Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on the Los Angeles-based indie electro pop/electro rock duo Smoke Season. And since their formation back in 2013, the duo comprised of Gabrielle Wortman (vocals, keyboards) and Jason Rosen (guitar, backing vocals) have built up a local and national profile for a sound that meshes elements of electro pop, Americana, rock, chillwave, country and the blues — with incredibly anthemic hooks. The Los Angeles-based duo’s sophomore effort Hot Coals Cold Souls was their breakthrough effort as the album was featured on two Spotify playlists, which resulted in more than five million streams across the globe and a growing international profile.
Earlier this year, Wortman and Rosen released their Ouroboros EP and the EP was accompanied by a several part short film written by Wortman and APLUSFLIMZ‘s Scott Fleishman, and shot in several locations across both Northern and Southern California. And much like major motion pictures like Magnolia and Crash, the Wortham and Fleishman cowritten short film commented on life’s symbiotic and interconnected nature as each chapter explores seemingly disparate lives of characters divided by race, class, sexuality — but whose lives actually intersect and influence each others while aesthetically reminding me of Yassou‘s gorgeous and surreal multimedia EP, which I wrote about last September.
Just in time for the Halloween season, the members of Smoke Season released a minimalist and atmospheric synth pop cover of one of my favorite Talking Heads songs “Psycho Killer” in which Wortman’s sultry vocals are paired with cascading layers of shimmering synths, glitchy and stuttering drum programming and wobbling low end. And while the Talking Heads version conveyed a tense and anxious neurosis, the Smoke Season version makes losing one’s mind and killing darkly sexy — much like the visuals for the song, which features Wortman and Rosen dressed in tuxedos with scenes of modern dancers, dancing to the song, footage of trees coming into and out of shadow and the like.