Miami’s Seafoam Walls are pioneering a new genre blending jazz, shoegaze, rock, hip-hop, and Afro-Caribbean rhythms into an intoxicating new sound aptly deemed ‘Caribbean Jazzgaze.’ The band has announced their debut album ‘XVI’ out November 12 via The Daydream Library Series, the house record label of Ecstatic Peace Library operated by Eva Prinz & Thurston Moore. Along with the news is new single Program which is both welcoming and alienating. Exploring the idea of feeling trapped in never-ending automated cycles, mantra-like layered vocal harmonies sit over a murky electronic beat before a fit of angular guitars explode into the mix, threatening to bring the whole thing crashing down. Listen to Program via YouTube below or stream it through other methods here.
That paradoxical approach is what makes ‘XVI’ sound like little else that came before. The band’s name is meant to convey a sort of pseudo-chromotherapy, suggesting a relaxed mood when one is alone with their thoughts in a seafoam green-colored room. But the themes explored are heavy — self-identity, philosophy, navigating today’s crumbling social constructs — and stem from singer/guitarist Jayan Bertrand’s online interactions and personal experiences making him question his and others’ humanity. “When I wrote these songs my worldview was crumbling. A new wave of activism and intersectionality was shifting the way I thought and wrote,” he explains. A collection of songs as ethereal journeys; both the compositions and ideas found throughout explore a myriad of paths that almost never repeat themselves.
Seafoam Walls caught the attention of cultish music and art communities around South Florida with a soundtrack befitting of their dark tropical paradise, and have remained a Miami secret since 2016. Bandleader Jayan began his journey as a musician listening to metal and classic rock. His first formal lessons after a year of self-taught practice came from family friend and talented jazz guitarist, Bemol Telfort. Although jazz wasn’t his first love, it opened his heart to explorations of free improvisation, which led to an introduction to Dion Kerr (guitar), Josh Ewers (bass), and Josue Vargas (sampler) —all active members on South Florida’s jazz scene.
They released their first EP, titled ‘R-E-F-L-E-C-T,’ in 2018. ROOT was the result of several sessions at Purdy Lane Studios and was dropped the following year. Seafoam took this sound, unlike any other in Miami, and showcased it all at III Points for two consecutive years alongside artists like Thundercat, Blood Orange, Tyler, The Creator, and Gorillaz; all influences of the band itself. A year away from that stage and many others led to the recording of their first LP. Just as the record was nearing its completion, a chance encounter and introduction made their debut release on Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz’s The Daydream Library Series a possibility. To top it all off, they also made their first Afropunk Festival appearance the same year.
‘XVI’ track list
1. Sound Check (1:52)
2. You Can’t Have Your Cake And Ego Too (Happy Birthday) (5:37)
3. A.I. (6:02)
4. Dependency (2:36)
5. You Always Said (5:45)
6. Program (2:51)
7. See (4:14)
8. Rushed Rain (5:49)