Of Monsters And Men
HAIM, Half Moon Run
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD, 21044
This event is all ages
Of Monsters And Men
Of Monsters and Men is an amiable group of day dreamers who craft folkie pop songs. But last year, the normally mild-mannered six pack -- who's releasing their EP, "Into the Woods," on December 20, 2011 -- transformed into total rock stars after stomping out their competition during Musiktilraunir, a yearly battle of the bands in their native Iceland.
"We just kind of... won," recalls co-singer/guitarist Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir. "We weren't expecting it at all. So I said, 'Everybody come to my place!'" Beer-swilling friends spilled out of her flat. "I was like, 'Oh fuck, my neighbors aren't liking me right now.'"
Those neighbors won't be making noise complaints anymore. With the group's bright, trumpeting single "Little Talks" winning over one blog at a time, Nanna and her bandmates (co-singer/guitarist Ragnar "Raggi" Thorhallsson, guitarist Brynjar Leifsson, drummer Arnar Rosenkranz Hilmarsson, piano/accordion player Arni Guthjonsson, and bassist Kristjan Pall Kristjansson) are well on their way to becoming citizens of the world.
Their rapid rise transpired in just one year. Nanna, who began as the acoustic act Songbird, recruited extra hands to bolster her sound for a solo show. She liked how her vocals commingled with Raggi's, so they started writing songs together and in 2010 morphed into Of Monsters and Men. As victors of 2010's Musiktilraunir, the new group earned a slot on the influential Iceland Airwaves festival later that year, followed by Seattle's radio station KEXP posting "Little Talks" from a Living Room Session filmed there, setting the telltale ripple effect in motion.
By the summer of 2011 "Little Talks" hit No. 1 in the band's native country, and "people around the world seemed to be listening to us," marvels Raggi. The band was asked to perform again at Iceland Airwaves 2011, where KEXP then anointed the group as "easily the most buzzed about band."
Though their reach is growing broader, the group's appeal has remained distinct: Their music is as fantastical as it is pretty. For inspiration, they often reference random stories they've read. The chanting, tribal "Six Weeks" was inspired by the true tale of American frontiersman Hugh Glass, seemingly left for dead after 86ing a bear that attacked him. Explains Nanna, giggling: "I was reading a post about the six most badass guys in history." As for the swelling, epic "From Finner"? "It's about a whale that has a house on its back" says Raggi "on which people travel across the ocean, exploring different places and having adventures."
They also dig deeper, past legends of grizzly men and whale riders. "Little Talks," for instance, explores loneliness and insanity, while "Love Love Love" ruefully ruminates on heartbreak. "If you listen to the lyrics, they're not as uplifting," he says. "But our music is meant to be fun to sing along to."
In September, Of Monsters and Men threw another party -- a more thoughtful gathering to celebrate their full-length debut, "My Head Is an Animal." (The album, which was released in Iceland and hit No 1 there soon after, will drop worldwide in early 2012.) For the occasion, they cut out animal masks for the attendees to wear, making them makeshift monster-men/women. "Iceland can be a very isolated country and that translates to the music," Nanna says, adding,"We get stuck in our little world." horuses big on "la la la"s and "hey hey"s." - The Guardian
Hailing from the San Fernando Valley, HAIM consists of, “Three sisters, and a mister” that has been shaking things up in the city of Los Angeles for the past four years. It is truly a family affair for the band which prides themselves on being able to switch from instrument to instrument with complete confidence and ease, and all while singing in three part harmony.
The sisters, Este, Danielle, and Alana, grew up playing classic rock songs with their parents in a family band, called “Rockinhaim,” which played for charity events and street fairs. After years of playing with their parents, the girls decided to strike out on their own, and began writing their own material. Este, the eldest of the three, plays bass guitar and found time in between touring to graduate from UCLA with a degree in Music. Danielle, the 22 year old lead guitar player, who previously toured with Jenny Lewis, Cee-lo Green, and Julian Casablancas. Alana, the youngest in the band, plays rhythm guitar, keyboard, and percussion. Rounding out the group is Dash Hutton, who previously played drums for LA bands Wires on Fire and Slang Chickens. Over the past few years, the band has opened up for Julian Casablancas, Cold War Kids, Ke$ha, Group Love, No Age, The Bird and the Bee, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Chief and The Henry Clay People. In February 2012, HAIM released a three song EP titled Forever, which is also the title track on the record. It can be downloaded for free at Haimtheband.com.
Half Moon Run
"It was buzz heaven...Half Moon Run were borne aloft through the streets to be crowned Buzz Kings Of The Festival." -- NME at M for Montreal, November, 2011
"What most agreed was the best new band of the week, Half Moon Run. The Montreal trio match songwriting (and harmonies) of '60's folk rock with the atmospherics of Radiohead. I was instantly impressed" -- Brooklyn Vegan at M for Montreal, November, 2011
Half Moon Run is a talented young trio from Ottawa, Ontario and Comox, British Columbia. It was in a studio situated in Montreal's Mile-End district, through the hardships of time constraints and flatlined bank accounts, that the trio bonded and created their unique sound, fusing together the restless elements of indie, pop and folk with beautiful rhythmic harmonies, delicate guitar lines and a hint of warm electronica.
Armed with solid training and raw talent, they mix and combine their different musical backgrounds. Their complex arrangements, inspired by both classical and modern composers, are particularly striking to hear and see during their live shows. Devon Portielje's remarkable voice is beautifully backed up by Connor Molander and Dylan Phillips. Phillips often plays drums and keys simultaneously as Molander and Portielje shuffle between guitar, keys, samplers, and percussion folky three-part harmonies hold down moody, psychedelic arrangements and electronic-infused soundscapes.
Although together for less than two years, the band has quickly caught the ear of programmers and tastemakers. The trio wowed audiences at SXSW, CMW, M for Montreal and Great Escape, and were proclaimed "Buzz Kings Of The (M for Montreal) Festival" by NME.
2012 kicked off with the launch of their debut album "DARK EYES" on March 27 in Canada, entering right away into Canadian charts, followed by an international tour. Second half of 2012 includes dates in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe.
Devon Portielje: Lead vocals, guitars, drums
Conner Molander: Vocals, guitars, keys
Dylan Phillips: Vocals, drums, keys