Hosta
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Hosta

Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States | SELF

Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Pop

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"Album Review: "Bearfish" by Hosta - Rating: 9/10"

Rating: 9/10

Hosta is an experimental indie pop band from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Their name may be a homonym of a soothing asian lily, but there is nothing soft or mellow about their first full-length album, Bearfish. Greg Moore, Randy “The Ranman” Kehne, and Michael Jordan have been playing together since 2008. Bearfish meshes together the very different personalities of each band member: The Ranman’s high-energy drumming combined with Greg’s honest vocals and Iris’ funky bass and guitar echoes make this album utterly prodigious.

Hosta has listed influences from underground and indie rock bands, including Weezer, Daft Punk, OMD, and Pavement, and Hosta’s sound conglomerates the best from each of these influences, creating a sound that is at once familiar instrumentally and yet, severely unlike traditional rock, experimental, or indie groups. They’re ability to switch from the garage-punk rebellion of “Firecracker Girl” to the super-chill and funkiness of “Cali” on the same album is uncanny, yet they pull it off with augmentative charm. They’re genre-crossing talent was recognized in 2009 when they won the Northwest Arkansas Music Award in the category “Best None of the Above.”

Since then, they’ve been playing shows, and forming their sound from their former 60’s hip-hop/ rock to their present experimental alt-rock. An 80s electronica feel invades bits and pieces of the album, with a trip-hop intro to “Feva Dreams” and pinball machine beginning to “Cali.” Their lyrics are strikingly unconventional, as when Greg sings “summer nights at the punk rock show/the way we knew/the way we knew that we could do/whatever we felt we wanted to” from the stand-out ballad of the album, “Summertime.” And that’s exactly the sentiment of Bearfish-a group of distinctive musicians doing whatever they feel they want to, which is, apparently, creating awesome genre-defying, head-bopping, alternative pop.

A free download of Bearfish is available on Hosta’s official website–snag your copy here. Keep track of Hosta’s tour info and other news by following them on Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook.

Tracklist:

1. Ballz to the Wall
2. Feva Dreams
3. Summertime
4. Carrie
5. Johnny Jacob
6. Firecracker Girl
7. Cali
8. After the After Party
9. Without You
10. 1989
- Beatcrave.com


"Indie Rock Cafe Band of the Week: The Genre-Bending Music of Hosta"

This week's Band of the Week is Hosta... Admittedly, it took us a while to get around to featuring this band; the more we have listened to their self-titled debut over the past half year, the more it has proven itself as one of the best under-the-radar debuts of the year. It's baffling that the rest of the blogosphere, if you will, missed out on what is a fantastic album from start to finish.

Hosta is a trio of musicians: Iris Shepard (bass/vocals), Greg Moore (guitar/keyboards/vocals) and Randy Kehne (drums). The genre-bending band mix blues, ska, folk and experimental rock to create fun and interesting songs with likely comparisons to Weezer (and to some extent Pavement; hear "Hope You're Not Sorry"), which is especially evident on the geo-centric song, "Cali," and the quirky, ska-infused, "Secret Self."

While the band primarily tours in the Midwest, we hope they will come out to Cali (actually, someone easily gives themselves away as a newcomer when they call California 'Cali,' sort of the same idea as calling New York, "The Big Apple," or D.C., "Washington, DC"). Hosta were awarded the Northwest Arkansas Music Award in the category "Best None of the Above" this year. We strongly recommend getting the entire LP if you like the songs featured below. - indierockcafe.com


"Flyer Profile: Hosta Flyer Profile: Hosta"

When we heard that Fayetteville artist Greg Moore was involved in a new band in Fayetteville called Hosta, we had a feeling it was going to be pretty awesome.

We’d seen some of Greg’s paintings, were familiar with some of his work with Block Street and Building, and we’d heard a few of his solo tunes on his myspace page.

