house on a hill
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house on a hill

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This band has not uploaded any videos



"house on a hill-Graceful, Organic, Eerie, and Seamless"

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) - Nada Mucho


House On a Hill is a very talented trio of musicians who have mastered the art of beauty in their music. Each song is masterfully thought out and crafted. The songs are a tight collection of solid indie rock with strong male and female vocals. Some of the songs rely heavily on just being instrumental, while others have well-delivered lyrics. The result is a very soothing album that has just enough energy to keep it entertaining, but not take away from its charm. (KB) - Impact Press

"house on a hill/Ladyslipper"

The emotive guitar work that starts off “Arcadia” really does more to establish a voice for House on a Hill than anytype 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 - Neufutur


Nicest View of the War 2007
Ladyslipper 2004
house on a hill 2002



house on a hill formed as Cedar and Sara eloped as a couple 6 years ago in Seattle. Since then, they broke up that the band remains more committed than ever, so much so that the band moved to NYC together, partially to promote their new record produced by Scott Colburn (Animal Collective and Arcade Fire). Sara escaped from Iran, Cedar was raised in the woods, and Carlos lives in a tree.