Treasure State is a post-punk-styled rock n' roll group from Seattle, WA.,
whose music is comprised of very compositionally compact, tidy, nearly
minimal instrumentation and interlocking repetitive rhythms.
Treasure State was assembled in 2001 by Robert Mercer, a founding member
of Joel R.L. Phelps' Downer Trio and, before that, the Deflowers. Bassist
Aaron Sheedy and Drummer Mitch Leffler enrolled into duty, creating a
distinct flavor of avant-rock rhythm, often circular, jutting out to
propel melodies/hooks or to polish phrasings, but never overplaying or
worse: being too busy (everyone hates that, or should).
After sets in support of Silkworm, Spoon, The Shins, Mates of State,
Crooked Fingers, and The Delgados, Treasure State made a record on their
own accord. Said recording, 2002's "Retain the Risk", is an amazingly
breezy 10 song collection of stark sounds. While singer Mercer sounds
really passionate, he rarely seems to yell. Just as Phelps has been
compared to Will Oldham (Palace Brothers, Bonnie Prince Billy), the
comparison would apply just as well to Mercer's spare, minimalist,
occasionally ragged glory. Like Phelps, Oldham, and even Alex Chilton, he
tends to sing at the top of his register, resulting in vocal cracks and
breaks that lend a disarmingly distinctive intensity and vulnerability to
the mostly down-tempo, low-key proceedings.