|Helms Alee premiere new track via Pitchfork, announce Sargent House album debut|
Listen to "Tumescence" HERE
|Seattle trio Helms Alee premiere a new track today via Pitchfork. The tune, "Tumescence" is culled from the band's forthcoming Sargent House debut album, out in February 2014. Listen/share the song on Pitchfork or Soundcloud.|
Helms Alee's music is exactly the sort of mutant, fantastic hybrid that used to only occasionally erupt out of small, isolated scenes, uninformed by trends of the day - instead inspired by the band's own collective contributions. The Seattle trio's unique amalgam of metal, art rock, pop and punk is charmingly reminiscent of the fertile creativity that groups once had before the Internet seemed to instruct bands to only copy one another. Helms Alee's third album, Sleepwalking Sailors sounds like many styles combined into one, and none of it concerned with any notion other than creating vital, urgent and uniquely characteristic music.
Bassist/vocalist Dana James, drummer/vocalist Hozoji Matheson-Margullis and guitarist/vocalist Ben Verellen combine a vast array of ideas within a single song, while still sounding entirely cohesive. Their songs are undeniably heavy, but also freely roaming through icy post-punk and warm melodic haze at any given moment. Any given song can be pummeling one moment and then subtly shift into triply harmonies without the listener even realizing what has happened.
"The weird thing about it," Verellen muses, "is that we've got three different people contributing lyrics, parts and melodies to each song. So, they end up being disjointed by our individual input. We spent 3-1/2 years writing the songs for this album, so it's thematically all over the place."
Sleepwalking Sailors was recorded with engineer Chris Common (These Arms Are Snakes, Pelican, Chelsea Wolfe) in Seattle, with intentionally built-in limitations. "We recorded the album to tape in order to confine ourselves from ProTools refining every detail. We ended up with something that sounds really big, but also a bit more aggressive." Helms Alee's previous album Weatherhead was released in 2011 to much acclaim by their longtime label HydraHead just before it went under. Undaunted, and as a testament to the band's strong fan base, Helms Alee originally crowdfundedSleepwalking Saviors, eventually raising an impressive recording budget. Upon hearing Common's early mixes, Sargent House quickly offered to bring the band onto their management roster and release the new album. Throughout the course of the album's creation, the band's independent aesthetic becomes clear: a dedication to truly representing themselves, regardless of trends and outside influence.
Album opener "Pleasure Center" kicks off with churning riffs and staccato drums that repeat and morph in a constant build that's equal parts Gang Of Four as it is early Soundgarden. The slithering and perfectly meshed distorted rattle of James' bass with Verellen's climbing, chiming single notes on "Tumescence" lead off with Neurosis style heft, but soon give way to compelling minor-key vocal harmonies laid over the proceedings. Elsewhere, James' and Matheson-Margullis' even more pop-hook leaning vocal harmonies lend a transcendence to the proceedings. "Pinniped" pits near chamber-pop group vocal harmonies against screaming, wailing guitar blasts and thumping tom drum beats. Throughout the album, Helms Alee prove that their unique creative spark is its greatest asset in creating incisive and insightful music.
Sleepwalking Sailors will be available everywhere on LP, CD and download on February 11th, 2014 via Sargent House.
HELMS ALEE LIVE:12/30 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater w/ The Sword
12/31 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater w/ The Sword
Artist: Helms Alee
Album: Sleepwalking Sailors
Label: Sargent House
Release date: February 11th, 2014
01. Pleasure Center
02. Tumescence (STREAM)
04. 4 Dangling Modifiers
05. Heavy Worm Burden
06. Crystal Gale
07. New West
08. Fetus Carcass
09. Slow Beef V
11. Dodge The Lightning
On the Web:
Follow Helms Alee on Twitter: @HelmsAleeMusic