Premiere: Solvents – Ghetto Moon
Six years ago a hand-bound book and CD showed up in our mailbox postmarked Port Townsend, WA. The return address penned in shaky Sharpie: Solvents.
The submission was unique not only for the hand-illustrated ghost story that came with it, but the songs themselves. We wrote about bands playing arena rock and sweaty punk at the Blue Moon and basements back then, but Jarrod Bramson must’ve known something about us that we didn’t yet, Solvents were the first local folk band we wrote about. And come the end of 2007, that bare bones folk album was nestled among our loud local favorite releases. I said then, ”it’s albums like these that last for me… I’ll be listening to Manresa Castle years down the road.”
And I’m glad to say its not just Manresa Castle I’m listening to years later (though I do), but new songs from Solvents too. Since our introduction in 2007 the band’s sound has fluxuated, expanding and contracting in members and amplification, but for their latest release, Ghetto Moon, they have returned to the core duo of Emily Madden and Jarrod Bramson that so enamored us. At the crux of our crush is the intimacy of the music Madden and Bramson make together. Now married and the parents of twin girls, Ghetto Moon is a partnership at play and on display, Madden’s mood-making fiddle and sweet harmonies echo Bramson’s wordy whispers and straight-forward-strumming.
At his best on Ghetto Moon, Bramson sounds positively Moz-esque. “Are You Going to Wait for Love to Leave”, would not be out of place beside songs about girlfriends in comas or charming men. The chorus is a plaintive plea, but one you can’t help but bop your head along to: “I can’t imagine the days that you’ve wasted away. / But are you gonna wait for love to leave? / You’re tired of life and living on your knees. / And I don’t know why you don’t want to try, try. / Said, are you going to wait for love to leave?”
Ghetto Moon is filled from start to finish with with satisfyingly sad, simple songs that ache in every note, like a fading bruise. And like Manresa Castle and Forgive Yr. Blood, and every other Solvents record we’ve been lucky enough to have listened to, these are songs that last, that cling to your memory like moss.
Ghetto Moon is out today, but you can listen to the album in its entirety right here first.