Open Hand
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Open Hand

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

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

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"Helmet (w/ Open Hand & Intronaut) 11/05/10 Key Club – West Hollywood, CA"

It took me 15+ years to see my first Helmet concert. I only had to wait 40 days for round two with the criminally underappreciated metal band. A lot has changed in 5 ½ weeks since I watched Helmet destroy Redondo Beach. I was correct in my prediction to Helmet main man Page Hamilton that the 49ers would have won at least one game in that time. However, another major sports feat has gone down and much to my delight it allowed me the opportunity to be booed by the entire Key Club. But before I brag to you about an incredible end to an amazing week, let’s talk about some music.
For a moment I feared not making it into the Sunset Strip venue. I had a spot on the guest list, yet according to the large bouncer outside the door my legal name was not on any list. After showing him my confirmation e-mail and with the promise to buy a drink or two, I was allowed into the venue (thank you). Former Trustkill artist Open Hand had already hit the stage and after making good on my promise I had no problem finding a spot up front. I was introduced to the band from a friend about two years ago who had brought over the demos of what would become the bands most recent record Honey. Within seconds of the music hitting my ears, I was hooked.
With the room 50% full, Open Hand did a fine job of winning over numerous souls consuming their first cocktail of the night. Songs like “You and Me” and “Jaded” got the we are cool, we are Hollywood and it’s too early to stand up front but we will nod our heads because we really fucking respect you treatment from the crowd. However, the highlight of the brief opening set was Open Hand sticking it to the Key Club. Told to get off stage, the bands leader Justin Isham fought for one more song. With an angry stage manager and beefy security on the side of stage ready to pounce upon Open Hand, the band reached backed and bitch slapped everyone inside the Key Club with their self-proclaimed best song “Hard Night.” An epic number that feels much like Hum meets Kyuss while being totally unique – while Open Hand may have managed to get themselves black listed from the Key Club the 200+ folks in attendance were clearly won over on the first Friday in November. - Words/photos by Reverend Justito – concertconfessions.com


"Open Hand - Honey/ Finally back on the scene..."

Posted Tuesday, 27 April 2010 in Reviews, Open HandShare:
Rating: 7

Finally back on the scene with yet another line-up and with their first release since 05’s stunning ‘You And Me’, Justin Isham and co. appear to have lost their focus a little this time around. Perhaps it’s the fact that ‘Honey’ has had so long to gestate; perhaps it’s the dissipation of youthful aggression. Either way, this album is an undeniably mellower proposition than its predecessor and while the distinctive, fuzzed-out guitar tones and beautifully melodic male / female vocals retain the signature Open Hand sound, ill-advised hip-hop collaborations and a largely blissed-out, experimental vibe frustratingly leave little room for rock action.

- Rocksound UK


"Open Hand Returns With Honey/ Open Hand Found Over The Rainbow"

Open Hand Found Over The Rainbow
Reviews > Open Hand
Open Hand Returns With Honey
By Skwerl
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Open Hand has been a tough act to keep track of, but their 2005 album You And Me has always been good enough to hold our attention. We caught a rare glimpse of them out in the wild last month, and now we’re happy to report that they’re back, with a worthy follow-up, entitled Honey.



Officially released on Tuesday of last week, the advance copy we received on CD features the same 17 tracks as the iTunes version, but in a wildly different order. As a fan of the album experience, this was no trivial detail. I’ve been going back and forth over the past week, listening to the tracks in one order, and then the other, all the way through. Ultimately, I settled on the original CD ordering, as listed at the bottom of this review. [Quick note: Looks like iTunes has corrected the track ordering to match the CD. Thanks, Tom.]

One of the reasons it’s hard to keep up with Open Hand is that over ten years, they’ve gone through over 20 different members, many providing vocals. Yet despite that, for the most part, Honey doesn’t sound vastly different than You And Me, with many tracks faithfully following the more aggressive songs such as Pure Concentrated Evil, Tough Girl / Guy, and Take No Action.

