This Grand Rapids three-piece will undoubtedly become psych-rock royalty in no time. With two EPs and a new full-length LP under their belts, Heaters have gotten plenty of well-deserved attention from the psych community and major music publications like Pitchfork alike. The new album in question is called Solstice, and it’s the focus of this weeks Psychedelic Sunday.
Right from the start the album feels like a lo-fi surf rock classic. The opening track “Memorial” is not something I’d expect out of a Midwestern band. Heaters fit into the West-coast psych movement with ease. The track sets the tone for the album and wets your appetite for reverb-laden pop hooks.
“Heaven Hill” is another catchy atmospheric tune complete with plenty of tambourine and spacey riffs. The next track, “No Fuss” is an instant favorite of mine. In the same vein of fellow bands that don’t sound like they’re from this decade (Allah-La’s, The Growlers, etc.) this track would fit right in on a Nuggets compilation. That being said, the song has the right amount of modern production on it to keep it feeling current.
The title track of the album hits just after the halfway point and is a nice example of the band’s driving surf sound. It’s an instrumental jam that clocks in under 3 min. and could be the psychedelic cousin of Dick Dale’s “Pipeline”. It’s a groovy ride for sure.
Continuing into the B-side of this record is “On A Whim”. It’s easy to get lost in the layered vocal melodies that seem to echo for days. It’s a swirling psychedelic treat. As the album begins to wind down, the gentle, lilting guitar intro of “Lowlife” transitions right into one of the more upbeat songs on Solstice. The rhythm sections shines on this one, the drums will keep your foot tapping for the whole 3 1/2 minutes.
“Shump” closes out the 8-track album and is a straight up ’60s lo-fi garage rock groove. It’s a simple tune that swells into a nice psychedelic freakout in between verses. The Byrds might’ve sounded like this with a bit more acid in them.
I wouldn’t say the band is doing anything “revolutionary” on this album but it’s a great record for all of same reasons any “psych” album is great. It’s the right mix of catchy guitar melodies and spacey jams that give a nod to the psychedelic greats that came before but also pushes the genre a bit further at the same time. It’s certainly worth your time if you like driving garage rock with a laid-back surf vibe.
The band is currently in the middle of an ambitious 2 month long US tour that’s most likely passing through your town at some point. If you haven’t caught them yet you have a few more chances coming up. Solstice is available on 10″ vinyl via bandcamp & Dizzybird Records.
4/4 Happy Dog – Cleveland, OH
4/5 Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL w/WAND, E|G|O, and Melkbelly
4/6 The Frequency – Madison, WI
4/7 First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
5/4 Brass Rail – Ft. Wayne, IN w/Heaven’s Gateway Drugs
5/5 Bishop Bar – Bloomington, IN w/Heaven’s Gateway Drugs
5/8-10 AUSTIN PSYCH FEST – Austin, TX