(Make Me A) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 111: The National Honor Society

National Honor Society

Seattle indiepop band The National Honor Society found themselves facing the problem of isolation. In 2020 they recorded their debut album, To All The Glory We Never Had, which was well-received. So what to do for the follow-up, when the world is forced into isolation? “This was a new process for everyone in the band as it was the first time any of us had recorded an album remotely,” says frontman Coulter Leslie. “Having always historically gone to studios, there was the fear that maybe that unique studio magic or energy wouldn’t be there, but what we found was that the unlimited time we had to record our parts really allowed us to explore ideas and to go in different directions that we might have, had the clock had been ticking. So I think that’s why you’ll hear a little more adventure in this record as compared to our first.” Thus was born To All The Distance Between Us, released April 10th via Shelflife/Discos de Kirlian/Subjangle Records, an album that carries on the band’s formula of dreamy pop and rock. The National Honor Society is Coulter Leslie (Lead vocals, guitars), Jerry Peerson (Lead guitar, backing vocals) Andrew Gaskin (Bass, backing vocals), and Will Hallauer (Drums).

What They Say: “In Your Eyes aligns itself with other pop songs throughout history that have introduced their political messaging obliquely, rather than with a sledgehammer to the head. Too often, the melody gets lost behind the message being shouted at top volume. NHS songs seek a balance between the two, and this first single reflects our efforts to do so.” Coulter Leslie

Their Mixtape: “These songs all have a feel of nostalgia to them, while all sounding quite modern in their time. I think that’s a trait in NHS songs, as well. Over the last couple years as this new album was taking shape, all of these tracks gave me something to think about and to feel l as I (like everybody else) was searching for a sense of normalcy during historically abnormal times.

The Chameleons – Endlessly Falling

 A hugely underrated band that was more known for mountains of reverb and dark, moody songs.  I love this one as it’s a departure from their norm, it’s a great punk tune, and the chorus gets almost new wave, which is a neat trick.


Gene – Sleep Well Tonight

A song that should close down every pub, in every town, every night.


Fotoform- Running

Pals of mine from Seattle who sound like they are opening up for the Cure in 1984, which is basically the highest accolade you can give to a darkwave band. 

Suede – The Only Way I Can Love You

What’s amazing about this band is the number of times they’ve come up from the canvas fighting, when others would have been knocked out cold.  And even more miraculous than that is that they put out the best album of their 30-plus year career in 2022. I just want to live in this chorus forever.  Exceptional guitar work, too.


The Ocean Blue- Between Something and Nothing

This song and this band taught me that it’s ok to write songs that don’t sound like they come from the US.

The Siddeleys – Sunshine Thuggery

I loved every single thing about The Siddeleys the moment I heard this track on a mixtape I’d received from a pen pal. Fast forward to the early 2000s when I briefly met Johnny Johnson at a Lucksmiths gig in London, and was so starstruck that when I reached out my hand to say hello, I knocked a pint of beer in her lap. If that isn’t the most C86 move of all time, then tell me what is.


Jupe Jupe- Moonlight Eyes

Speaking of Seattle friends who sound like they’re from 1984, we have this gem that sounds like it could have been on a Roxy Music compilation. Side note: this band consistently delivers amazing saxophone solos, especially live.

My Favorite- The Happiest Days of My Life

I loved this song so much I even attempted to cover it in a (much) earlier incarnation of NHS. This original version is miles better, just so we’re clear.

To All The Distance Between Us is out now on Shelflife/Discos de Kirlian/Subjangle RecordsLook HERE for more information on The National Honor Society. 



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