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The best kept secret in music


"Shane Tutmarc: Eastside's very own neo-Brian Wilson"

"You look like I could use a drink," sings Shane Tutmarc, on "New Old Friends," the new Dolour album. "I never had time to stop and think/Who even owns the songs I sing ... Who wants to be a superstar?"
The leader of the one-man (plus rotating collaborators) band Dolour, young Tutmarc came blasting out of the Eastside three years ago: At 21, he released a wonderful, Beach Boys-influenced pop CD, "Waiting for a World War." A quick follow-up, "Suburbiac," was solid but a bit of a disappointment, lacking the creative energy of its predecessor. Now Tutmarc is back at the top of his game on the third Dolour CD, "New Old Friends," a not-to-be-missed collection of indie pop, with Tutmarc channeling Brian Wilson, the Beatles — even Burt Bacharach.
As a writer, Tutmarc can be wryly humorous, particularly on up-tempo rock numbers, such as "I Smell a Lawsuit" and "Before Tonight's Big Party." He's at his finest, though, on songs such as "Cheer Up Baby" and "Next 2U," when he is being sincere and laying out his emotions; that's when his wild potential comes close to fruition.
The best song on this fine album is "October 29th," a spectacular, Flaming Lips-esque number that rolls along on summer breezes, then suddenly lunges forward on Phil Peterson's cello — that's right, cello, but played with rock-guitar vigor.
Tutmarc's relaxed voice leads the listener on a nostalgia trip:
"If we meet somewhere
where the smoke clears
will I find
the things in you
that seemed so rare long ago ... "
The wonderful song — which indeed suggests music that seemed so rare long ago — ends "New Old Friends," a welcome addition to the Seattle soundscape.
Tutmarc will be singing from it at the all-ages Vera Project at 8 tonight ($8). Dolour also has a show April 15 at the Hideaway, in between dates in L.A. and New York. He doesn't seem like he wants to be a superstar, but if the right people see him, he just might become one.

- The Seattle Times

"Hooks for Days - Is Shane Tutmarc’s Dolour the Next Big Thing?"

Words: Joel Hartse

Not so long ago, this guy’s face was damn near everywhere in Seattle. Telephone poles, newspaper kiosks, record stores—I’m sure they would’ve made billboards if someone had the money. But the guy (Shane Tutmarc) and his band (Dolour) have moved on from the album that the ubiquitous stickers were promoting (“Suburbiac”). Tutmarc sort of went into seclusion (hardly a Rivers Cuomo or Brian Wilson-type seclusion, though Tutmarc’s name may belong with such company—and he did seem to emerge with more facial hair than before) and wrote three albums worth of songs. He emerged with the best of them, with an album called “New Old Friends.”

Tutmarc has been spending a lot of time working on his songs, and maybe a little too much time hanging out with his vocoder-happy housemates of the bands Wonderful and United State of Electronica (Jason Holstrom of both bands produced the album and a little influence is evident). His third album—despite being a home-cooked, self-released effort, in contrast to the studio trickery of “Suburbiac”—is his strongest to date.

“They tell you they love you, but all they want is money,” sings Tutmarc in the chorus of the album’s first track, “I Smell a Lawsuit.” Although this record is a catchy, hook-laden affair, much of its lyrical content is influenced by disillusionment with the business end of the music business.

“That’s definitely a strong undercurrent,” said Tutmarc as he sipped his chai at Seattle’s Q CafÈ. “No matter how well [“Suburbiac”] did or how it was perceived by other people, to me it felt like a bunch of promises that were broken.” Though he doesn’t name names, it’s clear that Tutmarc was unhappy with Fugitive Records, a fledgling label whose other releases include the Divorce’s “There Will Be Blood Tonight.” “Last spring I asked to leave the contract and they accepted,” Tutmarc said.

