Portland’s Loose Offer a Relentless Summer Parable with “Heatstroke” (KEXP Premiere)

Local Music, KEXP Premiere
Dusty Henry

We don’t do heat very well here in the Pacific Northwest. If you’ve been in Cascadia the past week, you’ll know what I mean. While it’s a beautiful sight to see the sun beaming down through the evergreens and offering a clear view of the mountains surrounding us, it’s hard to take in the view when you’re dripping sweat and complaining about the muggy air swishing through your lungs, cursing yourself for not buying that air conditioner you only need two months a year. Yes, Northwest transplants, we know we have no right to complain. And yes, we will do this forever. Forgive us for our fragile temperature tolerance.

That Portland, Ore. band Loose should release “Heatstroke” – the lead single from their upcoming debut EP, HAIRCUT, out Aug. 15 – on the heels of a Northwest heatwave is wonderfully serendipitous (or maybe the band invested in a Farmers' Almanac?). But really, it couldn’t have happened any other way. The band began last summer in the back of a friend’s tour van rolling through California. Each members’ other projects were falling apart one by one, like a popsicle in the sun, but they found each other. On “Heatstroke,” you can feel like the band melting together with jagged guitar riffs and sensational, shoutable melodies. It feels like the the type of music you want to blare in your car when the vinyl seats are burning against your skin, rolling down the windows, and gasping for relief from the relentless fuckery of the sun. But more than capturing a feeling, the song also serves as a sort of heatwave parable. 

“Heatstroke is about a Canadian boy getting too warm in California; basically drinking too much beer and too little water and passing out in a sleeping bag with all of his clothes on,” the band’s Jeremy Murphy says. “Saying more would be a spoiler.”

You’ll have to listen to the song to see what Murphy’s getting at. So pour yourself a glass of water, turn up the your speakers, and let the searing sounds of Loose grill into your ears. It’s gonna be a long summer, but songs like these making things like waking up at 4 a.m. in sweat (as the band describes) all worth.

Listen to “Heatstroke” below.

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