house on a hill
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house on a hill

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The best kept secret in music


"Neufutur Magazine"

The emotive guitar work that starts off 'Arcadia" really does more to establish a voice for House on a Hill than any type of melodramatic, over the top type of warbling could do for a comparable emo band. The band seems to be influenced heavily by the mid to late nineties emo acts, taking cues from acts like Jets to Brazil and the Appleseed Cast. Nowhere on 'Ladyslipper" does the band seem to be resting on the names of their influences; this ambitious work is really their own baby through and through, even if an individual can hear hints of other acts.

While one ay say that it is ambitious to start off a disc with a five minute plus track (the aforementioned 'Arcadia"), House on a Hill keeps throwing different pitches at the listener to not allow a creeping sense of repeat to pervade a listener's senses early. The slightly-sixty type of sound that is dominating during 'Gypsy" really meshes well a different-sounding, innovative guitar track that is really the second focus of the track. House on a Hill really strike it big with the interplay of their instrumentation on this disc, this is the stuff that individuals should call labyrinthine, if not downright inspired. The same disregard for insipid and uninspired rock continues with 'Youtomeismetoyou", a track that has so many things going on in its four-minute runtime that listeners could conceivably listen to just this track on repeat for ten times and still not get all of what House on a Hill is doing here.

Couple that with an extroverted sound for the track that practically anyone can pick up and like, and House on a Hill has another unqualified hit. If House on a Hill never makes it big, I have no doubt that the complexity of their arrangements on 'Ladyslipper" will wow enough individuals critically to be considered a classic. The dominant vocals that move in and out of the limelight during 'Playing a Part" really give the track an suave coolness that it rides to its inevitable conclusion a few short minutes later. Each of the songs on 'Ladyslidder' bring something slightly new to the equation that is House on a Hill; while the band could succeed in today';s current single-heavy radio market, one ought listen to this entire disc to full get an appreciation for the band. Never boring, House on a Hill comes out of nowhere to rock, inspire, and otherwise titillate their listeners.

Top Tracks: G.A.N., Arcadia

Rating: 7.0/10


-James McQuiston
Editor, NeuFutur and InterStitial Magazines
ph:740.475.8979 <>

NeuFutur Magazine
C/O James McQuiston
650 Morris Road
Apartment #6
Kent, OH 44243.

- neufutur magazine


Post-rockers House on a Hill are likely to become the linebackers
of the genre. They’re aggressive and quick as well as being some of the strongest innovators on the field. Buttermilk Records is lucky to call them their own. This trio fills each song with a bevy of sonic manipulations and huge textures that seem to paint their way from the speaker into your inner ear. Perfect percussion that’s light fare greets each chorus and verse with a mighty handshake of snare and
cymbal. The guitars and bass co-exist crafting melodies out of barren soundscapes while the vocals mime bands you’ve always been told to like by the most prestigious music aficionados.


"House On A Hill - Ladyslipper (2005) Buttermilk Records"

In a time where the underground is sometimes more mainstream than the mainstream itself it’s nice to see an indie group with their head properly mounted upon their shoulders. 'Ladyslipper,' the newest effort from the melodic-rock trio House On A Hill is to me, a diamond in the rough. The indie genre in general is flooded with stereotypical artists that seem to be stuck in an endless loop of unoriginality and rushed ideas that leave their music predictable and bland at best. Upon my first listen of this record I was amazed by the pure talent of these artists behind their instruments, the well thought out lines, melodic breakdowns, and how well they fit with the laid back vocal styles of these artists, but that was upon first listen. After getting the outlook of what was before me I then began to get into the meat of the record, the lyrical genius of tracks carefully accented by talented, well placed instrumental interludes that are comparable to an intermission at the theater that rivals the show itself. This record is amazing from start to finish and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys listening to talented musicians at work. This records release date is still to be announced but if you’re interested in picking it up check out the Buttermilk Records website for updates on its release

- E-Punk zine

"House on a Hill - Graceful, Organic, Eerie, and Seamless"

Confessions first: I live with two of the members of House on a Hill and played a little organ on their new record. I mention this by way of apology, because ordinarily I would disqualify myself from writing about any band I'm that close to. However, Ladyslipper is not an ordinary record, and House on a Hill is not an ordinary band.