There’s an outstanding core of four songs that are among the band’s finest to date. Herrons, The Hand, Son Of A Gun, and So Far are well worth the price of admission, all displaying the band’s key strengths. The songs are structured to leverage force from every change, and the driving rhythms are balanced against backup harmonies, complex lead guitar accents, and the occasional tricky drum fill.

The latter two of these four tracks are the best on the album. Son Of A Gun has a classic quality that channels indie neo-punk into the body of Peter Gabriel’s third album, with synthesized xylophone accents and chorus vocals. So Far is a bit more straightforward, and more representative of the album:


With that tight core of flawlessly crafted indie rock songs covered, there remains thirteen others that are a total grab bag, in terms of both style and quality.

There are some melodic shoegazers. Some groove more effectively than others, particularly Golden and Midnight Sun. Old Hat and Cool are two upbeat tracks that just barely fall short of the strength of the aforementioned four. What Is This? and Risky are a little self-indulgent, sounding like post-rock jam sessions, built around a few of those fancy guitar arpeggios commonly found in the more progressive niches of indie rock. But they’re not unwelcome.

On the other hand, there are a few tracks so outside of the album’s tone and genre, it’s startling.

The Valley is a rap song, featuring Christopher Reid, none other than Kid of Kid N’ Play. And it gets weirder when we get to The Angels, a trashy dance song right off of an Amanda Blank or Ke$ha CD.

Weirder still, Pilgrim is a blues rendition of Karl & Harty’s I’m Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail, written in the 1930s. I’m not sure who performed the version that appears on Honey, but it wasn’t Open Hand. However, that one manages to work where Valley and Angels most unfortunately do not, fitting in nicely despite being the furthest out in left field. Also, Bre, sung in a foreign language I’m not cultured enough to identify, fits better sonically than it would seem to on paper.

None of these deviations come across as tongue-in-cheek or ironic; It’s just all part of an anything-goes mixtape characteristic that Honey has, for better or worse. Also contributing to this feel are brief samples littered throughout the album, from various movies, such as Commando, The Road Warrior, and Parenthood. These sound bites often serve up the songs, such as Larry Buckman’s introduction on Cool.

The bottom line is that there’s a lot packed into 50 minutes across 17 tracks. It can be a bumpy ride at times, but as I said in the outset, a worthy follow-up to the amazing You And Me is definitely there to be found in Honey.

- © Antiquiet


Discography

"Honey" 2010 (Anodyne)
"You and Me" 2005 (Trustkill/ Roadrunner)
"The Dream" 2001
(Trustkill/ Roadrunner)

KROQ '05 "Tough Girl"-radio play

Photos

Bio

Open Hand adds a touch of sweetness to our sour, mundane life with the new album “Honey” from Anodyne Records.
The new material is a beautifully balanced piece creative energy from a unit that just seems to slightly overstep the boundaries of original expectation.
Open Hand is 10 years old, started by Justin Isham in '99 in Los Angeles California. Today, the additions are: Ryan Castagna, Erik Valentine, Clark Gardner, andJeremy Corby- and contributing female vocals. Generally, Open Hand is categorized as your modern alt/rock band- though they carry a sound that reaches for a version of today's grunge, with playful female vocals. If you’re a fan, then you may be aware of the tremendous impact of the Open Hand sound and their ability to elaborate and produce progressive music with a multitude of artists. Your next, or first introduction to the music will include tracks in collaboration with: Christopher “Kid” Reid of Kid n’ Play, and Matt Talbot from the Illinois rock band Hum.
Taking the show on the road is goal #1 and Open Hand is no stranger to that world. While on Trustkill, the 2005 release “You and Me” generated a hefty European fan base touring with major acts such as: My Chemical Romance, Glassjaw, Poison the Well, and CKY.
This time around, Open Hand is ready to take on any stage, reach out to new audiences, and dominate the scene with their new and original take on Southern California rock.