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Shuffle Belt: Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers "Terra Incognita"

We're a little late to the party, but this Lansing, MI band makes you feel right at home with a warm, familiar sound.

JHATRS are pretty famous for their eccentricity, making them a popular live concert.
JHATRS are pretty famous for their eccentricity, making them a popular live concert.
Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers/Tree Love Collective/Russel Tandy

James and Kaleb are back with a new band, but things will be different this time around, thanks to some outside suggestion. The guys will be taking a more traditional route with this review,  resplendent with an overall rating, suggestions for track listening (and skipping,) and an overview. Enjoy, and thanks for the input!

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers is a band that promises to "make a spritely young groove doctor" out of anyone that listens to their music. The Lansing, MI band has come a long way from making their first album in an old dentist's office, as they have recently played shows at SXSW and signed with Universal Records' subsidiary label Bad Mascot Records. With the release of Terra Incognita, the band seeks to "roar into your life with rapturous frequencies, exuberant tone, and pure, unadulterated joy" that will " take you on a never-ending journey to a place you'll never be able to describe in words." Certainly a bold statement to make for a band releasing their major label debut. JHATRS are currently touring with this album at the center, so it's a better time than never to review the album. Without further ado, here we go.



Kaleb: This college rock/folk/country/jazz fusion mess of a record is a worthwhile listen for a night sitting by the fireside or driving around in the dark with the windows down and a light breeze coming into your car. The sound is familiar, but the songs are definitely not. While managing to sound similar to something you might have heard before, Joe Hertler and his merry music-making friends manage to sound original... just original enough to make a few keepers on this album. It's a worthwhile listen for a band if you've never heard of them before. The mood is very chill, and is certainly able to help you relax or otherwise improve on a wonderful day by yourself or with friends. I recommend a good brew to go with it.

James: JHATRS swung for the fences in this album, looking to show of a mastery of a wide variety of musical genres and dazzle the listener with their effusive rambunctiousness. However, the end product is similar to many bands that I have heard before. (When one works at a college rock station for about three years, it takes a toll on your toleration for that sorta thing.) However, their sound doesn't come off as an imitation or as just plain bad; Joe Hertler, frontman and songwriter, and Kevin Pritchard, bassist/producer, do a great job keeping the listener on their toes, as they switch from indie rock to jazz to folk and manage to produce earworm-y tracks that make you feel all gooey inside. That being said, some of the tracks have a lot of potential that is either restricted or otherwise completely overlooked, and if you're not careful, the songs can sort of blend into one another. I believe that Terra Incognita's problem is that JHATRS are trying too hard to impress without really thinking about what exactly they want their sound to be. Creativity can be just as much an obstacle as complacency. JHATRS are a great live band to catch; if they could infuse that energy into their studio sessions, they will most certainly have a hit on their hands in the future.



Kaleb recommends: "Captain America," "Here Be Dragons," and "Hometown."

James recommends: "The Garden," "Future Talk," and "Red Wings."

James and Kaleb both recommend: "Trying To Break My Heart" (What really breaks our hearts is that it's under two minutes. That's worse than a safety on the four yard line.)

James and Kaleb do not recommend: "Betelgeuse" and "King Is Dead."

James does not recommend: "Captain America"


Overall rating:

Kaleb: 6 1/2 Belt Buckles. Good listen, but just missing something.

James: 6 1/2 Belt Buckles. Very good for setting a mood, has the potential for more.






Got any recommendations on bands from #MACtion Land? Have you seen Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers live and have a story or two? Think the videos are cool? Let us know in the comments. Also, James and Kaleb agree: DUBS IN 6.

Shuffle Belt