After a year in the studio, the Hollyhocks, working with producer Allen Clapp (Orange Peels), have completed their debut album Understories.

Understories features an eclectic mix of interwoven, layered guitar combined and lush female vocal harmony that have made the Hollyhocks favorites locally. Inspired by such artists and the New Pornographers and Throwing Muses, the band, Dan Jewett (guitar), Kristin Sobditch (vocals/guitar), Yuri Jewett (vocals/bass) and Jason Silverio (percussion), took the time to sonically grow together before setting out on last year’s recording adventure with Clapp. The results are obvious as the songs range in texture and intensity, but always capture that unique hint of Oakland flavor with a pinch of optimism and a dash of darkness.

In addition, the Hollyhocks are thrilled to be a part of the growing Mystery Lawn Music label family that has seen recent releases by the Orange Peels, William Cleere and the Marvellous Fellas, Agony Aunts, Corner Laughers, John Moremen’s Floatation Device and Allen Clapp and his Orchestra with much more coming in 2012.

Album Highlights
Star arranger Minna Choi and the very in demand Magik*Magik Orchestra provide a stunning ensemble of strings to the most unlikely of songs: a deconstructed cover of Def Leppard’s “Photograph.”

The Hollyhocks also called on a few friends to round out Understories: Amber Lamprecht adds a remarkably mournful oboe to “Marco’s Last Waltz,” Tom Griesser plays a rumbling baritone saxophone in “Sugar” and Myles Boisen introduces a playful lap steel guitar to “Everyone’s Here.”

Who Are These Guys?
The band features the guitar playing of Dan Jewett who spent the early ’90s playing locally in a San Francisco/Berkeley band called The Himalayans. This band featured a young pre-Counting Crows Adam Duritz and is responsible for the hit song “Round Here.” Kristin Sobditch, vocalist/guitarist for the Hollyhocks, spent much of the next decade touring and recording with American Music Club front man Mark Eitzel. Jewett and Sobditch joined forces with experienced local musicians Yuri Jewett and Jason Silverio to produce the songs you hear on Understories.