The Seed: Missoula Indie Rock Collective Middle Sea Plots Album Release Party at the Top Hat

Up and coming Missoula indie rock band Middle Sea will unveil their debut LP with a FREE Album Release Party at the Top Hat on September 27, 2019. Local singer songwriter Double Dirty Ocelot will perform an opening set.

RSVP to the Facebook event

Middle Sea is the brainchild of seasoned Missoula player, Valley Lopez (Rob Quist, Guerrilla Radio), and is somewhat of a local supergroup, consisting of fellow Zootown musicians Emmet Ore (Shakewell), Brady Schwertfeger (Norwell, Arrowleaf), Cove Jasmin (Shakewell), and Jake Whitecar (Mendelssohn).

The forthcoming album, New Blue Winter, was recorded at a total of 7 locations. Red Ball Recording Studio in Missoula did a lot of the tracking and production, but the album started at Valley’s apartment in Wilmington, Delaware in 2013. Later on, large portions of the tracks were recorded in a long-time family home outside of Missoula. Tracking was also done in a bandmate’s garage, Valley’s current home downtown, and at his mother’s place in St. Ignatius. Valley also did a lot of the vocal parts in an Air BnB in the San Juan Islands. 

Valley gave Logjam a nice overlook of the album, sharing details about the name, how it got started, the themes surrounding it, and more.

The Name

“For me, each season has a color. Spring is green, summer is orange, fall is black, and winter is blue. I started writing these songs at the beginning of winter, so I was in a “blue” state of mind. I was thinking about getting through another 4+ months of a Montana winter and everything it was going to bring. I was thinking about the world changing colors with the first snowfall. Growing up in MT, I’d been through this many times. Yet somehow every year it still felt new.”


“In the beginning, I had a goal of trying to play all the instruments. That turned out a bit too ambitious on my part, so I didn’t quite pull it off.  I ended up doing the all vocals and bass, and I played most of the guitars, piano, and drums. My producers Jake Whitecar and Jon Filkins contributed on guitar, piano, synths, and drums. Sarah Marker (from Arrowleaf and Norwell) helped with backing vocals and the wonderful horn section of Nathan Crawford (Shakewell), Lhanna Writesel, and Josh Hungate (both from Letter B) put down some great horn parts.”


“I wrote all the songs, but my co-producers, Jake Whitecar and Jon Filkins, were a huge part of making this come together. They really helped find the sound I was going for. They sonically took the album to a place I couldn’t have gotten to by myself.

Before this project, I considered myself a drummer and guitar player, but never a songwriter. On top of that, I’d never seriously attempted to sing. Yet I knew I wanted to write songs, so it seemed like the only logical way was to start was to put something out. To just do it.

A friend of mine told me a story about the band Phoenix writing 70 songs for one of their albums, and then picking out the best ones to use. 70 was kind of an arbitrary number, but I loved Phoenix and it provided the inspiration to start creating material.

I made a goal to spend 4 hours a day for 70 days writings songs. Each day would stand alone, and when the four hours was up, I’d start on something completely new the next day. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and a lot of what I made was trash, but it was a great learning experience. What’s funny is only one of the of the songs from the 70 days ended up on the album.”


“I moved around a lot when I was younger, about once a year on average. I found each place I lived in had its own atmosphere, its own spirit. It was more than just the population and  type of people living there. Every city has a vibe, unique and all its own. But that vibe isn’t static. It changes with the passing of time and changing of the seasons.

There are things we do and associate with each season, and they shape the feelings we have about the city. Specifically, there is something that happens when the seasons shift from one to the next. There is a day when you walk outside and it feels like you crossed over a boundary line. The world has a different mood. That moment of change, especially from fall into winter – it fascinates me. It’s like a New Year. I find myself looking back on the past and remembering where I was at in the same moment years before. I sense a great cycle coming back around again.

There is a Welsh word – Hiraeth. It means “homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, or for a home which may have never been.” It’s the closest language has come to describing this feeling. I’m really interested in that.”

Final Words

“New Blue Winter and its release – it feels like the end of a journey that’s literally taken half my lifetime. Im very excited to share this music, but I couldn’t have done it by myself.

To everyone who donated to the Kickstarter campaign, my mother, my friend Brenna, Nick and everyone at Logjam who works so hard, and of course Jake and Jon for everything you’ve done – Thank you so much”

The album, New Blue Winter, will be available on all digital streaming outlets and there will also be physical copies available at the release party.

Most importantly, make sure to come out to the Top Hat on September 27th to witness the new music live!

Event Details

The Seed is Logjam’s blog dedicated to all things up and coming artists, both local and regional. Here, we’ll feature band interviews, videos, special features, new music releases, and more.