Floating on to stardom

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Modest Mouse has been a favorite band of Anchorage musicians Stefanie Vigoren and Jaybird Parkhurst for years. When they got the offer for their own group, Termination Dust, to sign with Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace Recordings, they were “beyond excited.”

“It felt really good to have affirmation as a musician,” Parkhurst said.

When Termination Dust opened for Modest Mouse last year in Anchorage, they passed out copies of their album “Familiar Eyes” to the latter band’s members and crew. Handing out a CD and hoping it gets into the right hands is a shot in the dark, but the album eventually caught Brock’s attention.

“You put yourself out there a lot and you don’t get a lot of nibbles most of the time,” Parkhurst said.

Anchorage band Termination Dust's Stefanie Vigoren sings for the crowd at Taproot. The band recently announced their signing to Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock's Glacial Pace Recordings.
Anchorage band Termination Dust’s Stefanie Vigoren sings for the crowd at Taproot. The band recently announced their signing to Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace Recordings. Photo credit: Kerry Tasker

Later that year, the band got an email from Glacial Pace about working together. They set up a conference call and ironed out the details. None of the band members had ever done anything like this before, so the situation was “nerve-wracking.” They held off on breaking the news until things were more finalized.

“We all got like super pumped about talking to them, because it was already unreal to us that we were able to open up for [Modest Mouse],” Parkhurst said.

She and Vigoren, a former Northern Light employee, started playing together in the summer of 2014. They began writing songs that fall, and with zero expectations about where they would take the band, Termination Dust was off and running.

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They recorded their first album, “Familiar Eyes,” with local music fixture Chad Reynvaan at Wattage Studios in Anchorage. With Vigoren and Parkhurst sharing guitar and vocal duties, Joshua Ireland on drums and Jacob Dee on bass, the album is a blend of raw, etherial, indie-pop.

The group was voted Best Indie Band for the 2017 Press Picks in the Anchorage Press.

On Dec. 15, Glacial Pace will officially re-release “Familiar Eyes” and a new seven-song EP called “It’s Never Too Late” next spring.

Vigoren and Parkhurst said the new EP, recorded in Portland, Oregon last January, will be a progression of their trademark sound and was a chance for them to stretch their creative muscles with more tonal options like including keys.

When they went down to Portland, they thought they might re-record some things from “Familiar Eyes” or a single, but they had so much new material that they wanted to make the most of the opportunity. For five 12-hour days, they hammered out 13 songs while holed up in the studio after a blizzard hit the city.

“We were just kind of stuck in that productive mental space,” Vigoren said.

During that time, the band also did a short West Coast tour and has plans for another next spring. The plan is to test the waters for a longer run in the future.

“We’re definitely trying to move forward and reach as many people as possible,” Parkhurst said.

They don’t have anything scheduled currently, but the band plans to do a release show for their upcoming EP, including something all-ages.
Dee and Ireland have moved on to other musical projects, but Parkhurst and Vigoren have already been writing new music since they recorded “It’s Never Too Late.”

Parkhurst said she’s excited to unveil their new material and hit the road as a more experienced band.

“It’s just been a really great experience,” Vigoren said.

Listen to “Familiar Eyes” at terminationdust.bandcamp.com.