Fan Interviews: Hallelujah the Hills
Jon Doyle (of Wake The Deaf) interviews Ryan Walsh.
A must-listen for fans of classic, cathartic American indie rock. These 11 songs, loaded with gritty determination, dramatic dynamic swells and gang vocal shouts, might just make you believe again in whatever it was you stopped believing in.
In Boston, a city ripe with remarkable rock acts…local treasure Hallelujah The Hills sits at the top of that throne.
Hallelujah the Hills has racked up its share of war stories through more than 10 years of making music on the Boston scene, accruing a body of work that reflects Walsh’s interest in energetic, sometimes-shambolic rock music with a sly sense of humor embedded within.
There’s a lot of postmodern confusion on A Band is Something to Figure Out, but Hallelujah the Hills are post-postmodern, reconstructing the human experience through sheer enthusiasm, using their joyous hooks and choruses as earnest expressions of emotion rather than ironic juxtapositions.
An extensive look inside the human psyche, all set to a gorgeous soundtrack.
Hallelujah The Hills’ fifth full-length album…brings their flavor of indie rock back to our ears so we can do air guitar in our bedrooms and learn new lyrics to scream live. There’s chipper synth, succinct drums, and Walsh’s rounded tone of voice that never ruffles your feathers the wrong way.
[Hallelujah The Hills] continue to push their limit as a recording unit…turning in their best LP and what is sure to be one of the finest rock records you’ll hear all year.
Massachusetts indie rock institution Hallelujah The Hills' [fifth record] is called A Band Is Something To Figure Out, but it could just as easily be called This Is What It Sounds Like When A Rock Band Has It All Figured Out…Rock frameworks that reliably stretch to accommodate subversive, irreverent impulses…The band's best outing to date.
Hallelujah the Hills know they have something special here, and that 2016 just might be their year.
The band is constantly figuring itself out anew, and this record has an infectious sense of discovery about it.
get ready to have hallelujah the hills fill up those pretty little ear holes with what i like to refer to as musical tacos
bold riffs with emotional lyrics, and storytelling with the gusto of your biggest friend crush
their fifth album...is cause for much excitement around these parts [and] promises to see the act once more in full flow.
Hallelujah The Hills are back and sound better than ever.
The best of folk punk, alt-rock, and political-style punches somewhere between Titus Andronicus and the Hold Steady.
The kind of punk rock you’d expect on stage at the roadhouse from 'Twin Peaks'
A hometown cult following and pockets of hardcore fans scattered throughout the country.
Few do it with the style and imagination of Hallelujah the Hills. [It's] is a blast from start to finish, every minute packed with hooky twists and turns. Mastermind Ryan Walsh can write a hell of a chorus, too, hitting plenty of Pollard-ian, singalong sweet spots over the album’s 12 tunes.
Without a doubt they are one of the greatest bands currently making music.
#1 - Popmatters Overlooked Records of the Year
#1 - Captains Dead records of the year
#1 - Pop HeadWound Albums Of The Year
#3 - Beat Surrender's best rock/pop/indie of the year
#6 - One Chord to Another's Top 30 Albums of the year
#12 & #54 Top Songs Of 2014 - The Boston Herald
#4 webzine millefeuille Top Albums 2014
Doom & Gloom from the Tomb - Best Of 2014
Merge Records Staff Lists - Favorites of 2014
Bradley's Almanac - Favorite LPs of the year
Improv4Humans Podcast - Best of Music
Cafe Copa Y Puro - Discos Inmortales del 2014
#3 The Year In Music - NewsReview
Best Songs of the Year - Oceans Never Listen
Upright Citizen's Brigade Founder Matt Besser's Best of 2014
Pretty much as close to perfect as any band/artist could ever hope to get.
Leave it to Hallelujah the Hills to craft a four-song EP that feels this grand.
Infuses euphoric melodies with lyrical wit and imagination
This is maybe the smartest music you will ever hoist a beer to
A band at the top of its game
This is a brilliant record.
Dizzying, heaving at its brim, full of ideas both lyrical and musical
Another giant step forward
Easily my favourite rock and roll album of the year
It might just take the enduring strength of their forthcoming full-length Have You Ever Done Something Evil? to bring their long-deserving recognition.
Put on this song, shut up, and kiss someone.
Get your first taste of the album now with an exclusive demo of “Pick Up an Old Phone” and find out what the band is planning for its new release.
Mr. Walsh, the leader of Boston indie rock greats Hallelujah The Hills, is both smarter than your average bear and -- probably by a wider margin -- smarter than your average songwriter, and he writes, among other things, songs about writing songs that are not, you know, really just songs about writing songs.
They just put out a odds and sods double record that is made up of b-sides, non album tracks, etc and god damn if it aint better than most bands/artists real records.
A brilliant lyricist and a cracking coterie of collaborators and it's easy to see why there's gold at every turn here.
Much like a good work of fiction, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Trashcan warrants return visits. I’m already picturing dog-eared copies of this album years from now.
They’ve been here the whole time, releasing albums, EPs, singles; growing changing, adapting and never losing the thread that made them great.
One of the best band on the planet and completely hitting their stride.
Hallelujah the Hills have always been one of the great hidden gems of beantown. With their new release, I am ready to proclaim them as one of the most underrated bands in the country
Obviously, the talents of band members Brian Rutledge on horns and David Bentley on cello are a highlight and make a delicate song like “Care to Collapse” or “Hungry Ghost Extraordinaire” among the most memorable and recognizable songs, both from the album and live.
There is more introspection on display than usual, especially in the lyrics, but Hallelujah The Hills have simply grown into the band they always threatened to become. This is a happy ending for all involved.
