Red Hill City
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Red Hill City

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by Andi Agnew
April 23, 2008

When I first encountered Red Hill City in January 2007, their sound had drastically evolved from post-punk to a more organic indie rock. The band was young, yet they had already learned the valuable lesson that keeping your sound fresh is the best way not to be left behind.

At that time, Red Hill City was putting together an album with this newer sound, but the band ran into obstacles along the way (such as deciding which songs to keep and which to shelve for a later time), which delayed the production process. The group had a strong, young, local fan base, despite the fact that most of the band members had already graduated from high school. Keyboardist Ben McCain and drummer Josh Myers both graduated in 2003, guitarist/vocalist Tyler King in 2004, and bassist Gant O’Brien and guitarist Joseph Regan entered the “real world” in 2006. The guys attended various colleges around the state over the last year, which also contributed to the length of the album-making process.

A year later, the fruits of their labor are finally ready to be harvested. Red Hill City’s evolution and maturity is apparent on “This Time Next Year.” The new album is polished and refined, boasting lush instrumentation, catchy hooks and clever lyrics. The first lines of the opening track immediately reference something familiar to Jacksonians: “The Fondren District turns its lights on/as the sun goes down. …” Toy-soldier drumming drives the song along as it builds with intensity and optimism.

Red Hill City displays versatility while remaining firmly entrenched in the “indie” genre. “The Engineers” is a high-energy track with a dance-pop beat reminiscent of VHS or Beta, while the title track is a sweet, Elliott Smith-influenced song about holding on for better times ahead.“This Time Next Year” is a simple, single verse that grows into a rising chorus of “oohs,” and “ahhs.” The song seems to be sung from one friend to another, but it could also be that the singer is looking back at himself in the past, just as many of us wish we could go back in time and tell ourselves that what seems so bad right now won’t even be a big deal in a year’s time.

King’s voice takes on shades of The Cure’s Robert Smith, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock and even Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, depending on the song. But whatever he is singing, it does seem to be genuine and not just the sound of someone trying his best to be someone he’s not. And the instrumentation is just as authentic. There is the requisite guitar and drums, of course, but Red Hill City is not afraid to add a little ’80s synth or some bells and vibraphone to make a well-rounded, memorable sound.

“June 2” is a live track from a performance at Fenian’s, complete with the tinkling of glasses, laughter and general crowd noise. Halfway through the song, when a waitress clearly asks a table of patrons, “Are y’all doing all right? Y’all need anything?” one has to wonder if the band left that in on purpose. Even if it is just a clever coincidence, the inclusion of a live track serves as proof that the band’s live performances are just as interesting and melodious as their studio counterparts, and a little crowd noise never hurt anything.

“This Time Next Year” will release April 22, with parties at The Thirsty Hippo in Hattiesburg April 22, the State Theater in Starkville April 23, and Swell-O-Venue in Jackson April 25. Visit the band’s Web site at Red Hill City. - Jackson Free Press


Who are they?: Brandon band Red Hill City was formed in 2004 by Tyler King (vocals/guitar), Josh Myers (drums) and Ben McCain (keyboards). The three had been in a punk band called Exit 54 and wanted to go in a more pop-oriented direction.

With the addition of Joseph Regan (guitar) and Gant O'Brien (bass), the pieces were in place, and after a year of playing shows and writing songs, the band issued its debut EP Ill Attempts in early 2006.

The EP was a fine debut that recalled the punky pop of Jimmy Eat World, but the band wasn't through evolving and expanding its sound.

After another year of playing shows and honing their musical chops, the members began work on their full-length debut last spring at Clinton's Cool Water Studios.

Now a year later, Red Hill City has emerged with This Time Next Year, a lush indie pop record that represents a quantum leap in the band's musical maturation.

With 11 tracks spanning 57 minutes, each song is an epic mini-opus, with layers of guitars, vocal harmonies and eclectic instrumentation like xylophones. The expansive, widescreen sound of the record calls to mind acts like Radiohead and Death Cab for Cutie and tracks like The Fondren District ( a love letter to Jackson's arts community), Belfry and And We Will Turn to Ashes are proof-positive of the band's songwriting talent.

Recently, Red Hill City won a battle of the bands at the University of Mississippi and has signed with an L.A.-based publishing company as well as with TAXI, a prominent independent A&R company that is shopping its music to labels. - The Clarion Ledger


Originally from Brandon but now based out of Hattiesburg, Red Hill City is currently playing shows in Mississippi to promote their new album, This Time Next Year.

After playing at the Thirsty Hippo Tuesday in Hattiesburg, Red Hill City moved on to Starkville for a show at the State Theatre, enlisting the help of local bands Young Agent Jones and Soul Gravy.

Red Hill City features Tyler King on guitar and vocals, Josh Myers on drums and percussion, Joseph Regan on lead guitar, bassist Grant O'Brien and Ben McCain on keyboard and synthesizer. McCain also serves as the band's utility man, playing accordion, bells and marimba.

