Music fans of the Pacific Northwest, hello and welcome back to our third annual year-end daily countdown, 100 Bands in 100 Days, where every day until December 31st, we’re showcasing a new band or artist you have to know about, presented by Verity Credit Union. Follow the #100Bands100Days hashtag on Twitter to stay on top of all the bands featured and make sure to follow Verity on Twitter as well. Some days the featured act could be an established and locally-adored northwest-based musician that perhaps you haven’t been turned onto yet, and other times they could be a band with a small following that just hasn’t had their deserved time in the sun yet. Either way, we’re fairly confident you can come away from this daily segment with plenty of new favorites. Today we’re heading back down to scenic Portland, OR to turn our attention towards one of the Portland’s scene’s newest arrivals, but heaviest-hitters, The Secret Sea!
Like former 100 Bands in 100 Days-featured artist GLASYS (a local whom The Secret Sea has collaborated with in the past, including his newest to-be-released record), The Secret Sea — née Amit Erez — is a Portlander that hails from the land of Israel. Through the Secret Sea project, Erez has captured the hearts of both local music enthusiasts and music lovers from all around the globe through the project’s rich and extremely detailed approach to various flavors of indie-leaning music. Erez’s music has the intimacy and light charm of the best names in indie folk music, but is also home to some lavish string adornment, which often puts the project’s music dangerously close to the world of chamber pop.
Erez can be found not only pouring his heart out through his singing voice on a number of these songs, delivering some heart-wrenching performances, but he harmonizes beautifully with his collaborative backing vocalists, all of whom compliment his soaring vocals perfectly. If you like your indie rock heavily embellished with stunning string arrangements (think the output of Kishi Bashi or even The National circa High Violet), the music of The Secret Sea will be right up your alley.
After dropping a series of releases through his Secret Sea moniker whilst based out of Tel Aviv, Amit Erez relocated to Portland in October of 2015 to perhaps seek a great and brand new and extremely active music scene to break into, The Secret Sea continued to build a passionate cult following, drawn to his impassioned vocals and emotionally-enveloping lyrics, often backed up with lush musical arrangements. However, in his move to Portland, Erez separated from his band and decided to condense The Secret Sea into a solo project capacity. This shift in direction has made subsequently-released singles like “Canada” and especially “Army of Souls” feel much more somber and intimate, though the project isn’t worse for it.
One of Erez’s musical heroes is Elliott Smith, and like the famed local singer-songwriter, Amit has that natural gift of taking extremely personal feelings and conveying these complex emotions to the listener in a way that doesn’t beat you over the head, demanding you acknowledge that the person singing to you is Extremely Sad™ and Misunderstood™. Rather, Erez’s lyrics are poignant and poetic in nature, and his tendency to wrap his songs in vivid, layered instrumentation adds a bit of color and levity to the otherwise monochrome indie folk tracks.
The Secret Sea is set to release his first studio since his Portland move, titled Everest, in the middle of November, and we can’t wait to see what beauty awaits us, since the singles leading up to it have shown immense promise. The Secret Sea isn’t to be slept on.
You can follow The Secret Sea on Facebook and stream the project’s music either through SoundCloud or thesecretseamusic.bandcamp.com. Keep up with The Secret Sea through their official website, secretseamusic.com. The Secret Sea will be playing an album release show at The Liquor Store in Portland on November 16th with GLASYS and Arrows in Orbit. There will be a $7 cover at the door. For more information on the show itself, consult its Facebook event page here.