The Crocodile Presents:
The Solvents @ The Back Bar
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121
This event is all ages
When last we heard from Solvents, they were still in group mode, writing and touring as a band and, especially on their last album forgive yr. blood, cranking up the volume on their odes to the stumbling joys and miseries of life on Earth. But even as they reveled in the spirit of playing loud, songwriter/guitarist Jarrod Bramson and his chief musical collaborator (and wife) violinist Emily Madden were left unsatisfied.
"We were trying to force our songs into being 'rock,'" says Bramson, "but they just aren't meant to be played that way. In the wash of loudness, we were losing what I think are the two most important aspects of the music: being able to hear the lyrics and the melodies of the violin."
So while Solvents are now back to the core duo of Bramson and Madden, the music found on the band's new album Ghetto Moon is as powerful as ever. Left bare, the emotion is now free to blaze out of Bramson's voice and lyrics, and Madden's ardent violin work is given the spotlight it so richly deserves.
What is especially impressive about what Solvents achieves on this new album is that they recorded almost the entire thing in a one day session in the Anacortes studio run by Karl Blau (Laura Veirs, Mount Eerie, Earth). "90% of was done live and most of it was first takes," remembers Bramson. They augmented the recordings with some light percussion and backup vocals later, but for the most part Ghetto Moon feels perfectly stripped down, a stark contrast to the world of overstuffed pop.
Too, the album grapples with the challenges of growing up, exploring moments of heartbreak and a longing to be free of all the responsibilities that come with adulthood. That's not to say Bramson and Madden wallow in this, mind you. Rather, they approach every song with an almost journalistic objectivity, respecting these emotions while performing them with the knowledge that things are much better in the here and now.
If Pickled Okra’s special brand of Americana music can be described with words, one might say “old-school, porch-settin’, sing into a can-style bluegrass”. If you ask them, they might call it “ham and cheese grass”. Either way, their music is full of ideas borrowed from old time fiddle tunes, jazzy delta blues, pop, rock, reggae and funk as well, for a sound that is timeless yet modern in it's own quirky way. It’s kind of like stepping back in time, but with indoor plumbing. This group - made up of two married couples, all characters in their own right - is
undeniably charming, and undeniably entertaining. Not to mention pretty darn talented.