Sounds Like: The Jetsons with swizzle
sticks and distortion pedals Typical Song Title: “Bottles, Bugles,
Bright Shiny Bells” Groupies: Cocktail lovers wearing
skinny ties and sunglasses Web Site: lushy.com
Musicians have always borrowed stylistic elements from their predecessors—we’d be willing to bet even Cro-Magnon man repurposed a catchy rhythm or two from Neanderthal rockers. And lately it seems Seattle bands are staging a “revival of the fittest” of sorts—recycling all manner of old sounds and refurbishing them with their own unique and modern spin. Bringing to mind retro riffs by everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Foggy Mountain Boys, from 1920s Parisian cabaret acts to 1960s space-age cocktail numbers, local musicians of multiple genres are looking back to move forward. Hey, even the jug band has returned, so get out your washboard and play along.
It’s hard to imagine a band called Lushy being anything other than fun. Keyboard/sax/flute/drums player Andy Sodt freely admits the group was created around cocktail lounge culture. He and guitarist/bassist Matt Nims met in the early ’90s when they played ska together with the Tiny Hat Orchestra. They knew vocalist Annabella Kirby from the local music scene and, in 2000, roped her into a recording project in Sodt’s basement. For two years, Lushy was a studio-only project. “We just never came out of the basement,” says Kirby. “We were making all these songs until one day I was like, ‘What are we doing? We have to play this for people!’”
She called some friends in Palm Springs who were throwing a Tiki event and booked their first show. “We got a distribution deal that same week,” she says. “We’ve been playing out ever since.”
Marrying spacey, “cocktail-y” sounds from the ’60s and ’70s with their own offbeat attitude, the band sounds like a vinyl record you might find propped on Austin Powers’ mini bar. Even though they’ve been at it for a decade now, there’s a newness in their music that makes you feel like grabbing a drink and seeing where the night goes.
Ten years is a long time for any band to stick together, particularly a throwback pop band in a city that prides itself on testing rock’s limits. But with four albums of original material under their belt and two more in the works for release this year, Lushy’s greatest asset may be that they’ve never been so much of the Seattle music scene—perhaps a byproduct of those years in Sodt’s basement, where it was easy to lose track of the music other local bands were making. “It always seems like we’re the exact opposite of every other band [in town],” Sodt says. Nims adds that their music has “never had anything to do with what’s been happening here. That’s not really by choice; it’s just…what feels progressive to us.”