Neon Hymns
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Neon Hymns

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
Alternative Indie

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N/A - Balcony TV LA


Nights on Hollywood Boulevard discouraged the faint of heart with ease. Timed parking, dodgy alleyways and women openly urinating next to cars enforced the idea to venture into this grimy jungle. The brave souls who persevered through such perils reaped the rewards for their valor. Los Angeles based alternative rock band Neon Hymns revealed themselves to be such a treasure during their final residency show for Help Los Angeles at famed The Hotel Cafe on Friday, October 28.

The location itself proved a challenge. The small venue could be located only after venturing into one of the darker alleys along Cahuenga Boulevard. The dimmed lights and loud chatter distinguished The Hotel Cafe more like an English pub than an actual coffee shop. The scattered assortment of people waited, taking small sips of beer or mixed drinks while in conversation. One individual garbed in a strange costume carried beers over to his friends. All of the attention diverted away from the stage as the four members of Neon Hymns set up their equipment.

Their individual styles radiated from their choice of clothing. Guitarist James Bowen looked like he played the show soon after getting out of his day job as a stockbroker or something along those lines with a complete three piece suit, shined black shoes and slicked-back hair. Bassist Simon French displayed more of an Elvis Costello-influenced look, dressed with matching olive blazer and trilby hat. Drummer Rob Ellmore and rhythm guitarist/lead singer Josef Cruickshank favored a more simplistic look, wearing jeans and button-up shirts.

The quartet began their set list exactly at 10 P.M. with the spacey introduction of “Whatever Happened.” An upright piano sat unused at the side of the stage behind the band. Whether it be the size of the stage or the lack of movement from the crowd, Neon Hymns’ stage presence started off slow, gradually building a faster momentum as they played each song. Cruickshank replaced his Rickenbacker electric guitar for a beautiful Gibson single cutaway acoustic guitar for the song “Shadows.” An enthusiastic female fan screamed during the transition.

“We have a fan here,” said the front man with a smile on his face.

The crowd closed in closer to the stage, leaving ample room for the tables in front. Several people tapped their feet on the floor to the rhythm of the songs. Others nodded their heads in a similar succession. Neon Hymns’ fourth song, “Make Me Believe” exemplified the majority of their signature sound with reverberated, delay heavy leads, dynamic vocals, and roaring crescendos similar to that of Oasis and Radiohead. The intensity of their stage performance topped the beauty of the song. Bowen strummed his guitar with such force that it was a miracle his strings stayed on his Fender Telecaster while Cruickshank moved in such a way that would sooth and seduce at the same time.

Neon Hymns’ performance ended with the song “Shotgun Bible,” and what a way to finish both their set list and their residency. The song drew away from the induction of ambiance and calm and more for a fast paced rock song that had people moving. A drunk couple danced in a silly way, caring little for people who surrounded them. Guitarist Bowen rubbed his palms against his guitar as the last chord rung out, creating as much noise as he could make.

Catch Neon Hymns’ self-titled EP on iTunes and in a city near you - OC Music Magazine


Neon Hymns has momentum; the LA-based band (with Australian roots) is finishing up their month-long residency at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe, they're putting plans together to shoot their very first music video, and their single "Whatever Happened" is being played on more than 400 college radio stations across the country. Oh yeah, they're also drawing comparisons to U2 and Kings of Leon.

Last night I watched Neon Hymns perform at the Hotel Cafe, and I was blown away. Hotel Cafe is a very intimate setting for an alternative rock band, but the acoustics work perfectly for a band like Neon Hymns. They opened their set with "Whatever Happened," the single off of their six-song self-titled EP; talk about coming out of the gate running. I looked around and people in the crowd (a younger crowd, mostly in their 20s and 30s) stopped talking to each other and all eyes were directed at the stage. The show started on a high note; the uptempo song has an amazing bass line (provided by bassist Simon French) that definitely stands out. The instrumentals gelled as guitarist James Bowen and drummer Rob Ellmore worked off of each other to build the energy during the song. Lead singer Josef Cruickshank has an incredible voice; once you hear it you quickly pick up on a combination of Bono (U2) and Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon). Cruickshank takes the lead right away, establishing a high energy that his fellow band members replicate. "Whatever Happened" is catchy and polished; there's no wonder why it's starting to get airplay on commercial radio stations.