McCain said seeing a concert by cerebral folk-pop band The Decemberists is the reason for the addition of the accordion to their ensemble.

The band's musical influences range from The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and The Appleseed Cast.

"We take a lot from our influences, and it kind of gets all combined and creates something new," Regan said.

Red Hill City formed late in 2004 around the core of King, Myers and McCain. They met in Brandon while in various praise bands. McCain said he remembers Myers practicing while they were neighbors. King and Myers met through a home-school organization. Regan and O'Brien joined in early 2005.

After this week Myers said the band will focus on distribution and moving their music to the national level.

"This is the big week," Myers said referring to the Band's CD release show.

This Time is Red Hill City's first full-length album, composed of 11 tracks which the memebers recorded at Cool Waters Studio in Clinton, the same place the band recorded its 2006 EP, Ill Attempts. The band meembers said they just finished mastering, designing and packaging This Time last week.

Work began on the songs that would become This Time shortly after recording Ill Attempts.

On the album, their musical influences become apparent. The track "The Fondren District" is reminiscent of The Decemberists with shades of Death Cab, while "The Engineers" shows a side of Modest Mouse. Also, there is a feel of British rockers Muse in some of their songs, especially live.

King's voice sometimes has a certain broken vulnerability, not unlike Bright Eyes' singer Connor Oberst, which fits well with Red Hill City's sound.

King jokingly credits former Creed lead singer Scott Stapp as a major influence on his singing.

He credits his parents, who were both singers, as the major contributors to his singing style. He is a big fan of Iron & Wine and Simon & Garfunkel.

Red Hill City's shows are both energetic and fun. Between songs, after a near spill while jumping around pumping up the crowd, Reagan then said, "Did you see that? That was the closest I've ever come to falling during a show."

"The Fondren District," a crowd favorite, features O'Brien and McCain both shedding their respective instruments to play tandem on a marching bass drum, while McCain also plays kazoo.

Starting off with Death Cab-like drums, another song, "Have We Ghosts Here?" is underscored by King's vocals as the song builds. The song also features McCain with a solo on xylophone.

Myers said in addition to the band's musical performances, it tries to support other artists while it plays. "We're definitely trying to keep the arts involved in what we're doing," Myers said, "We're trying to implement as many visual arts as we can."

At the band's next show, in Swellvenue, Tristan Barlow, an artist from Brandon will interpret the energy of the band and the crowd by painting on blank canvases during the concert. They will also play short films in between bands.

After the show, King said, "The Starkville crowd is always good. We have a good time every time we come up here."

Jason Jones of Young Agent Jones, spoke highly of the band, describing Red Hill City as a "great bunch of guys doing the best electro-esque pop rock in the Southeast."

While the crowd was very receptive and crowd size was respectable, concertgoer Kristen Buntin said she wished more people knew about bands like Red Hill City.

"It's a shame that Starkville people don't come to support more bands that are this good," Buntin said.

This Time Next Year will soon be available online through the band's Myspace or through iTunes.
- The Reflector


Date: April 18, 2008

Subject: Red Hill City will perform at a CD Release Party on April 22 at The Thirsty Hippo

Jackson, MS - Apollo Music Group recording artists, Red Hill City, will perform at a CD Release Show at 9 pm on Tuesday, April 22 at The Thirsty Hippo in Hattiesburg. The band’s new CD ‘This Time Next Year’, contains 11 original songs in the Alternative Rock music genre and range from soothing acoustic harmonies to driving rock.

One cut, Fondren District, is about a relationship that ends on the streets of the historical, cultural district in Jackson by that name where art thrives. The title track, the folksy ‘This Time Next Year’, offers soothing harmonies backed by acoustic melodies and presents an entertaining throw-back to the flower children of the ‘70s and the healing power of time.

The driving beat of ‘The Engineers’ explodes with riffs reminiscent of a sci-fi world, while the melodious ‘Belfry’ tells the story of star-crossed lovers who declare their forbidden love from a belfry tower to their families in the churchyard below. ‘Bottled Bliss’ is a haunting call to save the world from the fabricated excesses of consumerism. ‘And We Will Turn to Ashes’ contrasts the duality of the struggles of everyday life and faith in the hereafter with a soliloquy of melodious harmonies replaced by driving rock riffs of reality.

Other tracks included on the CD are ‘Caster Car, “June 2nd’, ‘Sunrise Coming’ and ‘Bird’s Eye View of an Autumn Fairground’. All in all, the CD showcases the band’s versatility, depth and artistry with the unbelievable musical talent of these five performers. Tyler King’s vocals are mesmerizing.

TAXI, the worlds’ leading Artist &Repertoire company, raved about the album, stating that the “Lyrical imagery is unique, melodies soar, very tight performances…brilliant!” They are definitely a band to watch and one whose performance will remind you of why you love music. It takes us places we have all been and provides an artistic salve for the pains and joys of life.

