Bell Hollow
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Bell Hollow

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"Seven Sisters" is a sedately glorious opener; Nick Niles' sad, addictive vocals pull you in like a Star Wars tractor beam, while Greg Fasolino hits all those righteous, sad guitar chords. "Our Water Burden" is a highlight, a real heart-crusher of a song. The whole album has a similar vibe; give it a few spins and you'll fall under its gentle spell. This is a band that will surely astound us, given the time and patience to endure." - Mike Pearlstein (The Big Takeover magazine, Issue #61, December 2006)

"Best Songs of 2007:
3. Bell Hollow - "Eyes Like Planets"
Bell Hollow's "Under the Milky Way"—and I only make such a comparison to convey the stunning sound design and lachrymose lyrical choices that make this song so perfect. Listen and try not to fall in love." - Kristen Sollee (BigTakeover.com, December 30, 2007)

"The mood and guitar playing on 'Sons Of The Burgess Shale' will remind many of us of myriad guitar bands we adored as kids, but it's also the best kind of dark-hued, reflective, guitar-driven vocal music. The eponymous opener is a rock-solid grower, with Greg F.'s echoing guitar slowly mesmerizing, as the bass line holds it all together. Nick Niles' vocals will also bring a tinge of nostalgia to older ears, especially BT readers weaned on Comsats, The Sound and Chameleons. Lithe, gorgeous closer 'Shukriya Moon' cements the fact that Bell Hollow are no mere loyalists, but have their own tricks up their sleeves." - Mike Pearlstein (The Big Takeover magazine, Issue #59, November 2006)

"The most vital show Ive seen recently...BELL HOLLOW conjured up the shadow-laced post-punk of the past with a forward-thinking freshness devoid of retro cliché...Its rare to find new music so heavy and yet so heavenly and light at the same time." - Kristen Sollee (BigTakeover.com, August 21, 2006)

"In Bell Hollow's case, it isn't a bad thing to be better live than on record. I very much enjoyed their demo, but the band's moody, well-crafted songs that verge on the ethereal had the added benefit of a heavy, ballsy underpinning live... While there was nothing fancy or extravagant about Bell Hollow's performance, no bells and whistles or matching outfits, there wasn't really a need for it, as the band's music is more of the low key, hypnotic (yet powerful) transportive sort. Bell Hollow is definitely a band to watch for live..." - Kristen Sollee (BigTakeover.com, February 26, 2006)

"Bell Hollow invokes all of the moody, ethereal elements of The Cure, Cocteau Twins and Radiohead. The dark, emotionally wrought songs on their demo might lull you into sweet submission for a moment, but the unexpected turns into dissonant territory will keep you on your toes. Vocalist Nick Niles haunting tenor recalls Thom Yorke, Dave Gahan and Morrissey and maintains the atmospherics while adding a touch of bitterness to the equation. You wanna listen? You know you do." - Kristen Sollee (BigTakeover.com, December 4, 2005) - Mike Pearlstein/Kristin Sollee


"Few have mastered their post-punk influences quite as well as New York's Bell Hollow. For starters, Nick Niles can really sing, Greg Fasolino knows how and when to make the best use of his chiming guitar melodies, whilst Christopher Bollman contributes suitably lurching bass and Todd Karasik's subtle use of percussion is reminiscent of the great early years of The Comsat Angels. In fact it is this band which Bell Hollow emulate most closely. Like them, they are masters of killer hooks and inject their songs with an admirable amount of restraint. Without doubt, Bell Hollow have delivered on their initial promise with a post-punk record which oozes class." - Jonathan Leonard (Leonard's Lair, UK, December 20, 2007)

"The lead-off title track's yearning vocals and grinding guitars strive and achieve the deepest melancholia. 'Bodies, Rest And Motion' features a mesmeric hook that would do The Chameleons proud." - Jonathan Leonard (Leonard's Lair, UK, November 2006)

"Sounds almost effortlessly like it's 1981 and The Comsat Angels are in town; the songs are brooding and burning with restrained passion. Key track 'Lowlights' features a rumbling bassline, glistening Chameleon-like guitar work, crisp percussion and Nick Niles' youthful vocals...a classy, vintage product from start to finish." - Jonathan Leonard (Leonard's Lair, UK, January 2006) - Jonathan Leonard


