Led by singer-songwriter Herman Jolly and featuring Eyelids guitarist Jonathan Drews, Sunset Valley's ace guitar pop was supposed to be Portland's Next Big Thing, before it got a tad too weird for mainstream consumption. Though mostly defunct, the band reunites for the odd gig here and there. "It still hits the nerves," says Chris Slusarenko.
After the demise of grunge-era favorites Heatmiser, drummer Paulie Pulvirenti—and later, bassist Jim Talstra—joined Neil Gust's follow-up project, continuing his previous band's hooky melodic rock for two albums. Gust's former bandmate Elliott Smith contributed guitar and keyboards to an unreleased No. 2 demo—which featured John Moen on drums—shortly before his death in 2003.
Fronted by Gerry Mohr of
-worshiping Portland cult heroes the Miracle Workers, the first band Moen, Slusarenko and Talstra played in together revived '80s garage rock years before the national revival of the '00s. "We recorded and mixed it in a day at Jackpot," Slusarenko says. "It was one of those magical things."
Although he didnât actually perform on it, Slusarenko conceptualized this âindie-rock opera,â calling upon Stephen Malkmus, Grandaddy, Mary Timony, Lou Barlow and practically everyone else in his address book to help tell the story ofâ¦uh, a guy who fights robots, maybe?
Slusarenko and Moen consider the third album in their collaboration with Guided By Voicesâ Robert Pollard to be the purest encapsulation of Pollardâs glam-pop vision. âThat was the one that was the most like Guided By Voices, kind of like Alien Lanesâreally haphazard,â Slusarenko says.