Unless you count Lake Michigan, there’s not much surf in Grand Rapids — but listening to local garage-punks Heaters might fool you. Their reverb-soaked noodling is as authentic as anything that might wash up on the West Coast. The trio self-released a few EPs before signing with Brooklyn psych imprint Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records, and, after teasing surf-rock aficionados with the Mean Green seven-inch last April, are now gearing up for their full-length debut, Holy Water Pool, out September 25.
Band members Andrew Tamlyn, Nolan Krebs, and Joshua Korf have toured pretty relentlessly since forming Heaters two years ago, and are currently on the road getting everyone warmed up for Holy Water Pool. Their tour makes a stop this weekend at Pier 84 in Hudson River Park for the 4Knots Music Festival alongside Super Furry Animals, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Mikal Cronin, Screaming Females, and more, and to celebrate, we’re premiering the latest track from Holy Water Pool, “Propane.”
As its title might suggest, Heaters’ newest offering is explosive. Like the discolored afterimage that haunts one’s retinas after staring too long at a blazing sun, the vocals on “Propane” have a searing, ephemeral quality. If you focus too long on a word or phrase, it’s already gone with a ghostly echo, skipping out of vision the second you try to home in, but still peripherally present no matter how hard you blink. Words stretch and melt into twanging, twisting guitar solos that would easily inspire Dick Dale to get down, while the contrast of crashing, crystal-clear cymbals build a cacophonous beat. Like a faded radio transmission from some golden era of surf-psych, “Propane” blasts through its own haze to leave an indelible burn.
Heaters have a solid reputation as a live act, so get to the pier early; they play at 1:25 p.m., otherwise known to those who forgot their Coppertone as sunburn o’clock. Even if you manage to remember the sunscreen, expect these boys to leave a blister.