Friday, July 3, 2009

New Music: Halcyonaire - Dread Hymn

San Francisco-based indie folksters Halcyonaire

While there's no longer a "sound" that dominates the West Coast, out of the genres that are thriving right now, indie folk has to be one of the strongest contenders. If one were to postulate which direction the West Coast is going musically, I think it's a safe bet that the genre of indie folk will pave the way. Bands like Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper, and The Cave Singers (to name a few) have captured the essence of the Northwest, and represent a much larger sound that West Coast bands are embracing.

I've recently been introduced to a band that has a very interesting interpretation on this sound - a band by the name of Halcyonaire. The San Francisco quartet has just finished recording their newest LP Dread Hymn. Currently unsigned, Halcyonaire will be fishing for labels (no pun intended) while they finalize the arduous mixing process. I recently had a chance to sample various excerpts from the album, and I'd have to say I was rather hooked.

To give a brief history of Halcyonaire, you must first start with lead singer Christopher Damien, a lone bird who used to make music under the moniker Kingfisher. For those of you keen on your ornithology, the kingfisher is a type of fish-hunting bird, but I digress... When Damien began playing with fellow musicians Brandt Burgess, Nick Cowman, and Erik Bartz, he was no longer a solo act, but more a family of band members. Hence the name change from Kingfisher to Halcyonaire, which is the family name of the tree kingfisher (genus halcyon). So Halcyonaire is the 'family/band' version of Kingfisher... though there have been a lot of variations on the name (for example, their last release was under 'Kingfisher & The Halcyonaires'). As for now, be on the look out for Halcyonaire and their newest LP Dread Hymn, which hopefully will find its way to record stores in the near future.

To describe their sound, I think they sum it up better than I could: Halcyonaire is stomp-your-feet, clap-your-hands, California folk-rock. The band has just finished nine tracks at San Francisco's Tiny Telephone Studio with Ian Pellicci (engineer: Deerhoof, Wooden Wand), filling out the to-be-released album Dread Hymn. To sample a track from this upcoming release, below is the song "Sing It Softly In A Sigh." Enjoy.

MP3: Halcyonaire - "Sing It Softly In A Sigh"
(off the their upcoming album Dread Hymn)