Favorite Song Right Now: The Helio Sequence "Stoic Resemblance"

Graham LeBron
03 04, 2015

The Helio Sequence is Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel. This "alternative rock duo" formed in 1999 and soon began emitting a steady stream of epic records for the next 15 years. Along the way, they signed with Sub Pop records, toured relentlessly and honed their singular sound to razor sharpness. They reference so much of the music I grew up loving --  U2, Tears for Fears, OMD, and lately they've been reminding me of the British band, James's work with Brian Eno on Laid and Wah Wah. It is big and brash at times, with electric guitars ringing your ears and drums pounding your nodding head into submission over bubbling electronics occasionally coming up for air. It is delicate and emotionally expansive. Their sound is all encompassing, with hooks and sneaky ear candy that you don't hear until the third listen on headphones. I got to know these folks back when our bands were touring together on a Sub Pop national bill. I was even more impressed by these two after learning that most of their records have been self produced and recorded. They clearly know how to get the sounds in their head onto tape and into your ears. For their 2012 record, Negotiations, they even issued a separate ambient album, ACES, to be listened to along with the full album, similar to the Flaming Lips almost overwhelming project, Zaireeka, meant to be listened to on 4 CD players at once.  For the "The Helio Twins" as we affectionately began calling them on tour, all of these possibly gimmicky sonics end up being way more than ear candy -- strip away the flesh and you'll always find a sturdy song skeleton, bobbing its head right there with you. They were never a flash in the pan, rather they've been steadily building over time, as most good things that last are wont to do. Their new single is no exception. A little krauty, a little poppy, and a lot awesome. All of their signifying elements are here, but there is a new freshness. Probably due to the fact that they recorded their album much more quickly than ever before after being inspired by the songwriting workshop theory of Immersion Composition Society, also referred to as the "The 20 Song Game." It is a process in which you write and record as many songs as you can in one day and then meet that night for a listening party with others who have done the same. It helped me write hundreds of songs over the last two decades, solidifying my songwriting and recording prowess in the process. The combination of no expectations and the pressure to finish by the evening can pull great things out of you. You can read more about their personal process over at Subpop.com. Then give a listen to "Stoic Resemblance", check out their last album, Negotiations, and maybe even pre-order their new LP, out May 19. It is their 4th album for Seattle indie stalwart, Sub Pop. "You got a stoic resemblance to something I need." I'll say.

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