Heron Oblivion are a new group, assembled from members of a remarkable selection of bands: Comets On Fire, Howlin’ Rain and Six Organs Of Admittance are all represented, and Meg Baird leads the proceedings. This self-titled debut has a classic 60’s psychedelic sound, Baird’s voice setting the tone.
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Sitcom idea number twenty eight: some folkies get together and just make a fuckin’ psych rock record, man. I know it’s been done a hundred times before but that didn’t stop How I Met Your Mother, so let me present ‘Heron Oblivion’, a record that brings together the brilliant guitar-picked mind of Meg Baird (who made the humbly excellent ‘Don’t Weigh Down The Light’) with Noel Von Harmonson (who usually strikes gold in Six Organs of Admittance) and Ethan Miller, who usually joins Harmonson in Comets on Fire. As a collective, they sound like they’ve been waiting for the opportune moment to let out a long, satisfying groan, and their guitars supplement, getting between the easy-breezy bass grooves and shaken drums (I’m talking “Sudden Lament”) with all sort of anything-goes riff filibustering.
Heron Oblivion is still navigated by a sense of Baird’s pastorality, her traditionally influenced voice creating less of a modern psych sound and more one of yore. “Sudden Lament” feels like “Time Will Show The Wiser” run through a jam session, while the steady bass notes of “Rama” combine with a wahing guitar a tone but come together on gorgeous, open-field harmonies. Essentially, this band marry psych rock’s dark basement feel with the great outdoors (evidenced on the record’s blurb, which shows a field of grass from the door of a dingy backroom).
“Seventeen Landscapes” shows how deep into the psychedelic wormhole Heron Oblivion can delve, beginning slyly and slowly before breaching outwards into a repetitious and well-maintained stoner jam -- it feels most fitting, though, that acoustic guitars strum their way to the fore. Space rock is good, sure, but there are gardens to tend to; there’s grass to grow.
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