Red Hill City formed in the latter months of 2004 when Tyler King (vocals and guitar), Josh Myers (drums) and Ben McCain (keyboard) decided to step away from their earlier punk rock roots and venture into a more alternative/modern rock sound. With the addition of Joseph Regan on guitar and Gant O'Brien on bass in early 2005 they found that a broad range of musical influences and experimental sounds would catapult their new concepts to another level.

Red Hill City released their debut CD "Ill Attempts" in 2006. While it served as an outlet to the young groups’ newly found vision, it did not satisfy their experimental aspirations.

Work on their latest CD ‘This Time Next Year’ began in the Spring of 2007. It was during this project that they were able to begin designing and crafting their new sound. The album was tracked and mixed at Cool Water Studio with Dan Helmintoller and mastered with Bob Katz. Artwork for the CD was created by Clay Hardwick.

Additional CD Release Shows are scheduled for Wednesday, April 23 at State Theater in Starkville and Friday, April 25 at Swell-O-Venue in Jackson.

For more information, please contact:
Jennifer West
MarketOne Media, LLC
www.marketonemedia.com - Jennifer West MarketOne Media, LLC


Discography

©2006 "Ill Attempts"

©2008 "This Time Next Year"

Red Hill City's "This Time Next Year"

Jackson, MS - Apollo Music Group recording artists, Red Hill City, release their new CD ‘This Time Next Year’, which contains 11 original songs in the Alternative Rock music genre and range from soothing acoustic harmonies to driving rock.

One cut, Fondren District, is about a relationship that ends on the streets of the historical, cultural district in Jackson by that name where art thrives. The title track, the folksy ‘This Time Next Year’, offers soothing harmonies backed by acoustic melodies and presents an entertaining throw-back to the flower children of the ‘70s and the healing power of time.

The driving beat of ‘The Engineers’ explodes with riffs reminiscent of a sci-fi world, while the melodious ‘Belfry’ tells the story of star-crossed lovers who declare their forbidden love from a belfry tower to their families in the churchyard below. ‘Bottled Bliss’ is a haunting call to save the world from the fabricated excesses of consumerism. ‘And We Will Turn to Ashes’ contrasts the duality of the struggles of everyday life and faith in the hereafter with a soliloquy of melodious harmonies replaced by driving rock riffs of reality.

Other tracks included on the CD are ‘Caster Car, “June 2nd’, ‘Sunrise Coming’ and ‘Bird’s Eye View of an Autumn Fairground’. All in all, the CD showcases the band’s versatility, depth and artistry with the unbelievable musical talent of these five performers. Tyler King’s vocals are mesmerizing.

TAXI, the worlds’ leading Artist &Repertoire company, raved about the album, stating that the “Lyrical imagery is unique, melodies soar, very tight performances…brilliant!” They are definitely a band to watch and one whose performance will remind you of why you love music. It takes us places we have all been and provides an artistic salve for the pains and joys of life.

Red Hill City formed in the latter months of 2004 when Tyler King (vocals and guitar), Josh Myers (drums) and Ben McCain (keyboard) decided to step away from their earlier punk rock roots and venture into a more alternative/modern rock sound. With the addition of Joseph Regan on guitar and Gant O'Brien on bass in early 2005 they found that a broad range of musical influences and experimental sounds would catapult their new concepts to another level.

Red Hill City released their debut CD "Ill Attempts" in 2006. While it served as an outlet to the young groups’ newly found vision, it did not satisfy their experimental aspirations.

Work on their latest CD ‘This Time Next Year’ began in the Spring of 2007. It was during this project that they were able to begin designing and crafting their new sound. The album was tracked and mixed at Cool Water Studio with Dan Helmintoller and mastered with Bob Katz. Artwork for the CD was created by Clay Hardwick.

- Jennifer West
MarketOne Media, LLC

Photos

Bio

Red Hill City formed in the latter months of 2004 when Tyler King, Josh Myers and Ben McCain decided to step away from their earlier punk rock roots and venture into a more alternative/modern rock sound. With the addition of Joseph Regan and Gant O'Brien in early 2005 they found a broad range of musical influences and experimental sounds would catapult their new concepts to another level.

In early 2006 after a year of ceaseless writing Red Hill City released their first EP "Ill Attempts". This EP would serve as an outlet to the young groups newly found vision, but would not satisfy their experimental aspirations. Although each member had an extensive college schedule to abide by, they began performing a profusion of shows which spanned the southern region. This gave the group a taste of the road and the satisfaction of hearing a few beloved clapping hands, for which they are thankful to this day.

After a year of schooling, performing and writing the band re-entered the studio with a fresh perspective and an overabundance of new material. In spring 2007 Red Hill City commenced the making of their second project. Throughout the production of this project they were able to begin exploring a more experimental interpretation of their new sound, leaving spring 2008 with a new album and a breath of fresh air for fans everywhere.

Since their sophmore debut, Red Hill City has signed with several L.A. based publishing companies such as Songs With Vision and Urband and Lazar Publishing.