There is something refreshingly direct about our friends The Lonely Forest
. At a time when many forward-thinking bands are striving to discover (or invent) their inner weirdo, the Ancortes, Washington based four-piece are hedging their bets on a comforting strand of power pop that's familiar in its origins, and exhilarating in its precise execution. They don't mince words, distort dissonance or warp rhythms. They'd rather just ride a wave of power chords to the stratosphere, fueled by hooks and the hearts on their sleeves.
For The Lonely Forest, a lot has happened as of late. When last we met in a garden on the Lower East Side
, the band had recently been tapped by Chris Walla's label Trans Records to play the part of his inaugural signing. Since that time Walla has produced the band's third full length Arrows
, and as if to complete the trifecta, placed the band in a support slot on the upcoming Death Cab For Cutie tour. Listening to our latest concert release, it's easy to hear what attracted the seasoned musician to the band. In many ways, the band's tangle of electric fretwork, head haunting melodies, and earnest storytelling is reminiscent of some of Walla's best work with Death Cab. Succinct, direct, and to the point: this here concert is an arrow. One we suggest letting hit you straight in the chest.
Set between ancient forest and the forest-green waters of Puget Sound at the very edge of the continental US, Anacortes, Washington, population 17,000 sees a lot come and go. Ferries docked here delivers thousands of itinerant hippies, millionaires, and sightseers to farms and mansions dotting the remote San Juan Islands while Navy bombers and helicopters based nearby perform ear-splitting flyovers. Through all the coming and going, the local DIY community remains remarkably consistent and strong; an expression of defiant, end-of-the-line creativity. From that community come The Lonely Forest, a rock band of four Anacortes natives with no intention of leaving.
From the outset The Lonely Forest -singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Van Deusen, guitarist Tony Ruland, drummer Braydn Krueger, and bassist Eric Sturgeon- has been about inclusion. In 2005, a raucous garage session inspired the guys (Braydn, Tony, and Eric) to join forces with Van Deusen's piano-pop. The newly formed entity, now called The Lonely Forest, played their first show while two band members were still in high school (the other two having recently graduated). Since that show, The Lonely Forest have racked up miles; steadily becoming heroes of the Northwest all-ages scene through relentless gigging around the region. From their first show at the Department of Safety, center of Anacortes' all-ages DIY scene, to their high-profile appearance at Bumbershoot 2009, a sold-out concert at the Showbox in Seattle last fall and a coveted spot on 2010's Sasquatch Festival, the accolades for The Lonely Forest have grown along with their fanbase.
As grows their fanbase, The Lonely Forest 's music is continually expanding and evolving. At it's core, the music features Van Deusen's soaring vocals and keyboard melodies wrapped tightly around Ruland's expansive guitar anchored by a heavy yet nimble rhythm section. The contrast of brilliant pop songs featuring lyrics about spiritual longing wedded to an almost prog-rock sensibility appeals to broad swath of listeners, from wide-eyed teenagers to jaded scenesters. As always, inclusion is important to these guys!
The Lonely Forest will continue their steady climb to prominence from modest Northwest roots with the September 14 release of their five song EP. The EP is a sneak peek at "Arrows", their forthcoming (2011) full-length on Chris Walla's label imprint, Trans Records. Walla, guitarist and producer for Grammy-nominated rock band Death Cab for Cutie, made The Lonely Forest his first signing when he launched Trans with the support of Death Cab for Cutie's major label home, Atlantic Records. Trans and The Lonely Forest will be released through ILG, Warner Music Group's Independent Label Group. In addition to his role as label head, Walla produced, engineered and mixed the album at Sound City studio in Los Angeles, Tiny Telephone in San Francisco and his own, Portland-based studio, Alberta Court.