DOLOUR - "Suburbiac" - Fugitive Recordings 2002

"When we hear the music we listened to as kids, it gets a new value attached to it
now that we're older. There is some innocence that you get back with the music. 
It takes you back to being a little kid, or the wonder of hearing that song for the first 
time."  Dolour's Shane Tutmarc writes the kind of songs you grew up listening to, 
timeless, and inventive songs, the kind you think you've heard before, and already 
know by heart. Remarkably enough - in a world mired with tired and trite attempts 
at music, Dolour's brand of pop is like a breath of fresh air that does not resort to 
the cliche. 

His first release on Fugitive Recordings, Suburbiac comes on the heels of a full
length on Sonic Boom Recordings, and contributions to a few compilations
including a tribute album to Wilson and the Beach Boys. "I've always felt that writing
pop songs is more rebellious than writing punk songs these days. To me, pop
almost always seemed like the alternative to alternative."

Flirting with contemporaries like Ben Folds, Flaming Lips and Weezer, Dolour also 
mines the depths of The Beatles and Brian Wilson's contributions to modern-day 
pop, with nods to Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Tutmarc's 
prodigious song writing employs an "everything and the kitchen sink" approach.    
Aurally pleasing embellishments are woven into the fabric of his songs. At any 
moment one might hear mandolin, theremin, piano, woodwinds, electro-beats, 
strings, Beach-Boyish harmonies, driving guitar rhythms, and punctuated drums 
and snares. Foregoing the title of musician, Tutmarc prefers to call himself a song 
writer. "What I'm most into is the craftsmanship of putting together each section. I
want every note to count."

Perhaps in the tradition of songwriters like Prince and Stevie Wonder, all of these 
clever tunes are written, arranged and played almost entirely by Tutmarc, as if 
music were his Mount Everest to conquer. "Every instrument is a tool for song 
writing. I don't even feel like I've scratched the surface for being a musician. I learn 
instruments to make my songs better." With the exception of a few guest
musicians, and the nimble production of the ever-present Aaron Sprinkle, and extra 
musical input by Phil Peterson, this is a one-man show.

Thematically, Suburbiac moves effortlessly between wistful love ballads, 
tongue-in-cheek pop irony, and smart jabs at mall-rat culture. "Once the title was 
decided, I think it helped me unify a lot of the record, because there are elements 
of it from my last year of being a teenager, living at my parents house, and living on 
the East Side. There's stuff about cell phones and email, and lyrics like "I'm so 
done with you."

With a backing live band to carry out his sonic concoctions, Tutmarc is polishing 
the live sound to match his studio efforts as closely as possible. Plans to hit the
 road on a more widespread tour are in the works. The live band includes Phil 
Peterson on pocket trumpet, synthesizer, and harmonies, Eric Hawk on guitar, 
Sugar McGuinn on bass,  and Joey Sanchez on drums. Already a staple band in the
local Seattle scene with a solid backlog of past shows, Dolour should not have any 
difficulty finding a nationwide audience. The dynamic live show correlates in energy 
with the zest and lust for life that is reflected in Suburbiac. 

One of Tutmarc's aspirations is to make music that is memorable and lasts longer 
than the shelf-life of an average Top 40 cd. It certainly seems within reach. Mature, 
witty and catchy as hell, Suburbiac is a testament to the enduring power of 
well-written pop.