There's probably not a single month in the past eleven years I haven't listened to the entire discography of The Helio Sequence. As two dorky, goofy-lookin dudes that met in Beaverton High School band, their humility and sincerity with which they built a quirky, unique, electropop sound with thoughtful lyrics and a subsequent national following has always been refreshing and kinda inspiring. As in, to a fellow dorky goofy-lookin kid a couple years younger growing up in Beaverton School District, "hey, you too can someday escape Beaverton and live a cool life in Portland!" I mean, out of all of their charming music videos set in Portland (all of them), one of them even shows them waking up in the 'burbs, walking through downtown Beaverton and taking the Blue Line, stopping to admire the Robertson Tunnel, before spending the evening at the westside Music Millennium (RIP), Hotcake House and the (then newly opened) Stumptown on SW 3rd. Like, that was me, or more accurately me and my friends as we liked to think of ourselves, at age 16. Their enduring popularity is all the more charming since they never had "moment;" they've always had enough of a steady and sincere following that somehow (I assume?) they eke a living out of doing it. The songs of 2004's "Love and Distance" will always remind me of driving around in Sharat's subaru in Beaverton or storming Pittock Mansion, and the songs from 2007's "Keep Your Eyes Ahead" will always remind me of seeing them with Elliott, Hannah Kinney and Stephen (which was the first time I really met you guys!) at the Seventh Street in Minneapolis, and the songs from 2012's "Negotiations" will remind me of biking around back in Portland, having finally returned home and established the beginnings of a new career/life/settling of roots on the other side of the West Hills. It's all the more fitting, because their music has also grown from the years, sounding less like a group of sugar-addled seven year olds overtaking a Tokyo Pachinko parlor, to something more mature and thoughtful and deliberate and organized, which hopefully is the trajectory of my life as well. And they're so nice! Like, I've been nervously saying "hi" to them after the show for years, because they're always around standing in the crowd immediately afterwards, they're always humble, they give off that perfect Portland laid back aura that suggests they're in no rush to get anywhere that evening, and "hey, yeah, that's awesome you're from Beaverton too."
So! I saw them at the Doug Fir tonight. Glad they're still kickin' it, and glad that I discovered this evening I still know every single word to "Lately," a song I remember calling "my favorite break up song of all time" when I was lucky enough to play whatever I wanted on my college radio station.