Pickwick - Album Release

Neumos & KEXP Present

Pickwick - Album Release


Saturday 6/10

8:00 pm


This event is all ages

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Listen to LoveJoys, the sophomore release from Seattle, WA’s Pickwick, and you’ll hear a band that has pushed aside external pressures and expectations, overcome internal demons, and plugged directly into their own creative center. Slinky, sinewy, and articulate, the record pulses with a palpable confidence. Hypnotically intricate, just-right sonic ornamentation shimmers around a thick, undulating bed of propulsive rhythm. Submit willfully, give yourself over to Pickwick’s practiced ministrations, and you’ll find yourself exhausted and deeply satisfied, slick with a sheen of glitter and sweat.

Following the breakout success of 2013’s self-released Can’t Talk Medicine (which WXPN lauded for its “wonderfully engaging lo-fi rock and soul”) the band found themselves on national tours with Neko Case and Black Joe Lewis, performing on the main stage of the Sasquatch Music Festival, headlining the Capitol Hill Block Party, and performing alongside with the Seattle Symphony. They holed up to begin work on what was to be the follow up release, and things got complicated.

As the band was forty songs into writing a pop R&B record, they became deeply unsatisfied with the direction the music was taking. Tensions boiled over, and they lost a member in 2016. Walking away from a mountain of music, the group was able to tap into the joy of writing for themselves. “We rediscovered what we do best by not overthinking what we make, and learned to love the process of creating again” relates vocalist Galen Disston. “LoveJoys is a specific type of euphoria,” says drummer Alex Westcoat “a liberating feeling of inspiration that can only be achieved through the sacrifice of one's own ambition. It is the shedding of expectations; an uninhibited escape into a world of child-like infatuation and wonder.”

After an intense three month writing session the band – Disston, Westcoat, guitarist Michael Parker, bassist Garrett Parker, and keyboardist Cassady Lillstrom - turned to producer Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, Tacocat and Moondoggies) for guidance in putting the music to tape. “We are huge fans of his, and a mutual friend made the introduction” says Disston. “Erik requested we go out to drinks together every couple weeks for a four month period; he wanted to get to know us before we got too deep into working together. The first time he came to a practice I kept my back to him the whole time because I was intimidated, and after we'd played him all our demos, he picked them apart and pushed us into a new and better sound.”

LoveJoys was recorded at "Chemical X" and "Black Space" (February - May 2016), Blood’s studios in the basement of the old Rainier Brewery building in Seattle. It features performances from: Tendai Maraire (Shabazz Palaces), Sean T. Lane, Marquetta Miller (Breaks and Swells), Taryn Rene Dorsey, and the Black Space’s in-house horns and strings - Alina To (Passenger String Quartet) and Jeremy Shaskus (Breaks and Swells).

Written in the midst of personal and political turmoil, lyrically and sonically LoveJoys became an escape somehow, a place for the band to purge all their deepest concerns while somehow also being relieved of them. LoveJoys embodies the relationship between inspired creativity and the use of escapism as a way of getting there. Like little fossilized explorations of his own greatest fears and anxieties, Disston’s lyrics bury themselves into the band's bright new sonic landscape, both contradicting their collective fantasy and reminding them of why they chose to construct it in the first place. “This record is an escape toward love and joy in the face of uncertainty” says Westcoat. It's a sonic sanctuary built from unrestrained creativity, and a potent tonic; undiluted joyful creativity, guaranteed to transport the listener to a place of ecstatic release.
It happens to all good musicians eventually. After spending most of his 20s working to establish himself in the indie music culture of his adoptive hometown of Seattle, Eric Anderson looked up to discover that he felt more dislocated than ever. Despite having earned a loyal following for his band Cataldo—whose three albums have burnished his reputation as a serious and distinctive songwriter—Anderson found that each step along the path of building a career and body of work, no matter how successful, had led to a larger restlessness. Drifting non-committally through preparations for the fourth Cataldo record, Anderson bounced some production ideas off his sound designer housemate, whose response proved both ridiculously simple and profoundly liberating. "That all sounds very sensible, Eric," his housemate said, "but what do you want to do?"

It's funny, but the question had never really occurred to him. And like all important questions, it spawned others. Soon Anderson was exploring his identity as a brainy-feelings writer and his growing fascination with radio pop music (as well as his deep contempt for the disconcerting trend of honky folk artists copping the least elemental but most demonstrative affect of being "soulful.") Finding no common cause with the currently fashionable gaggle of ebullient faux-folk acts with which Cataldo was invariably lumped, he felt increasingly stirred by a desire to shake off the writing, recording, and performance reflexes he had developed. Bored of his own sonic palette, he began imagining stark drum beats and sensual horn arrangements, but in the service of his voice, not of a character's. He continued writing songs that sought to reconcile his direct connection to the songwriting tradition of artists like the Mountain Goats, Bill Callahan/Smog, and Magnetic Fields with his unshakeable affinity for the melodic breadth of "Put it Down" by The Dream and the cross stick throughout D'Angelo's "Voodoo."

His roommate had asked him what he wanted to do, and Anderson had found an answer: "Whatever the fuck I want."

The result is Gilded Oldies, the most ambitious, assured, and accessible Cataldo album to date. Which isn't to say dumbed down. The record is full of unyielding introspection and coruscating insights into often dark and emotional subject matter. The process that led Anderson to his triumphant album—put simply: acknowledging the yawning gulf between the life you expected and the life you got—is reflected all through the songs. The news isn't always pretty: "all god's creatures have their bridge to burn/this is mine smoldering" from the title track. Sometimes it's plaintive: "what a cowardly thing/to know the notes but not sing," from "Black Lamb." Sometimes it's obscure: "Noli me tangere, motherfucker," from "The Beast." And sometimes it's just a heart-nicking dialogue between hope and despair: "But someday in a moment unacknowledged by the sprawl/ my heart will beat so hard that it can break the terra cotta shell the beast has made/ that keeps me lonesome and acting smart."

But however contemplative Anderson's lyric writing gets, the music is spry, the melodies delectable, the sounds organically irresistible. The contrast is a difficult trick to pull off, but it's also a sign of necessary and enchanting growth in a songwriter whose emphasis has, until now, rested unmistakably on "writer." Not that anyone is likely to mistake these songs for being taciturn—Anderson remains a committed verbalist. But the groove and feel of the arrangements frequently step up to take their rightful precedence, which of course affects the meaning of the words in surprising, even thrilling ways. As Anderson himself admits, with characteristic bashful optimism, "Gilded Oldies is the first Cataldo record you could occasionally, maybe, sort of dance to."

Venue Information:
925 E Pike St
Seattle, WA, 98122