Live Free and Let Loose

“A Word From Our Sponsor” – the Heligoats

A chunky, cheerfully moody antidote to anything (everything) you might be hearing out there in the “popular” realm during this newly-christened “golden age” of pop (hey, don’t look at me, it’s Billboard‘s idea). “A Word From Our Sponsor” is rhythmic (but you can’t dance to it), the vocals are filtered (but not Auto-Tuned), and if there’s a synthesizer to be heard, it’s masquerading as a guitar (but I don’t think there’s a synthesizer to be heard). And listen to those guitars, will ya? They’re heavy and grumbly and played by actual human fingers. This is a song that catches the ear through the vague alchemy of craft and spirit, of vocal presence and lyrical spunk. You won’t hear it on the radio.

The Heligoats are a quartet from Bellingham, Washington fronted by Chris Otepka, last seen around these parts as lead singer for the Chicago-based Troubled Hubble, featuring on Fingertips back in 2005, not too long before they broke up. I hope it wasn’t something I said. The Heligoats actually co-existed with Troubled Hubble for most of that band’s existence, but did not get around to a recording debut until 2008.

“A Word From Our Sponsor” is from the 10-inch split EP Live Free and Let Loose, coming next month from Greyday Records, based in Portland, Ore., featuring four songs from the Heligoats (the Let Loose side) and six songs from singer/songwriter Sam Humans (the Live Free side).