Neon Hymns
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Neon Hymns

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock


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Neon Hymns @ Rockwood Music Hall

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Neon Hymns @ Mercury Lounge

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Neon Hymns @ Hotel Cafe

Los Angeles, California, USA

Los Angeles, California, USA



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. - First Coast News; Jacksonville, FL

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. - The 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

Introducing Neon Hymns, our fourth official Artist of the Week. A friend gave me their recent self-titled EP, and I've been listening to it on repeat for the last week. Their was a sparse amount of personal information on the band on their social media sites, so I wasn't quite sure of what to expect from the LA-based Aussie quartet. They arrived at my house yesterday with their manager, and it was clear from the get go that they all went way back. The banter was snarky but well-intentioned, and I can't remember the last time I enjoyed the company of gentlemen who giggled so much at one another's jokes. We shared a few beers over the course of a few hours, and the band just seemed to get funnier as time wore on. There were the standard jokes made at drummer Rob Ellmore's expense (which he took in stride and dished back readily), but we also veered into some hilarious territory that doesn't always come up in the standard interview. After they performed "Whatever Happened", the first track off of their self-titled EP- they gave me the real scoop on the band immediately following the song. They didn't hold back on the dirt or take themselves too seriously, which was refreshing considering how talented they are. They happily explained how they had nabbed their guitarist James Bowen from another band, their odious past band names, and of course, how they came up with their current moniker. Don't miss lead singer Josef Cruickshank and bassist Simon French's back and forth regarding all of the things they think of when hearing Neon Hymns: the term "a rave in a cathedral" stands out, and oh yes, there's a little house-inspired beat boxing.

Neon Hymns will be performing at The Hotel Cafe on August 5th. The show is 21+, and the cost is $10. The Hotel Cafe is located at 1623 1/2 North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood. Their self-titled EP (pictured below) is now available for purchase on iTunes. For more information on Neon Hymns' upcoming tour dates and releases, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. -

As if we didn't already have enough band names to keep straight in the "animal" theme (see the Young Man post), the "neon" theme keeps getting bigger. In addition to Neon Trees and Neon Indian, there is now a Neon Hymns. Their self-titled, self-released debut EP has a solid rock sound reminiscent of U2 and Kings of Leon. Start with "Whatever Happened," though don't expect it to be as good as the Strokes' song of the same name. - WLUR 91.5

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! -

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 well as being played on the back porch. Watch their laid back backyard performance below...

You can catch Neon Hymns performing at the Hotel Cafe on July 1st at 10 PM with some other local favorites. Don't miss their outstanding live performance and hopefully they'll be hitting the road soon to play at a venue near you! -


Neon Hymns - S/T EP (Layer Cake Records); June 9th, 2011



The eponymous EP from LA based alternative rock band Neon Hymns is a strong and confident debut from a band teeming with youthful aspiration. Unafraid to wear their hearts (and influences) on their sleeves, Neon Hymns play a personal brand of folk infused rock with a true sense of honesty and conviction often lacking among their modern rock peers.

At the soul of Neon Hymns music is a strong sense of mate ship thanks therein part to the bands small town Australian roots. More than just a band, the four members of Neon Hymns are somewhat of a brotherhood. Originally conceived in 2008, what began simply as three old friends sharing an affinity for cheap whisky and Bob Dylan LP's during downtime from touring and recording with their then current musical projects became a full time endeavor seemingly over night. . On one particularly cool winter evening the original trio of front man Josef Cruickshank, bassist Simon French and drummer Rob Ellmore shared a moment of inspiration that would set them on a path none of them could have imagined. Fast forward to the Fall of 2009, now free of other commitments the boys made their way stateside ultimately making camp in the vibrant and artistic community LA’s Silverlake, a far cry from the idyllic seaside suburb they once resided in Sydney’s northern beaches.

Almost immediately after touching down in their new home, the band made a reconnection with child hood friend and guitarist James Bowen. Rounding out the group on lead guitar, James officially joined the group in early 2010. Finally adopting the moniker Neon Hymns later that year, the band was eager to cut their teeth and began to create buzz for them selves within LA’s always pulsing live music scene. This self created buzz eventually lead to a production deal with independent upstart, Layer Cake records. After a number of rousing performances across Southern California, the band entered the studio with production duo Daniel James and Leah Haywood (Sam Sparro, Melee) along with engineer extraordinaire Doug Bohem (Guided By Voices, The Vines) at the helms.

What came about can be heard on the undeniably ambitious six-song self-titled EP released this past June. It showcases a band that can confidently showcase their influences but refusing to fall victim to the fodder of derivatives that so many of their peers do. Littering each of the six tracks are shades of Bowie, Dylan, Springsteen, the Replacements and War-era U2. Lead single and opening track "Whatever Happened" rings out like an anthem for every young man coming terms with the end of their youth and ultimate mortality. So far, the record has seen moderate success all across the country with college radio airplay from Berkeley to NYU and "Whatever Happened" finding its way into the coveted College Music Journal nationwide.

Although comparisons are welcome, make no mistake; Neon Hymns is a band poised to carve out their own place in todays sonic landscape. With a live show that confirms Neon Hymns as band to be seen not just heard, these four young men play with all the youthful potential that separates the good from the great.