Heron Oblivion will release its self-titled debut worldwide March 4th via Sub Pop. Heron Oblivion is now available for preorder on CD / LP / DL / CS from the Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Bandcamp.
LP preorders from megamart.subpop.com will receive the limited “Loser” edition on clear vinyl with a white swirl (while supplies last).
The album, which includes highlights “Oriar”, “Beneath Fields”, “Your Hollows” and “Sudden Lament”, was produced and mixed by the band in San Francisco at The Mansion.
Stereogum says of “Oriar”: “Expressive guitar lines laced with feedback sprawl out again and again without trailing away too far. Meg Baird’s serene voice harkens back to ’60s folk singers, subdued in a way that lends special gravity without being bombastic. Frankly, the group sounds exactly like what psychedelic rock should sound like (see premiere December 15th).”
Heron Oblivion will appear at Austin’s Levitation Festival April 29th-May 1st, and additional live dates will be announced soon.
Kim Gordon included Heron Oblivion on her “Best of 2015” list in the December issue of ARTFORUM and had this to say: “A five-minute sound check, but the best sounds of the night. The rudimentary PA system kept their Pentangle-meets-Bardo-Pond (but with more precision) sound swirling nicely, creating a humming musicality without the sharp edges ever bringing it down to earth.”
[Photo Credit: Alissa Anderson]
More on Heron Oblivion from WFMU’s Brian Turner:
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.
On the West Coast side, Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson were together in the mighty Comets on Fire, who spent a large chunk of the mid-2000s playing unbridled, blistering rock worldwide, fueled by a steady dietofamphetaminized Crazy Horse, High Rise, MC5, Chrome, and Fushitsusha. They were molten and melting down at all times—with twin-guitar blowtorch jams inflectedwith Noel’s careening electronic infusions, and songs and structures holding on to the wheel (barely) while destruction ensued. Noel did time afterwards with Sic Alps and Six Organs ofAdmittance, while Miller settled into a new level of interactions with Howlin’ Rain and Feral Ohms. Charlie Saufley resided at the psychedelic pop fringes with his band Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound (kindred spirits to Comets to be sure.) He was joined in California by Meg Baird of Philadelphia’s Espers. The East Coast connection, Baird was an already-established leading light in the modern psych-folk canon both in Espers and as a solo artist (most recently releasing the gorgeous Don’t Weigh Down the Light LP on Drag City,) as well as original drummer for Philly’s post-hardcore degenerates Watery Love.
Ethan and Noel were loosely jamming in an improvisational unit called Wicked Mace at this point. Via osmosis, Charlie and Meg came floating in for weekly hangs that still resided in a somewhat free zone. “We just did pure improv’ for a few months under no pressure to ‘be anything’ or ‘be a band’”, says Miller, “I think Noel and I sort of pushed for the idea of Meg on drums, me on bass, and Noel and Charles on guitars just to mix it up a bit, get outside our usual mold a little.” Though Noel and the newfound rhythm section took roles with instruments they were familiar with—but not particularly known for—ideas bubbled up quickly, and each member contributed to the songwriting process. “As expected, Charles and Noel had killer guitar chemistry, incredible fuzz sounds, symbiotic interplay,” Miller recounts. Though a multitude of other parallel musical projects kept the pace slow for the foursome, it moved steadily forward—and down paths much less trodden and familiar for the players involved. It was something new, unfamiliar, and invigorating to say the least. Eventually, seven songs were tracked at Eric Bauer’s San Francisco studio “The Mansion,” and the results are stellar.
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’sa 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 inthiscase 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.
What people are saying about Heron Oblivion:
“…A raging new psych band.” - Uncut
“Not much of HO’s music lives online at the moment, but what’s there suggests a group— Ethan Miller, Noel V. Harmonson, Meg Baird, and Charles Saufley—who like to jam for long durations in the fuzzy, fiery guitar-laden zone where Neil Young’s Zuma meets Joe Walsh-era James Gang. (One track is called “Funeral Funk 49,” and while it’s not as funky as James Gang’s 1970 hit, it takes you deeper into trance land.) Heron Oblivion also claim influences from the Japanese power-psych label PSF and UK electric folk rock, and Baird’s vocals counterbalance the swarming sound with a dulcet breeziness. - The Stranger
San Francisco band Heron Oblivion (who just signed with Sub Pop) opened the night. Fronted by singer/drummer Meg Baird of the Espers (and a Philly ex-pat who’s sung backing vocals for Vile), the band set the tone for the night with some moody psych-folk/noise rock that was made all the more impressive when paired with Baird’s powerful, haunting voice. - Three Match Breeze