Amoeblog


Seasons Take Us By Storm, One Season at a Time

Posted by Billy Gil, January 23, 2012 04:04pm | Post a Comment
The first time I heard Highland Park's Seasons was a song called “Light, Lost,” from their Winter EP, released in June 2010. I was immediately taken with its languid guitar-work and gorgeous melodies, not to mention the way the song takes a sharp left near the end and picks up into an indie-dance gem — sucker for tempo changes, right here.

 
But what really gets me about Seasons is the passion they clearly put into each song. Through their three released “season” EPs — Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn, the last one just released this month —  Seasons aren’t afraid to change things up sonically or thematically. So what you get is a landscape painting of a band across its releases rather than a portrait. Though overall I might classify the music as epic spacefaring rock of the variety you don’t see too often these days — Slowdive, Smashing Pumpkins and, more recently, The Arcade Fire come to mind — there’s also a strong twee vibe running throughout, echoing Sarah Records and C86 bands, not to mention an electro streak that keeps things vibrant.


The band consists of longtime friends who like to go by their first names — John sings and plays guitar and keys; Nik does the same; Adam plays bass and guitar; Erik plays drums; Ray handles beats, keys and bass; and Kaitlin, violin and vocals. During the day, these people occupy such various jobs as teacher, florist, Trader Joe’s team member and Grammy Museum usher.
 
In the summer of 2006, they came up with the idea to do a set of EPs each with a mood to set the tone for feelings that arise during a particular season.
 
“We let the climate changes and the way people and ourselves reacted to each season inspire us to write each one, with the intention of releasing them when we were finished even if they season they were written in was over,” John explains.
 
The Autumn EP begins with “Monday Night” (available as a free download), a lighthearted danceable ode to getting up and out at the beginning of the work week — which, by the way, you should do tonight and/or next Monday to see the band play at the Echo as part of its January residency. The EP continues with the strings-and-bells laden yet hard-charging “These United States,” which nicely features singer Nik's growling, yearning vocals. The EP’s closer, “Lazy Bones,” is sort of meat-and-potatoes Seasons, a six-minute-plus psychedelic heart-on-sleeve power ballad. Meanwhile, “Number of the Beat” is their most outward flirtation with dance music thus far, although its striking violin playing still lands it firmly in orchestral pop territory.


 
“I think we just tend to write songs that sound a certain way as we feel them coming to us,” John says. “We could have written a whole electronic album [when we started the EPs in 2008], but that wasn't how we were feeling then, so this album has more of a electronic feel to it at times because its just what came to us.”
 
The band has been playing each of its “season” EPs on different nights, decorating the set to match the corresponding season, so each residency night has been quite a different experience. Take last week’s show, for example, when Sexy Sax Man of the meme below showed up to play a solo onstage — is that something you’d want to miss?
 

 
Seasons will go back into the studio in late spring/early summer with their producer, Raymond Richards (Local Natives), to record a new full-length album. For now, the band completes their residency tonight at the Echo (presented alongside The 704 blog) with The Health Club, Downtown Union and Manhattan Murder Mystery. They close it out next Monday, Jan. 30 (presented with Feed Your Head), with Robotanists, Little Red Lung and Paulie Pesh. The shows are at 8:30 p.m. 18+, and, as always with these Echo residencies, FREE.

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Echo (6), Twee (4), Slowdive (6), Smashing Pumpkins (15), Los Angeles (175), Seasons (2), Residency (1), Highland Park (9)