System and Station is a band from Portland, Oregon, who play rock music the
way it was intended to be played: triumphant, loud, and pure. Led by RFK
Heise, whose songwriting acumen is both colossal and melodic, System and
Station craft songs that are as accessible as The Killers, as complex as Cursive,
and as enduring as Sunny Day Real Estate, and prompted by the Detroit Metro
Times as “A band that is so refreshingly professional it’ll make you realize how
amateurish most indie releases are, they will captivate you”.
The title of their latest E.P.—“I’m Here To Kill”—could double as their business
card. The SIX songs show a band at a creative peak bringing the epic sound they
have developed over the past decade. The E.P., which can either be seen as a
follow up to 2008’s excellent “A Nation of Actors” or a precursor to 2010’s much
anticipated LP “A Series of Screws”, is as good an introduction as any to the
Continuing their long-standing studio relationship with audio guru and
producer Larry Crane (Quasi, The Joggers, Elliott Smith) System and Station
make good on the threat of their title. With the assault of Bryan Fairfield’s
drumming, the punch of Adam Shultz’s bass lines, the universal and emotive
lyricism and the visceral attack of RFK Heise and Palmer Cloud’s unsheathed
guitars, “I’m Here To Kill” expands the band’s musical pallet while maintaining
the soaring, angular full-on Rock Out that has defined the band from the
beginning. It also features appearances by Douglas Jenkins of the Portland Cello
Project and guest vocals by Sad Horse’s Elizabeth Venable on the title track.
System and Station have a DIY ethos that was forged in the late 90’s music scene
of Boise, ID. Twenty national tours have allowed the band to mature into a
seasoned and confident live act that has somehow fit their huge sound to small
clubs and theaters across America. They have shared bills with Built To Spill,
Modest Mouse, Shiner, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Sunny Day Real Estate and
the Meat Puppets.
"Series of Screws"- LP 2010
“I’m Here To Kill”- EP 2009
“A Nation of Actors”- LP 2008
“Here Is Now”- LP 2006
“In The Twilight”- LP 2004
“If You Find Me Let Me Know”- EP 2002
“Compiling the #7”- EP (b sides, outtakes) 2001
“Pictures Found in Paragraphs”- LP 2001
“Prospects of Living Daily”- EP 1999
RFK Heise - Guitar, keys, VOX
Adam Schultz - Bass, loops
Bryan Fairfiled - Drumset, Back Vox
Josh Vasby - Guitar, keys, Back Vox
"Series of Screws"- LP 2010
"I'm Here to Kill" ep- 2009
"A Nation of Actors"- LP 2008
"Here is Now" - LP 2006
" In the Twilight"- LP 2005
“If you find me let me know” – EP 2003 Crustacean/Latest Flame Records
“Compiling the #7” – EP 2001 Crustacean Records
“Picture found in Paragraphs” –LP 2001 Crustacean Records
“Prospects of Living Daily” – EP 1999 Mafia Money Records
*songs featured on ABC's Eli Stone
* Songs featured on Viacom/MTV network
*Songs featured on Sirius/ XM advertisement
* songs have been featured on Fox Sports Net
* past 2 radio campaigns have hit 400 stations nationally as well as online and satellite.
System and Station- A Nation of Actors
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Album Reviews • Monday February 2nd, 2009 Despite having labored in near-obscurity for over ten ...Album Reviews • Monday February 2nd, 2009
Despite having labored in near-obscurity for over ten years, Boise, Idaho-based singer/songwriter RFK Heise has managed to keep his head above water and weather storms that would have capsized lesser musicians in a matter of months. The past decade has seen him release three full-length albums and an equal number of EPs under the System and Station moniker, with a revolving cast of band mates backing his every move. Documenting each of the band’s catastrophic run-ins with various anti-icons of American culture (including crackheads, prostitutes, law enforcement personnel, and a cross-dressing nun) would likely occupy more space than is feasible at the moment, but to say that System and Station has endured mere adversity would be a staunch understatement.
After a few line up shuffles and a fresh start in Portland, Oregon, the band launched their latest platter, A Nation of Actors. In essence, the album maintains a consistent undercurrent of melodic indie-rock while displaying the requisite level of maturity in songwriting and presentation. While Heise’s compositional skill is apparent throughout its eleven tracks, A Nation of Actors is particularly memorable in those areas where the band melds its overdriven guitars with melodies that seem to communicate wistful themes of melancholy and nostalgia. This format works best on songs such as “The Magnetic North”, “Pictures Found in Paragraphs”, and “Dumb Luck”, where Heise’s penchant for catchy riffs meets head-on with a crestfallen sense of woe.
The cover art furthers this album’s pessimistic notion, as it portrays two blindfolded men in suits, shaking hands while holding butcher knives behind their backs. Whether betrayal is Heise’s conceptual intent is up for speculation, but his expertly crafted lyrics are the sort that can be taken in a number of ways. As might be expected, neither the band’s website nor its MySpace page makes any mention of what they hope to bring across, which adds an element of intrigue.