"Blindingly beautiful morose atmospheres... A shimmering shadow even darkens the sublimely infectious "Copper Crayon," a lust-themed song that channels both the spirits of Vince Ely-era Depeche Mode and Faith era Cure. The deft sequencing mirrors an eclipse, gradually moving the set into darkness, the brighter, lighter, opening numbers dissipating as the album progresses. The music is magnificent, the melodies powerful, while the moods are impossible to shake long after the final note is played. A mesmerizing album that will haunt listeners for years to come." - Jo-Ann Greene (All Music Guide, November 2007)

"From the first dramatic sweep of the synth, 10 seconds into Sons of Burgess Shale's title track, one is catapulted across the Atlantic and back in time a quarter of a century. The funk fueled bass line, stuttering drum pattern, and shadowed atmosphere heighten the effect. "Bodies, Rest and Motion" brilliantly connects all the dots between the eclectic styles of the age, from the proto-gothrockers through the post-punkers with atmospheres (i.e. The Cure), and even future stadium rockers like U-2. The guitar laced "Shukriya Moon" tips a hat to Television, Japan, and even Ryuichi Sakamoto. Darkly shimmering atmospheres drench the entire set, but it's the strong rhythms and astute interplay between the synth and guitar that are the building block of Bell Hollow's haunting, evocative sound. The lyrics, suitably obscure, mean nothing and everything, leaving plenty of opportunity for listeners to wrestle and read what they will into them. A fabulous dissection of an entire age, and a wonderful reimagining of times long gone and yet to come." - Jo-Ann Greene (All Music Guide, November 2006) - Jo-Ann Greene


"While so many latter-day post-punk bands fall all over themselves trying to mimic the more danceable moments of a Gang of Four record, Bell Hollow chooses to embrace atmosphere and mood. The act's songs -- which sound like the Chameleons playing haunted tunes in an abandoned church -- are filled with otherworldly melodies and warmed by urgent rhythms." - Tom Murphy (Westword, December 7, 2006) - Tom Murphy


"The emotional scope of the album is wonderfully, cinematically sombre and left me feeling I was being pulled into its own private world...there's no denying fantastically original tracks like "Jamais Vu" and "Copper Crayon." Anchored by the precision drumming and guiding bass of Todd Karasik and Chistopher Bollman, the songs build a swirling, layered sound upon the excellent, shimmering guitar work of Greg Fasolino. The nuanced guitar alternates between flirting around the rhythm section and moving into center stage, creating the album's excellent dynamic and providing the perfect backdrop for the ethereal voice of front-man Nick Niles. I'm pleased to find the voice guiding these tracks through their darkly emotional terrain to be one of the most genuinely beautiful, nuanced voices I've heard recently. Anyone taking the time to lose themselves in this beautiful record will find themselves enjoying it on the first listen, thinking about it after the second and adding it to their list of classics soon thereafter." - Will Joines (SonicFrontiers.net, December 9, 2007) - Will Joines


"Bell Hollow is serious music. Rich and layered, the sound is a blend of steady drumming, dramatic base lines, subtle and equally salient synthesizers. The finished product is, in effect, both emotionally probing and light as a feather on the ears. Brit pop influences offer hope to misbegotten Smiths and New Order devotees. Nevertheless, Bell Hollow can hardly be considered a revivalist flash in the pan. The music culminates in a moving crash of tempo and expressive sound all their own. Bell Hollow achieves a beautiful sadness that is sure to be lauded by melancholic rockers, young and old." - megD (The Deli Magazine, December 11, 2006)

There are all kinds of Smiths vibes here, from the trotting out of the minor keys, to the mournful-bordering-on-despondent vocal ululations. And yet? It's still manages to be pretty feel-good stuff." - Stephanie R. Myers (The Deli Magazine, June 2006) - megD/Stephanie R. Myers


"Bell Hollow are like a divine musical exam made fun, as they earn a doctorate each several times over on a trim album exuding melodic character. 'Seven Sisters' sighs out, with that gentle ache The Smiths paraded endlessly, which is obviously a firm influence, but really check their own confessed infusions and anything from Bunnymen or Teardrops, to The Sound or The Chameleons will do you just as well. (Perhaps a luscious, enigmatic version of Kitchens Of Distinction is most appropriate.) 'Storm's End' is the glistening standout for its upright, glossy turbulence which spreads out over the increased urgency of the singing and heat-seeking bass, the guitar a glorious hook on which for it all to hang and spin." - Mick Mercer (MickMercer.com, UK, November 5, 2007)

