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Pop Front Dispatch

Words: Courtney B

Image: Whitney Ward

Image of rock band, Math &  Physics club

I spend my summers jet-setting around the pop underground, which this year included witnessing a stellar performance by the Math and Physics Club at July’s San Francisco Pop Crush Festival. Bassist Ethan Jones describes that show as the “best we’ve ever played together. The fun thing about playing live is that the next show we play could be my new favorite.”

The next best show for the band might be this year’s Bumbershoot. Charles, the band’s lead singer/guitarist reveals he still wears a punk rock heart on his sleeve because of Seattle’s largest music festival. “My brother took me to my first punk rock show at Bumbershoot in 1985. It was X and Nina Hagen in the old Coliseum.” Ethan is amazed at what kind of magic can happen in just one year. “For me, it’s a bit of an anniversary. I joined Math and Physics Club at the end of last August after we met at an open mic at the EMP Liquid Lounge. One year later we’re playing Bumbershoot at the EMP Sky Church.”

Eschewing Northwest labels to become the only US-based band on Matinee Records, they recorded two EPs in guitarist James’ basement. The EPs have received airplay on KEXP, as well as much love from the international indie pop scene. What’s next? Charles says, “The biggest surprise will be to see whether we can actually finish a full-length or just keep putting out EPs, because we’re too lazy to record more than four songs at a time!” James adds, “We took a short reprieve after recording ‘Movie Ending Romance,’ but we plan to start working in earnest on new songs soon. We’ve never gone through the process of making a full-length record before so it can seem a little intimidating. This time around we’re thinking it would be fun to bring in someone who knows what they’re doing to help produce.”

Anyone I know who could talk behind the band’s back can only gossip about their kindness, so I ask Charles who he admires and aspires to be more like. He says, “I was lucky enough to grow up watching how bands like Beat Happening, the Dharma Bums and Sleater-Kinney conducted business and treated their fans. I’ve held them up as examples of what I think a band should be like.”

Math and Physics Club play Bumbershoot on Sunday, September 4 at 2pm at the Sky Church.

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