When it comes to music, I’m generally late to the party; more so in my younger years. Hell, I once made the proclamation that music didn’t get any better after Nirvana. I was close-minded, uniformed, and most likely a little drunk at the time, but really that’s no excuse. As I got older I eventually broadened my musical horizons. I began searching for new music every chance I got. Granted, a lot of what I found was shit. But every now and again my searching yielded great reward with a truly awesome band that no one knew about yet. A band that I had gotten to before the masses showed up. I would have the precious chance to be into them before were sullied by bandwagoners. So I could say things like, “I was into them way back in the day.” That last bit makes me sound like an arrogant dick head, but I guess sometimes we can all get a little Cusack in High Fidelity about our music. Bottom line though, was I loved the search. It was almost like trying to score drugs. Half the excitement comes just before the score. Going into sketchy situations, sifting through the bullshit, and then finally, even though you had to hop out a window and run from the cops, you found the good shit before anyone was talking about it. But with Pickwick there was no hustle. There was no desperate search. They were served to me on a silver platter by KEXP’s John In The Morning show. I was sitting at my shitty desk job, John had just gotten off one of his early morning Electro kicks and I was anxious for a release from the DUBstep hell that haunted my ears. What I got was Pickwick singing their single Hacienda Hotel.
Starting out as an Alt-Folk band that was more interested in creating weird tones and trippy riffs than pop tunes, became what’s being hailed as New Wave Soul. My initial interest in them came when I heard the gentle guitar riff and weighty drum hits. But it was lead singer Galen Dillard-Disston’s initial vocal burst that caused me to prick up. Their instrumentation harkens back to the smoky nightclubs of the bygone R&B era. Those that make up the five man band of Pickwick are extremely talented musicians, but there is no doubt that the most volatile, exciting and finely tuned tool in this band’s pocket is Galen’s voice. Just listen to this dude.
While the guy looks like your standard Gen Y, indie sweetheart; he has pipes that belong in the prime of Motown. I talk a lot about vocals in these articles and that’s mostly due to the fact that I don’t think the music industry gives a shit about vocal talent anymore. What they do give a shit about is marketability. These days, talented singers spend less time in recording sessions, than they do the stages of reality TV shows. So what are we left with? Digitally filtered swill with a dance beat. Can we take a second and look at what we’ve become? Groups now aren’t as much bands, as they are Target commercials. It’s a waste. Pickwick takes it back to the basics that are so often forgotten. No backing track, just one guy singing his face off. His vocals hit a new level on The Round matching perfectly with the What’d I Say style electric organ bouncing with the beat. I love this track.
Super talented musicians and a killer vocalist but here’s the kicker; THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE AN ALBUM YET! That’s right jerks. This finely tuned crew has just a handful of EP’s ( Myths Vol. 1, Vol.2, Vol. 3 and Covers/Split) all of which can be bought here, or you can buy the compilation of them all here. Still these boys have been touring the US and playing some monster festival gigs (Bumbershoot/ SXSW) Lucky for music fans everywhere, they recently signed with Billions, a booking agency that reps the likes of Arcade Fire, Dap Kings, and Tokyo Police club, so hopefully there will be a national tour to look forward to. They might even start doing more surprise drop ins like this one, where they sang their song Blackout in the University of Washington’s Suzzallo Reading Room.
Do your self a favor and grab these EP’s. It will set you back a grand total of $8. Every little bit makes a difference for this group. That’s that telethon shit they are always saying, I figured I’d try it here. Forget what the music industry thinks should be deemed cool or uncool. This is good music and everyone should hear it. Get it. Share it. Make these fellas famous.
Pickwick, if you guys some how read this. I just want to say; I dig you style dudes.