the Handsome Ones
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the Handsome Ones

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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Handsomely undefined by Jason Olcott"

The Handsome One, a band that calls Ballard home (three of the four members live within blocks of one another off Market Street), is an intensive outfit. Their sound is crazy yet cohesive. Ironically, that diversity has proven to be a bit of a problem. They're finding that since they don't claim allegiance to one particular style, it's difficult securing live shows.
"The hardest part about [trying to get gigs]," singer guitarist Tom Olejniczak explains, "is that people want you to pigeonhole yourself. 'Who do you sound like? What bands do you sound like?' With us, it's so hard to say."
One spin of their new album, It's a Lie, will illustrate that to even the most casual listener. You'll hear some funky rock, a sprinkling of soul, a shot or three of country, wisps of middle-eastern gypsy flavor and even some groovy lounge-y stuff. And that's just in the first four songs. Now keep the album rolling and settle in. You're in for a scenic trip through some pleasantly weird territory.
They figure they're so varied because "we get bored easily," notes Floyd Bender, the bass player. "If you went through all our CD racks," he trails off, "I mean, I've got African music and blues and punk rock, then I've got death metal and black metal. How do you pick just one influence?"
Despite (or perhaps because of) the band's approach, it's an album that immediately welcomes you in. Graciously devoid of both uber-hipster snobbishness and virtuoso grandstanding, It's a Lie is a collection of songs that piques our curiosity and keeps you interested for the whole trippy ride.
With a strong album but without the benefit of a genre to attach themselves to, the band is quickly learning that they're going to have to make their own breaks.
"We finally have all our ducks in a row," Olejniczak nods, adding that the first plan of attack is a CD-mailing campaign to radio stations. "It's all about getting off your ass and making things happen."
After that? Turning lemons into lemonade. Bender seizes the band's dilemma and turns it to their advantage. "We can totally cater to the places we play," he explains. "If it's a country place we're playing, we can bust out all our twangy-type stuff and easily play a whole set."
The sets they have played recently displayed that their supporters are about as varied as their material. Bender relates a story about one particular 'fan' in the house one night. "This guy comes up, he must've been 75, 80 years old. He says to me, 'you know, I hate music, but I thought you guys were really good.' I think that's the best compliment I ever got."
The band (rounded out by drummer Mark Knapp and guitarist/keyboardist/banjo player Merlin Armstrong) are embracing their wide fan base and their unique obstacles to super stardom. It's time for us to get serious," Olejniczak says with a smirk. "Because we think we're pretty good." Amen to that, brother. - Ballard News-Tribune, May 17 2006


Three songs from The Handsome Ones' album 'It's a Lie' have been released under a Creative Commons license. The songs are free to distribute in their entirety, as long as credit is given and they are not used for commercial purposes. The songs are released as high-quality variable-bitrate MP3, and are available to download from, as well as from OurMedia and The Internet Archive.



The Handsome Ones are a Seattle-based band consisting of two guitars, bass and drums. However, despite the "normal" instrumentation, their sound is anything but normal. Incorporating styles as diverse as Middle-Eastern music and Klezmer, The Handsome Ones push the boundaries of rock music to new levels. The album 'It's a Lie' showcases the H1's diverse talents, spanning genres while retaining a style distinctly their own. The songs chosen for internet release highlight the band's penchant for experimentation, quickly progressing beyond the tropes of alternative rock to more experimental territory.
The seeds of the H1's were sown over a decade ago, when Kenny invited Noel to play in his band, Skrocki, which eventually devolved until the remanents of Merlin's band, House of Snacks, took Kenny in. The result of this musical congress was Mopar, a funky, soulful rock band. Quite a few Mopar songs have found their way into the Handsome Ones' catalog. Years later, when Noel returned from the North, and Merlin from the South, Floyd, who had quit playing in bands after a stint with Bionic, decided to give it another chance and was recruited to round out the line-up; his return to music was due to finally finding the elusive, 'kindred spirits,' necessary to creating a catalog of songs in which each member could find satisfaction, and a growing audience would find entertaining, with something a little deeper than the average rock band was capable of offering. Hailing from different parts of the country, their eventual assemblage in Seattle has led them to explore multiple genres, their distinctively original sound lacing the disparate/distinct sounds/songs into a cohesive whole.