April 10, 2006

HYMNS: Brother/Sister

L to R: Jason Roberts, Jeremy Kay, Brian Harding, and Matt Cole.

I googled the word hymns and found this:
A hymn is a song specifically written as a song of praise, adoration or prayer, typically addressed to a god.
And, as in the case of most testosterone fuelled bands, the 'god' here is more succinctly 'goddess'. A band of guys singing and playing songs about women, that's Brooklyn based Hymns in a nutshell. And I'm really liking this band... A LOT. Imagine, it's not that hard, a band mixing the sonic DNA of Pavement and Wilco (among others) and touting a front man who from second to second sounds like the leaders of both these bands (when he's not making you fall in love with his own high ragged voice) and you'll be imagining reality, so, uhh... stop imagining and begin listening. But first, add to the mix, now and again, the crunchy backwoods rock of the Kings of Leons debut, Youth & Young Manhood. And on top of it all? Some very well crafted songwriting and playing from Jason Roberts (guitar, wurlitzer), Matt Cole (drums), Jeremy Kay (bass), and of course, guitarist Brian Harding's ear catching vocals. There's even some horn playing which doesn't sound out of place at all. And all of this is on their debut album, Brother/Sister, which will hit stores this June.

The album's title track, "Brother/Sister", screams to radio programmers, PLAY ME! With it's dual machine gun rat-a-tat-tat guitar line (which I love), slashing and chiming over the double time beat. "C'mon C'mon" comes at you like Being There era Wilco with Brian Harding's vocal, in it's upper and lower register, giving a taste of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. "Power in the Street" with it's Strokes influences, especially in the chorus; and "Friends of Mine", shows the influence of Pavement's Malkmus, especially in the chorus's fantastic hook and then, again, the band caps the track with a simple, yet perfect horn line. And don't forget "It's A Shame", the most beautiful ballad on the record, opening with a Neil Young and Crazy Horse guitar sound and offering Harding's best vocal performance. These are all instant favourites. This is great stuff. It's always a thrill to find a new band that echoes their heroes, but has the talent and skill to make the music all their own. And isn't that what all great bands do?

+ friends of mine
+ brother/sister

Brother/Sister Tracklist...
1. Magazines
2. Brother/Sister
3. Friends Of Mine
4. C'mon, C'mon
5. Power In The Street
6. Scenery Glow
7. First Time
8. Stop Talking
9. It's A Shame
10. Starboat
11. Town

The Hymns' website gives this short and sweet description of the band:
"Hymns are Brian Harding (vox, guitar), Matt Cole (drums, tambourine) and Jason Roberts (guitar, wurlitzer)--three friends who moved from North Carolina to New York in 2003. We signed to Blackland Records in 2005 and spent two months in Celeste, TX recording an album with producer, John Kent. The album 'Brother/Sister' will be released in June, 2006. You're gonna love it. We now have Jeremy Kay on bass wtih us for the live shows. He's perfect."

An interesting little tidbit I learned is that Jason Roberts, Hymns guitarist and Wurlitzer player, is also Ben Kweller's guitarist, and Kweller's drummer, John Kent (Kent was also in Radish with Kweller and is frontman for Pony League), produced Brother/Sister and is also president of the band's label, Blackland Records.

Hymns will release their debut, Brother/Sister, on Blackland this June. But you can get it now on vinyl, here's what it says on the label site:
"Brother/Sister" is the debut LP from New York City based Hymns. The record is pressed on 125 gram vinyl for Hi-Fi enthusiasts. LP buyers also receive a code which provides access to a free, one-time download of the entire album in mp3 format. Vinyl limited to 1000 copies, so be the first on your block to own one. Power in the Street!
Go here to pick it up.

Upcoming Hymns Dates - go see them and say *sixeyes sent you (that show on April 28th with Happy Bullets and Bishop Allen sounds great).

Venue: Northsix - New York, New York
Details: 8pm With +/- and Say Hi To Your Mom

Venue: Pussycat Lounge - New York, New York
Details: Midnight 96 Greenwich St. at Rector, New York, NY 10001

Venue: Pianos - New York, New York
Details: 9:30pm 158 Ludlow @ Stanton With Happy Bullets (From Dallas) and Bishop Allen

Venue: Pussycat Lounge - New York, New York
Details: 11:00pm 96 Greenwich Street @ Rector

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