After a high-energy start, the band continued its set with "Valentine," keeping the energy up and demonstrating a real knack for solid harmonies. At this point I looked over at my friend Steve and we didn't have to say anything because we were both thinking the same thing, "this band is really, really good." Both Bowen and French add great backing vocals to Cruickshank's verses, creating a smooth, powerful sound. "Valentine" changes pace throughout, really drawing the audience in because it isn't repetitive.

Neon Hymns then played a new song called "Company of Fools," which offered some insight to the band's lyrical habits. Cruickshank writes songs from his own personal life and his latest track comes right out of a recent experience that had a major impact on his life. Cruickshank added an acoustic guitar to the mix, which sounded great with the electric guitar and electric bass. Cruickshank sings with a lot of emotion and it captures the audience's attention; everyone was silent and all eyes were on the stage during the song.

They followed up "Company of Fools" with another new song (can't remember the name, but it was really catchy too), and then played "Somebody," which seemed to be one of the band's favorite songs to perform. Neon Hymns has a lot of fun on stage, and that came across during "Somebody." Cruickshank is genuine in his performance; he gets caught up in the song, but not in a bad way. I didn't feel like he was ignoring the audience, actually his emotion grabbed the audience's attention.

After almost an hour of a high-energy performance, Neon Hymns kicked it up a notch. They finished off their set with "Shotgun Bible," and they nailed it. I've been listening to the studio version for a while now, but it doesn't do the song justice. When Neon Hymns performed it live, the entire audience was really getting into it. They made quite an impression on the audience with their final song. At this point, heads were bobbing, feet were tapping and people were singing along to the chorus; it was a great song choice to end an unbelievable set. The hour went by too quickly... I can't wait go back again next week.

After the show I introduced myself to Cruickshank and we went outside of the venue to talk about his music. He seemed pleased with the band's set and revealed to me that he was singing with bronchitis (you never would have guessed). We talked about playing at the Hotel Cafe, the band's musical influences, their upcoming music video, and the future of Neon Hymns. - Just Off Mainstream


So quite a funny story but I’m glad it happened because it exposed me to a GREAT band. My friends and I were at a restaurant and we were all flirting with the waitress as the beers were being poured throughout the day. She invited us to Hotel Cafe to see her friend’s band play (assuming we wouldn’t actually show) so we thought it would be funny if we actually came. WOW I am glad we did. Putting a refreshing sound to an all too familiar genre, Neon Hymns are about to make their mark. Signed with Layer Cake Records, the four tet hail from Syndney -London and landed in Silverlake. These boys put on one HELL of a show. Decked out in suits from an earlier (and better) time, Josef, Simon, Rob and James poured their hearts out for every song. Their folk infused rock instrumentation, melodies and harmonies flowed wonderfully with Josef’s passionate vocals. I’ve never seen a band with so much energy and such a great response from the crowd. Granted there were a lot of rowdy Aussies in the packed house, but most of them were screaming every lyric too. To be honest I don’t think the EP does any justice to their live show, but I immediately picked it up afterwards. This happens to be the first physical cd I’ve bought in probably 6 years. You can check out all their songs below and even get the EP for free by signing up on their WEBSITE. However, you HAVE to see them live so you should sign up to keep updated. There is no reason these guys shouldn’t be on the radio-so we they do get there, just remember we we’re on it! - OnThatNewHit.com


Neon Hymns found their beginnings in the summer of 2007 when four long time friends came together with an idea to create a sound that could reach out far beyond the garages and halls of their idyllic but small Australian beach side community. Four years after getting together the band have finally released their self-titled debut EP and their goal of reaching out beyond their native Australia seems to be assured. The twenty seven minute, six song record is an epic sweeping pop affair that so coolly embraces their inner Coldplay while channeling the folk influences that they were raised on that success is only around the corner.

