Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Mar 02nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Keep it Simple, Stupid

music_SeaponySeattle indie pop trio strips down, unplugs
Simple and stripped-down though their songs may be, the Seattle-based, three-piece Seapony are a product of the electronic, interconnected modern world.

Seapony's story is one of cross-country flights, trans-continental record deals, drum machines, and the democratizing effects of social networking sites and the blogosphere. While their music—a fuzzy, bittersweet, laconic and lo-fi indie pop—would have appealed to fans of the Breeders and Blur circa 1993, it’s possible they would have never been discovered.

“We’ve all got full-time jobs,” songwriter Danny Rowland explains, taking a break from his job as a customer support representative at a third-party billing vendor. Before the web, the band would have played gigs, but considering the brevity of the tours they can take while working 9 to 5, it would have been difficult to gain exposure.

“We’re maxing out our vacation time this summer to go down the West Coast, and then we’re going to New York later,” says Rowland.

Thankfully, the Internet does exist.

Rowland met his band mates—bassist Ian Brewer and singer Jen Weidl—answering Craigslist ads seeking drummers. He began jamming with Brewer in 2001 in Oklahoma. They then moved to Olympia, Wash. before Rowland moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. There, he met Jen. The two became romantically involved as they made music and reunited with Brewer, who moved to Seattle in 2010. Weidl came up with the group's name by writing down a list of words they liked, cutting them up and rearranging them like fridge magnets until the moniker was nailed down.

After throwing some demos up into the cloud in late 2010, they were picked up by Double Denim, an independent label in the United Kingdom, which released a limited edition seven-inch Seapony single. A few weeks later, the group was given a favorable review by Pitchfork.com and played on the radio in Seattle. In April, they opened up for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

The rush of acclaim has not gone to Rowland’s head, however.

“We’re not really pursuing the full time,” Rowland says. “It is a fun hobby. It’s nice to be able to travel, do something fun and maybe even make a little cash to offset the cost for your travel.”

Though Rowland plays the drums, the group doesn’t have a permanent drummer. They write songs using a drum machine “the size of a desktop calculator,” which makes things easier, Rowland says. "Drums are too loud—plus, I don't like the sound of the crash. It can get in the way."

Everything about Seapony screams simplicity. There aren’t many songs on their debut LP, Go With Me, that use more than three chords, and only four break the three-minute mark. “To me, it’s always what ends up sounding right,” says Rowland.

It’s an ethos the band sticks to in-studio and live, plowing through each set without wasting time on banter. "The Velvet Underground didn't talk," he says. "It's cooler to just play song after song, like the Ramones did."

Their brand of straightforward, hazy pop fits neatly into the national zeitgeist, as millions have been driven into austerity by the recession.

It’s little wonder the indie music blogosphere is bewitched by myriad groups crafting prim and to-the-point tunes. Seapony, like contemporaries the Dum Dum Girls and Beach House, crafts bright and crisp melodies, even as the guitar and vocals are buried under reverb and fuzz.

Consciously or not, Seapony is responding to the times, proving it’s possible to have fun while tightening our belts. Like the cover of Go With Me—a woman gazing wistfully at the ocean—Seapony’s pop tunes are upbeat.

From their self-produced ascent to their Spartan philosophy of bare-bones touring, there is something very DIY about Seapony. As such, it makes sense for them to stop at 105 Pioneer St. in Santa Cruz. Part rehearsal space, part venue, the warehouse and self-sustaining compound of artistic entrepreneurship is located in an industrial cluster near the intersection of Highway 9 and 1.

On tour, Seapony stays true to form by packing light. The band will be hitting the road with a drummer (“there was an energy lacking” without a live percussionist, Rowland says), but they’ll still be able to fit everything they need in a midsize SUV.

That’s because drummer John Bryan, will only have a floor tom and a snare. “We tried a full set,” says Rowland, but the current arrangement just “sounded better.”


Seapony plays at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 28, at 105 Pioneer St., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $8.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Wow
written by Camera Girl, May 26, 2011
The writing in this article is wonderful.... perfect match for Seapony!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia