Sealion’s Ready For The Next Step. Check Out Some New Songs That Prove It.
In the past four years or so, Sealion has become one of the most visible bands in Deep Ellum. That’s not altogether surprising: To the band’s credit, it’s nearly impossible to find a parking meter or bar bathroom in that neighborhood that doesn’t sport at least a remnant of an old Sealion sticker.
More likely, though, the band’s increased visibility has more to do with the frequent shows that the band has played in Deep Ellum as it has established its patented brand of margarita punk as one of neighborhood’s most stabilizing forces. The band’s consistency is pretty remarkable — especially given the fact that, when the band releases its upcoming third record, Heavy Fizz, it’ll be doing so with its third bassist.
Following the departure of bassist Paul Hernandez — whose new band is about to release a new album of its own — the local figureheads in Sealion plugged newcomer Sam Villavert into its lineup. And, almost immediately, she helped redefine the band’s already popular throwback, surf punk-leaning sound.
Frontman Hunter Moehring readily admits that.
“Changing personnel has definitely evolved our sound,” Moehring says. “I mean, every musician is different — and we are a very collaborative band — so, yeah, a new member is going to change and shape our sound. I wouldn’t say it has hindered us at all.”
Not one bit: Villavert brings a lot to the table with her killer backup vocals on Heavy Fizz. And when given the lead on Heavy Fizz cut “Automobile,” her strong Jemina Pearl-esque belting is especially engaging. At six minutes in length, that song is by far the longest song in the band’s entire catalog — and one Villavert played a major role in crafting.
“Sam is amazing to have in the band,” Moehring says. “She is an incredibly talented musician, and can play something like seven different instruments. She is also just awesome to be around and has a super positive outlook on life and music. We didn’t know each other that well before we asked her to join the band, but in the short time we have been together, we have become very close. Now I can’t imagine it any other way. Sam most definitely had a heavy hand in the sound of the new record. The songs she wrote are some of my favorites.”
Moreover, the addition of Villavert allows the band to craft songs like the album’s title track — a grimy slow burner that relies heavily on the textures of extra fuzzy lead guitars and the tandem vocals of Villavert and Moehring. Not only does it work well in creating a skuzzy, laid back vibe, but the standout track is also a prime example of the band’s newfound comfort in its own skin.
“We tried to focus on having more of a flow with this album versus our previous work,” Moehring says. “We wanted more peaks and valleys to it. I think we have become more relaxed with our writing.”
Adds Moehring: “We just try and have as much fun as possible, and when you worry too much about the future of things or where you’re going, you forget to focus on the present. Everything comes with time and patience, and when opportunity presents itself, you take it.”
One such opportunity found Moehring and his bandmates in Sealion landing a deal with Portland’s Hovercraft Records which will release vinyl copies of Heavy Fizz in the coming weeks.
“Tim and Mark [Janchar], who own Hovercraft, play in a band together called Cafeteria Dance Fever,” Moehring says. “We got the opportunity to play Rubber Gloves with them and, when we finished our set, they asked to put out the next Sealion album on vinyl. It really wasn’t that coincidental, though; we’re big fans of the rest of the bands on the label, and really wanted to be on Hovercraft. So when we found out they were in town, we made sure to be on the show. The exact same thing happened with Lolipop Records, who is releasing the cassette with Dallas Distortion Music. The vinyl and cassettes are being pressed as we speak, so whenever they come in we will have an official release party.”
Before that, though, the band says it plans on releasing the album digitally next Wednesday in conjunction with the Jeff the Brotherhood-headlined Red Bull Sound Select show at Dada. Then Moehring says the band will keep doing the only things it knows how to do — writing more albums and playing more shows, many of them outside of the immediate region.
With its newly solidified lineup and the cocksure attitude of its new LP, that second goal should be more easily accomplished for sure, even if Moehring, for his part, says he and his Sealion bandmates aren’t trying to think too much about taking that proverbial next step toward national acclaim.
Too bad, bud: Heavy Fizz is the kind of disc that does just that for a band.