As is often the case with albums of strong artistic merit, A Nation of Actors is an album that holds strong to its original theme while expressing it in multiple ways. But interestingly, very few of the influences Heise claims (e.g. The Police, Led Zeppelin) are readily apparent here. Relevant comparisons can be drawn from Built to Spill, Elliott, or (at times) Sunny Day Real Estate, but this isn’t a record that invites the listener to blindly rattle off a long list of the usual emo/indie rock suspects. It takes some time to truly set in, but once it does, the multiple layers of sound become a sort of meaningful banter between passionate souls.
By Chris Alfano
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System and Station are almost impossible to dislike. With Post-Punk guitars that interlock like twis...System and Station are almost impossible to dislike. With Post-Punk guitars that interlock like twist-ties wrapped around a snapping whip, the bands nimbleness and dexterity are admirable. And, for those who prefer melody to menace, the vocals often buttonhook into smooth choruses that buffer the more hectic heads and verses. They are good, quite good. So good that they easily sidestep the fake amateur dancers of indie-rock cliché. But in polishing there tunes to a fine sheen, they maybe sometimes buff away potentially interesting impurities.
(JG) - Rock
unlike anything else
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3.0 Eyes This four piece seems to have lived and played everywhere in the past five years, stead...3.0 Eyes
This four piece seems to have lived and played everywhere in the past five years, steadily building quite a following and making friends along the way. First off, it's a great title for an album, so they've earned brownie points right off the bat, and though I hate to call it fast pop-punk, or (gasp!) emo, it kind of fits that bill to a degree. Right off the bat, in the first three tracks, I was reminded of No Knife and the Get Up Kids, which is a good thing in my book! RFK's vocals are good, and both his and Palmer Cloud's guitar work is very impressive. My only complaint is it seems to weaken a little as the album goes on, as far as toe-tapping, rocking, pace and catchiness goes. They're still all good songs, but the band should have put the track-order backwards, building it up to that big climax to make me want more! Well, I guess it is just an E.P. Brett R. Jan
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It's a great feeling when I put an album in and love it from the first song to the last. That's what...It's a great feeling when I put an album in and love it from the first song to the last. That's what happened with "Here Is Now" the latest release from System and Station. These guys are somewhat hard to classify, and while you could just lump them in as an "indie" band, there is a lot more going on musically than what most in that genre are doing. To my ears, it has a lot of progressive rock elements, fusing punchy guitars merged with great vocals that remind me (now this is going to sound strange) of a cross between Bono, Sting and a little Jim Morrison. Well that's what I am hearing anyway. The band keeps things interesting with complex, yet melodic song structures, aggressive guitar solo's (something I am glad to see making a comeback) and a powerful bombastic rhythm section. Think Rush meets Radiohead. Great, great stuff.
Craig Harvey- Movement Magazine
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Portland’s S+S are a pretty rockin’ band whose angular axwork gets puffed up into lofty billows- kin...Portland’s S+S are a pretty rockin’ band whose angular axwork gets puffed up into lofty billows- kinda like Sunny Day Real Estate, Built to Spill’s arena-sized moments, or the Sea and Cake on high spin. On their new album, Here is Now, great soaring vocals help build the tension while a mechanized rhythm section sets the release.
Bosler- Village Voice
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Says System & Station braintrust Ryan FK Heise, his number one influence is “sunshine hitting you ju...Says System & Station braintrust Ryan FK Heise, his number one influence is “sunshine hitting you just right when you are about to jump off a bridge!” That pretty much sums up the power and glory of Here Is Now. Part prog, part pop, part punk, part jazz-rock fusion, S&S seems to have hit on the perfect mixture of instrumental prowess and accessibility that made the early 70s so much fun (and diverse). Frank Zappa would do “Follow Your Arrow” proud as the tune takes the listener on a challenging time signature changing magic carpet ride. The ballad “I’ll See It When I Believe It” traverses the melodramatic; however Palmer Cloud’s blotto avant-garde guitar work brings it all back to earth in the same manner David Gilmour made even the dullest of Pink Floyd cuts interesting. The title track is a romantic, inspirational cut that you’d expect from Bono by way of Eno if they were both twenty years younger. Sooner or later Here Is Now will captivate you.
-TOM SEMIOLI - Amplifier Magazine
Detroit Metro Times
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System and Station — Here Is Now (Latest Flame) :: Now here is a record that’s so refreshingly profe...System and Station — Here Is Now (Latest Flame) :: Now here is a record that’s so refreshingly professional it’ll make you realize how truly amateurish most indie releases are. Well arranged and emotionally engaging, System and Station’s eclectically adventurous brand of melodic music has more than enough of what it takes to get them noticed today while they carve out a niche in tomorrow’s pop pantheon. Good job, lads. Carry on.
Jeffery Morgan- Metro Times Detroit
Our sets usually range right around 45 minutes. However, we have played 30 minute sets and we have played three hour sets depending on the club. We stick to originals 99.9% of the time. There is no typical set list for System and Station unless we are on tour which is when we come prepared with about 5 or 6 different set lists. The only constants would be that we like to come in big and go out big and we like to leave the crowd wanting more, more, and more. Everything in between is subject to how we feel that night, what the crowd is like, and how many songs we have in our catalog at that point.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.