“I had reached a point with songwriting where I was just sick of guitar pop. Over a long winter my home demos grew more and more abstract, without much melody or structure, turning towards a land of serene experimentation. Then spring came, and with it the smell of earth and daylight. On one of many long walks by the lake I felt that old magic, teenage feeling creep back in — the kind of crystallized moment at the heart of all the great power pop songs I loved: like that Replacements tune, “I’m in love / and what’s that song?”
So I gave it one more go. The song turned towards organic decay, the recycling of nature. I was listening to a lot of British folk stuff like the Watersons and Incredible String Band, and so was feeling drawn to that sort of dark fairy tale imagery. ‘Caterpillar Hill‘ is a real place, but I just used it as a memory trick to get myself closer to that feeling.” -Dillon Sturtevant / Tomten
For Fans of: Father John Misty, Wilco, Paul Westerberg, The Lemonheads
Tomten are a baroque pop quartet based out of Seattle, Washington. Brian Noyes (vocals, keys, guitar) and Lena Simon (bass, vocals) (Kairos Creature Club, formerly of La Luz) met in 2008 and began demoing each other’s songs at Cornish College of The Arts.
Tomten started playing shows and rearranging their sound and lineup by 2010, after Gregg Belisle-Chi (guitar) and Jake Brady (drums) joined the band. Tomten’s debut, Wednesday’s Children arrived in Summer of 2012 shortly before Belisle-Chi left the band. Tomten recorded their sophomore record The Farewell Party (2014) with Jason Quever of Papercuts in San Francisco and Sacramento, CA. Dillon Sturtevant (bass) joined the band as Lena departed.
The Unknown recording studio in Anacortes, WA started by Nicholas Wilbur and Phil Elverum (Mt. Eerie) has become the go to spot for the band’s more recent recordings – the lush piano driven Cremation Songs (2017), and Synth Pop informed Viva Draconia (2018). Tomten’s newest album Artichoke (out April 28) is a collaborative foray into psych folk, power-pop, and glam country, a balance between songs by Noyes, Sturtevant, and two co-written with Brady. Artichoke is a warm pastoral daydream, with inspirations drawn from the Madcap folk rock of the Incredible String Band, to the syrup soul of The Delfonics, the country tinge of Happy End or Gene Clark, with the gentle guitar picking of John Martyn or Bridget St. John.
Press photos by Nicholas Wilbur
4/27 Seattle, WA – Madame Lou’s
Street Date: April 28, 2023