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EXCLUSIVE STEREO EMBERS VIDEO PREMIER – “Perfect” from avant-pop supergroup Heroes of Toolik

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We know what you’re thinking. ‘Avant-pop supergroup?’ Is that even a thing? Well, we suppose we too would be rather reflexively skeptical but in this case fear not and allow us to explain via the simplest explanation imaginable: who’s involved and from whence they came. That spry, gently graying gentleman over there fiddling intensely with the Fender six-string is Arad Evans, erstwhile member of the self-described ‘no-wave post-minimalist’ Glenn Branca Ensemble who’s one of the main drivers here and will also supply bass and vocals. Next to him, the distinguished looking (also gray-haired) guy holding the bass as if it’s his own private confidant welded to his body is Ernie Brooks, the other primary assembler here and an original Modern Lover fercrissake who met Evans in the celebrated outré musician Rhys Chatham’s Donnergotter. Brooks, who also lends vocals, spent time as well in Gods and Monsters, the band put together by Captain Beefheart alumnus Gary Lucas in NYC that has included not only the likes of Jerry Harrison and a pre-fame Jeff Buckley but also one Billy Ficca, who you see back there looking lean and fit as he’s adjusting the drumheads. Maybe when he’s free he’ll be willing to share some memories with you of being in Television since its inception (and in fact still tours with them) as well his experiences as a founding member of Chris Butler’s odd-pop smash The Waitresses and oh so much more. Just for kicks we’ve added in trombonist John Speck (that’s him over there sitting on the riser) who, according to Discogs, has been “involved with salsa, avant-garde, Brazilian, symphonic and folkloric musics,” a résumé that happens to include stints with artists as varied as Anthony Braxton and Phish/Meters off-shoot Vida Blue, annnnd just for that soupçon of rascally unintentionality, let’s pan the camera over to stage left where painter/art critic Jennifer Coates is fussing with the pegs on her violin and is also ready to supply some quite essential vocals thank you very much. We’d let loose with a ‘So there ya have it’ so far as this supergroup business is concerned but before we say (to quote a certain Ficca-related band) “this closed,” we feel it incumbent to mention that behind the production desk is the at least semi- if not full-out legendary Wharton Tiers, who’s found himself sitting in that same chair while such little-known groups as Unrest, Sonic Youth, New York Dolls, Helmet, Surgery, Quicksand, Carsick Cars and an embarrasment of others bashed out their various opuses on the other side of the glass. So, yeah, there ya have it indeed. With a collective heritage like that, Stereo Embers is proud to the point of humbled to present the premier of the first video from the Heroes of Toolik’s second album Like Night, released August 26th via Sabine Music. Called, not unreasonably, “Perfect,” the track swings forward with an understated intensity that for the life of us sounds like an errant Dire Straits deciding to go off in the much more interesting direction of a somehow brightly saturnine Velvet Underground. One hears wisps of Luna, a touch of Rico brass, and a loping easygoing glee that wouldn’t be out of place on a later-period Feelies album. But that’s us. You’ll hear what you’ll hear which may be entirely at odds with that description but we’re betting whatever it is will hit the same level of sweet-spot groove as it did for us. Expect a full album review soon, but in the meantime, sit back (or maybe sway about the room in a bit of smiling bliss; whatever works) and let this particular slice of perfection just sliiiiide on over you. [feature photo: George Kopp]