Welcome to the Cinema
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Reviewed by: Undue Noise (12/15/08)
Welcome to the Cinema - Blocks and Hills
Record Label: None
Release Date: August 26, 2008

From time to time, you find a band that manages to make you want to do something; a band that brings the realization that there is something missing in your world. The first time I listened to Bright Eyes, I wanted to get up and do something with my life. Jimmy Eat World made me want to go start a band. Say Anything made me want to leave my shitty town.

Welcome To The Cinema made me want to dance.

While not as a substantial claim or feat as the rest, it is what South Dakota band Welcome To The Cinema do best. With all of the songs on this album, Blocks and Hills, under or around two to three minutes, each one is highly paced, frenzied almost, bringing the entire album neatly under the 30-minute mark, each track showing a subtle change from the norm.

The opening track, “Weekend at the Hampton,” sounds like something The Strokes would have played during their early years. A catchy guitar riff repeats throughout the majority of the song, creating a rhythmic backing to front man Darin Dahlmeier’s atypically delivered vocals. Highlight of the album, “Shark vs. Boat,” shows the band covering new territory with a frenetic rock song that is very heavy on bass and guitar, contrasting greatly with the jaunty bounce and swagger of “Ireland.”

The weak points of the album seem to come from the lower tempo songs. “Holy Ghost” is a slow tempo, repetitive track that seems to drag on after the first minute, despite some of the finer lyrics on the album, and “The Sound of Thinking” remains dull until the chorus kicks in, although praise is due for the band through trying to add diversity to a mainly high speed album. Album closer “Must Be Love” provides a seemingly Prozac-fueled, off-beat stomp, working as a wonderful closing track to an engaging album.

The music is tight, filled with percussive beats and meticulously placed keyboards and guitars, making the album flow seamlessly. Dahlmeier’s agitated vocal delivery may polarize some listeners and is an acquired taste, but they work perfectly on nearly every song. The lyrics, while not poetic or wholly eloquent, are remembered almost instantly and are useful devices for telling the stories of the band, be it looking for love in Ireland or an all-healing potion only found in the ocean (which, surprisingly, works within the song's context).

An album filled with indie sensibilities, guitar ostinatos, and pulsing drums, Blocks And Hills combines all three in a fun, captivating way, providing a glimpse into the potential of Welcome To The Cinema. If you're up for dancing and chanting, this is the album for you.

Recommended if You Like uptempo Vampire Weekend; indie pop; The Strokes

myspace.com/welcometothecinema
- http://absolutepunk.net


On Welcome to the Cinema's first full-length release, the burgeoning talent of these South Dakotans spills out in abundance. They mix rousing indie rock with an occasional spacey synth and brief moments of twee sprinkled in for good measure. Upon first listens to Blocks and Hills, my ears were treated to a shiny little breakthrough. From its first moments of Strokes-infused frenetic rock, the album continues on as a sharply produced, refreshing work of standout proficiency. With night-and-day vocals that go from a glorious, angsty whine to a charmingly sweet sing-song, there is a decidedly undecided vibe from this band. The record itself is multifaceted in scope and vision, yet it still manages to feel put-together and seamless. I can already sense great things from these guys, but first things first—I can't wait to see them play. Also on tap are hometown favorites the Hopefuls, who are playing a smattering of shows this year after an off-and-on presence, along with Prozac Rat and Golden Bubbles. 18+.
Sat., Aug. 23, 9 p.m., 2008

by Jen Paulson - City Pages


South Dakota: Welcome To The Cinema, "Holy Ghost"
While they claim dolphins as a musical influence, we hear hints of MGMT and Vampire Weekend. In other words, welcome to indie pop perfection. - GenArtPulse


If you are a Modest Mouse fan, then you are gonna adore this superb South Dakota-based band named Welcome to the Cinema. The band hooked up for the first time on that solicitous Winter’s day back in 2006. With a sound that can be categorized as spontaneous, but well-calculated; original, yet vaguely familiar, Cinema’s music is not unlike an intimate moment with a former lover atop a waterbed filled with poisonous sea anemones—a passionate, devil-may-care journey that rides the fine line between excitement and recklessness.
Their debut self-released album titled Blocks and Hills was released last week and it is freaking gnarly! It is not available digitally yet but you can get a physical copy for $10 in their online store. - WeLikeIt.Indie


