Boston's Hallelujah the Hills are celebrating their tenth year as a band, an anniversary that they marked this month with the recording their upcoming fifth album, Deluxer Mandatory followed by two shows, one in their hometown and one at Bowery Electric in New York City. The band, known for their literate take on indie rock, released their first two albums on Misra Records before going completely indepentent, part of the new breed of artists relying on Bandcamp distribute their music. They've gone through a number line-up changes over the years (including an almost Spinal Tap-like rotation through drummers, one even quitting on stage mid-show), but seem to have settled in now, remaining static for the second album in a row. We caught them at their New York City show, where fans gathered on a Saturday night to catch an all-too-rare outside-of-Boston set.
The band opened the set with "I Stand Corrected" from their most recently released album, last year's Have You Ever Done Something Evil?, followed by their self-titled song from their first album, 2007's Collective Psychosis Be Gone. But despite the anniversary, the band wasn't in the mood for looking back, as this was the only older song to find its way into the list. After playing "We Are What We Say We Are," also from the most recent album, frontman Ryan Walsh noted that it was obvious that drummer Ryan Connelly had made the setlist, as it was made up of all fast songs.
The center-piece of the set, though, was the debut (at least outside of Boston) of a number of tracks from the new album, and the band continued with three new songs in a row -- "What Do the People Want?," "Hassle Magnet," an "The Mountain That Wanted More." These were followed by "The Three Minute Mark," from their 2013 singles and b-sides collection, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Trash Can. Despite the fact that the band had filled the room with fans, the venue seemed oddly in a hurry to rush them off the stage to make way for a DJ who was on after. The band capped off an all-to-brief 40 minute set with one more new track, "We Have the Perimiter Surrounded."
If this short preview of the new tracks was any indication, Hallelujah the Hills are starting off their second decade strong, a band who still has a lot to say. Deluxer Mandatory is due for a spring 2016 release.
The show was opened by Brooklyn indie rockers Wilder Maker, playing tracks from their Everyday Objects of Desire trilogy of EPs (frontman Gabriel Birnbaum noting that Walsh had been his boss at a previous job), and LA-based Americana band Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls, playing from their recently-released A Season Undone.