Hollywood Black
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Hollywood Black

Band Rock Punk

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"Two Thousand Years Of Progress"

2007 Mia Kat Empire, Inc
Score: 8.5 (of 10)

Hollywood Black is a three-piece band hailing from Kingwood, Texas. Two Thousand Years Of Progress is their debut album.

Two Thousand Years Of Progress opens up with several punk rock tracks. The songs are well played (in particular the beat on the title track stands out), catchy, and have a good mixture of hardness and accessibility. As the record wears on and songs blend together a bit, the band slows things down, and listeners will really catch the band’s Pedro The Lion influence on “Kingwood” and “Deeds And Idolatries.”

The vocals on Two Thousand Years Of Progress are well done. On the heavier tracks they have a good energy and are a bit raspy in a punk rock way. On the slower tracks the vocals are more melodic and earnest, and sound great. Lyrically the band’s songs are supposed to be thought provoking and cause people to question the current state of society; the band does a decent job of this, writing some catchy songs that only get a bit preachy at times.

Overall: This is a very strong debut album, with a good mixture of punk and melodic rock, and well done vocals.

-Graham Bailey
4/22/06 - Puck Nation


If there’s one thing that I love most about being a part of a city’s local music scene is the unbridled passion and fervent drive to pursue music that’s resident within everyone. Bands and fans alike thrive on being able to connect on- & off-stage in ways that even mid-sized bands can’t accomplish once they begin touring outside of their home city, county, and state. There’s this pure DIY ethos that permeates a band’s writing style, practice regimen, and performance energy that almost always gets lost once a record label gets involved. Oh, the right producer working with the right band who’s signed to the right record label might be able to catch lightning in a bottle and do the band’s live presence some justice. But, come on now, we all know that the transition from being an unsigned band to being part of even an indie label is a rough one, fraught with potential pitfalls.

So, when I first started spinning Hollywood Black’s debut album, Two Thousand Years Of Progress, I was amazed at how practiced yet ardent this band sounded. Their instruments rang out like clarion calls, drawing you in with their youthful exuberance. From the beginning, the album leaps out at the listener with a balanced amalgamation of punk riffs, aggressive power pop and stripped-down acoustic ballads. Catchy hooks & clever wordplay fill up the seconds and minutes of each song to the point that it’s nearly impossible to not sing along with the band.

Throughout the album, the men of Hollywood Black speak exactly what’s on their hearts and minds, yet do so without being too preachy, political, or evangelistic, which can be difficult when a band is truly trying to make a statement with their lyrics. Granted, there are lyrics from songs like “The End” that pushed me over the edge a bit - “I think it’s funny that it’s safer to worship Satan than to worship God. This world is winding down.” I’m not sure I can quite buy that argument. I mean, the culture warriors over at Fox News might agree with you, but that’s about it. However, with songs like “Kingwood,” “Deeds And Idolatries,” and “The Prodigal,” the band’s lyrical content strikes a chord familiar to fans of early Pedro The Lion and Discover America (or Twothirtyeight, if you like Chris Staples’ first band). There is some cogent and strong storytelling here that shouldn’t be ignored.

Simply stated, this band has crafted a solid, if slightly unpolished, record with Two Thousand Years of Progress. Still, as even-handed as the production was when weighing out the differing genres, I would have liked to have heard less stylistic meandering and more of a focused sound. They’d make a great punk band because the guys are actually quite talented. Nevertheless, Hollywood Black certainly found a quality partner in Mia Kat Empire - both the band and the label are making a conscious effort to let the music be the driving force behind everyone’s efforts. In the end, the music is what matters, or at least it should be.

-Adam P. Newton - Burnside Writers Collective


Discography

Two Thousand Years of Progress (February 2007)
The Lighter Side (2005)
3 song EP (2004)

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Bio

With just the right balance of confrontational punk-rock and soul-stirring poetics, Hollywood Black uses their music as a platform to lament society’s misplaced priorities and get the listeners of today’s popular music to do something they have not done in a while, think. With raw honesty and a refreshing lack of pretense, Hollywood Black focuses the magnifying lens on such subjects as the corrupting power of money, personal revolution, and man’s relationship to God.

Hollywood Black has currently signed with the Houston, TX based label, Mia Kat Empire.

For more info on Hollywood Black, go to
www.hollywoodblack.org

For more info on Mia Kat Empire, go to
www.miakatempire.com