hERON, “One Day It All Ends” (Furnace)
hERON's self-titled album hit me like a long-lost 21st-century David Axelrod joint. Now, I don't casually throw around David Axelrod comparisons, so believe me when I say that Seattle bassist/keyboardist Rob Castro and San Antonio beatmaker/guitarist/synthesist Erick Frias's 2017 full-length (now available on blue vinyl) is a serious slab of orchestral, emotion-laden funk—albeit not created with help by members of the Wrecking Crew, as hERON don't have major-label backing. You may know Castro for his work with Grayskul and many other projects. Back in 2005 in these pages, Charles Mudede wrote, "Castro has played a central role in developing the dark, gothic sound that defines one of the four main streams of local hiphop."
"One Day It All Ends" carries the romantic pathos of Five Leaves Left-era Nick Drake or the Left Banke, but with crisp funk beats and Tommy Alt's liquid, Pat Martino-esque guitar embellishments. This track deserves prominent placement in a pivotal scene from a film dealing with heavy existential issues... or in your own damn head, in the same circumstances.
If you're an intelligent rapper who favors downcast and subtly inspirational moods, you should probably hit up these dudes for production work—or simply get permission to spit over one of the 12 rich tracks on hERON. You can check out and buy the album here. (More good news: hERON are brewing up some new music for a projected October release.)