Combine that with the fact that Hosta’s other two members were Iris Shepard (one of the NWA Rollergirls) and Randy Kehne (a solid drummer from the home of Rock and Roll in Memphis Tennessee) and I guess our hunch that these guys were gonna rule wasn’t that much of a stretch.

We were right.

As much as we anticipated hearing Hosta for the first time, we couldn’t have predicted just how great these guys would be until we heard them live for the first time at Cheers a few months ago. Hosta combines 60’s R&B influenced pop with fuzzy Pixies-style guitar solos, some electronic weirdness happening in the background, and some solid songwriting with two unique vocalists. We even heard some hip-hop in there somewhere. (Read below)

If you’ve never seen Hosta, you’ll get your chance this weekend when they play at the Smoke and Barrel Tavern with the Memphis Pencils. You can also get a preview of their song No More Video Games below.

We got in touch with Hosta, and they were nice enough to answer some questions for us.

Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Hosta: Iris listens almost exclusively to Outkast. Randy listens to the techno channel on satellite TV. Greg’s head is swimming with all kinds of great new music: Deastro, Xui Xui, J-Live, Electronic Cumbia music is so rad! Particulary the band Tremor.

FF: What are some other bands you guys have been in?
Hosta: Randy was in a series of Memphis bands. Among them Bluejazz, Mea Culpa, and Indoor Aeronautics. Iris was in two very short lived bands called Pink Accident and Queen Mab. Greg was in a christian rock band in high school called Linoleum Methuselah and later he was in a Siloam Springs band called The Beau. Greg has spent a great deal of his life making music all by himself. Years ago he used 4-track machine he used to record a series of cassette tapes under the moniker Exploding Plastic Ipanima. He was doing a kind of bossa nova. Now he uses Garage Band to compose music.

FF: You guys are one of a handful of new-ish bands that are freaking us out right now (in a good way). What are some other bands in town we should check out?
Hosta: We’ve seen a lot of great shows at the Smoke and Barrel. Epiphany, One oz. jig, Opal Fly have put on really inspiring shows. We played with the F*** Tards at Cheers and they rocked! They took us by surprise.

FF: Iris is a Rollergirl, right? That’s so awesome.
Hosta: Iris’ derby name is Wasabi. She’s played a bout in Dallas last weekend and will be happily showing of her bruises all this week-maybe even on the stage at Smoke and Barrel on the 23rd. Get in on the derby action for our next home bout June 6th at 7 pm at Roller City in Springdale.

FF: Last time we saw you guys, it occurred to me that the way Greg phrasing when he sings at times has a rap-type feel to it. Have you ever noticed that?
Hosta: The other day we were trying to sound like “Son of a Preacher Man” but we ended up sounding like “Hits from the Bong.” Maybe its kinda like that. Greg is trying to sound like Jonathan Richman or Lou Reed when he sings. But we all listen to a lot of Hip Hop and we want to acknowledge its all-pervasive influence. Cherrywine comes to mind (a project of Ishmael Butler from Digable Planets). He was doing a kind of loose talking rap style. Greg loves Cherrywine. Greg wants to have an intense, focused style. He doesn’t want to be all whiny and shoegazer.

Another aspect of Hip-Hop that is present in our music is the approach of looking over the past and just grabbing stuff and recombining it. Ever since we were young, Hip-Hop has been re-digesting the whole history of music, sampling it cutting it up, combining elements with their opposites. When we are writing a song we’ll often use that kind of approach. Here’s a 60’s R&B type riff, lets see what happens when you combine it with laser sounds.

FF: Who programs the samples, and how the heck do you guys play with those without getting off time?
Hosta: Greg programs the samples and we’ve recently added a Roland sampler drum pad to the mix. We use a metronome/click track to stay in sync on stage and in practice but to be honest we get off time more then we’d like to admit. We really really don’t want our sound to be limited to drums, bass and guitar strumming. We want to be able to use the basic rock sounds, but also have other options. We’re excited by the possibilities of including strange new sounds. Greg remembers being introduced to his uncle’s massive KORG keyboard when he was very young, he stayed up the whole night just scrolling through all the sounds, wanting to hear each one. That feeling of exploring possibilities and awakening curiosity is something we’d like to convey in our music.