The clarity of this record is a daring move for a band that has existed so firmly in the gauze, but it pays off at nearly every turn...they've also gone ahead and made their best record.
This is thinking outside the box with a lot of moving parts, but sonically, it comes together gorgeously in a start-to-finish listen.
It's a great introduction to No One Knows What Will Happen Next, and despite the warning in that title, and even if we don't know yet what that album will be, "Hungry Ghost Extraordinaire" is surely a good omen.
[“Get Me In A Room”] builds to the sort of manic rock explosion that the singer describes as “a pep talk to myself,” where confines of a room seems metaphorical at best.
There's an epic quality to everything they do, and the set at large benefited from the same careful arc that's found on a smaller scale within each song.
Hallelujah the Hills’s lyrics are full of couplets that are clever and funny and touching and use words that you have probably not recently heard in a rock song, like, say, documentarian or cohorts, without sacrificing any of the rhythm that lyrics have to have to carry a rock song. AND they have loud guitars. What more could you ask for?
Boston's own Hallelujah the Hills wrapped up a five week tour and were tighter than Glenn Beck's throbbing forehead vein.
Colonial Drones has a big sound, upward movement, punchy hooks, singalong choruses and the tightness of a touring band.
Hallelujah the Hills [have] jumped to the accelerated class on their second album, Colonial Drones.
…it's Walsh and his compadres conjuring a rough-hewn classic out of homey materials. Great stuff.
Colonial Drones, as the title aptly suggests, is a work full of fantasy-like explorations, laden with anthemic choruses and lyrics freely open for interpretation.
…as catchy as each song can be, what grew on me is how they all mesh into a cohesive whole.
It’s this open-minded and open-ended approach that has made HTH one of Boston’s most prized pop possessions. We’re not likely to hear a local album that trumps the wonders of Colonial Drones anytime soon.
It doesn't take long to realize this album is something extra special.
Accented by cello and brass, HTH delivered a dynamically charged set of literate indie rock that filtered the free-associative wordplay of Guided By Voices through the antediluvian old-time feel of the Decemberists.
[The Silver Jews] followed an energetic set from Hallelujah the Hills — loud and non-showy with six dudes on stage including a trumpeter, a cellist, and a thunderous drummer who pounds with such force he’s regularly launched off his stool.
It's the sound of music without limits, made by a band reveling in its own vast creative potential and the cumulative collision of its early influences.
Read further into interviews with Walsh, and he frequently brings up Davids Lynch, Byrne, and Foster Wallace. Walsh identifies with their work and shares, in a small way, their desire to leave ends unraveled, to create scenes without pushing them toward a conclusion. This is Prepare To Qualify's unifying and best aspect.
There is an element of cacaphony in Prepare to Qualify, but it keeps you guessing. It keeps you captivated all the while wondering, “Why in the hell am I so interested?” Just keep listening - it’ll hit you eventually, and I guarantee you’ll keep coming back to it.
Considering it’s a free download, [Prepare To Qualify] is remarkably good and elegantly demonstrates just why the band’s debut album won such high praise…
For a few moments during Hallelujah the Hills’ EP release show on Saturday, everything seemed to dissolve into blissful madness. Members of HTH and Ho-Ag crammed simultaneously, almost comically, onto Great Scott’s tiny stage in a collision of bodies, instruments, blaring sounds and styles.
Their layered, anthemic vocals and raw sound (trumpets!) combine for a warm, welcoming fireplace-rock sound that you want to spoon with.
Rarely do entire albums translate successfully as live setlists, but Hallelujah the Hills proved that their debut Collective Psychosis Begone is an exception to the rule Saturday night at the Middle East Upstairs. Breezing through the ebbs and flows of the excellent album like grizzled veterans, Ryan Walsh and his bandmates treated the crowd to a commanding performance.
It's the bookish end of things we're hearing on this stellar, non-album cut from HtH, singer Ryan Walsh delivering a positively Bright Eyed turn on the slow rolling ‘Let It Wave.’
To a world where logic and wonder so often converge, Hallelujah the Hills provides a warm and welcome soundtrack.
There’s something intimate about this album — it feels as if you’re in a room with these guys, and they laugh at your jokes, and they play a few songs, and you applaud, then you all go out and get drunk together.
A child reading a poem, a throat clearing, a voice altering microphone treatment, all these things are slipped in without much explanation, but also without pretense. The whole record is beautifully odd, more than a little off even when it’s just one person with a guitar…so how could a few real world sounds make it any stranger?
Numbers like ‘Wave Backwards To Massachusetts,’ ‘Hallelujah The Hills,’ and ‘Slow Motion Records Broken at Break Neck Speeds’ showcased their ability to combine joyful, playful, and intelligent all within the same number.
There’s perfect pop melodies hidden in the rock frames of numbers like “Wave Backwards to Massachusetts”, but there’s some strange drifts of folksy surrealism throughout the album as well.
It’s a ramshackle, lo-fi, amateurish indie mess, but Walsh’s off-kilter David Byrne warble and the band’s unerring pop sensibilities combine to forge something that is both accessible and bracing.
The band's ensemble structure (cello, trumpet, and melodica) and learned lyricism echoes the stage-packing sounds of Arcade Fire, Danielson, Bright Eyes, and Decemberists, while its shambolic, maximalist barroom aura recalls Robert Pollard, another songwriter infrequently at a loss for words.
They are a band full of contradictions. With guitar, strings, keyboards and brass all at the band’s disposal, they’ve created some wonderful arrangements that are crowded yet manage to retain a surprising amount of clarity... There’s just so much potential on display here that it is hard not to be excited about Hallelujah The Hills.