Posts Tagged ‘The Helio Sequence’

On October 12th, 2018, Sub Pop will reissue The Helio Sequence’s landmark album Keep Your Eyes Aheadfor its 10th anniversary as a deluxe edition.The newly remastered set will be available on CD/2xLP/DL and includes the original 10-song effort along with a second album of demos, alternate versions, and outtakes from the same era. Keep Your Eyes Ahead: Deluxe Edition was mastered by The Helio Sequence at Helio Sound studio in their hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Deluxe Edition of Keep Your Eyes Ahead (Release date: October 12, 2018)

Upon its release in 2008, the record was warmly received from critics and fans alike. It was named one of the “Top 25 Albums of 2008,” ,Keep Your Eyes Aheadis a shining example of how to go retro while still moving forward.” Washington Post offered this, “Trading its former album’s dense keyboard compositions for a more expansive and organic sound, Keep Your Eyes Aheadis the work of a band commanding its audience’s attention. Stand out tracks like “Hallelujah” and “Can’t Say No” show the band flexing its melodic muscles, branching out into grandiose guitar rock territory without sacrificing the nuance and keyboard flourishes of its early work.”

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When June arrived, the Helio Sequence gathered their 26 finished songs and sent them to 31 friends, fans and family members. They asked each person to rank their 10 favorite tracks. By summer’s end, they had arrived at the brisk 10 tracks that shape the breathless and magnetic The Helio Sequence—a record so named because it’s a kind of clean restart for the longtime pair, a revamp of their process and a revitalization of their results.

The Helio Sequence is a renewed push forward for the band: From the cool wallop of “Deuces,” where guitars snarl and harmonies soar, to the stuttering anxiety of “Upward Mobility”, where pianos pound and drums race, this collection depends upon an effortless kinetic energy. Lyrically, “Stoic Resemblance” is a study of existential anxiety, but musically, it’s a beguiling burst of pop, Summers’ vocals rising over and sliding off of Weikel’s big, irrepressible beat. The bittersweet “Leave or Be Yours” evokes the easy twinkle of romance and the smoldering sadness of losing it. Crisscrossing vocals and cross-talking guitars and drums map a broad swirl of emotions.

With its easy acoustic jangle, “Inconsequential Ties” might be one of the most surprising, light moments within the bombastic Helio Sequence catalog. But considered within the band’s history, it points to the pop that’s bound Summers and Weikel for so long. Indeed, there’s a delightful candor to The Helio Sequence, an openness that is a rare and special feat for a band about to enter its third decade.

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Portland indie popsters The Helio Sequence followed their late 2000s fave Keep Your Eyes Ahead with 2012’s Negotiations, a fine album but one that mostly picked up where its predecessor picked up. Now they’ve got a self-titled LP coming May 18th via Sub Pop Records, and if first single “Stoic Resemblance” is any indication, they’re changing it up this time. The band’s signature hooks are still intact, but the song brings in head-nodding rhythms and an air of psychedelia not found on their previous releases. The new album also comes with Sunrise Demos, a collection of demos from the new album’s sessions, and you can hear “The Witness” from that above.

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The self-titled sixth album by The Helio Sequence began within the Portland, Oregon music scene .In a sense, The Helio Sequence had spent their whole career preparing for this record. They’d sunk entire recording advances into studio purchases, collaborating with local engineers to build custom gear and a space where they could blend high fidelity with kaleidoscopic sound. In 2013, the pair took on their first full-scale production project, the Brazilian rock band Quarto Negro, after the group inquired about their space and availability through Facebook. As producers, they’d remixed Shabazz Palaces, picked up mixing sessions with Portland acts and earned representation from Global Positioning Services. Summers and Weikel discovered just how adaptable and powerful their studio could be.

They began arriving each morning in their Portland space—housed in the cafeteria and break room of an old warehouse— with the mission of making as much music as possible in one month. They began exploring and capturing, recording guitar riffs and keyboard loops, drum patterns and bass lines. One piece documented, they quickly advanced to the next idea. Summers and Weikel didn’t discuss what they were making or the reference points that informed it, though such discussions had once been central to The Helio Sequence’s more self-conscious process. They just played. Created. In time, they returned to each fragment, broadcasting it over the studio PA, jamming and recording the results. Mistakes didn’t matter, and second chances didn’t exist. After two weeks, Summers and Weikel began cutting those loose takes into rough shapes, steadily building songs from their cavalier sketches.

When June arrived, the duo gathered their 26 finished songs and sent them to 31 friends, fans and family members. They asked each person to rank their 10 favorite tracks. By summer’s end, they had arrived at the brisk 10 tracks that shape the breathless and magnetic The Helio Sequence—a record so named because it’s a kind of clean restart for the longtime pair, a revamp of their process and a revitalization of their results.