In the station, out on the town, and in a house
Photo taken by Nick Johnston
Sollomon Hollow is a trio consisting of Austin (Vocals/Lead Guitar), Meg (Vocals/Bass), and Nick (Drums). Despite not knowing their last names I've seen them a handful of times now around town in their home city of Santa Cruz. In a first for KBCZ we had a live electric performance when this band's big fuzzy noise played live during DJ Dayquil's drive-time Thursday show. Listening in to the broadcast over the stations monitoring headphones was a unique experience and opportunity to hear their voices and lyrics cleanly. Oftentimes at the shoegazey house shows they play Austin and Megs vocals can be difficult to pick out of the wall of sound. Whether it's in the mix or up front though Austins voice has a light touch but is strong enough that it rises on the swells of guitar. I caught them again that week at The Crepe Place and hearing Meg take lead on a song her higher register voice can be heard a little more distinctly as it cuts through the bands sound. I'm not really complaining about this as (unlike the finnicky Judge Bonedry) I'm not very knowledgeable about optimal mixing and tend to take a messier sound as part of the package especially in certain genres like punk or drone/noise type rock.
The songs contain heavy riffs and a bass that rather then underlining the melody with a punchy rhythm fills it in big fuzzy undercurrents or broad brushes of blue paint. The drums bang with a rattle and abandon, but they aren't outpacing everything else moving at a measured driving pace. The songs have interesting changes of pace that keep it fresh. One builds slowly then in a janky connection like an old transmission shunking into first from third gear goes into a breakdown that has the crowd chanting out the chorus. Sometimes the notes have that halting dropped pebble pacing that combined with the transitions fits into an awkward and persistent groove. This could take away but I felt like it added to that vibe of being drunk in a garage.
With all this awkward chunking and tidal wavy sections it could be hard for a message to get conveyed but a real emotion does get across. Austin who writes much of the music can conjure a thick wistfulness of long vistas at late nights dawn and life's mounting complications. The crowd who know the songs revel in this singing along with a wild-eyed minor key cheer. At another date I witnessed them playing a houses living room for a birthday celebration and people truly lost it yelling for more, the band throwing out errant bass lines and guitar licks, psych tones filling the dwelling. No better way to see a local band swimming in their own stream then peering through a kitchen doorway.
Judge Bonedry throws out the pixies as a touchstone for the sound and I'd agree with that. I'll toss in Built to Spill as another band in a similar vein but Sollomon's got something a little more concrete in them. Catch them around town frequently playing together with another local favorite The Shoobies. They are good people making good music with good sound to float in and tunes to sooth the savage breast.
Thanks for reading my stray thoughts talk soon!
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