The situation On a recent Tuesday evening, I'm at the Ballard Smoke Shop drinking beer with one of my favorite new discoveries, the local garage-pop quartet Detective Agency: drummer Ulrika Larsson, guitarist/vocalist Nate Kruz, bassist Gwen Stubbs, and guitarist/vocalist Amy Tisdale. They all have really good hair--I'll go ahead and call them Seattle's Best Coiffed Band--and they all live around here except for Larsson, a Stockholm native who moved to Seattle eight years ago and now lives in a house on Queen Anne with a Boston Terrier named Ingmar.
Greg Stonebraker/Courtesy of KEXP
How They Got Here The ladies of Detective Agency are all career women. Tisdale is the coolest second-grade teacher at Mukilteo's Challenger Elementary School. Larsson works at hip downtown Scandinavian fashion boutique Pirkko. Stubbs has her own clothing line, Lekkerlife, and plans to open a showroom this summer. Kruz is the only one currently enjoying a period of unemployment; he's also several years younger than his bandmates. I ask him if they ever boss him around. "Not all of them," he says, shifting his eyes around the table. The girls laugh at him.Shop Talk Earlier this year, Detective Agency recorded five of their songs, called it the Daggers EP, and made it available on Bandcamp. "The songs have a lot of personality," says Kruz. "One of them will sound like garage rock from the '60s, another one will sound more like an '80s pop song. They're more like little snapshots rather than the whole album just blending together."
Kruz and Tisdale write the breezy lyrics. Kruz quotes some lines from "Smoke a Cig," a song on which he sings lead: " 'I want to smoke a cig on Friday night, I want to smoke a cig on Saturday night . . . ' "
" ' . . . You don't want me to go out. I don't want you to stay in. You're gonna have to learn that you're not my only friend,' " Tisdale finishes for him. "Some of them are kind of serious!"
BTW: Detective Agency was originally a more literal title--"I wanted to solve some crime and have some fun with that," says Larsson. They had a tagline--"Very Discreet, Very Professional"--and even some cases: who had a crush on whom, who was stealing bikes from Larsson's house, how to befriend a cool-looking metal guy they saw walking around Ballard. But then, says Larsson, "We decided we were going to play music and drink beers instead."
"We're not Poirot," says Stubbs.
Larsson did do some research and found a course to earn a license in private investigation that only costs $100. "We could still do it," says Tisdale.
"There's still time," agrees Larsson.
Detective Agency plays the JewelBox/Rendezvous with Unnatural Helpers this Thursday, May 24 at 9 p.m.; tickets are $7.