Hilltop Distillery

Hilltop Distillery


A trio of organized/improvised musicianship, with an emphasis on self expression. Thriving on ever changing phrases of melody, noise, and rhythm, Hilltop creates a sound that realizes new shapes and forms each performance.


Here is one of Hilltop's reviews. visit the website to read more:--"If the whole album is like this, it'll be interesting, but I don't know if I'll like it," I said after listening to the repetitive measure that opens "Host of a Chance". "I'd like it if it didn't make me want to kill myself," said the girl beside me. That, in a nutshell, is the quandary of ...Died in the Woods, and it has nothing to do with the music being depressing. Far from it. It's such a complex, jazzlike exploration of sound, it's hard for it to assume traditional "happy" or "unhappy" characteristics. That's the rub. Hilltop Distillery work the same jagged, crunchy-yet-clean, Clutch-gone-sour approach to music as Moreland Audio -- the kind where you gape at their ability to bend broken and disjointed notes into a thing of beauty and silently wonder what would happen if they actually connected the dots and made a fucking rock record. It takes a while to realize that thinking in those smaller, comparative terms actually does a disservice to this album and take ... Died in the Woods at face value, as a challenging, occasionally abrasive and ultimately brilliant album that requires more than one listen to reveal its underlying genius. First of all, these guys are skilled musicians. You'd have to be, to make such out-of-tune and uncharacteristically timed songs hold together at all, much less work as well as they do. The deconstruction of rock music that began right around the time Nirvana made bad sounds palatable has escalated to a new level, where Hilltop Distillery and their cohorts can further dissect the anatomy of a meter, a note, a sound, and put the pieces back together Frankenstein-style, then stand back and marvel as it totters into being, eventually taking on a life of its own. Second, the music Hilltop Distillery produces is distinctly original, and it's hard to say that these days. They use standard instruments in non-standard ways, utilizing all sorts of production techniques as well as honest-to-god inventive playing to achieve some impressive results. If "limits are possibilities", as I recently read somewhere, then Hilltop Distillery not only understand the limits of musical structure incredibly well, but they've learned how to push, bend and warp those limits without ever breaking them and producing something lifeless or unlistenable. "Ky. Suite", for example, not only never seems to get going, it never seems to end. It has at least three "almost fading-out" points, where it seems Hilltop Distillery are breaking down before the big send-off. It never happens. They diddle around, maybe tune their instruments, then come back for another round. When they finally do stop, amid a cacophony, it's actually unexpected. Likewise, the unsettling quasi-ballad "Knew Pretty" and the ominous creep of "Falls into a Water Well" adopt so many guises during their relatively short runtimes that they cease to be "about" anything and instead form their own identities. Closer "To the Damn!" is a musical thesis of quietly astronomical proportions. The only drawback I sensed, beyond the inherent lack of momentum one gets as a trade-off when taking such care to craft music as Hilltop Distillery does, was the unnecessary addition of vocals on some tracks. With those vocals buried under distortion, their effect is mostly jarring and seems gratuitous in some cases. I can see where a vocal presence is needed amid the otherwise trancelike instrumentals, and maybe an attempt to actually sing lyrics might have polluted the purist, non-commercial intent. It just seems as though they might have been handled with more aplomb than the existing howls, growls and whispers. Suffice it to say that there are so many twists, turns and surprises in every track on ...Died in the Woods that I am unable to adequately report them all or comment on them. Every time I listen, I hear sixty new flourishes I never noticed before. You might truly be able to hear this album half a dozen times or more and never fully appreciate or comprehend it. Subverting the music, subverting the listeners -- I should be thankful for this, rather than comparing it to cookie-cutter rock. After a few listens, I was. -- Justin Kownacki of Splendid-zine


1)"Commonwealth Trio" ep 2001 2)"...died in the woods" lp 2002, the 3rd release will be complete in the summer/fall of 2004.
2003 DataWasLost Records Compilation "one, two, three",
2004 DataWasLost Records Compilation "beep, click, strum, sing", 2004 Organelle compilation including bands from Tiberius Records, Save Your Servant Records, State Bird Records, & more.

Set List

the typical set list includes about 8 songs and lasts about 40'45min. we do not do any covers at all.
songs would include, 8ohm, To The Damn, Ky Suite,
Host Of A Chance, Mach. Studder, 1st Of The Month,
Roads, Knew Pretty