The Hounds Below

The Hounds Below

Recorded on June 7th, 2011

View The Hounds Below's website

When I first checked out The Hounds Below's EP, I detected a strong Buddy Holly/ Elvis/ Jack Rabbit Slim's (the "wax museum with a pulse" restaurant in Pulp Fiction) vibe. Another immediate notable reference for me was the late, great Roy Orbison*, one of history's best- ever crooners: there was, and is, a fair amount of Orbison's syrupy tone in singer/ bandleader Jason Stollsteimer's voice.

Whether or not the band (who originally hail from Detroit)'s sound is consciously moving away from that kind of characterization, I cannot say. They certainly seem to be evolving, though. The style and sensibility that they are showcasing in the two songs performed here feels much more au courant, if you will: more deliberate, a real less- is- more aesthetic at work.

Stollsteimer's Smiths/ Morrissey vocal influence is obviously more pronounced here as well, but, speaking as someone who struggles with his own singing voice, let me just say that it's his control that really impresses me. This guy can really sing. I'm envious.    

THB initially began as a Stollsteimer solo project (following not just the demise of a thirteen year romantic relationship, but also the hiatus of his other group The Von Bondies), but a band quickly solidified that consists now of bassist Gjon Gjavelini and guitarist Skye Thrasher. I look forward to these guys having a full length out. In the meantime, dig what they've done here. And I wonder what they'll do next.

Let us know what you think.  


*BTW if you want to do yourself a real favor, rent Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night. Orbison plays all of his hits, and his backup band includes Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, and Bonnie Raitt. Pretty fantastic.

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