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January 12th, 2011 CASEY JARMAN | Music Stories
 

Primer: Sunset Valley

     
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Formed: 1996 in Portland.

Members: Frontman Herman Jolly, guitarist Jonathan Drews, bassist Eric Furlong, keyboardist Jeff Saltzman, drummer Tony Lash.

Sounds like: Phil Spector recording fucked-up, distorted pop songs from his prison cell.

For fans of: The Beatles, Guided By Voices, The Rentals, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., The Buzzcocks, The Kinks.

Latest release: Goldbank 78 Stack (2004)

Why you care: Sunset Valley is one in a handful of ’90s acts that were supposed to be the next big thing out of Portland. With the release of the band’s vaguely sci-fi 1998 album, The New Speed—which featured the almost insidiously catchy “Blanketville,” among other tunes that garnered college radio airplay—it seemed almost inevitable that the band would follow friends/tourmates the Dandy Warhols to fame and fortune. Instead, Sunset Valley became almost mythically I-5 famous behind the strength of frontman Herman Jolly’s surreal lyricism, the band’s tight guitar rock and the studio prowess of band members Tony Lash and Jeff Saltzman. After four Sunset Valley records, Jolly moved back to his native Montana to work on solo material, returning to Seattle in 2006 and eventually forming the trio Little Pieces. LP was Jolly’s primary project until a recent move back to Portland put Sunset Valley—at least temporarily—back on the map. Jolly won’t confirm that the band has plans for a new record, but he won’t rule out the possibility, either—which leaves us with more than a glimmer of hope.


SEE IT: Sunset Valley plays Friday, Jan. 14, at Mississippi Studios with Pete Int’l Airport and Federale. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
 
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