Try and name an accomplished drummer whose playing, without any other clues or context, you can recognize within a few seconds of any given song. I can hear your brains ticking. John Bonham? Keith Moon? Dave Lombardo? Those names all ring true, but anyone familiar with ZACH HILL’s expressionistic approach to the kit would agree that he’s as recognizable in the conductor’s chair as he is on the drum stool.
Though Hill earned his stripes as co-founder of the Sacramento-born duo-turned-quintet HELLA, with whom he’s recorded four albums and a number of EPs, split releases and compilation tracks, his debut album ‘Astrological Straits’ marks the first time he’s acted as ringleader, composer, chief vocalist and art director. In placing Hill front and centre, the album also magnifies something about the drummer’s writing style that might not have registered with those who’ve heard him in other contexts.
To realize his vision for ‘Astrological Straits,’ ZACH HILL enlisted an impressive roster of former recording partners, as well as a handful of new collaborators, including PRIMUS’ LES CLAYPOOL, visionary guitarist MARNIE STERN, TEAM SLEEP / DEFTONES’ Chino Moreno, NO AGE’s Randy Randall and Dean Spunt, !!! / LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’s Tyler Pope, THE FLYING LUTTENBACHERS’ Jonathon Hicshke, SATORI / RX BANDITS’ Steve Borth, THE ADVANTAGE’s Robbie Moncrief, and his HELLA bandmates Carson McWhirter and Josh Hill. The list is long and formidable, yes, but as Hill will be the first to point out, these are more than just names on a studio log.
Hill’s resume as drummer boasts a mind-melting number of collaborations-from his work in the DEFTONES offshoot TEAM SLEEP to his jazz-oriented gigs with WILCO guitarist NELS CLINE and members of SUN RA’s ARKESTRA, to his roles backing MIKE PATTON, harpist JOANNA NEWSOM and the MARS VOLTA’s OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ.
Seemingly more influenced by people like JIMI HENDRIX, JIMMY PAGE, ORNETTE COLEMAN and JOHN COLTRANE than by other drummers, bringing non-drummers’ ideas and free-form expression applied to the drum kit.
LIKE ANIMAL FROM THE MUPPETS ON ACID. YOU HAVE SEEN NOTHING LIKE THIS IN YOUR LIFE. THAT’S EVER. OR EVER AGAIN.
By very, very, VERY special request we bring you New York’s MIKE BONES.
As you might expect for an artist influenced by latter era BOB DYLAN, LEONARD COHEN and LOU REED, this 28 year old New Jersey native (based in New York) sounds old beyond his years. Having put his mooted drug problems behind him, MIKE BONES is also reborn, in a sense. For all its delicate craft, the immaculate songwriting that permeates ‘A Fool For Everyone’ comes tinged with fighting spirit. Released on Vice Records (home to the mighty BLACK LIPS) ‘A Fool For Everyone’ got plenty of shout outs from all the major music publications.
Having spent years playing for other people in New York, MIKE BONES perhaps unintentionally built up his reputation as one of the finest guitarists in the city under his real name, Mike Strallow. Collaborations and session work has been numerous and plentiful, most notably with the post-everything supergroup SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE and Baltimore-based singer / songwriter CASS McCOMBS. It took until last year for him to step out as a solo artist, adopting the monicker MIKE BONES for the acclaimed ‘The Sky Behind The Sea,’ placing his guitar playing prowess in the background to allow his lyrics to take centre stage.
It’s a wonder he didn’t strike out on his own sooner, but perhaps what makes MIKE BONES so unique is his resolve to beat his own path, however long it takes to find himself. ‘A Fool For Everyone’ is the new chapter on his personal journey and is bound to appeal to anyone who’s a fan of challenging but unflinchingly honest music.
Ticket information (Bristol): £6.50 adv / £7.50 doors.
In the flesh: On the door / Bristol Ticket Shop
Ticket information (Cardiff): £6.50 adv / £7.50 doors.
In the flesh: On the door / Spillers Records / Cardiff S.U. Box office
IN ASSOCIATION WITH KRUGER MAGAZINE.