Hot Heels Records
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Hot Heels Records

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This is the first EP under the pseudo-band-name Hot Heels Records by Brandon Seyferth (pronounced ‘cypher’), a folk musician with blues roots and a commendably rebellious attitude. He became interested in folk music after arriving in Chicago late in 2004 following years spent wandering the U.S. East coast in a carnival and hitchhiking penniless through China. As a child, he used to scribble on paper before he could write. He was confined to an oxygen tent a lot because of asthma problems and used to read voraciously. His acknowledged musical influences include Nico, Howlin’ Wolf, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Band, Bob Dylan, Kyuss, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Stephen Foster and Woody Guthrie. His eclectic sound incorporates all of these together with his own highly indiviualistic take on the world and a flair for great tunes.  Standout tracks among the seven featured here are Little Sister, Home and the plaintive These Days. Best of all is Hands, a great song with Brandon Seyferth’s passionate vocals complemented by excellent guitar and Dylanesque harmonica work. This is a terrific debut by an artist with a poetic sensibility and real promise for the future. Website: Hot Heels Records
- New Classics


Hot Heels Records continues to impress with their latest release. Focusing their energies on the general ethos of a generation grappling with war, internal violence, technology, and information overload. They do so with surprising humor, a razor sharp wit, and surgical precision. A very solid release as I've come to expect from this band. Personal favorites include the catchy sarcastic track Guns and This Land, a song that I think even a young Bob Dylan would have coveted. - iTunes Reviewer


Hot Heels Records, The Hi-Jacked Generation Band founder and co-singer/songwriter, Brandon Seyferth, when coming up with the group’s name, felt that the name of a band should be “a vehicle for people to find songs�. Considering the fact that their tracks tend to genre-hop, giving a band a name that sounds more like a record label perhaps wasn’t such a bad idea. The writing style has been compared to that of Jack Kerouac, patron writer of the Beat Generation, in that it acts as protagonist to the norms of which many off-beaters feel scrutinized. The music is a bold and compelling mix of great poetry and folk for those that take the road less traveled. A favorite track “Tanker Ships a Burnin� is a tribute for all the meek and tamed spirits caught up in the whims of a restless society. By far, Hot Heels Records is the greatest band to come out of Chicago since the group Morphine in the 80’s. (Similar tastes: Sonic Youth, Bob Dylan) The Focht - Revue Magazine


I knew next to nothing -- okay, nothing -- about Chicago's Hot Heels Records when a friend passed a copy of their latest CD, The Hi-Jacked Generation, my way late last month. And when I saw the PR sticker affixed to the jewel box, proclaiming the band to be "a cross between Sonic Youth, Jack Kerouac and Bob Dylan," I must admit to being dubious at best.

But then, as part of the extended out-of-office experience referred to earlier, I ended up listening to the album repeatedly over the course of a couple of weeks -- and while I'm still not hearing much Thurston Moore in the mix, I must say it's a pretty solid piece of work nonetheless. (Not that The Hi-Jacked Generation would have to evoke Daydream Nation to be such, of course. I'm just sayin'.)

The album's fifth track, "Cold Front Kids," ("I thought we were kids / Toys-R-Us kids / I thought we were kids / Goddamn Toys-R-Us kids") seems to have been garnering the strongest reactions online -- both positive and negative -- but for me, the song that follows it is the disc's defining track. In fact, if Dylan is anywhere in the mix here, it's most apparent in the opening melody of "Guns," which strongly echoes the classic "All Along the Watchtower." And there isn't a single tune on the album that captures the country's current, cringe-inducing mix of despair, paranoia, apathy, and materialism any better:

I want guns
In my home
In my car
Late at night
In the day
I won't let them get away

I want guns
In my bed
Beneath my head
In the dark
Where I'm scared
Is there anybody there?

From there, "Vaulted with Papers" goes to show that if Hot Heels Records is following in anyone's footsteps, it's most likely those of a late-period-Uncle-Tupelo Jay Farrar. "Vaulted" would have fit in quite nicely with a follow-up to Anodyne, had such an album ever been made. And the duration of Hi-Jacked's second half pays off that promise, with "Tanker Ships a Burnin" and "This Land" being two of the album's more effective, evocative snapshots of our particular, peculiar era.

