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Abigail Grush

Seattle's Abigail Grush (Abby to her friends) plays some of the most infectiously off-the-wall pop music you'll ever hear -- if you can even call it pop music; it might be a little too weird to qualify. Each of her bouncy wacky numbers is a stew of unexpected sounds and influences, ranging from pop to No Wave to country to avant-jazz to Brechtian musical theater to Saturday morning cartoon music. Like some of her obvious sources of inspiration -- The Fugs, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Residents, Laurie Anderson -- Grush clearly considers no style off-limits. She and her band employ a breathtakingly vast array of instruments, including clarinet, violin, mandolin, French horn, accordion, slide whistle, and glockenspiel, and incorporate a remarkable number of disparate sounds into tight, action-packed compositions that brim with a crazy, brilliant logic which borders on complete madness. Grush's remarkably elastic voice and loopy lyrics make her eclectic sound complete. Imagine Alice in Wonderland updated for the twenty-first century and set to music and you'll have an idea of this music's vivid nuttiness.

Grush has been around the avant-pop block a few times, having played with a number of quirky, progressive outfits in both New York and Seattle, including Pea Soup, whose Frank Pullen and Cassie Peek form the core of Grush's backing band. She released her solo debut, The Phantom Beat -- featuring "The Boy Next Door," "Petite Danse," and "If It Wasn't You" -- on Barsuk Records in 1999.