Aaron Johnson is best known around Missoula as the drummer for the bands Shakewell, PARTYGOERS and Johnny Reno. His solo EP, released under the moniker Trickshot Johnson, lives up to the expectation that an unescorted drummer would naturally create songs rooted in wild, creative rhythms. El Ladrón begins with the Latin dance-inspired “¡El Pelon!” It’s a snappy, summertime track that constantly switches up the rhythms, even as it remains smooth as the blended margarita you wish you were drinking while dancing poolside to the music. It also features vibrant synth and a surprising bluesy guitar solo at the end from guest instrumental synth-hop artist Hxrse (aka Emmet Ore).
The second track, “Dime Que Sí,” has a completely different flavor. It’s got a Latin dance quality, too, but as if the pieces are jumbled, making it feel like the soundtrack to a dark, drug-induced dream. The final track, “Él Que Ladra,” has an easy, ambient vibe that, at first, melts into the background. Thankfully Johnson throws in some off-tempo drumming — something that sounds like a stick against a bucket and keeps the listener from zoning out entirely. That’s the beauty of this EP: Despite its synthy melodies, Johnson always includes raw textures that provide a human touch.