Nuño’s drumming itself. Her playing is truly accompaniment, in the grandest sense of the word. The songs on "By The Light of The Moon" would simply not be the same without Nuño’s contributions, and knowing that she formed Moon Darling with Escobar lends weight to how important she is to his tunes.
Nuño’s playing punctuates these songs, or more so they “punktuate” (a “punctuate” pun that actually contains the word pun!) them, adding the attitude, no doubt derived from her days of wearing heavy eyeliner in heavier bands, that add urgency to Moon Darling’s more psychedelic leanings.
Bass guitarist, Jack Jay (a proper name for a bass player, right?!) lays it down as you would expect someone with the perfect bass player moniker of “Jack Jay” would. Sneaky, winding, but always in the pocket. It’s Jay who is first heard on the new record, with a line that sounds like it’s soundtracking a detective novel.
Moon Darling is rounded out by keyboardist, Matthew Buckner, who the rest of the band labels as “mysterious,” providing little additional info, which frankly, is just perfect.
One of Seattle’s most respected and embedded music journalists, Dave Segal, described Moon Darling for venerable local weekly The Stranger by saying that the band plays “a fluid, controlled strain of psych rock” that “tweaks your nostalgia ganglia for Stone Roses’ more subdued moments.”
All very true, and if any band’s music inspires the invoking of the phrase “nostalgia ganglia” (literally the only piece of music writing on the internet that uses it), then your band is doing something very right.
And seriously, any artist that claims three bands as far flung as Led Zeppelin, Hall & Oates, and Tame Impala as influences, while also being compared by a career music scribe to Stone Roses, simply can’t be about image alone. Except Moon Darling has that nailed, as well.
"By The Light of The Moon," the latest from Seattle-based band, Moon Darling arrives on Jan. 26th, 2018 preceded by the EP’s title track, streaming now.