Back to Music

Heatwarmer never stop reaching for the next sound

Drastically different

Photo caption: Seattle-based experimental band Heatwarmer appreciates classic rock and interesting time signatures. Press photo

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

It's been a constant journey for me, as a music fan, to find bands that challenge me without completely turning me away. As much as I can appreciate all sorts of adventurous music, there is a certain point that I cannot pass. Certain prog-rock bands exposed to me by my dad have lit up the pleasure centers in my brain, while still engaging me enough to stay on my toes; others, meanwhile, elicit little more than curious piques of interest, before sadly reaching to switch to someone else.

Something I would've never predicted about the state of current, popular independent music is its penchant toward the abstract and experimental. What would've inspired furrowed brows and blank stares from music-lovers, even a decade ago, has rise through the ranks to find a sizable audience. Pop has embraced the lessons from progressive rock, and they've implemented them in new and exciting ways.

Heatwarmer is such a band. Mixing jazz elements with hyperactive synth-rock, Heatwarmer create unpredictable music that doesn't so much jostle with its time changes and flights of fancy so much as it fervently sprints to wring every little bit of inspiration possible out of a song. In doing so, they command the attention of their audience members, which - in my mind - was the ultimate goal with all of those bloated prog-rock explorations. Heatwarmer getting the same thing done in record time is a minor miracle.

"Heatwarmer was a project of mine, when I was in college," says frontman Luke Bergman. "I was too busy practicing and all of that college stuff to have a live band, and so it was just a recording project. I would just record songs and do a bunch of layers of keyboards, and have somebody play drums. Eventually, enough people started listening to it on MySpace that they were asking when the live band was gonna happen. I got together a bunch of the people I was playing with, at the time, and formed the band. It kind of took off from there."

Bergman, a student at a school for music, is well-versed in all sorts of different styles. Around Seattle, he's very involved in the jazz scene. His prowess for nimbly navigating chord changes and tempo adjustments rings through in volumes with Heatwarmer. He has a capable couple of cohorts to round out the trio, with Aaron Theim (synthesizers/keyboards) and Evan Woodle (drums/sampler pad).

"In music school, I would be exposed to all different kinds of stuff; every week would be something new," says Bergman. "I would, as much as I could, try and delve into every style possible. So, Heatwarmer has this very patchwork-y sound to it, because every song could have been written over the course of a couple months. One week I would be into this thing, and the other week I would be into something else, and so it balances around a lot. But, after that period of my life was over, I still like that sound: going from something to something drastically different."

Depending on where you catch Heatwarmer, and what song you're hearing, and what section you find them in, Heatwarmer can sound like any number of things. Bouncy prog-lite can give way to masterfully sprightly keyboard runs, and headbanging overtures morph into dance-rock rave-ups. Their most recen, self-titled album, is aptly warm, filled to the brim with electrified instrumentation, gently psychedelic melodies, and an ever-churning sense of breathless exploration. It's still a search, for me, to find challenging music that will hit my ear in the same way that my comfort food bands always will, and Heatwarmer is a welcome addition to the bands I love that never stop reaching.

Drastically different, indeed.

HEATWARMER, w/ Convict, Guram Guram, Whelp, 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2, Northern, 414 1/2 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, $5

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search