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Sun flares

Seapony rapidly ascend based on bright hooks and maybe a little luck

SEAPONY: Cody Jones of the Nightgowns says they're "white hot" right now. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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The cover photo of Seapony's Dreaming single depicts sunshine pouring through a line of evergreen trees - rays of sun so intensely radiant the picture is overtaken by lens flares. It's a potent distillation of the Seapony ethos, and the ethos of bands like them, this idea of a never-ending summer, so light and ebullient that it can almost become overwhelming. Around these parts, we never get summers like that, instead only experiencing brief windows of sunshiny promise that prove more mocking than anything. It could be that, more than most, we need bands like Seapony.

And yet, to look at a Seapony song, it seems too simple to inspire these kinds of thoughts. For the most part compact at just over two minutes apiece, Seapony's songs are built around sturdy chord progressions and gently propulsive beats. But those melodies and harmonies are so much brighter than they have any right to be, awash as they are in a haze of fizzy distortion and the sweet, reverb-soaked lead vocals from Jen Weidl. It's a sound that has become prevalent in bands gushed over on music blogs, like Seapony has been. But, however many cute affectations you have, it always comes back to the strength of the songcraft. Seapony has that strength.

Guitarist and main songwriter Danny Rowland speaks of writing Seapony material in a surprisingly casual and self-effacing way.

"It's kind of an easy format, really," says Rowland. "It's mostly just chord strumming. That's usually how I make up songs anyway, just strumming chords. ... I wanted to make music that we could play together."

Rowland and bassist Ian Brewer met and began playing music together at college in Oklahoma. After Brewer moved to Washington, Rowland moved to Ohio, where he began playing in a band with singer Jen Weidl. After years of staying in touch with Brewer, Rowland and Weidl finally moved to Seattle to join up with him. That was just last year. In about as much time as it's taken Seapony to form and record some songs, they have already been met with lots of attention online, and have had their Dreaming single re-released by Hardly Art, a subsidiary of Sub Pop.

In this way, in addition to their sound, Seapony is also very indicative of the indie music landscape of the present. Seapony recorded some simple, potent songs and threw them up on the Internet for free in the latter part of last year, where they were discovered by a label in London called Double Denim - who distributed a 7" of the material. Soon the band started getting attention from taste-making blogs like Pitchfork.

"I think that it was just luck, but we're interested in seeing what we can do to keep it going," says Rowland. "It's just sort of strange and unexpected."

Luck or no, Seapony is doing well at maintaining the momentum that they've gained over the past few months. The band has already recorded its debut full-length, which is set to come out May 31. I wondered if the band - which is still very much in its infancy - has grown into something more in the time it's taken to gain such recognition.

"(On the album) there are some deviations from the EP," says Rowland. "There are a little bit darker things on it, and it also gets a little more into the '80s."

As pleasing as all the sunshine is on these tired, overcast Northwest eardrums, I have to admit that I'm a kind of excited at the prospect of a little rain cloud drifting by to block some of the rays. I don't need a torrential downpour; just some shade every now and again. Because no one could ever really live in a never-ending summer.


With the Nightgowns and Hello Electric
Friday, April 15, 9:30 p.m., cover TBA
The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma

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