Arts & Entertainment

Critically acclaimed Seattle indie bands coming to Red Room

Jesse Lortz of Seattle's Dutchess and the Duke doesn't make music for the glory.

Case in point, Lortz doesn't play radio-friendly tunes but delves into the psychedelic folk of '60s bands like The Zombies or the less sunny aspects of the Beach Boys as a vehicle for "morose lyrical yarns," as described by their record label Hardly Art.

And after a brief chat with him, it's clear he's also not into waxing poetic about his work, no matter how much critical praise in heaped on the duo's last two albums. With his mate Kimberly Morrison, their last two records, She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke and Sunset/Sunrise scored an 8.2 and 7.4 out of 10, respectively, on the hyper-critical indie music site Pitchforkmedia.com.

"We do all right," Lortz said. "It's at least enough to buy the insurance."

You'll have a chance to hear them when they open for The Cave Singers at 8 p.m. Feb. 26 at The Red Room, 711 Vineyard Drive, Kennewick.

Trying to get a gauge on his influences, Lortz wouldn't budge, saying it's completely irrelevant. "No disrespect, though," he said.

"You can say the Beach Boys or any of those other '60s bands that everyone else like us is listening to. It really doesn't matter," he said. "There's a lot of bands with beards, we've got that too. We're from the Northwest, it's what we do."

Ixnay on the influences. Got it. And he's right, the only time is does matter is when you're trying to describe it. So let's try this: The duo employ the same aesthetic that The White Stripes popularized, playing on old, lo-fi equipment for that rough-hewn sound -- though theirs is decidedly more somber. And for this tour it will be even more stripped down with just the two singers and their two guitars.

Lortz and Morrison have been playing together for 10 years now in and out of various bands but have stuck together because they work well together and out of mutual respect. And after this brief Northwest showcase that was put together by their mutual booking agency with The Cave Singers, they'll be headed to play 10 shows in about three days at the South By Southwest indie music showcase in Austin, Texas.

Tickets to the show are $8 and are available at the door at The Red Room.

*Jeremy Dutton: 582-1525; jdutton@tricityherald.com

*On the net: www.myspace.com/thedutchessandtheduke

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