Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hallelujah the Hills: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

About two years ago I did an interview with the members of The Stairs on the eve of their final shows. The Stairs released two albums, 2002's Miraculous Happens and 2005's On Sleep Lab, both of which were brilliant and ambitious pieces of rock and roll with instrumentation and a scale that defied its lo-fi production. So, if you want the full story, make sure you also listen to this, too.

Around the same time as The Stairs were ending, Ryan Walsh, one of the band's songwriter, vocalist + guitarists, and Eric Meyer, The Stairs' drummer, formed Hallelujah the Hills and started recruiting new members. The band now includes David Bentley (cello + guitar), Elio DeLuca (organ, Moog, guitar + sampler), Joseph Marrett (bass), and Brian Rutledge (trumpet + melodica). The outfit recorded their debut, Collective Psychosis Begone in 2006, signed to Misra Records early in 2007, and it was just released on June 5th. The band is out on tour now, hitting a number of cities along the east coast and mid-west.

Hallelujah the Hills have been compared to the Elephant 6 (the collective of bands and musicians who emerged from Louisiana in the mid 90s that includes The Apples in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, and Beulah among others), The Mountain Goats, Guided by Voices, and Wilco. I suppose there is some truth to these, but what sets Hallelujah the Hills apart is Walsh is a versatile songwriter first, with the layers of instruments and arrangements that are added to them only serving to build upon a strong foundation.

And, as a result of listening to Collective Psychosis Begone as complete album (remember them?) for many months, I thought it would be most interesting to do a behind the scenes look at each song or a “director’s commentary,” as film-school grad Walsh so accurately called it.

No comments: