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New Music Monday – Heron Oblivion

Heron Oblivion

Heron Oblivion

New Music Monday is all about sharing the good tunes of new bands and artists that we love and/or coming to the Foundry soon! This week’s new band to check out is Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop) featuring Ethan Miller (Comets on Fire, Howlin Rain), and Noel Von Harmonson (Comets on Fire, Six Organs of Admittance), Charlie Saufley (Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound), and Meg Baird (Espers).  Nevada County music fans have seen Miller, Harmonson and Baird perform at various local shows and local folk songstress Mariee Sioux toured with Espers.  Most recently Miller and Howlin Rain played the Miners Foundry in 2012, and we hope this incredible all-star lineup finds their way back to the Gold Country!  Their first album is out this week on March 4th.

“Pastoral pummel. Listening to Heron Oblivion’s album feels like sitting in a lovely meadow in the shadow of a dam that’s gonna heave-ho’ any minute. Members of this new San Francisco combo have put in time in both raging and relatively tranquil psychedelic sound units—this is the premise and the synergy behind this very unique and special new album.

Three shades of light run through Heron Oblivion: Baird’s rich, beautiful vocal approach, the locked-horns bass and drums of her and Miller’s streamlined-but-motorik rhythm section, and a twin guitar tapestry that both aligns with the dreaminess of the songs and crackles out of containment to froth over the rim. It’s a seamless but pronounced thing: “Oriar” sports dramatic spires of solos that fly high out of the gate, slowly settling in to lilting verses then exploding again, “Rama” drifts like an Opal/Fairport wedding with more tumbling, syrupy electric lines all around.

Meg’s gorgeous singing resides within an untouchable domain and never struggles, nor has to combat the avalanche of guitars that ebb and flow. The only other record this could be remotely compared to maybe is the Slap Happy Humphrey record on Japan’s Alchemy label years ago, where female vocal melodies combat sick walls of noise guitar. But in this case a definite West Coast style reigns—where elements meld rather than stand as opposing black-and-white walls: Even the heights of guitar destruction on Heron’s “Faro” build steadily and organically from the beginning to end.

The group first properly gigged in April of 2014 opening for War On Drugs. They finished the record independently, then inked a deal with Sub Pop in early 2015. Most recently they toured the West Coast with Kurt Vile and Cass McCombs.”

-Brian Turner/Music Director WFMU Jersey City NJ

Click here to listen to the entire album on NPR’s First Listen.