Future Islands and the Cult of Samuel T. Herring

Let me start by saying that I am not even sure I like this band. That’s not to say that I am trying to get a pass on them. I might like them, I might not. Whether I do is not the point. It’s that I can’t figure it out yet I will excitedly watch any late night TV performance of Future Islands—a statement I cannot make about bands I love.

Obviously, the focus of my semi-obsession is on the singer, Samuel T. Herring. I haven’t read anything about him or the history of the band so let’s run with some of my assumptions:

  • He’s clearly the guy pushing the band forward. He’s the guy who has been pestering people about his band to the point where they are now regularly on national TV. The rest of the band seems to be barely paying attention. The bassist thought the band broke up 15 years ago, but here they are.
  • His awkward, intense dancing is unnerving and fascinating.  He OWNs this dance. Nobody else can match him. Nobody. Mick Jagger and Bruno Mars are weak fakers just walking through some moves. Samuel T. Herring is the real deal.
  • Kinda memorable melodies and disco beats aren’t really enough these days so Samuel T. Herring goes full Cookie Monster to cut through the clutter. That takes some real balls.
  • Samuel T. Herring can and will do Monty Python impressions for hours on end as long as someone—anyone—is still paying attention.

So, while the world is focused on the next Black Keys album full of douche-y anthems or Kanye’s increasingly nonsensical party jams, I’ll be refreshing YouTube clips of Samuel T. Herring beat his chest and drool like a spastic on Kimmel, or Fallon or Letterman or wherever his black t-shirt takes him. Because he’s been waiting on you. You-oo-oo.

4 thoughts on “Future Islands and the Cult of Samuel T. Herring”

  1. Just found this band on Sunday on WHYY/PBS. It came on while I was doing something else so it started as background music and I was too busy to turn. Then Samuel started singing and I looked up as I was taken by the voice and then the dancing started. I was so hooked. I have goosebumps. I know I stopped blinking the entire performance. Then I found the Letterman clip and a few other things. Been sharing the videos with friends. My first discovery of the new year. I feel like I found treasure <3

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