FF: We’re digging the EP you guys just released. Where did you record it, and where can folks get it?
Hosta: Thank you! We recorded it with Dwight Chalmers at Listen Lab. He was great. Right now you can only get it at our shows. $5

FF: Wanna weigh in on the great taco debate? Who has the best taco in Fayetteville?
Hosta: This is a topic of ongoing discussion with us. Greg says El Camino Real. Randy says La Huerta. Iris says Osguera’s

FF: What’s next for you guys?
Hosta: We want to continue to write new songs. Iris is practicing to play a show in roller skates. Randy’s whole drum style is being impacted by his new drum pad. We want to continue to build a fan base in fayetteville and go on to play out of town. Eventually we’ll make a full length CD. We feel like we have so many influences and right now they’re not as meshed together or fully articulated as they could be. Give us some time.




http://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2009/05/20/flyer-profile-hosta/

- Fayetteville Flyer


"Video: Teaser for upcoming Hosta album"


The latest local band to get in on the video-flyer act is Hosta, who just released a teaser for their upcoming album “Bearfish,” due in December of this year.

It’s only 19 seconds long, but it’s a rocking 19 seconds, complete with a track from the upcoming record, lots of bear, shark and eagle imagery, and a preview of the album artwork by Fayetteville Underground artist (and band member) Greg Moore. See for yourself. - Fayetteville Flyer


"Band Of The Week: Hosta"

Band members, instruments and day jobs:
Randy Kehne (drums) — Linux System Administrator
Iris Shepard (bass, vocals) — Doctoral student, U of A
Greg Moore (guitar, vocals, keyboard) — Graphic Designer/Artist

Band born: Our first show was at Iris’ house Oct. 4, 2008.

Type of music: We try to mix a lot of influences together. We are definitely a rock band in the tradition of Velvet Underground, but we want to mix that in with electronic sounds and elements of hip-hop. We like the way bands like Radiohead and Medeski Martin & Wood experiment with sound. We want our shows to be fun and exciting and we want people to dance. We want to push boundaries and experiment but we also want our songs to stick in your head. Most of our songs are about breaking up: ending unsatisfying relationships, breaking up with your parent’s ideas, breaking up with religion, quitting sucky jobs. Personal and social transformation is what we are about.

Originals or covers: We play all original songs. But we keep talking about doing a cover of Johathan Richman’s “I was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar.” We have also discussed covering the Pixies “This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven.”

Sounds like: We have been compared to the Pixies and Talking Heads. We don’t think we sound very much like either of them. Sometimes Iris sounds like Nico when she sings. Her voice recalls a kind of 1960s vibe that can be found in bands like Belle & Sebastian or Camera Obscura, kind of a rainy day psychedelic type thing going on there. Greg’s singing is kinda talky like Lou Reed or Jonathan Richman. There’s definitely a vein of nostalgic ’60s pop running through many of our songs. But there’s also laser sounds.

Songwriter’s muse: Roller Derby

Influences: Velvet Underground, Pixies, Stereolab, Fiest, Radiohead, M.I.A., Outkast, Cat Power, Power Pop, Electronic , Rock’n Roll.

What kind of crowd do you draw: Human beings who wanna have fun!

When and where do you practice: We recently went from being a living room band to a garage band. So now it’s Randy’s garage. We are all neighbors. Actually we all live in a huge house that has been converted into apartments. Now we have taken it over and it has become an indie rock commune with a trampoline in the front yard. We’re basically indie rock communists.

Any albums: We have one seven-song EP that’s just called “Hosta.”