Here you have, in still-fledgeling form, one of the most interesting and cohesive three-piece Seattle bands to come down the pike this decade. The central figure is Sara Kermanshahi, a young woman of mixed Iranian and Pakistani descent who has created a guitar style that sounds a bit like Elliot Smith in a Moroccan trance, and a vocal style that defies any easy description. She croons, murmurs, threatens and seduces the listener with a whirlwind force of personality and a mysterious sorrow that will doubtless soon catapult her into the ranks of the great indie rock chanteuses.

The low end is provided by her longtime beau Cedar Apfell, an inventive player who counterpoints Kermanshahi's filigrees with an aggressively jaunty bass style that travels all over the scale without ever leaving the pocket. Apfell has his own compositions, and the two trade lyrics in an uneasy alliance that gives HoaH the same lovelorn appeal as Quasi, Mates of State, or (dare I say) Fleetwood Mac.

Holding it all down is Carlos Moncada, a local boy whose drumming is distinguished primarily by its facile, breezy execution. He may not techincally have come out of the womb drumming, but he does handle drumsticks like an ancient Japanese handles the chopsticks: it's second nature. He flows like a jazz drummer raised on Sabbath, which I guess he kind of is.

OK, so all three musicians are great players. So are all three members of Rush. It means nothing. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the recording, and Ladyslipper delivers. The band's first studio album is graceful, organic, eerie, and seamless. Rather than just present the songs, the band has stretched its collective imagination to create a dynamic soundcape that alternately soothes and challenges. The songs bleed into one another, fade to black and back, or drop out into pools of echoey sound from which they are reborn as something strange, maybe twisted, but undeniably new. In their reflective moods, they recall the lazy intricacies of Polvo or The For Carnation, but when they pour on the gleeful thunder, House on a Hill could be riding shotgun with PJ Harvey or Unwound.

New is, in fact, the operative word. In an American bandscape choking on a slew of genre cliche-slingers and wannabe hitmakers, groups like House on a Hill are the ones who deserve your time and your concert-going dollar. They are not cheap, they are not simple, they do not compromise, and for the record, I was into them before you were. - (7/10)

Christian K. - Nadamucho


house on a hill /self-titled -2002, self-released
Layslipper-2005, Buttermilk Records


Feeling a bit camera shy


If you’re walking along a row of Seattle storefronts and happen to hear a few notes from a familiar song plucked by a completely crush worthy member of the opposite sex, how would you make your move? If you’re Sara Kermanshahi, front-maiden of House on a Hill, you walk right up to that 18 year-old son-of-a-gun, swipe his guitar and shred out one of your own. Cedar Apffel, and his guitar, took a shine to Sara eight years ago and they’ve been making music together ever since.

The long time couple played in First Last Chance in 2001 and, like most first bands, used the experience to build their chops, find their musical direction, and learn the industry basics. As the first taste wore off Cedar and Sara invited high school friend and Cornish College of the Arts jazz drummer, Carlos Moncada, to be the final brick in building House on a Hill. Their first self-titled album generated enough attention in the Seattle area to earn consistent rotation on KEXP, and receive album of the week honors while being on the Top 50 best sellers list at Easy Street Records.

House on a Hill’s wide audience appeal stems from their panoramic scope as musicians and their global interests as humans. The trio has provided the score for plays like Call In the Family, Fringe the Puyallup, and Psycho Beach Party at small independent playhouses in Seattle, all while booking and playing club shows throughout the northwest. Away from stage and studio, House on a Hill keep things interesting by setting up camp on the path least traveled.

Cedar runs his own window cleaning business and spends day after day admiring views of the evergreen state from the windows of other people’s homes. For their last west coast tour Cedar and Sara wanted to experience each stop in full effect by unhooking their bikes from the back of their van and going on frequent rides to explore their surroundings. Sara is also fluent in Farsi, which comes in handy for visiting family members in Iran. Carlos spends his days with a birds eye view of the Pacific Northwest as professional tree climber and arborist. With so many varying perspectives at their disposal it’s no wonder that House on a Hill become your trustworthy guides to their elevated musical perception.

House on a Hill’s, Ladyslipper, contains velvety guitars, sparse, pouty strings, and seductive vocals that cascade over tender drumming. Ladyslipper shivers through shy sized instrumental breaks and bridges to allow you plenty of time to digest their dynamic soundscapes. House on a Hill's Ladyslipper, will be released March 28th 2006 on Buttermilk Records.