Horace Pickett
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Horace Pickett

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk

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"Horace Pickett"

If the psych-pop Elephant 6 collective ever starts accepting applications for a satellite compound in Seattle, my vote goes toward Horace Pickett to serve as the founding fathers of said office. Falling somewhere between the abstract art-rock musings of Of Montreal and the strummy twang and jangle of Beulah (but adding a healthy dose of ramshackle vaudevillian travelin' family band vibe), Horace Pickett writes songs that are immediately hummable but still manage to be challengingly poetic. While many groups have chartered the vagabond/gypsy band territory, Horace Pickett's songs are masterfully crafted; even though Horace Pickett's wheelhouse is fantastic, over the top stories, they still manage to convey humble and heartfelt universal truths. Live, the band pulls no performance punches, parading through joyfully loose sets that celebrate their imaginative songs as much as their wild-eyed circus sideshow eccentricities. - Seattle Weekly


"Dabbling in Bliss"

It's understandable one might approach Horace Pickett, the eccentric, five-piece Seattle-based band, with skepticism. For starters, the name smacks of a Virginia Woolf antagonist or a muttering grade-school custodian. Over coffee at the Capitol Hill Top Pot Doughnuts, the band's lead singer and lyricist, 25-year-old Ryan Kay, reveals that he chose the stage moniker Bologna Stormweather so that if the band becomes as successful as he hopes, he can still maintain his privacy. When it's pointed out that Horace Pickett's hook-laden, darkly whimsical vignettes are reminiscent of Robyn Hitchcock's or They Might Be Giants', Kay boasts, "I haven't heard any Robyn Hitchcock songs, and I've barely heard any They Might Be Giants."

Which is shocking once you hear the songs on Horace Pickett's self-titled, self-released 2010 debut. Tracks like "A King Still Needs His Vitamins" ("A king still needs his vitamins/He's looking pale and getting thin/What kind of trouble is he in?") perk along jauntily with piano ("We're all huge Scott Joplin fans," says Kay), horns, and accordion, and stick in one's head like a rogue lawn dart. "Beggar's Map," a brief instrumental, might have been a jingle for a '70s Hasbro toy commercial (a compliment—who can't recall the ad for their favorite toy?); and while the band's press release claims "Don't Steal My Apartment" is about critters surreptitiously controlling a home, its lyrics ("We're caffeine tired/We have machine stairs/With magazine flyers/And gelatin bears") evoke a myriad of askew scenarios.

Which makes Horace Pickett a perfect fit for Artopia's eclecticism. Each band member plays several instruments, and Kay writes and draws consummately. By the time our interview begins, he has filled reams of Top Pot's napkins with new lyrics and cartoons, the latter of which he inaccurately dismisses as "something you'd hang on a fridge, compared to what sells in galleries."

Kay has incorporated his passion for juggling into Horace Pickett shows, and the band has taken to dabbling with masks and props, such as the giant fake tiger bassist Nick Scottsdale (Kay's cousin) found, which now perches on his bass amp. "That 45 minutes you're onstage is always complete bliss," says Kay.

And though Horace Pickett currently travels to gigs in "a large Volvo," the group has been attracting its share of benefactors. After a recent gig, the members were approached by a drunk guy whose wallet burst with $100 bills. "He had about eight grand in cash. I've never seen that much money in one place," says Kay. "And he took one of the hundreds, tore it in pieces, and gave it to us, saying we had to stay together for it to have any worth." - Seattle Weekly


"The ‘Circustry’ That Is Horace Pickett"

Horace Pickett are not reinventing the wheel. Instead, they take a bunch of already constructed wheels, patch them together into one rickety dust-wagon and take it for a nice, leisurely drive. They’ve recently released their first, self-titled full length and the progressive, sporadic song structure makes it a great record for the ADD-afflicted (and mustache-clad). Songs are arranged with subtle complexity and their clever hooks hang around just long enough to be appreciated and then depart just as that annoying friend of yours gets the idea he/she wants to sing along. It’s a well-crafted mixing pot of folk rock, Americana, vaudeville, big top circustry (I’m trying to coin a new word in every review I write, c’mon! stick!!) and half a dozen other seasonings. It’s impossible not to take delight in their tongue-and-cheek approach to fictional storytelling and I ain’t gonna fight it. I won’t!


I’ll put it this way: someday in the near future you’re going to wake up and it’s going to be sunny and 75 degrees. Call in sick to work, pick up some beer, find two rocking chairs, call me, press play, and we’ll get started on that beer around 11 am. Maybe we’ll play whiffle ball. Maybe we’ll let a dog eat ice cream off our faces. Maybe we’ll paint our toenails an ironic shade of black. Maybe we’ll attach silver spurs to our Chuck Taylor’s. Maybe we’ll learn to juggle knives. Maybe we’ll wink at the garbage man. Maybe Horace Pickett will walk by and nod approvingly. It would be an injustice to listen to this album and not do one of those things. Seriously. Fucking call me. If nothing else, make them a stop on your stroll through the Folk Life Festival, and get your termite tuxedo tailored for god’s sake.


For fans of: Tom Waits, Page France, Why?, and… dare I say… Randy Newman? Does he have fans? I mean other than me and every mom that saw Toy Story? You be the judge. - Seattle Subsonic


Discography

Horace Pickett - Self-Titled Full Length Release 2010.
Horace Pickett - "I Don't Know The Man" October 2012.
Horace Pickett - "Anatomy" November 2012.

Photos

Bio

With Deliberate Tone, Clever Construction, and Stand-Alone Musical Vignettes, Horace Pickett continuously creates Attention-Capturing Music, Glamorous Stage Theatrics, and an overall Memorable Performance.

Horace Pickett has been compared to They Might Be Giants, Devo, T-Rex, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Sparks.

Horace Pickett was formed in Grand Rapids, MI and migrated to the Northwest in the Summer of 2009 and has been building a following ever since.