Heron Oblivion DJ a Chicken Shack Party

The Bay Area band gives us a playlist full of great guitar licks and drums firing on all cylinders.

Photo Credit: Alissa Anderson

Heron Oblivion is one part peaceful folk rock crooning and one part heavy psych guitar. Pitchfork says their songs “slip easily between dynamics –harmony to dissonance, quiet to loud.” Their self-titled LP is in stores now.

Here’s the whole band with a playlist, and to teach you a fun new word.


Gabor Szabo – “Spellbinder”

Let’s set the scene for the dinner party. We’re at a chicken coup in Bolinas, otherwise known as a cack. A cack is a mix between a chicken coup and a shack, a one-room dwelling out near the seaside [of] Northern California. We’re gonna put on Gabor Szabo’s “Spellbinder.”

We’re gonna put on Gabor Szabo’s “Spellbinder.”

Gabor Szabo is an amazing jazz guitarist from the 1960s. I think he’s Hungarian. He combines some gypsy vibes with some pop-jazz vibes. Some psychedelic vibes. He’s my favorite guitar player maybe, in the universe.

Known also for his beautifully placed notes. Like even though he’s a virtuoso guitar player, it’s not like crazy ripping shredding stuff. It’s this kind of super minimal notes placed in the right place, little sparks in front of your eyes.

You know, you walk in, you got “Spellbinder” going. Maybe there’s a little incense going. You know, lots of hugs. Maybe a kiss on the left cheek, kiss on the right cheek. You know, smell each other’s hair a little bit as you hug, “Mmm! This is great!”

White Heaven – “Fallin’ Star’s End”

For our next song at our dinner party, we’re going to listen to “Fallin’ Star’s End” by a Japanese band called White Heaven.

They do a really sincere version of like ’60s flower party counterculture. Acid rock through the looking glass of the 1980s and then 1990s Japan, Tokyo, extreme rock scene.

There’s a very beautiful and triumphant arpeggiating guitar solo that kind of stops the world from rotating on its axis for about 45 seconds.

I really feel like that there is a kind of like a Pacific sound in that music that would help with getting people outside.

You take a break. Something with the weather just happened, so everybody steps out on the deck to take a quick look.

Spooky fog, all that stuff.

Arthur Brown – “Fire”

Everyone’s been kind of outside for a while, and maybe getting cold. Maybe it’s time for some hot food, a little fire, a little wood smoke.

A little woodsmoke and fire in the cack. You gotta be very, very careful when you have a fire in a chicken shack. but uh [laughs]…

Arthur Brown’s “Fire” would definitely stoke the appetite right about now.

Arthur Brown’s “Fire” came out in ’67 (Ed. Note: the single was actually released in 1968.) Pete Townsend actually, I think, was the executive producer. It’s pretty ecstatic for being like voodoo by way of South London. He’s an amazing character, literally performed with fire on his head. It’s freak rock.

What happens when that song comes on? ‘Cause that’s a big jam for a party.

Massive spillage is happening at the party at this point. It’s kind of theatrical.

Yeah, all the big theatrical stuff that came after probably came there, right?

Alice Cooper wouldn’t have happened without Arthur Brown.

Heron Oblivion – “Rama”

So now we’ve been asked to play one of our own songs. We kind of round up the guests. We sit them down next to something that’s burning. And I think we put on “Rama.”

It starts off very atmospheric. Then, we get into a chorus, before taking off for sort of a full launch, guitars blazing, bass and drums firing off on all cylinders.

Meanwhile, at the dinner party, the crowd goes wild.

I’m going skinny-dipping for sure.


(Correction: this article originally listed their album as an EP. It is actually a full length LP.)



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