"welcome to the cinema" ist ein prima empfang. wer nicht sehen will, muss hören! oder muss sich beim hören ein bißchen kopfkino gefallen lassen. am 26. august erschien das full length debut der band aus south dakota, die sich diesen ungewöhnlichen namen verpasst hat. die haudraufparolen haben sie sich dann allerdings für den inhalt aufgespart. ihr album heißt "blocks and hills" und garantiert einen starken auftritt. die drums knüppeln zuweilen, jedoch nur um den song voranzutreiben, ein lauteres vorhaben (verantwortlich: cody brown). die girarren flirren und fühlen sich manches mal irritiert an ob der unverdriesslichen noten, die sie imstande sind zu produzieren (am werkeln andrew eide und darin dahlmeier), der bass spielt zuwider und immer wieder zu großer form auf und zwackt läufe ab, die keinem großen in irgendwas nachstehen würden (hierfür steht zeke richter gerade), während tom weismantel für das harmonische und das verschlagene in die tasten seines synthies greift und schließlich wolllüstet über allem der gesang von darin dahlmeier.
beeindruckt bin ich vor allem von der wandlungsfähigkeit der band. der output reicht von einem simplen synthieschleicher wie "holy ghost" über skaifizierte tanzhappen wie "ireland" bis zu popperlen, etwa "the sound of thingking". wer darüber allerdings lange beratschlagt, bekommt "tundra" um die ohren gerockt. dafür, dass die jungs erst seit 2006 beisammen sind, haben sie schon einiges auf die beine gestellt. bravo! - das klienicum


I have gone back and forth debating myself as whether to call Welcome to the Cinema a local band. The band, like Poison Control Center (the Iowa based band whom I take the liberty of calling a local band since they kick ass), are from the bordering state of South Dakota. I feel a strong desire to bond with our fellow "fly-over" states to support good indie music not from LA or NY, so I am in a conundrum. With that useless information aside, I have really enjoyed the new disc from Welcome to the Cinema titled Block and Hills.

The band creates stabbing indie music steeped in lush pop melodies. They bear a striking resemblance to Loon era Tapes N Tapes, not only in their music, but also with lead singer Darin Dahlmeiers voice sounding like Josh Griers howling yelp. The album is full of sharp, angular guitars juxtaposed with new wave drums and poppy synths. The band takes fairly straightforward song themes and mixes them with interesting arrangements to create an arresting album that is strong from start to finish.

The songs come from many angles, mostly with Pixes esqe quiet to loud buildups often led by punchy, Bloc Party guitar lines. The sound is filled out by the Talking Heads like rhythm section that keeps the songs pulsing forward. The highlight for me is the upbeat rock number title "Sharks vs Boat". It starts out with a crunching guitar riff going full speed and overwhelms the listener. Clocking in just under 2:30, the song is a whirlwind of rock that nicely encompasses the bands wide variety of influences.

The CD, produced by Kid Dakota/Hopefuls frontman Darren Jackson, is a winning combination of pop sensibilities and "indie" aesthetics that will keep the pitchfork crowd happy. The band has created a undeniably strong album that offers unique layers that unfold with each subsequent listen. No matter whether you call them a local band or not, they are a great new band and would be a welcome addition to any scene with their great new CD.

Check them out live for their CD release show with the Hopefuls on August 23rd at the 400 Bar. - Whiskey for the Holy Ghost


Discography

Blocks and Hills - LP out Aug 2008.

Tasty Taste, Sound of Thinking and Holy Ghost have been played on MPR's The Current and Tasty Taste has been played on XM Radio XMU, Seattle's KEXP, The University of Sioux Falls' KCFS, Augustana College's KAUR and Cornell College's KRNL. Shark Vs. Boat has recently been played on Sioux Falls' the KRRO 103.7

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Bio

Valentines Day—a day of anxious hearts and eager limbs. A day of devilish negligees and curious bedroom secrets. A day of lavish treats, succulent soirees, and telling athleticism on dance floors and futons across the nation. It comes with little surprise that South Dakota-based indie rockers, Welcome to the Cinema, hooked up for the first time on that solicitous Winter’s day back in 2006. With a sound that can be categorized as spontaneous, but well-calculated; original, yet vaguely familiar, Cinema’s music is not unlike an intimate moment with a former lover atop a waterbed filled with poisonous sea anemones—a passionate, devil-may-care journey that rides the fine line between excitement and recklessness.

Powered by the voluptuous voice of Darin Dahlmeier (guitars and lead vocals), the brawny bass lines of Zeke Richter (bass & backing vocals), and the decadent dance beats of Cody Brown (drums), Cinema will take your ears and your taste buds on an exotic pleasure cruise that never sets anchor for too long so as to keep the voyage enticing.

With the lavish licks of Andrew Eide (lead guitar, keyboards, & backing vocals) and the succulent synths of singer/songwriter Tom Weismantel (synthesizers) guiding the way, Cinema will gather you up like the arms of a familiar lover and whist you away to a lush garden of audio delights where sassy vocals, dreamy guitars, torrid synths, pulsing bass lines, and clockwork beats wrestle with each other like a playful quintet of Athenian lovers—eager to learn more about each other’s bodies.