Friday, April 14, 2017

Heater's self-titled EP

I was reading the news -- if 59 missiles are "presidential," then surely deploying "the mother of all bombs" must make 45 the greatest president of all ti-i-ime, ri-i-ight? "Is this 'situational and improvisational,' NYT?" I muttered, imagining a toddler going through his toy box, when my wife brought in the mail and the package containing this slab of vinyl, and changed my day for the better.

Heater's debut EP has been available digitally since last year, but I wanted to hold off on writing about it until I had the vinyl artifact in hand, because their music demands the tactile interaction only a record can give you. I've known Jamie Shipman, the bassist in this outfit, for years, but I never heard his band until Stoogeaphilia split a bill with them at Lola's Trailer Park last summer. When they tore into their first song, Hembree and I looked at each other, smiled, and said, "Kinda Husker-ish," for Heater's sound has the same confluence of aggression and melody that Messrs. Mould, Hart, and Norton's did.

Jamie, guitarist-singers Travis Brown and Adam Werner, and drummer Josh Lindsay might all be dads with livestock in their yards (well, almost all), but they're the kind of dads who could bond over a Descendents T-shirt one of them wore to parents' night at their kids' school. Their EP, recorded with Britt Robisheaux at Cloudland and released by Austin indie Twistworthy, contains four short, sharp shocks of powerful, politically-aware punk. "Reaching for Things Unknown" opens things with a statement of purpose, then "Take A Look Around" gives a snapshot of 2017 America. Turn the record over and "Rattled Walls" takes an unflinching look at the people on the receiving end of our bullets and bombs, and "Blur the Lines" examines "post-truth" from an interpersonal perspective. It's over before you know it, but no fear; you can turn it over and let the sound wash over you again.

Heater will be at Doc's in Fort Worth for Record Store Day, Saturday, April 22. Buy their record there, at Dreamy Life, or Born Late in Fort Worth; Good, Josey, or Spinster in Dallas; Waterloo in Austin, or online here.


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