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  • Jonathan Widran


Weird how sometimes, the most amazing indie bands just disappear after a fast start. Fortunately, some, like the sonically raw, dreamy and trippy power pysch rock duo SoloS, re-emerge in unexpected ways that will blow your mind with rhythmic diversity, spaced out sonic effects, bright, percussive infectious melodies and intriguing, insightful lyrics.

That’s the impact of their previously unreleased self-titled EP SoloS, which was recorded in the early 2010s but is only now seeing the light of day thanks to the support and foresight of Dowd Records, a label committed to showcasing previously unreleased gems from the Nevada City/Grass Valley, California indie scene.

A little back story for context will help listeners appreciate the re-emergence of this inventive pair. After Northern California based singer/songwriter Aaron Ross joined multi-instrumentalist Spencer Seim’s band Hella for the group’s 2007 album There’s No 666 in Outer Space, and they continued playing together as SoloS. They had some great fortune out of the box, having their 2012 debut album Beast of Both Worlds (which they labeled “think Zeppelin meets MGMT as ridiculous as that sounds”) produced by the legendary Guy Massey (The Beatles, Paul Simon, Radiohead). Then they immersed back in the garage and recorded a live six song “demo” with just keyboards and drums.

Their longtime friend Jeff Schmidt added guitar effects and edgy baritone – and then, what? Unexplained silence. For years. Way too long. Unearthing these stripped down gems, which roll amiably and angularly from the deliriously ambient yet deeply funky (with a hypnotic keyboard hook) “The Distance Between Us” to the blistering, vocal harmony driven techno jam “Painted Veil,” the guys realized they didn’t sound like unfinished demos but tracks ripe for completion and release.

The grand joys include the tender and optimistic, 80’s grounded but synthy futuristic “Unsolved Mystery,” the snazzy, soaring synth rock anthem “Ghostwriter” and the off-kilter, playfully booming and robotic “Worlds Collide.” The continual sonic invention demands multiple listens to absorb every colorful detail. Jump in – and be grateful not every shelved project gathers dust for long.

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