During the writing of the material that led to “New Old Friends,” this must have been weighing on the songwriter’s mind. “The real theme that pretty much every song on that record has is anxiety. No matter what the songs are about, that was the way I felt a lot last year, having so much music that I wanted to put out. It wouldn’t have been appropriate to put this record out on another indie label or on Fugitive, because it’s all about being frustrated about those sorts of things. So it’s kind of appropriate that we ended up doing it home-style.”

Although the album was almost wholly recorded on Tutmarc’s laptop at his and friends’ houses (“in four-track land,” he sings on “Cheer Up Baby”), “New Old Friends” is hardly a lo-fi basement tape. The record sounds like the work of a professional—Tutmarc and his cohorts know what they’re doing.

“I’d chalk that up to being more comfy with singing and with my own arranging style,” said Tutmarc of the album’s creative production and easy-on-the ears style. “With ‘Suburbiac,’ I was the only one in the band, so I think I did feel like I had a lot to prove or a lot to experiment with before I really felt comfortable.” Tutmarc is still the only one in the band, but he is also, as he put it, “the Kevin Bacon of the Seattle music scene.” Eleven musicians play basses, drums, guitars and sundry odds and ends on the new album, none of whom are necessarily permanent members of Dolour. After being a one-man band for so long, you’d think Tutmarc would find this arrangement copasetic, but you’d be wrong. “I hate it. It totally sucks,” he said. “It’s something I’ve gotten used to, but it’s never easy. I often feel like I have an ideal that’s not realistic, of having the perfect band. After so long of doing it without a band, I hate the restrictions that a band also implies. So it’s not that I love doing it by myself, but it’s sort of become a necessity. I would love to have my own Attractions.” (As in Elvis Costello and the...)

For such a disparate crew, though, “New Old Friends” is a cohesive record. From full-on rockers like “CPR” to the bouncy, acoustic “Running Forever,” Tutmarc displays his innate gift for memorable melodies and catchy choruses. The songs are mostly breezy and poppy despite their occasional lyrical moroseness, like on “Behind the Melody” and “My Paranoid Mind.” “[The lyrics] all come from a really personal place, but when you put a pop melody on it, it starts to feel a little less naked. That’s why I like pop music—you can kind of disguise things a little bit,” Tutmarc said.

Tutmarc’s brand of pop is masterful, which begs the question: how long until he joins his peers, such as freshly-signed acts the Pale and the Lashes, and enters the magical world of record labels again? Surely there must be an imprint or two out there drooling over the kind of sugary goodness that Dolour is so adept at providing. Tutmarc’s answer to this question is indicative, perhaps, of what he’s learned from his own experience and others’. His music may deserve an audience, but he’s happy with what he’s created and he’s not going to compromise: “It’s completely from my bedroom to everyone else’s ears, but we’re also shopping it at the same time. We’ll see. The thing I’m excited about is that if somebody picks it up I’m not going to be like, ‘OK, great, let’s go re-record it with Steve Albini,’ or whatever. This is the record. I’m not waiting around for a label.”

- Tablet Magazine

"Dolour — "New Old Friends" {8.8}"

Dolour — "New Old Friends" {8.8}
Buy it!

By kxk

When the indie music revolution comes it will be warm and breezy. Sweet smelling sea air will fill our hair as we drive our convertibles into the twilight, engine in harmony with the sound of the ocean waves. And our car radios will be playing Dolour. No more grunge retreads and pop shtick, just wholly vital and highly individual music — the stuff that "New Old Friends" is made of.

Dolour is Shane Tutmarc. When playing live Tutmarc is backed by a rotating cast of musicians including Paul Mumaw, Craig Curran, Charlie Larson, Eric Howk, and Phil Peterson. But for this third album he plays all the instruments, does all the recording, and releases it under his own label. It is the very definition of independent music.

It's easy to see how this staunch independence might be a reaction to the sucky relationship Tutmarc had with the label that released Dolour's second album, "Suburbiac". The bitterness comes out on tracks like "I smell a lawsuit" which I can only guess is an angry letter to his former label.

