Are you a pop music fan looking for a band with a bigger message than your average radio offering? Meet Smoke Season, a Los-Angeles based indie-pop duo that offers more than just catchy melodies. Gabrielle Wortman and Jason Rosen are musicians who use their work to advocate for important social issues. In 2016, they released an ambitious trilogy of music videos that shared characters and story lines. Each video tackled difficult subject matters including LGBTQ bullying and suicide, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and immigration reform. The duo’s passion for political activism expands past their art: they also flew to Standing Rock North Dakota to support DAPL protests. For Smoke Season, standing for social change is not just an occasional gesture; it’s an essential part of their music and identity as a band.
As musicians, Wortman and Rosen draw from a wide variety of influences, and their body of work often eschews traditional genre lines. The duo’s work recalls such diverse influences as Fleetwood Mac, Grimes, Tame Impala, and Purity Ring. Smoke Season songs often feature percussive electronics with psychedelic flourishes, all the while anchored by Wortman’s soulful, dynamic vocal performance.
The band’s many contradictions are apparent on their recent single “Good Days”. The song sounds, on the surface, like a bright summery track, but the lyrics’ actual meaning goes deeper. The band said, “‘Good Days’ is a song about nostalgia. We wanted to capture the bittersweet feeling of remembering times that shaped you into who you are today. Those events seem to slip by as they’re happening, but their importance becomes so clear in retrospect. To us, this is the definition of soul-shaping.”
Currently, the two musicians are busy writing new music, recording, and touring across the country. For Wortman and Rosen, live concerts are a rewarding way to share their creations with passionate audiences around the country. “We’re super excited for this tour since we’ll be bringing a full set of brand new music,” they said. “We’ve been writing for a full year and will finally be able to experience the new material live with our fans.”
Smoke Season will be performing at Kilby Court along with Armors and Patternist on Saturday, Sept. 9. The show starts at 7:00 pm, and tickets are $10.

Josh Petersen is an Assistant Editor covering Arts and Entertainment and a regular contributor to the Opinion desk. He is a Junior studying English and Psychology.


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