The Dutch Flat
w/ Last of the Juanitas, Plug Spark Sanjay, The Miss
Sat Oct 6
Blackbird

I like it when songs are written in the same way as good stories, when they have prologues that unfold into tricky plots and end with a memorable flourish. It's the element of suspense that's the important part, the drone of the instruments that pulls you further into the musicians' creation and hook you into the song. It's similar to character development; each instrument is a player in the story, and it has to have enough depth to make the reader/listener actually care about where it goes next. For me, the band that attains the delicate mystery of plot always grabs my attention before a band without this understanding.

The Dutch Flat, from Seattle, is one such band. Their songs unfurl patiently like good books, ranging from a punk-like determinism to a poetic beauty, every sound complimenting each other intricately. There are five players: Matt Genz (bass), Chad Hanson (guitar), Sam Schauer (drums, guitar, lap steel), Tim Graham (guitar), and Aaron Bolton (drums). With so many guitars, their sound is incredibly textural, and the vocals (provided by everyone in the group but Bolton) add to the angry/ melancholy imagery.

The way the Dutch Flat composes their music is pretty unique, especially since they do it well. Genz explains, "Occasionally, we go back to verse-chorus [composition]. Most of the time, we tend to write songs that continue moving ahead, to get the song to where it needs to be. If we go back to a part, we feel like we're losing the momentum we're making in conveying different parts of the song."

"Momentum" is a good word to describe how they sound; their guitars build on each other dynamically, each lyric sung with more urgency than the last. They do a little bit of rock screaming, but they also understand the power in singing a quiet line and fusing it with an underlying magnetism.

I guess that's what I mean by "a good plot"--the Dutch Flat has a lot of climax in their songs, but they're never the climaxes you expect. Where a lesser band would build such intense guitar lines into a smash-bash orgy of distortion, the Dutch Flat lets their melodies live in their own drama. That's what makes their music so readable.