"I never have time to stop and think
Who even owns the songs I sing?
It's time we read the fine print
Who wants to be a superstar?"

But what's really amazing about "New Old Friends" is the incredible range of sounds and depth of emotion. Tutmarc uses every hook and flourish in the Book of Pop to realize an utterly unfettered expression within a highly controlled structure. On its surface complex harmonies are punctuated with falsetto frills, but lurking underneath is an emotional richness. [Alert: potentially misleading band comparison in the next three sentences.] It is impossible to listen to New Old Friends without acknowledging the similarities between Dolour and Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. Like The Beach Boys, Dolour is all about ultra-pop ingenuity, vocal harmonies, and musical range. And like Brian Wilson, there is a dark undercurrent that brings depth and complexity to the music.

"Cheer Up Baby" is my favorite track (this week) and a great example of the relentlessly sunny juxtaposed with the sad. Musically it will turn any foul mood into a bright one. I'm pretty certain if I could turn the volume loud enough entire weather systems would change from rain to sun.

There are moments toward the middle of the album that wane a little. In contrast to the rest of the CD, "Behind the Melody" plods along a little too slowly for me. And some songs teeter on the edge of a sugary abyss. The chorus to "Candy" asks, "Why do I beg like a child for your candy? Why do I beg like a child for your love?" over a simple sweet melody. The song is a little too clever to withstand repeated listenings, but it's just as likely that I'm missing the point.

Overall these hiccups don't distract from an otherwise brilliant release. Props to Dolour for giving us the perfect soundtrack to our springtime adventures in the sun.
- Three Imaginary Girls - Seattle's Sparkly Indie-Pop Press

"UP & COMING: this week's music picks"

(Vera Project) Self-released and self-assured, Dolour's latest album, New Old Friends, is another pop extravaganza with a definitive edge keeping things from floating too far from reality. "I Smell a Lawsuit" is all about the fickleness of record-label star makers, "Next 2 U" is a bustling tale of worrisome attraction, and my favorite tune, "Butter Knife Suicide," reminds me of the joyful, silly seriousness of the Replacements. This time singer and songwriter Shane Tutmarc is joined by at least 10 musicians, playing instruments as regular as guitars and drums, and diverse as bells, cello, horns, piano, and even a ukulele. The rest of the bands on the bill are much louder and more rock-oriented, which should make for an interesting night. KATHLEEN WILSON -


ICELAND 7" - 2001
CPR EP - 2003
Re-Release NEW OLD FRIENDS (Made In Mexico - Nov. 2004)
We get consistant play on 90.3 KEXP and 107.7 The End in Seattle.
We had a decent indie push across the nation for our Suburbiac album, and continue to get limited play on the West Coast and East Coast.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Dolour is the music of songwriter-producer-instrumentalist Shane Tutmarc, who lives and records in Seattle, WA. Adept at home recording and production, Tutmarc records his own albums and plays almost everything on them with help from multi-instrumentalist Phil Peterson, bassist Craig Curran, drummer Paul Mumaw and guitarist Charlie Larson. Dolour's first two CD's, "Waiting for a World War" and "Suburbiac", came out in 2001 and 2002 were released through local indie labels and helped establish the band as a staple of Seattle soundscape. No one could resist singing along with songs like the catchy Cleopatra Eyes, the humorous Menage a Trois, and the twisted romance of Suburbiac ("Kissing you is like getting high on someone else's drugs"). With the recent release of their third album, New Old Friends, Seattle Times says "Tutmarc is at the top of his game, channeling Brian Wilson, The Beatles - Even Burt Bacharach." John Richards, Program Director of KEXP, takes it even further, "Shane Tutmarc is one of the best songwriters in Seattle, let alone the rest of the music world". Look for Dolour's new re-releasing NEW OLD FRIENDS on Made In Mexico this Fall which will be released b y