posted in: COLUMNS, song of the week | 0

It should come as no surprise that I am a loyal NPR listener.  We don’t always agree on how to tell certain stories, but I still see them as the most respected and balanced news source available.  That said, I generally don’t take music advice from them.  I realize that in saying this I come off not just as pretentious, but as the most pompous of the pretentious.  You probably picture me pushing my ebony horn rimmed glasses up off the bridge of my nose, twirling my ironic mustache, and sighing out, “NPR, what do they know about music?”

A few days ago an NPR article scrolled across my Facebook news feed: 5 Artists You Should Know In 2011.  I clicked the link not to learn about five artists I’d never heard of, but rather to snicker at how awful their choices were.  I was pleasantly surprised by how wrong I was.  All five bands were good, they were unique, and they all deserved to be called “Artists you should know.”  It was the last band on the list that really stuck out to me.

Pickwick is a little Seattle band I’ve never heard of before.  How it was that I’d never run across them in my endless scavenging of the web for music was baffling.  As I began to investigate them a little I discovered that they’re not even remotely attached to a major or independent record label.  Since November of 2010, they’ve released four singles on bandcamp, under the titles- Myths vol.1-3, the fourth being a set of remixes.

Pickwick has an admittedly Otis Redding, Motown, Soul sound, but I could hear a definite Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac influence as well.  This immediately led me to (unfairly) compare them to- you guessed it, LAKE.  They share the same sonic relations and simplistic beats, but they differ greatly in the vocal department.  The vocals of LAKE’s Ashley Eriksson and Eli Moore have a soft, hypnotic, lullaby feel to them.  Pickwick lead singer, Gallen Disston has an abrasive quality by comparison.  After a few listens I concluded that they fall in line with the modern R&B vocal stylings of artists like Adele or the late Amy Winehouse. (I mean that in the best possible way.)

Finding Pickwick was very similar to finding Congratulations a few weeks ago.  You ask yourself where they’ve been all your life, then wonder what it was like before you ever hear them.  For me, I don’t want to go back three days when Pickwick didn’t exist to me.  That time was a lot bleaker.

It’s so much fun to find a band at this stage in their development.  They’re not widely known, they’re unique, they’re really good, and as a fan all you have to do is sit back and watch them develop.  You can buy all four of their singles at