The Heligoats - Goodness Gracious
I hate to admit when I realize I've missed great music from a previous year. At the same time, stumbling into it makes my mind hungry for more, just as if I had discover something new, a treasure, a gold mine, a yeti (ok, that was too much!).
At least for the moment, The Heligoats are simply and oddly Chris Otepka. A guy that publicly admits had been one of those 8-year old kids who enjoyed taking his fingers and pushing his eyes back into his head as far as they could go, as a way to alter his perception of life...just to see what he calls "chronic floaters". Weirdly, this led him to write his "I am pretty sure I can see molecules" song, a title that certainly caught my eyes...for more than one reason.
NPR Music says "The Heligoats' Chris Otepka writes songs that are brainy in the best way: clever without straining for cuteness, wry but never smug..."; "Otepka doles out observations and sonic adventure with tremendous generosity. He writes like someone who's always taking things apart to see how they work, who's obsessed with circuitry and ecology..."; "Otepka may yearn for evolution to reverse itself — "Let's just turn back into amphibians / Let's just tread until our legs give in / and start over" — but his mind will never slow down enough for him to find that kind of simplicity or peace."
In their last Daytrotter session (they have had 3 already!), the post reads "Chris Otepka, the lead singer for the Portland-based indie rock band Heligoats, ...has a very quirky and a very imaginative head on his shoulders and he tends to think about and write about the workings of these bodies - more specifically, it seems, his own, the one that he knows most intimately - in very, well, intimate ways."
Below, I leave links to this last Daytrotter session, which contains 4 downloadable tracks plus a link to the full NPR Tiny Concert video from The Heligoats, which oddly happened to be the 100th episode of this series. A great way to celebrate with an epic (and funny) performance.
Also, the clip from "Fishsticks", which appears to document the west coast leg of their (or his) winter 2009 tour. This song, as any one from Otepka is intellectually challenging and requires multiple passes to get its meaning. Here Otepka describes the story of a regular guy, a circuit city employee, who constructs a biosphere in a swamp, an ironical universe that although beautiful removed him from the world, even more...yes, I know...I should stop here.
Being a weird guy myself, my hat is fully off for Otepka and The Heligoats.
The Heligoats - Daytrotter Session - Aug 28, 2010
NPR TIny Concert - The Heligoats