Total number of tattoos and piercings: Actually we have zero tattoos or piercings. There’s nary a scratch or mark on any of us.

Back stage ritual: We’ve never played anywhere that had a backstage but Iris likes to take her guitar into the bathroom and sing. Sometimes it helps to be alone before a show to get focused and centered. Randy likes to eat before shows. We’re always like where’s Randy? He’s off getting a burrito.

Funniest or strangest thing that ever happened during a performance: After we played at George’s, Randy misplaced his car and thinking it had been stolen, he made a police report only to find it later in another parking lot! We’re still not sure how it got there. Then a month later, Randy’s car got towed during a show at the Smoke and Barrel. Randy is no longer allowed to drive to shows.

Plans: Write new songs. Hone our sound and incorporate more electronic music. Randy just got a new electronic drum pad thing which is opening up awesome new possibilities. We want to deepen our musical visions and push ourselves to be more skilled song writers and performers.

Goals: We are building a fan base in Fayetteville and soon we will be ready to start trying to book out-of-town shows. In the future we’ll do some touring and make a full length CD.

Upcoming shows and tours: We are playing the Smoke and Barrel on Saturday with the Memphis Pencils. You can also catch us at the Firefly Festival at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks on July 21.

Dream act to open for: Memphis Pencils!

Last CD purchased: Greg checked out Ratatat from the library and it is awesome! Randy downloaded “Everybody” by Black Box.

Most played songs on your iPod? Hosta is an iPod free zone. But Randy listens to the Jazz Channel on his TV all the time. Iris listens exclusively to Outkast. Greg is on a Kraftwerk binge again.

Web site: Myspace.com/hostaband - Fayetteville Free Weekly


"Hosta EP Review"

Hosta is a Fayetteville band which formed in 2008. Made up of locals Greg Moore (guitar, keyboards, effects, vocals), Iris Shepard (bass, guitar, vocals), and Randy Kehne (drums, percussion, vocals), they�ve been actively playing the house show and local venue circuit, as well as a breakout performance the Art Amiss 9 show. Greg�s vocal style transports him into the realm of Pixies� Black Francis, while the lyrical content has that twinge of Moldy Peaches sarcasm. For Iris� songs the mood is quite different. There�s a touch of the melancholy in her lyrics, and her vocal delivery is reminiscent of the deadpan style of Kim Gordon or a Velvet Underground era Nico. Steady on drums, Randy securely anchors the beat in songs which, for the novice fan, unexpectedly change mood and tempo. Give this EP a good close listen, but see them live the next chance you get! (EJ) - KXUA 88.3


Discography

Bearfish: Available now at hostaband.com
Hosta EP 2009

Photos

Bio

We are a high-energy rock band with three members playing various synthesizers, guitars, and drums (both electronic and acoustic). We are the type of band that ends every show drenched in sweat and wanting to play longer. Carefully crafting our songs, we draw influence from all over the left side of the pop spectrum - concocting our own distinct voice which comes out as a Post-Punk, Electronica, R&B, Garage Rock with Laser sounds. (really there is no name for it, sorry)


Our three members consist of Greg Moore on vocals, synth, samples, and guitar; Michael Jordan on vocals, synth, samples, and guitar; and Randy Kehne on electronic and acoustic drums. Michael and Greg’s vocals bring two different styles to the music with Greg’s seething talky style and Michael’s rich, honey-tone vocals.

Indierockcafe.com selected us for their Band of the Week series where they compared us to Pavement and Weezer. "The more we have listened to their self-titled debut over the past half year, the more it has proven itself as one of the best under-the-radar debuts of the year." In 2009, we were nominated for a Northwest Arkansas Music Award.

From our base in Fayetteville, Arkansas, we have been playing venues in the Midwest since 2008 when we formed. Since then, our sound has become increasingly experimental and electronic. In 2009, we released a self-titled EP which quickly sold out. Our new album "Bearfish" was released in January 2011.