The songs that make up Neon Hymns are absolutely massive and reach so far heavenwards they might just get there. The six songs here are born with wings and soar to heights of emotion that would make Chris Martin blush. Emotion and expansiveness aside, the band still manage to cram enough pop sensibility in each song to make them stupendously simple to get attached to and they will attach themselves. With gargantuan hooks, passionate vocals and guitar riffs that seem to glisten with sunshine, this is the kind of records girls fall in love to and guys get jealous of and one gets the feeling that's exactly what Neon Hymns wants.

Neon Hymns is an awesome EP that's pretty much the definition of epic pop. The band and record are so good that Coldplay should watch themselves when they travel to Australia...because these guys are hot on their heels. - The POP! Stereo


Neon Hymns may be one of the hottest new bands to hit the LA music scene, but they're far from local. The band, comprised of James Bowen, Josef Cruickshank, Simon French and Rob Ellmore, come from all corners of the globe including London and Sydney and form their global hub in Los Angeles.

After performing for packed crowds at LA venues including the Whiskey, the Roxy and the Silverlake Lounge, the band released their debut EP In Stereo on June 1st. Their folk rock sound is Kings of Leon meets Mumford and Sons with passionate vocals and some unexpected instrumentation. 'Shotgun Bible' is the sure fire hit of the EP and sounds just as good performed live as on the CD...as well as being played on the back porch. Watch their laid back backyard performance below... - Buzznet


The alt-rock of L.A.-based Neon Hymns has a lot in common with locals Voxhaul Broadcast — prickly guitars, a sprinkling of soul and enough anthemic arch to make you think those U2 records are never more than arm’s-length away. The quartet is the creative marriage of Australians Josef Cruickshank, Simon French, Rob Ellmore and James Bowen, who convened in Silver Lake in 2009 and set to work on a self-titled EP, released last year via Layer Cake Records. The foursome is currently releasing a download a month via their website, and the latest song “Lose Your Lover” is more down-tempo than last month’s more aggressive “Glass on the Wall,” or “Whatever Happened,” the single from the EP. Neon Hymns play safely and confidently within the radio-rock idioms of the past 20 years, but at least they’re comfortable in their own skin. - Buzzbands LA


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Neon Hymns found their start like many bands before them. That all too familiar story of small town boys from working class homes trying to break free from the trappings that go along with life growing up in a monotonous and mundane suburban landscape. The kind of places where cliche's become realities and dreams of making a run for it are propelled by every young man's reckless descent into youthful complacency. But for the four friend that make up Neon Hymns, dreams were not enough. It's clear that they're bound together by something more than just music.

Neon Hymns is a brotherhood.

Having made the move to Los Angeles from Sydney, AU in the Fall of 2009, the band consisting of Josef Cruickshank (Vocals), Simon French (Bass), Rob Ellmore (Drums) & James Bowen (Guitar) left no time for jet lag. The quartet immediately began playing all across southern California and putting dozens of shows under their collective belt before even having a record out! Firmly establishing themselves as one of LA's best new live acts, the band released their first self titled EP in July 2011. Mixed and engineered by Doug Boehm (GIRLS, Dr. Dog), lead single "Whatever Happened" was well received by College radio stations, creating a buzz resounding from Berkley to NYU! As it grew, the band took to the road, hitting major cities all across the US.

This past year has seen Neon Hymns bring their much lauded live show to capacity crowds in New York, San Francisco and Seattle while sharing the stage with the likes of Electric Guest (Downtown) and fellow countrymen Husky (Sub-Pop). After releasing a handful of self released digital singles exclusively through their website, Neon Hymns entered the studio in September 2012 with grammy nominated whiz kid Jesse Rogg (Sam Sparro, OK Go) to begin pre-production on their next EP set to surface sometime in early 2013. Citing influences from the Replacements to Joy Division, the Smiths and David Bowie, Neon Hymns have only just begun to hit their stride. Neon Hymns are not a band afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves and while comparisons are welcome, Neon Hymns are a band driven to carve out their own place in todays modern soundscape.

Neon Hymns play like four young men with everything to prove, on a search for the kind of salvation that will never be found in the aisle of a church pew. Neon Hymns is here to take you to church.