Little Pieces
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Little Pieces

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
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If the slightly skewed playground pop of Little Pieces sounds familiar, it should--mastermind Herman Jolly was also the driving force behind the late, great Sunset Valley, and while he may have given his new band a less eccentric facade, he certainly kept the foundation intact. In his new trio, Jolly's bouncy melodies and quirky lyrics have more room to roam and less sonic distractions to compete with, while his voice sounds stronger and more confident. Like those of Robyn Hitchcock and the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, Jolly's authentic (and embedded in irresistibly catchy pop). There aren't a lot of folks who can make lines like "I'm a parasite without a host" sound both endearing and perfectly natural. This sprite debut is chock-full of gems, but check out the Pixies-ish "Featherweight Song" and the breathless "Wrote a Letter" for starters.

-Barbara Mitchell

(sound) magazine - June 2008 Edition - (SOUND) Magazine


Sunset Valley fans disheartened by the band's "break" might dig Little Pieces, ex-SV frontman Herman Jolly's new project. Little Pieces does a lot with a little, crafting bouncy pop songs from a very basic rock-and-roll line-up. There is, of course, Jolly on the mic and guitar, accompanied only by bassist Grant Badger and drummer Rob Lloyd. The band just put out a self-titled debut record on Orlando label One Eleven Records that's sure to impress new listeners as well as Jolly's entourage of longtime devotees.
If you missed their excellent CD release party last Thursday at Re-Bar, at which Little Pieces performed with harmonic local lovelies Hazelwood Motel and Perhapst (Decemberists Chris Funk and John Moen's newish band), you can still see them at the Georgetown Music Festival. They perform this Friday, June 13th, at 4:15 on the Georgetown stage. That's right— they're first. Skip out of work early and go. DO IT. - Seattle Weekly


Chiamatelo indie, consideratelo pure di moda ma quello dei Little Pieces è semplicemente rock melodico di grande spessore. 'The Skier' e 'Hurricane' ci introducono nel nuovo universo dell'ex Sunset Valley Herman Jolly che non fa niente per nascondere influenze che scavano nella tradizione popolare e dipinge di meraviglia e stupore le dieci canzoni di questo debutto folgorante. Sul disco aleggiano atmosfere cupe e soffiano ritornelli solari quasi come se l'incontro/scontro tra la rassegnazione e il male di vivere con la speranza che qualcosa possa cambiare siano l'architettura su cui posare melodie mai banali. 'Smallest Man', 'The Zeppo Stone' e 'Ordinary Friend' sono altri tasselli di un mosaico che la band di Seattle ha composto con cura e talento non dimenticando di fare contente le radio ma nemmeno di rinnegare una forza espressiva che negli anni novanta ha reso quella città un punto di riferimento totale. Un pezzo dopo l'altro.. - Dagheisha.com


For whatever reason, some albums end up defining certain periods of your life. For me, Herman Jolly's 1999 album Mad Cowboy Disease defined my junior year of college. I had just met a girl and I was living in a house with a bunch of dudes who stayed up until 6 a.m. snorting toot off our coffee table. My bedroom was right off the living room, so if I wanted to get any sleep while they ran their mouths and ground their teeth, this girl and I would have to put on music to fall asleep. Jolly's cracked, sparse folk numbers hissed out of those speakers, drowning out the cokehead roommates better than any other record I owned. The way he sang and played made it seem like he was holed up on a dark Saturday morning in Portland, with the rain streaking his bedroom windows and his cats crying for food, exactly the distraction we needed from the endless sniffling of the roommates. BRIAN J. BARR - Seattle Weekly


You should recognize Herman Jolly from the time he spent fronting the late, great Sunset Valley.

While that outfit was officially put to bed with a final show at last year’s MusicfestNW, Jolly has been recording and releasing slightly quieter but no less quirky albums under his own moniker since 1999.

He recently relocated back to the Northwest from Montana and has a new solo album coming out early this year on Fortune Records. It’s highly recommended for fans of quirky, intelligent pop. - Portland Tribune


Like Robyn Hitchcock, former Sunset Valley frontman (and current Seattle resident) Herman Jolly has a knack for writing wonderfully off-kilter yet oddly beautiful pop songs—the kind that are so distinctive they'd sound strange and slightly forced coming from anyone else, but fit his faintly cracked voice and tilted worldview to a T. He's returned to performing under his own name (although he's joined onstage by a rhythm section) and he's got a new album coming out really soon, so hopefully '07 will see this talented feller get the recognition he deserves. BARBARA MITCHELL - The Stranger


