Hi-Strung
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Hi-Strung

Denver, Colorado, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Avant-garde

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Music

Press


"Samantha Doom! Hi-Strung"

" Slowly, as her Blow-Up (Doll) band played out live, other musicians became inspired by Donen's music. "All these people who were really talented wanted to play with me and listen to my ideas, they could hear what I was saying." Samantha found herself finally as a front person with an all human band; It's name...Hi-Strung." I love performing, I haven't ever had stage fright, ever. As an extrovert (in persona), I feel very at ease when I'm on stage. It's like, 'Finally, I can express myself without being fucking interrupted!' " pg. 42-43, Truly Rejected. Issue 4.
http://issuu.com/trulyrejected/docs/tr_issue4
~Published March 15, 2014 ~by Emma Waldo
This is a feature article on Samantha "Doom" Donen, front person for Hi-Strung. The story of how Hi-Strung the band was conceived from Donen's musical comedy side show of Blow up Dolls. - Truly Rejected Magazine


"Critic's Choice: Hi-Strung Brings its Haunted Melodies to Larimer Lounge"

Samantha Donen came to Denver from British Columbia several years ago and has played bass for various outfits during her time here. From the alien blues rock of Hexen to the indigo-hued psych-tinged rock of Overcasters to her own performance-art project, Samantha Doom Blows Up the Band, Donen has brought plenty of personality to the stage. In 2010, she started writing the material for her current project, Hi-Strung (due at the Larimer Lounge on Saturday, March 16). After some lineup changes, Donen is now partnered with Natasha Fortis (ex-Bedraggled and Ghost Light), Brian Fausett (formerly of Hexen and Phantom Trigger) on guitar and Danielle Wells on cello, and the quartet is preparing to release its debut, Malfunction. The tale of a personal journey of self-discovery, Malfunction is also a good representation of the band's unique combination of hushed, haunted melodies and emotional exuberance.

by Tom Murphy - Westword Magazine


"New Local Threads: Hi-Strung "Malfunction" review"

Concept albums often seem to ride a dangerous road – too easy to marginalize of the story doesn’t carry, or if it’s too sentimental. Too easy to ridicule if the story takes over the music. Too easily misunderstood – and therefore run over roughshod by critics. Which is why it’s pretty refreshing to listen to Denver band Hi-Strung’s brand new effort “Malfunction.” Nine songs - more bits and pieces of lead singer/bassist/songstress Samantha “Doom” Donen’s interpretation of the inevitable effects of romance – strung together to tell a story we’re all way too familiar with.

Check out the title song: Hi-Strung – Malfunction

Doom has a long history in the Denver scene, having played with bands like Overcasters, Hexen, The Blackouts and others since moving here from Canada. Hi-Strung is her first self-driven project, and well-deserved. “Malfunction” is the first of (hopefully) many efforts – also a side effect of Doom’s period of recovery from a major accident a few years ago. The new record’s a fitting tribute to that recovery – solid, strong, haunting and unique.

"Malfunction" is Hi-Strung's symphonic post-punk new release. Hits the streets March 16, 2013.
“Malfunction” is Hi-Strung’s symphonic post-punk new release. Hits the streets March 16, 2013.

Starting with the giddily and appropriately named “Happy,” this record travels down the rabbit hole of a weekend – or a lifetime – as the main character stumbles through what Hi-Strung seems to believe is the inevitability of heartbreak, disarray and finally self-discovery through annihilation – “Kamikaze” style – that comes with love.

It’s a common theme, for sure – one of Rock n’ Roll’s cardinal themes – which makes it easy to relate to, but also opens the band up to overwhelming commonalities – and potential obscurity. Fortunately, Doom and the rest of the band – Danielle Wells on cello Shane Hartman (Black Lamb) on drums, Brian Fausett (Hexen) on guitar and Maia Fortis on electric violin and vox – portray the story with a strong symphonic pop hook and intriguing post-punk flavor. Wells’ cello weaves in and out of the wail of Fortis’ brilliant violin, both of which are accented by Fausett’s solid psychedelic guitar work. The mix is almost cinematic, infectuos and definitely becomes subdural.

