Night Herons are an Oakland alternative rock band. They combine classic guitar driven pop with noisy, progressive post-punk, camouflaging dark themes in captivating melodies. Comprised of singer and drummer Dana Berry and guitarist Mike Assenzio, the duo has just recorded their third album called Heavy Swell.
The new music has a heavier tone, musically and lyrically. Berry still writes of hopeful disillusionment, but has turned his focus outward, grappling with the emergence of the dark side of the American ethos. “All the news is breaking me down, people turning inside out, are we in a free fall, spinning into oblivion?” he sings in the song Freefall.
A life-long drummer, Berry played in numerous bands including LA's Forrest Lawn and San Francisco's Pancho-San before starting his own recording project Bitterwind. Putting a band together to play his songs, Berry recruited Assenzio and his former ‘The Wounded Men’ bandmate, Larry Huene. The trio’s songwriting mojo was so good, they decided to start a new band and Night Herons was born in June 2013.
The band quickly found themselves with enough quality songs to record so opted to get into the studio before playing live. Recruiting Patrick Abernethy (Rogue Wave, Beulah) to help produce and Pat Spurgeon (Rogue Wave) to engineer, the band recorded Shipyard Riot in the spring of 2014. As Berry and Huene played both drums and guitars on the record, they incorporated that into the live act by swapping instruments halfway through the set.
Night Herons began recording their follow-up in the summer of 2016 in their Oakland rehearsal studio. The band recruited Mark Gordon (Titan-Ups) to mix the album. Relevant Noise, was released in June 2017. HuffPost commented “Relevant Noise is remarkably good, chock-full of potent punk/alt rock melodies. The brutal guitars spew grimy dense momentum that’s hard to avoid, hooking you in with the force of gravity. The album is definitely worth your time and attention.”
Huene moved back to Chicago shortly after recording Relevant Noise. Berry and Assenzio began writing new material and dove right back into recording, this time playing all the instruments themselves, again in their studio with Mark Gordon doing final mixes. Enlisting local artist Curtis Wissler to design the cover art, the band decided the time was right to press vinyl.
Along with long-time bassist Dave Leonard and new guitarist Kedar Patel, the band is excited to showcase these new songs live on stage. Heavy Swell will be out November 1st with record release shows planned in Oakland, Sacramento and LA.