****Herman Jolly sparkles. Whether he's performing with his band Sunset Valley, or singing solo, or just having a conversation with you, it's hard not to be affected by his glimmering energy. And that's exactly why Thanasphere, an album filled with simple tunes and sneaky rhymes, radiates with palpable heat even when Jolly is singing about the snow in his hometown of Bozeman, Montana. Nearly every song has to do with nature and lazy tasks performed backwards, like erecting a chainlink fence around nothing: "Working on an Empire Gate/To keep my empire safe/Working on an empire, too/To give the gate something to do" ("Empire Gate"). "Windless" tells us about a guitar slinger's act, but the twist is that he'll never arrive to the show. "Needles and Pines," a road song about driving along a Pacific highway to visit a girl on Valentine's Day, passively reveals the besotted driver's apprehension near the end of the song ("Needles and pines/I wonder if she minds/But the pain is awful strong/From the needles and pins I've been on") and suddenly the mood is reversed. Unlike Jolly's last album, Mad Cowboy Disease, there's no country twang on Thanasphere--it's a rock album resonating with the sizzling languidness of Sunset Valley's debut, The New Speed. If you're a fan, you know the sparkle well. If not, check it on record, or better yet, catch one of his rare live appearances and you'll be mesmerized. His wife (former Swoon 23 singer Megan Pickerel) is a lucky, lucky woman. KATHLEEN WILSON

- The Stranger


Inside Herman Jolly lurks a chaps-wearing, range-roaming cowboy just croaking to get out. Taking time out from his usual spot leading the pop-centric Portland band Sunset Valley, Jolly indulges his every twitch and twang. But even when he delves headfirst into a wild-west fantasy, he can't shake his aching melodies. Like Neil Young's music, no matter how far a Jolly song wanders into pomp and circumstance, at its core it remains a tender acoustic song. On "Gin Kicks In" Jolly becomes a hick from the sticks who hangs out in backwoods saloons playing poker and getting drunk; if you listen closely, you can actually hear "yee-haws!" in the background. Under every twangy word and steel-stringed note on this record lies a tune that could rouse even the drunkest of cowboys to song. Alyssa Isenstein - Willamette Week


From 12 Songs You Need to Download Now:
#6 Little Pieces "Candy Stairs" The former leader of late-'90s alt-rock also-rans Sunset Valley, Herman Jolly concocts a sugary, lo-fi nugget- acid lollies, anyone? - and stumbles into a garage-pop near-classic. - SPIN


Discography

Little Pieces "Little Pieces"
Sunset Valley "The New Speed"
Sunset Valley "Boyscout Superhero"
Sunset Valley "Icepond"
Sunset Valley "Goldbank 78 Stack"
Herman Jolly "Mad Cowboy Disease"
Herman Jolly "Thanasphere"
Herman Jolly "Bunker Life"



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Bio

Little Pieces is Sunset Valley frontman Herman Jolly and the bang-up rhythm section of Grant Badger and Rob Lloyd—a partnership that was a long time coming, indeed. Here's the story:

Bassist Badger and drummer Lloyd hail from Illinois, where both grew up in rival towns near St. Louis. They met and began playing together while at U of I in Champaign, where their band, Bantha, was a fearsome battering ram of rock. An unbreakable connection was formed in their bass-drum interplay, and after the Champaign years, they hit Seattle via Chicago, backing Lanterna and Chris Mills along the way. In Seattle they played as a two-piece, appropriately named Guitar Defamation League.

While playing with Chris Mills, Badger and Lloyd occasionally crossed paths with labelmates Sunset Valley at SXSW, CMJ, and around the Pacific Northwest. (Mills was actually covering a Herman Jolly tune, "Crooked Vein”, at the time.) Even then, Herman, Grant and Rob seemed to have some connection that went beyond intermittent partying, and the instant friends stayed in loose touch over the years.

Flash forward to 2006. Herman Jolly moves out of Montana to Seattle. After four lionized Sunset Valley records, he was set to release his third solo album and needed a band--it took about five seconds for the natural solution to surface, and after one rehearsal, the equation became obvious: Jolly + Badger + Lloyd = SUPERGROUP. For a few months, they played under Herman's name, supporting Jolly’s album, Bunker Life. After a west coast tour supporting Grandaddy's Jason Lytle, the trio went straight into the studio and recorded a magical collection of new songs mixed in with a couple of Jolly's finest oldies. The album was recorded in Portland at Jackpot Studio, and was produced by Sunset Valley's Eric Furlong with help from Tony Lash (he's done work with Elliott Smith and the Dandy Warhols). After recording, it was clear that this was no longer a solo project, and that the band had taken on a life of its own.

Released on June 3rd, 2008 on One Eleven Records, Little Pieces' self-titled debut is a diamond in the rough, a jewel of the Nile, and a silver lining in the mediocre cloud of today's oversaturated music scene.