"So good it has to be illegal... Had Bell Hollow existed in the dizzy days of 80's press hysteria, fanboy journalists would have gushed so much the band would have been driven back by the force of superlatives. This record sounds to me like what the Postcard bands never actually managed because they went all foppish and coy. It is indie music of ravishing beauty but with added power, and you all need a copy if you're not simply hidebound to one scene, because this will impress any of you with a beating brain..." - Mick Mercer (MickMercer.com, UK, August 31, 2006)

"Nick Niles has such a relaxed, confident vocal style, this is circumspect indie luxury, with tingling, shuddering guitar from Greg Fasolino...rich in promise and delivery. 'Lowlights' turns the lights down as Christopher Bollman's bass glows sleekly, and Hayden Millsteed vibrates slowly on drums as the song aches deliciously... There could easily be a classic album in the offing." - Mick Mercer (MickMercer.com, UK, November 2, 2005) - Mick Mercer


"There are essentially three options for fans of the classic new wave/post-punk sound that was so hugely influential in the late 70s and early 80s: 1) Dig out your old Joy Division records (or one of the shiny new reissues) and huddle in your room all sad and misunderstood just like when you were an angst-ridden teenager; 2) Check out the most recent material from one the few artists from the era that have managed to navigate the changing tides and fortunes of the music industry long enough to survive into the new century – for example, The Cure, Siouxsie, Morrissey, The Cult; or 3) Discover one of the new breed of bands like Franz Ferdinand, Editors, Interpol or The Killers that worship at the alter of the above-mentioned bands they grew up listening to and emulating.

NYC-area Indie-rockers Bell Hollow offer a tantalizing fourth option with their stellar new CD “Foxgloves.” They include members who have a long history in the music industry, including being part of early 80s bands such as The Naked and the Dead and The Children's Zoo. Bell Hollow has one foot in the past and one foot in the present, and the result is a captivating album that is nostalgic, but isn’t a cheap revival calculated to capitalize on the success of the new breed of 80s influenced alternative bands.

The ten tracks are passionate and beautiful. Bell Hollow doesn’t sound like a typical Indie band – credit producer Hillary Johnson for giving the album a glowing, dynamic sound. Nick Niles’ vocals are smooth, rich and mournful. He clings to the melody and doesn’t over-emote, giving the songs a mysterious, enigmatic quality. The material is strong and powerfully rhythmic, with shimmering, layered guitars, subtle and haunting melodies and lyrics that convey real feeling without relying on trite clichés.

“Copper Crayon” is an undeniable high point. It’s perhaps the most Smiths-like track on the record, but is by no means a weak imitation. “The Bottle Tree” has an insistent rhythm and bass reminiscent of The Cure’s thunderous epics of anguish from the “Pornography” era, but melodically isn’t as grimly plodding – it’s more along the lines of something U2 might have recorded for “The Unforgettable Fire.” “Eyes Like Planets” – perhaps the strongest track on the record – features some terrific chiming guitar-work by Greg Fasolino. The haunting “Jamais Vu” is a dark and urgent rocker that melds early New Order with the richly melodic and confessional vibe of “The Hurting”-era Tears for Fears. The album closes with the subdued “Lowlights,” a solemn, languid bass-line, searing guitar effects and one of the loveliest vocals on the album.

“Foxgloves” was clearly a labor of love – the songs are exquisitely crafted and expertly performed, and they all have real feeling and drive. Christopher Bollman (bass), Greg Fasolino (guitar), Todd Karasik (drums), and Nick Niles (vocals, guitar, and keyboards) should be congratulated for producing a record that appeals both to die-hard post-punk aficionados still pining for that rare Chameleons 45 that they lost in their parents basement 25 years ago, as well as a new generation of fans who are under the delusion that The Killers’ kinetic new-wave sound is original and something completely new and unexplored.

Sure, go ahead: drag out all your scratchy old Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen vinyls, puff out your hair, see if you can find some black mascara, and re-live the glory days of post-punk (and in the process prove that teenage angst existed long before it could be so easily accessorized via Hot Topic at every suburban mall in America). Most definitely see a live performance by Editors or Franz Ferdinand. Get yourself to one of the few remaining music stores and plop down some serious dough for one of the sterling new Joy Division reissues and hear Ian Curtis moan more clearly than he’s ever moaned before. But do yourself a favor – make an effort to discover some of the bands that might not get national attention (yet), but are making music as urgent and important as anything released in the hallowed days of the early 80s. Bell Hollow, with their album “Foxgloves”, is one of those bands. With equal doses of 1982 and 2008, mixed with smart songwriting and terrific musicianship, “Foxgloves” is essential listening.

