Mister Heavenly | Photo by Katie Tapman for WXPN
Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Mister Heavenly
Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session is a group whose members have all visited us before, both separately and together (long, long ago). Mister Heavenly was formed by Nick Thorburn of Islands, Ryan “Honus Honus” Kattner of Man Man and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins around seven years ago. Back then, when their debut album Out Of Love came out, they stopped by our studios to record a handful of live tracks. Joining the trio this time around is bassist Brett Morris, who doubles on guitar in Kattner’s solo Honus Honus band. Even if you can’t keep all those affiliations straight, it’s easy to fall in love with Mister Heavenly’s long-awaited new album, Boxing The Moonlight. Before a sold-out show, the four friends returned to our studio to perform a few of the new songs live.
Just like the album, our session begins with the propulsive “Beat Down,” a song you may have heard making the rounds on XPN. Layering Kattner’s rhythmic keyboard with Thorburn’s snaky guitar lines, the song is both a collision of each performers’ style and something wholly new. Bits and pieces of Islands-isms and Man Man-like phrasings may pop up from song to song, but Mister Heavenly is a collaboration through and through. Kattner’s groove in the next song, “Blue Lines,” is interrupted by Thorburn’s lurching chorus for a herky-jerky kind of feeling. The giddy “Makin’ Excuses” features one of the album’s most memorable (and, I imagine, difficult to remember) refrains. A barrage of cop-outs spills out on top of an bopping beat. Closing the session is an extended take on the album’s closing song, “Out Of Time.” Thorburn’s guitar squalls play against Plummer’s thoughtful drum hits.
Check out Mister Heavenly’s Indie Rock Hit Parade session below, and see some of Katie Tapman’s photos from the session: