Saturday, August 21, 2010:
The job of all local music blogs is to exaggerate the greatness of the scene in their particular state. It isn’t uncommon to read that Band A’s latest LP is a classic record that will be shared for generations, or that Band B puts on a live show that is among the best that the reviewer has ever seen. This trait seems to be common in the fans of area music as well, and it’s completely understandable because a truly great local band unites people from all over the region and gives them something to be proud about, not unlike a championship winning sports team. Now Hostage Calm’s self titled album is not one of the best records I’ve ever heard, I’m not going to make any statements that I know are not true and I cannot back up entirely, and giving relentless praise to this band as a truly classic ensemble of musicians isn’t something I can justify. That said, Hostage Calm have put out the best album by a band from this state in 2010.
Hostage Calm used to be a hardcore band, and a damn good one. Lens, their debut full length was a half hour of aggressive punk rock with politically savvy lyrics and a unique spin on a genre that tends to be riddled with cliches. Their self titled sophomore release can be described in a similar manner; aggressive, political and unique, but instead of the band tackling hardcore they chose to try pop music. Yes, that’s right, Hostage Calm is very much a pop album, filled with Latin tinged guitar riffs, layer upon layer of harmonies and grandiose sing-a-long choruses. Lyrically, the album is fantastic. Vocalist Chris Martin, who has greatly improved his singing voice from his previous work, writes songs about revolution (Rebel Fatigues), wasted potential (Wither on the Vine) gay marriage (Ballots/Stones) and the decay of youth (Jerry Rumspringer) all while maintaining a personable and refreshing lyrical tone. Martin is knowledgeable, personal and opinionated, but never pretentious nor banal. Musically, the other 4 members of Hostage Calm have their instruments down to a science. The rhythm section of this band continually blows me away. The drumming is among the most tight and intricate of any band currently making music and the bass lines are constantly groovy and captivating. The guitar riffs are almost always worthy of shaking your hips to and even the chord progressions aren’t predictable and trite.
Now that Hostage Calm has signed to a decent sized label (Run For Cover Records), toured the US a few times, played some of the biggest hardcore and punk festivals in the country, and released two stellar full length albums, it seems that they are poised to get exceptionally bigger. With their stylistic changes, but their ability to remain faithful to their roots in the hardcore and punk scene, it is almost impossible to not envision Hostage Calm becoming more widely appreciated in the music community. And as residents of Connecticut, readers of CT Indie and fans of local music, its clear we have to pull for them and support them in their endeavors. Isn’t that what being involved in this scene is all about? It’s about the pride that we feel when one of our own is recognized nationally. It’s happened before and it seems certain to happen again. Take this as your warning, and don’t jump on the bandwagon too late.
Hostage Calm isn’t having a release show for this album, they are having a release celebration! On Saturday, August 21 at the Cheshire Masonic Temple at 6pm, the band will play a headlining set with support from Pennsylvania Pop Punk band Title Fight, Connecticut emo/indie favorites My Heart to Joy, CT indie pop ensemble Midi and the Modern Dance and CT groovy hardcore band Heavy Breath. The mixed bill has at least one band that nearly everyone likes, and to be quite frank, is a damn good show and is worth coming out early for (and it's for a good cause; see below).
"To celebrate the release of their self-titled record,
Hostage Calm will be joined by their friends in,
My Heart To Joy
Midi & The Modern Dance
and Heavy Breath
Saturday August 21st at the Cheshire Masonic Temple
9 Country Club Road, Cheshire CT
Doors at 5:30, Music at 6 PM sharp
DON'T BE LATE.
$8 Admission, $2 from each ticket will benefit COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS, a social entrepreneurship organization focused on providing safe drinking water to poor, rural communities in Central America."
Listen to four songs from the Hostage Calm self titled full length here.
RSVP to the Release Celebration here.
Photo credits to Alan Huck and Future-Breed, respectively.