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Never shying away from the twee pop banner, while investing their songs with winsome hooks and clever lyrics, Tullycraft's early records like 1996's Old Traditions, New Standards were shambling affairs that were fun and funny. Sometime around the mid-2000s, something seemingly changed and the band suddenly grew up, crafting records like 2005's Disenchanted Hearts Unite and 2013's Lost in Light Rotation that dealt with more adult concerns, while still delivering the indie pop thrills their fans had come to expect. The Seattle-based group formed in 1994 from the ashes of Crayon, reuniting that group's leader singer/bassist Sean Tollefson with drummer Jeff Fell and completing the lineup with ex-Wimp Factor 14 guitarist Gary Miklusek. The group shared a twee, shambling aesthetic with Crayon and, thanks to Tollefson, the same kind of hooky and sweet songs. Their overall approach was a little lighter sonically though, as evidenced by their debut single from 1995 on Harriet Records titled "True Blue." After this auspicious outing, they subsequently notched an underground classic with "Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend Is Too Stupid to Know About," their contribution to Harriet's The Long Secret compilation. Following the Cher Doll 7" "Bailey Park" in 1995, Tullycraft issued their first full-length effort, Old Traditions, New Standards, in 1996. Assorted singles, compilation tracks, and split releases with bands like Bunnygrunt and Rizzo followed. Guitarist/keyboardist Chris Munford joined the group prior to the 1998 release of the trio's second album, City of Subarus; Miklusek left soon afterward. After a period in 2000 when it looked like the band might stop performing, Tollefson, Fell, and Munford added lead guitarist Harold Hollingsworth and hooked up with Magic Marker Records, which released the Beat, Surf, Fun album in 2002. After adding longtime collaborator/vocalist Jenny Mears to the official lineup, the group recorded their most grown-up sounding record yet, 2005's Disenchanted Hearts Unite. After releasing Every Scene Needs a Center (which featured new guitarist Corianton Hale replacing the departed Hollingsworth) in 2007, the band went on hiatus until 2013, when they returned with the Phil Ek-produced Lost in Light Rotation. After taking a break, the band started work on another album. Longtime drummer Fell was absent, but Hale and Munford were on hand to craft the music while Mears and Tollefson provided the vocals. For the first time, they built the songs from the ground up, recording parts separately and piecing them together with the mixing help of Pete Remine and Larry Crane. The result was the group's seventh album, The Railway Prince Hotel, which was released by Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records in early 2019.
© Jason Ankeny & Tim Sendra /TiVo
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