Song of the Day: The Helio Sequence – Can’t Say No

The Helio Sequence

Chona Kasinger

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Every Friday, the Song of the Day podcast spotlights local musicians. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole is “Can’t Say No” by The Helio Sequence from their latest album Keep Your Eyes Ahead available on Sub Pop Records.

The Helio Sequence – Can’t Say No (MP3)

This has been a jam packed summer of great local music-and this weekend is no exception.  The 6th Annual KEXP BBQ is on Saturday, August 9th, and features local artists including Portland’s own The Helio Sequence.  You might have caught them earlier this summer at SP20 or on tour supporting their latest album Keep Your Eyes Ahead which is their second release on Seattle-based Sub Pop Records.  While on track now, the band has had its share of hard times in recent years.  Without going too VH1’s Behind the Music, lead singer Brandon Summers severely shredded his vocal chords while on tour supporting 2004’s Love and Distance and was forbidden to speak during the day and eventually not allowed to sing for two months.  Brandon’s imposed silence forced him to rethink what he wanted from his career, his music, and his life in general.  He also had to relearn how to sing by teaching himself various vocal exercises and mic techniques.  They were also more spontaneous in recording the vocal tracks-many of which were recorded in various areas around Brandon’s house (bedroom closets, living room, etc.) which helped the band tap into a more haunting and driving sound found on both Keep Your Eyes Ahead and Can’t Say No.  As for their live show, it always amazes me how two guys can make so much noise.  Prepare to be blown away barbeque-goers.  Plus, watching drummer Benjamin Weikel is beyond fascinating.  He looks like he’s about to have an aneurism (in a good way) throughout the whole show. Check them out live tonight in Tacoma, tomorrow at the KEXP BBQ, and on September 6th in Portland at Musicfest NW.  Details and more on their MySpace page. 

Check out this video for the title track to Keep Your Eyes Ahead:

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