Happy Dagger is the recording project of Jesse Robertson, who calls his sound “a mix of Sgt. Pepper’s tinged psych, T. Rex-inspired vamping, the dramatic nature of ’80s synth pop, and Madlib’s stuttering breaks.” The 20-year-old Portland, OR native sounds most like a melodic psych-rocker to me, at least on his fantastic track “Indian Summer”. The effort also offers one of the best hooks I’ve heard all year, when Robertson heightens his hazy vocals’ pitch (see 0:53) over a beautiful progression of metallic-y guitars and psych-friendly organs, the latter of which reminds of Tame Impala’s gorgeous mode of production. That wonderful hook aside, “Indian Summer” is one hell of a ride — full of inventive guitar/synth/organ implementations and perfectly compatible vocal fluctuations.
Robertson wrote, recorded, and produced “Indian Summer” and the three other tracks on his new eponymous EP, which includes another winner in the mellow bass-prominent sunset sound of “Waves” (which offers another stunning melodic hook at the 02:08 bridge). Robertson is a considerable talent whose future looks exceedingly bright. Even in a strong PDX music scene, Happy Dagger is one of the best projects I’ve come across.