Doom’s vocals – sometimes she evokes the more guttural side of Johnette Napolitano, others just a little like Dale Bozio, but always strong, haunting – anchor the band and the tale alongside her heavy, thumping bass and Hartman’s thunderous drums. There are times – in the midst of the frenetically beautiful “Snap,” or the wailing “Malfunction,” for instance, that she leaves the music and becomes the voice in your own head, swirling in the whirlpool of misread intentions and dashed hopes that too often become the trademark of romance. The buildup half of the album - “Happy” (the elation of new prospects, excitement, hope), “Weird” (assimilating the other person) “Big Bang” (the lust session, appropriately) and “Lullaby” mimic the early “salad days” well – with almost Shakespearian progress. When you hit “Snap,” you know where the main character is headed, and Hi-Strung does a fantastic job breaking the whole thing open.

Samantha Doom on thunderstick and heartbreak, in front of Hi-Strung.
Samantha Doom on thunderstick and heartbreak, in front of Hi-Strung.

Sir Richard Burton’s “George” in Edward Albee‘s brilliant “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff,” one of cinema’s most poignant representations of the drama that envelopes our bleary visions of love in comparison to the realities of our relationships – spoke of “Historical inevitability.” In his case it was the central theme of his life, made real by the constant cuckolding and malformed hell of the relationship he shared with Elizabeth Taylor’s “Martha.” No – I’m not equating “Malfunction” with as long-standing and weighty a masterpiece as “Wolff,” but there’s definitely a sharing of minds between Doom’s and Burton’s vision of the trappings of romance. Both are believers, it seems in the historical inevitability of heartbreak.

In Hi-Strung’s case, though, there’s a light at the end – where the character of this tale emerges from the mess newly aware, after killing herself (romantically speaking) in “Kamikaze.” If this record’s any indication, there seems to also be some bright, exciting light looming for this band as well.

by Billy Thieme - Denver Thread


"Hi-Strung 'Malfunction' self-released"

"Happy" starts off Hi-Strung's new album as though some sort of standoff were about to go down. It's like spaghetti-Western music interpreted by Siouxsie & the Banshees working with Lene Lovich. "Weird" shifts gears with whimsical but well-composed lyrics that evoke Todd Rundgren or the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and "Snap" recalls the era of '80s new wave embodied by bands like Missing Persons and Big Country, with their ability to inject a breezy quality into upbeat music about less-than-sunny subjects. "Stone Cold Monday" and "Lying Bride" have a feel of inverted nostalgia to them — like something from Julee Cruise if she had teamed up with an early dream-pop outfit. Malfunction is often retro and goth-sounding, but without the misguided cultural baggage.

by Tom Murphy - Westword Magazine


"Hi-Strung-CD Review"

I am not sure what the appropriate mood would be to listen to Hi-Strung, Denver’s take on ominous indie rock with hints of orchestra and pop vocals. Perhaps it would be right before heading out on a date, to take your mind off the anxious thoughts plaguing your brain. Or perhaps it would be afterwards, setting the mood for what is to come next.

Either way, the band’s solemn record Malfunction is an entertaining take on indie music in general; the vocals feeling far away at points, but the lyrics hitting right at home over top of shadowy melodies that bring into bright light the emotion that the band puts into their music.
by Tim Wenger - Colorado Music Buzz


Discography

Hi-Strung's debut album 'Malfunction' Self-Released March 4, 2013

Photos

Bio

A little about Hi-Strung...Haunting Melodies and Switchblade Lyrics.
 A little more about Hi-Strung...The band Hi-Strung formed in 2011 in Denver, CO. Their steam punk orchestrated rock sounds bigger than just the four musicians.
The music of Hi-Strung 
 has 
         the ability 
to HAUNT your  dreams,
   INSPIRE your  desires,
and  LIFT your  spirits...

Hi-Strung is led by... 
Samantha Donen ~ bass & vocals,
Jeremy Barber ~ electric viola,
Brooke Crawford ~ cello,
and 
Shane Hartman ~ drums.

Band Members