March 4, 2022
It’s not uncommon to find the members from The North Wind in a ‘Dismal Nitch,’ but that’s the way they like it. In fact, the nitch is one of their own making. Whether it’s inner band banter, their song titles, or their general outlook on their as a band, there’s always a thick coat of sarcasm that covers everything like gas station cheese from a pump. Case in point, guitarist Erin Leonard once said, “The North Wind is not a fast moving band, but once it gets going… it really blows!”
Initially, The North Wind was merely a solo project that Leonard tinkered with in college, as a way to cope with the anxiety around what Y2K would mean for his digi-pets and whether random strangers on the internet were to be ranked as “hot”. These early songs made their home on various cassette tapes and zip disks. As soon as he was able to shed the cold, wet skin of Spokane WA, Leonard traveled south to the warm, balmy shores of Portland, OR, with the hope of fleshing The North Wind out into a full band of like-minded music appreciating folks.
After a few casual Craigslist encounters with various Portland musicians and several one night jams, Leonard hooked up with an existing band called Afantomlym, which is where he met drummer David Hoover. Hoover had recently left the dusty confines of Tulsa, Oklahoma for the soggy streets of Portland, and the two quickly bonded over bongo solos and damp turnovers. Alas, the limbs were indeed phantom, and dissolved into the soggy Portland earth. Leonard shared some of his solo work with Hoover, and The North Wind was born anew.
Meanwhile, bassist Terry Burch had moved from New Mexico to the same fertile lands in search of a better musical fit. After taking part in various musical trysts himself, the three eventually connected after the band had several unsuccessful attempts at finding a third leg for their wobbly musical stool. Shortly after coalescing as a trio, the band played a handful of shows, before recording revised and reinvigorated versions of the early demos with the full band. In 2013, the band released their debut, a self-produced / self-recorded EP, called the Mirror Lake EP, that featured percussionist Jose Medeles (The Breeders, 1939 Ensemble) on the final track.
With the sun glinting off the Mirror Lake behind them, the group collectively began working on new material together, jamming constantly until riffs and ideas became fully fledged instrumental opuses. As songs congealed, the band started self recording them, but like so many insatiable music nerds before them, they wanted more. So, in the summer of 2017 they set out to capture the epic drums tones and huge guitars they heard in their heads, and booked a handful of days at the original B-Side Studios location in Portland.
Adam Pike (Red Fang, Neko Case) helmed the ship while the band ripped through their new material. Finally happy with the drum sounds, Leonard and Burch retreated to their basement studios and fussed over the guitar and bass overdubs until they found the perfect recipe. Adam was called in to oversee the process, and the overdubs, mixes, and final master were completed just in time for an early release in 2020. The release efforts were paused due to global pandemic, and uncertainty about the future.
Fast forward to early 2022, and the ‘Dismal Nitch’ is ready for public consumption. The seven tracks comprising the album range the gamut of the band’s influences and contemporaries, from Mercury Program to Maserati, and Pinback to American Football.