Week in Pop: Fat Tony, Generifus, Tape Deck Mountain

Post Author: Sjimon Gompers


Generifus group shot; photographed by Olivia Rose.

From the PNW corner of the world that is forever full of creative surprises, Olympia’s Generifus brought us news of the new album Free Ways available March 9 alongside the world premiere of “Sweet One”. Since circa 2005 (and even earlier), the Washington State artist Spencer Sult has been making music with a collaborative crew of friends that spin American primitive pop narratives with a DIY glow of inspiration. Like the recently shared single “Dependence Day”, Spencer & company craft glimpses of personal desires & attachments that we all as humans can find ways to relate to according to the holistic approach to arrangements that sing to our own collective fabrics of beings.
“Sweet One” from Generifus works in these similar & strange ways, where the lyrics & elemental instruments gather as if brought together in unison by a gust of wind. The sparse culmination of steady & slow trotting percussion leads you to the soft strolling guitars that frame the the introductory lyrics of kiss me, kiss me, don’t release me, I’m a mossy log. We are treated to stories of conflicts, reservations about work, not ratting out the dubious Ben the genius to the chorus reiterations of come back sweet one that alludes to an offstage of elusive love. The saloon soaked progressions create a strong presence that recalls old haunts that stretch across the state of Washington where Genrifus generates stories about the characters that call the surrounding mountain & forest outstretches home. A sedated sort of urgency is the engine of the song that is consumed in the throes of affection where the want for another is expressed amid a mix of eccentric & idiosyncratic tales as weird & mysterious as life itself.

Recording with Madelyn; photographed by Brooke Bolding.

Spencer Sult shared the following exclusive reflections about the making of the Free Ways album:

The story of this album ties into the last stages of the previous release “Peace Sign Rising. After it was mastered, we got all our friends together to listen to the album and vote on the name from a few I had thought up. There was also a write-in option and my friend Liam (Generifus contributor and member of Oh, Rose and Deja Blue) submitted “Free Ways” (two words). Later on, while writing for the next album, this name stuck with me and I ended up writing a song based on the title. After this I decided to use it for the name of the album as well.

Spencer & Olivia; photographed by Brooke Bolding.

Back in 2010 I recoded an album up in Anacortes at the Department of Safety, an all ages space and recording/art venue where Nicholas Wilbur was a resident. He helped me along with some of the recording when the primary collaborators (Karl Blau and Eli Moore of LAKE, thanks again!) were not in the studio. Our bands played over the years and we kept in touch about development of the new studio, the Unknown. I decided to finally work with Nich again last summer and the open air vibe of the room at Unknown really helped with the sound of the album. It was a new area for me, putting all the vocals live to tape, playing with the band, instead of overdubbed digitally.

A vocal session with the Generifus group; photographed by Brooke Bolding.

The band that plays on the album primarily was myself, Madelyn Strutz (of Wolfgang Strutz and Deja Blue) and Henry Wilson (of Gourmet, Sawtooth and a great engineer in his own right). We had friends from Iji come in the first night after a gig in town and help with group vocals. We had an awesome jam session sleepover afterwards. Later in the weekend my partner Brooke and our friends Kevin and Olivia of Oh, Rose made it up and helped with more vocals and synth parts. I tried to go Brian Wilson style and just wear sweat pants with no pockets all weekend, running around and directing folks to instruments and microphones. Recording the album was so fun and I get just as much from those memories as I do listening to the songs.

Generifus’s album Free Ways will be available March 9, pre-order available now via Bandcamp.