Now, it's not my intention to be Chicago's gateway to the Madison music market, but Hot Heels Records truly is worth a listen -- especially if you lean toward an appreciation for alt-country, Americana, or what used to be called "roots rock." And while I freely admit that Jack Kerouac may not be the one to greet you on your first listen to The Hi-Jacked Generation, I will say this: If you don't find the voice of Woody Guthrie in there somewhere, I'll personally give you your money back.

(Oh, by the way: If you happen to prefer live shows to CDs in judging a band's worth, I see that HHR will be playing Chicago's Phyllis' Musical Inn later this month, and the Tonic Room in late August.) - Madison.com


Half page write-up and review. June issue. This very positive review will be online as soon as the band finds a scanner. - On the Town Magazine


Very rarely does a person or a group of people have ideas that are sufficiently original enough to make a change in the world. HHR's is that sort of band and Brandon Seyferth is that caliber lyricist. Simply stunning. - http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playListId=128522050


Beautiful Tunes with Complete Honesty. Worth every penny. Do yourself a favor and be one of the people who find it first, because in a few years, you'll get to be the one who said you liked his early stuff. Beauty and intensity in every note. - http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playListId=128522050


Hot Heels Records‘ The Hi-jacked Generation is a literate, crackling album of beat folk. Swift bleats from a harmonica punctuate the snappy percussion and acoustic guitar on “Howl.� The aching crawl of “Paloma� recalls the quiet, wide-open spaces of the desert, while the serene “Swim To Shore� chisels at the heartstrings with keening violin and swelling guitar. “Tanker Ships A Burnin’� is a country-inflected stomper with crisp, pretty guitar and dusky vocals. (www.hotheelsrecords.com)
– Patrick Conlan - 2007


Discography

"The Hi-Jacked Generation" (March '07)
"EP" (March '06)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

If you haven't heard the band Hot Heels Records live, you haven't heard them. They'll pump and sweat for three songs, suck the air from the room with a bluesy, jazz-singer-type number and catch you off guard on the next tune by switching up songwriters, by popping up well-executed vocal harmonies or by getting their flamenco groove on. The band is a variety show with one thing that ties everything together: they write whatever kind of song they want to. - J. A. Attenborough (thanks John)

Hot Heels Records, the Chicago-based band is following up a well received Ep with a new full-length album, "The Hi-Jacked Generation." Self-produced and recorded through borrowed microphones, the genre-bending album rolls through influences like a cracked bottle sinking through the current of the Ilinese Lake.

The album has less to do with aircraft hi-jacking, more to do with the stories of the wanderers and hot souls of a generation twitched at by sophists and ambitious advertisers from straight out of the womb. The album as a whole is catchy, literate and honest. It says something about the times in which it was created without becoming self-important. It�s a search to catch the sun�s name, a tempest tossed stone, a shadow on your hand, a goddamned Toys R Us kid.

The band name Hot Heels Records is a locator. "In my mind, a band name is a vehicle for people to find songs, that's the extent of it," says Brandon Seyferth, the band�s founder and main songwriter in the two singer/songwriter, two guitar, one drum kit line-up. "There is a friendship between the members, but also a strong sense of standing on one's own. We live and die on our own voices as individuals. We�ve come together as a group more like a jazz trio might if that trio were into Sonic Youth or Bob Dylan or Schneider tm or whatever else is in our ears at present. I might add too that I view a recording as as much a story as a song." Seyferth is an award-winning poet and a 21st century songwriter who has trav-eled extensively through the mountains and industrial cities of China and along the U.S. East Coast. Sleeping there in the back of carnival trucks on the way to his next move in the next town. During these travels he released songs online, which led him to performing and writing with among others, Jackson Browne and Eric McFadden (George Clinton's P-Funk). On arriving in Chicago he released his first studio quality Ep under the band name Hot Heels Records and was later joined for the current release and follow-up by classically trained percussionist Marty Grossman from Maryland, and Mike Rhee, a fellow singer/songwriter and a reporter for Chicago�s National Public Radio affiliate.