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Pickwick was formed in 2008 when singer Galen Disston began writing songs on his acoustic guitar while drummer Matt Emmett kept time in the background. The duo settled on the name as an homage to 'The Ostrich,' an obscure dance song written by Lou Reed and released by Pickwick Records in 1964. With the later additions of Emmett's childhood friend Cassady Lillstrom on keys, Kory Kruckenberg on vibraphone, brothers Garrett and Michael Parker on bass and guitar, the six piece began playing shows in small clubs around Seattle.
By the beginning of 2010 the band was in a state of disarray. Frustrated by the direction the music was taking, the band began having discussions about throwing in the towel and going their separate ways. Up until that point band members had little to do with the writing process and simply added color to Disston's songs. Ultimately, the band decided to throw out all of their old material and start over from scratch with a new collaborative approach to songwriting. This rebirth allowed the band to take a new look at their individual and collective strengths, as well as look to new places for inspiration.
Raised on indie rock and a love for lo-fi garage bands, the members of Pickwick found themselves entrenched in underground gospel and blues recordings from the 1950s and 60s as well as popular northern soul artists. This new reference point combined with a renewed appreciation for UK bands like The Animals, Spencer Davis Group, and The Zombies helped the members of Pickwick cultivate their own unique take on garage rock, gospel, and 60s era pop while interpreting those genres through a modern lens.
Along with a shift in musical aesthetic, Disston began exploring darker, more complicated themes in the lyrics of his songs. Contrasting stories of murder, mental illness, and confused sexual identity with major chords, three part harmonies, and church organs. This unlikely pairing quickly became a mainstay of the band's approach to songwriting. "I've always been drawn to music that seems a bit schizophrenic," says Disston.
Inspired by a new burst of creative output, the band wasted little time to self release their music. Instead of waiting to record a full length record the band decided to do things on their own terms, putting their music out exclusively on vinyl with three installments of a 7 inch series. Each 45 was accompanied by a record release show at a different club in Seattle. With the release shows under their belt and a series of DIY live videos gaining attention online, the band had cultivated a strong local following by the middle of 2011.
By late 2011 Seattle independent radio station KEXP caught wind of what the band was doing and began playing the band's music on-air. By the end of the year Pickwick's 7 inch series 'Myths' was voted the #9 record of the year by KEXP listeners alongside artists such as TV on the Radio, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Wilco, Adele and Radiohead.
The band is currently finishing up work on their debut LP and writing new material.
Deep Sea Diver Biography
Jessica Dobson started playing shows around her native Southern California when she was 17, and life's moved fast in the decade since. Deep Sea Diver was originally a solo project, just Dobson singing along to the bold sounds of her electric guitar. That changed in 2006, when Dobson was in Seattle recording the songs that would become her first EP,New Caves, with producer Phil Ek (The Shins, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes), and met a barista named Peter Mansen at Fremont's Lighthouse Roasters. Mansen, a Seattleite by way of Tacoma, had formally been the drummer of the post-rock outfit Eyes of Autumn; through persistence and after a few rejections, he eventually became Deep Sea Diver's drummer and, in 2009, Dobson's husband. The two married in a California ceremony and taco feast during which Mansen accidentally shot his groomsman in the leg with a pellet gun, in a way heralding the couple's upcoming shared life of adventure and unpredictability.
2009 was also the year that Deep Sea Diver released theNew CavesEP, opened a summer tour for Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, and officially recruited a third member, Dobson's old friend from Long Beach, bassist John Raines. In the meantime, Dobson's professional cachet got a boost after she was invited to join Beck's band as lead guitarist and toured the U.S., Europe, and Japan on his Modern Guilt tour, including an appearance on theLate Show with David Letterman. Dobson returned to late night TV in August of 2009; she spent the month touring as a bassist with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and appeared with them onLate Night with Conan O'Brien. In 2011, James Mercer named Dobson the guitarist of his new lineup of the Shins, along with Richard Swift, Joe Plummer, and Yukki Matthews. Following appearances onLate Night with Jimmy FallonandSaturday Night Live, Dobson will spend much of 2012 touring with the Shins for their latest record,Port of Morrow;
Despite her success as a moonlighter, Dobson remains primarily committed to her own band. By December of 2010, Dobson had had enough of Southern California; she and Mansen relocated to Seattle. With Raines, they wrote a taut live wire of a song with Raines called "Weekend Wars," the first of a series of new material that would become Deep Sea Diver's first full-length,History Speaks.Dobson had toyed with the idea of ditching the band name and just using her full given name for the project; ultimately, the collaborative process of writingHistory Speaksdecided her against it-the songs belonged to Mansen and Raines as much as they did to her.
History Speaks,which features guitar work from Sean Walker (the Delta Spirit) and percussion from former Tom Waits drummer Stephen Hodges,took a cross-country journey to completion-it was recorded in Long Beach with Matt Wignall (Cold War Kids, the Delta Spirit), mixed in Seattle by the band's close friend Luke Vander Pol, and mastered in New York by Paul Gold (Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors). The resulting record, which hit #1 on Bandcamp the day it was released in February, is too unique and far-reaching to categorize. Some songs, like the title track, are slow washes of contemplation ("History speaks, and I'm still listening"); others, like "You Go Running," are live wires of happy energy and movement. Propelled by Dobson's uniquely boyish, bawling vocals, it's an intricate, carefully orchestrated type of pop and guitar rock that can't be compared to anything else being made in Seattle today.