2005 – present (11 years)
Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, United States
The lineup: Zac, Matt, Adam, Shon and Adam.
Let’s get this out of the way up top: no, Solid Gold is not a syndicated top 40 countdown show which aired from 1980 to 1988 featuring the Solid Gold Dancers. But I could see the Solid Gold Dancers doing a fine routine to a couple of Solid Gold’s numbers—maybe the slinky “Bible Thumper,” or the dreamier “Who You Gonna Run To?”
Now that we’ve cleared that up, here’s the deal: Solid Gold is a band with the ability to compel you to Shake. Your. Ass. After meeting in 2000 at the University of Wisconsin, Zach Coulter and Matthew Locher founded the band along some shared fundamental principles: love of futuristic art and architecture, and an obsession with the old-school doob. After their drummer left, they continued on, crafting tranced-out slow-dance grooves. Lifting guitarist extraordinaire, Adam Hurlburt, from one of their favorite bands proved itself to be excellent. In 2005 they left Madison and the haze of smoke behind, relocating to Minneapolis. Lost and confused in a new city, the three found that they still agreed on three things 1) they enjoy guitar licks 2) they enjoy fucked up old keyboards 3) they enjoy synthed-out hip-hop beats.
With that in mind, it’s kind of weird that they didn’t find a drummer for a couple of years, but they’ve recently corrected that problem, augmenting their laptop-full of special effects with Sticks, a real live human metronome. Finally, they filled out their sound with a shamanistic slide guitar player, Shon Troth, who may or may not be a real live human.
Thus situated, Zach, Adam, and Matt reconnoitered in the studio to put the finishing touches on their years-in-the-making debut record, Bodies of Water. Full of songs about breaking up and running away, there is a penumbra of heart wrench lingering over Bodies of Water that belies the ironic Duran Duran-esque superficiality of their band name (and the flat plasticine whap of their beats).
The stories are familiar, breaking up and figuring it out on your own—but Coulter's lyricism vacates narrative possibility, refusing to go forward in any kind of linear development, instead relying on that beat and washes of keyboard and guitar to swirl around repetitive phrasing and imagery. “I’m not a good storyteller,” he says, before adding, “I don’t want to force it.” His songs are suggestions, but oftentimes suggestions recall mood and emotion and memory more powerfully than stories.
Solid Gold has been on the road for a couple years now, performing showcases in London and New York, playing festivals in the middle of Texas and the middle of Sweden, and enjoying triumphant hometown returns every time they make it back to Minneapolis. Who knows, maybe Solid Gold will find a slot on a Top 40 countdown show yet.
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