Bell Hollow is about to play a series of shows on the East Coast, and will be playing The Red & The Black in Washington, D.C. on Wed., Feb. 6. If you have a chance to see them, definitely check them out. To purchase their CD “Foxgloves,” visit the bands’ website at www.bellhollow.com and follow the link to the site for their record label, Five03 records." - Chris Gerard ("DC Scene," nbc4.com, January 29, 2008)
- Chris Gerard


"I'm just going to be straightforward here and say that New York based Bell Hollow have recorded one of the most authentic post-punk releases in quite awhile. No mere revivalists. One might expect The Chameleons 2.0, and while there certainly is quite a bit of that influence floating through these tracks, comparisons to a few other not so obvious 80's Post-Punk artists such as Sad Lovers and Giants, Lowlife, and The Comsat Angels abound. Regardless these songs all have that ethereal dreamlike quality that made those artists so timeless..." - Joshua Pfeiffer (Post-Punk.com, September 3, 2006) - Joshua Pfeiffer


"Bell Hollow's sound calls to the glory days of shimmering shoegaze and guitar-pop, swirling guitars, locked-in rhythms, and ethereal vocals, and the band's influences (Kitchens of Distinction, The Sound, Sad Lovers and Giants) are built upon with solid songwriting, clever arrangements, and admirable musicianship." - Frankie Teardrop (Systems of Romance, November 7, 2007) - Frankie Teardrop


Discography

"Foxgloves" full-length CD, released November 2007 on five03 Records. "Copper Crayon," "Eyes Like Planets," "Seven Sisters," and "The Bottle Tree" have been receiving college and satellite radio airplay.

"Sons of the Burgess Shale" EP, released October 2006 on five03 Records. The title track has been receiving substantial club, radio, and podcast play.

"Bell Hollow" demo, self-released October 2005.

Photos

Bio

Bell Hollow make bittersweet dream pop, singing songs both melodic and mysterious.

Formed in 2003 by bassist Christopher Bollman and guitarist Greg Fasolino, the Brooklyn-based quartet were inspired by the atmospheric British rock of the Eighties and related genres like shoegaze, new wave, and indie-rock, building on authentic experience as members of old-school NYC post-punk bands like The Naked and the Dead and The Children's Zoo. When frontman Nick Niles (originally from Sacramento, CA) came aboard in 2005, the unique Bell Hollow sound was finally realized.

Impressive reviews for the band's shimmering songs led to their signing with new NYC indie label five03 Records, who released Bell Hollow's first official EP, "Sons of the Burgess Shale" in October 2006.

Bell Hollow recorded their debut full-length "Foxgloves" at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ in summer 2007, invigorated by new drummer Todd Karasik (formerly with indie-pop cult heroes My Favorite), who replaced original member Hayden Millsteed in late 2006. The 10-song album, again recorded with producer/engineer Hillary Johnson (also the band's live synth player), was released in November 2007 on five03. In February 2008, Bell Hollow embarked on their first tour, taking in such cities as Washington, New Orleans, Raleigh, Atlanta, and Athens, GA.

During the last two years, Bell Hollow have performed successfully at such esteemed venues as Mercury Lounge, Knitting Factory, Sin-e, Annex, Club Midway, Don Hill's, and The Delancey in Manhattan; Southpaw, Luna Lounge, Supreme Trading, and Galapagos in Brooklyn; Maxwell's in Hoboken; The Saint in Asbury Park; Loop Lounge in Passaic, NJ; The Middle East in Boston; Northern Lights Lounge in Detroit; Mohawk Place in Buffalo; and The Khyber and Winterfest in Philadelphia.

Influences include: The Chameleons, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, Radiohead, The Cure, The Comsat Angels, Suede, Jeff Buckley, The Sound, Joy Division, Slowdive, For Against, Sonic Youth, Lush, The Teardrop Explodes, Depeche Mode, The Church, Björk, Kraftwerk, New Order, David Sylvian, Sad Lovers and Giants, Wire, The Verve, Cranes, Kitchens of Distinction, Blur, Stereolab, Kate Bush, Brian Eno, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Pixies, and My Bloody Valentine.