Blackbells Give Us Take…On Holiday Song Debate

Press, Review

I have obtained a shower radio.

Or, rather, it was obtained quite some time ago.

Why? Because singing Disney and Broadway tunes where you can’t see people cringing is great.

When a Rush rock block comes on in the midst of exfoliating, you can holler about Subdivisions to your heart’s content.

You can listen to NPR and learn about the state of the world while deep conditioning!

But really, after Halloween, holiday music takes over. I had forgotten this until one day I came back from working out and just wanted some shampoo and snazzy serenades. I then found that nearly every channel was on a holiday song rampage, and to my delight they were all playing the same song at that moment (must have been to really drive the point home).

But wait! Holiday music is not always a bad thing, you say. You are correct. I introduce you-if you haven’t checked them out already-to the Blackbells.

According to the Village Voice, “Revive the glory days of Britpoppers Oasis and Blur with Brooklyn quartet Blackbells, who’ve adopted the subgenre’s characteristic soaring vocals, wall of sound, and jousting guitars.”

In addition, VOGUE Italy added “Blackbells are bringing back the outrageous, raw sounds from the years in which The Verve, Oasis and Blur topped the musical charts.”

Not going to lie, upon checking out their tunes, I thought to myself, “this reminds me of the bands I enjoy from the nineties”.

While the Brooklyn based band has been defined as having a ‘wall of sound’ approach, don’t let that fool you. The tunes are by no means oversaturated, overproduced, manipulated, or congested.  We hear clean vocals and even dynamics between band members. The band consists of Ben Rice (vocals/guitar), Anthony Stella (guitar), Austin Schumacher (drums), and Seth Bulkin (bass). They formed in winter 2010, but have already been making the musical rounds through New York and beyond. But back to the holiday music.

Just last week Blackbells released The Bells of Christmas (a Frank Sinatra cover), and it has been stringing through music blogs and sites since then. The cover offers a haunting, smooth, rendition of the song. Honestly, it’s a great holiday song that I rarely hear among the songs that fly out of the radio this time of year. It’s always nice to see a band lending its ear to something different, perhaps something a little older–but without just spitting out a stereotypical update or carbon copy.

You can mosey on over here to take a listen…

Even beyond The Bells of Christmas, the band has a new EP, IxI, out now. Vocalist and guitarist for the band, Rice, also recorded and produced the EP. “We’ve gotten to a point where we have a decent understanding of what we sound like and we wanted to push that as far as we could at this stage in our career and spend less time thinking about our influences” he said. “When we recorded our first EP we had been playing together for about 2 weeks and wanted to get the songs down as quickly as possible so that we could get them out to people and start playing live. This time around we had a chance to see how people responded to the songs at shows and then gave ourselves a chance to labor over the recording process for half a year in between touring. We also took a lot more liberties in the studio to try parts and instruments out that we wouldn’t necessarily have had on the first EP.”

Check them out on their site!


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