Local music: Dolfish

From the 01/20/2011 edition

Clutching his '57 Silvertone and dressed up in Flower Child vintage boutique's finest cowboy attire, Max Sollisch explained what recently attracted him to country music.

"I like the vibe of it," Sollisch said. "I like how a lot of country songs can be a bit humorous and a bit hokey then kind of have this underlying level of seriousness or sorrow. They don't seem to take themselves too seriously."

Sollisch, 22, seems to adopt a new guise with each release. When his collegiate folk-pop outfit Our Cat Philip dissolved, he brought elements of prog and improv into the mix and founded Arlo & the Otter. Now he's created Dolfish as an outlet for twangy, jangling solo songs.

The first Dolfish EP, "Your Love Is Bummin' Me Out," burns through five tracks in eight minutes. It's country the way Conor Oberst does country, imbued with doe-eyed emotion instead of gruff machismo. "I'm Proud of You, Johanna" is probably the first country song to namedrop Dashboard Confessional.

It's also doused in noise and reverb, courtesy of no-frills recording by Ghost Shirt's Brandon Barnett. Sollisch cut the fat, building arrangements strictly as a backdrop for his lyrics.

"I'm not into writing for people to have to hardcore decipher what I'm saying," he said. "For the most part I want to tell stories and I want you to understand."

The difference this time is that these lyrics are pure fiction, a chance for Sollisch to flex his literary muscle in Twitter-sized bursts.

"Everything else I've done has been, like, embarrassingly autobiographical," he said.

In between rapidly accumulating Dolfish tour dates, Sollisch plays The Treehouse on Friday alongside Ghost Shirt and We are the Willows for the local release of "Your Love Is Bummin' Me Out."