Song of the Day: The Helio Sequence - Stoic Resemblance

Local Music, Song of the Day
03/06/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Benjamin Mobley

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Stoic Resemblance” by The Helio Sequence from their forthcoming self-titled album due May 19th on Sub Pop.

The Helio Sequence - Stoic Resemblance (MP3)

With a firm footing in psychedelic-leaning studio experimentation, The Helio Sequence's swirling take on indie rock belies the capabilities of their two-person membership. Formed in the late '90s by guitarist/vocalist Brandon Summers and keyboardist/drummer Benjamin Weikel in Oregon, the duo's studio-intensive home recordings allowed them to experiment with sounds before taking them into a live setting. By 2004, the pair had attracted the eye of Sub Pop records and toured with Modest Mouse (whose 2004 album Good News For People Who Love Bad News features Weikel on drums), breaking them to a larger audience outside of the Pacific Northwest. The touring lifestyle took its toll on Summers' vocal chords, leading to a four-year hiatus between records as he recovered in order to tour behind 2008's Keep Your Eyes Ahead. In yet another unfortunate turn, the band's recording/rehearsal space flooded while they were on tour, prompting them to reconvene in a isolated industrial building for 2012's languid, insular Negotiations.

Since then, things have picked up. In May 2014, the duo began work on their sixth album by playing "The 20 Song Game", a challenge where musicians work to create 20 songs as immediately as possible and then critically reflect on the results. The self-titled album's lead single, "Stoic Resemblance" is among the most pop-friendly things the duo have put to tape. Of course, "pop-friendly" to The Helio Sequence takes the shape of more direct song structures and vocal hooks. Naturally, it's all filtered through their signature kaleidoscopic filter, hitting a chord somewhere between gauzy and taut. At a tight three minutes, "Stoic Resemblance" shows The Helio Sequence at their most spontaneous and their most playful, which is not only a surprise turn from the studio-intense direction that's long defined them with surprisingly fun results.

On the date of the new album's release, The Helio Sequence will perform tracks from their new record LIVE on KEXP on Tuesday, May 19 at 1:00 PM. Additionally, the duo will preview the songs an all ages, acoustic show on the Triple Door on March 31st. Get tickets and more info on that show here, keep an eye out for future tour dates at their Facebook and website, and revisit the band's performance of "October" during their last performance on KEXP, live from Judson Memorial Church during CMJ 2013:

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