Words by Jim
It’s happened before. We feature a band, we get to know them, we get to be pals, and then they feel comfortable recommending some music to us. It’s a really nice benefit of this whole deal and I really love when it happens (if we like the music). It’s much better than the pesky PR emails we get slammed with everyday and when the music is awesome, it makes our lives easier. Nice! It worked out great with Strand of Oaks and Juniper Tar, so let’s try it again. This time around it’s from our pal and favorite Shakey Graves and he wanted to introduce us to a band called Hello Caller…and we’re so glad he did.
I love Shakey Graves music with all my heart and being and Mr. Shakey himself is a really nice guy with an awesome taste in music. When he recommended some pals of his to me, I was definitely all ears. I think the conversation went something like this:
Shakey: Dude, you should check out my friends Hello Caller
Shakey: Totally. They’re sick.
Ok, not the most riveting conversation to share and I think he used some cool Austin, TX equivalent for “sick”, but whatever, you get the picture. As with all recommendations (even from the Shakey Graves, no promises are made. If I don’t love the music, I’m probably not going to be spending time writing about it, but I took the suggestion seriously and sought out some tunes online. I quickly became interested and after emailing the band for some tunes, I was awesomely surprised to receive their new four song demo over the interwebs with a nice note thanking me. That’s right, folks. The guys from Hello Caller are talented and possess terrific manners.
So enough of that dumb back story. Hello Caller is a five piece alt-folk indie rock band hailing from prestigious Austin, TX. The band is fairly new out of the gate and are distributing their four song demo (that sounds eerily un-demo like if you ask me). Started in late 2010 by main songwriter dude Brian Ferguson, the group has put together a really great collection of songs on this demo with many more in their back pocket, no doubt. What immediately grabs my attention about Hello Caller are the amazingly strong melodies present within every song. Right off the bat, “We Caught Fire” dances beautifully on Ferguson’s well-written lyrics, quickly building intensity into a chorus complete with cascading harmonies. The more I listen, the more I’m pulled into the overlapping choral harmonies driven entirely with a few handclaps and acoustic guitar.
The other three songs only continue to emphasize how terrific this band writes as a whole. Heavily relying on xylophone and cello (yes, cello, awesome), the arrangements don’t weigh the songs down, but in fact lift them up and emphasize the often changing melodic vocal lines. As I listen to “Box Above the Belt”, I’m definitely reminded of the more orchestral and melodic works of one Elliott Smith and that’s an awesome compliment. Yes.
The demo ends beautifully (and this is where they really hooked me) with the drawn out instrumental “Hunting a Fox”, highlighting some really beautiful banjo work. It’s a really interesting tune (and a ballsy move to put an instrumental on a demo, right?) that just carries the listener away with honest whistling and light, instrumental vocal lines. It twists and turns, stops and starts, keeping the listener strung along for the wild goose chase. This song specifically focuses on the strength of Hello Caller as a group o songwriters and instantly conjures comparisons to Midlake’s amazing Trials of Van Occupanther album that I fucking loved dearly. Awesome stuff.
I know for a fact Hello Caller is playing extensively in Austin and working feverishly on their debut full length. In the mean time, check out “We Caught a Fire” above, a video below, and give these guys your email address in exchange for this awesome four song primer (follow the link here or go to their official site). I know I’ll be looking forward to the future of Hello Caller and when these guys drop a bomb on us with their debut album, well, you heard it hear first.
Filed under: New to Us, New to You?