Everyone around these parts celebrates Hallelujah The Hills for their indie rock anthems. The Boston band allows every music writer to tick the necessary boxes for a killer review with all the proper adjectives. We all write things like “cerebral”, “literary”, and of course, the all-powerful “anthemic” in describing Jah Hills’ sound. And we’re never, ever wrong.
Until maybe now.
This Friday night at the Sinclair, Hallelujah The Hills are set to release a new EP, Movement Scorekeepers, as a companion piece to April album A Band Is Something to Figure Out. Both will be available on vinyl at the Cambridge rock club, but this new EP is a different beast entirely; a collection of seven improvised songs that each clock in at just about a minute in length. As Dead Kennedys’ frontman Jello Biafra once shouted on Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death, “Rick Wakeman eat your heart out.”
To celebrate the new EP, Vanyaland is excited to premiere the noisy lightning-strike track “Deluxer Mandatory”, which you can hear over and over again via the band’s Soundcloud below. We also caught up with Jah Hills’ frontman Ryan Walsh for the word on just how this companion piece came to be.
Michael Marotta: Were these truly “leftover” compositions and/or songs from the last record’s session?
Ryan Walsh: I’ll be honest. Here’s exactly how this happened. Jealous Butcher Records really wanted to do a 7-inch with us, which we were psyched about, but we also knew it should come out in time for our summer tour dates, so we set up this kind of nutty process to make it all happen pretty quickly. That process was: boombox in the center of the practice space. Everyone improvise without discussion and every minute we all had to stop and start a new improvised song. We did this for, like, 30 minutes. Then I chose the best ones, put vocals on them, and suddenly we had this weird little EP!
How do they complete the last record?
I think it’s a perfect companion to A Band Is Something To Figure Out because that’s our most streamlined, straight ahead record we’ve ever made, and these songs are like the strange little connector songs we would’ve put on the record had we had the time to do so. Also, there’s lyrical overlap too. I encourage people to insert these songs into ABISTFO, make your own track order, and tell us about it. I think that’d be cool. Build your own Hallelujah The Hills album.
Why are you limiting yourself to one-minute songs?
It’s fun to see how much you can condense the thrills of a pop or a rock song. Plus, because we improvised these songs, I knew after about a minute they were gonna go off the rails. Plus, 7-inches can’t be too long. Just having fun with restrictions.
Do you feel limited by one-minute songs?
No no. It’s a perfect length for a song. Did you know that’s the most average length of all online content? 1 minute. I’m just doing what Daddy Internet tells me is the Zeitgeist, ya know?
Listen to “Deluxer Mandatory” below, and take note — Friday at the Sinclair, Hallelujah The Hills will be joined by Thalia Zedek Band, Black Beach, and the Barbazons, who just released a trippy new video yesterday directed by Peaches Goodrich, so we figured we’d include that as well. More details on the flyer down south.