When 20-year-old Redmond native Spencer Sult was a kid, his grandfather told him stories about a cold-blooded monster named Generifus who ate unsuspecting children. "I guess he just came out of the woods and from under decks and ate kids," Sult recalls. The monster stuck with him, and when Sult began writing music in 2005, he adopted its name as his own for the stage.
Sult's interest in making music began in 2001, when some kids at the skate park played him the Microphones song "Sand (Eric's Trip)" from It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water. "The percussion and vocal melodies were really cool," says the typically understated Sult. His explanation of that initial listen might not sound so inspiring, but a strong connection was made. Since then, Generifus has become one of Seattle's most earnest and exciting young songwriters, releasing CD-R after homemade tape of painfully honest, tear-you-apart-inside lo-fi in the vein of K Records heroes Phil Elverum and Karl Blau. Recently, Generifus played a couple of shows opening for Blau, and the prolific Anacortes musician was so impressed that he offered to record and collaborate with Sult on an album.
The result, Solstice Songs, is Generifus's most cohesive completed work, full of expressive guitar play and deep, captivating songs—from the disheartening drone of "If I Try" to the island shake of "My Own Way"—about being lost in life and in love. Blau's presence is audible, both in the booming, classic drumming style that initially drew Sult to the Anacortes sound, and in the pair's experimentation with jangling keys, random knickknack sounds, and recording techniques that shake the tape buzz off Generifus's bedroom rock. Working with Blau has clearly been a turning point for Generifus—Sult describes the experience as simply "amazing."
Over the course of a single recording, Generifus has transformed from easily passed over acoustic sob songs to vibrant ballads. The record will be released at a free show on September 13 at the Old Fire House (where Sult got his start playing shows), and it will be a show that devotees of What the Heck Fest as well as any fans of sad, sad songs simply shouldn't miss.
ALL-AGES calendarSat 9/13
Generifus, Seahouse, Masters and Johnson, Jeff Stillwell, and Gio Ricci at The Old Fire House, 7 pm, free.
Drunken Boat and Git Some at Squid & Ink, 8 pm, $5.Wed 9/17
Japanther, Strong Killings, Shearing Pinx, the Raggedy Anns, and Flexions at Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $9/$8.