Bell Hollow

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Bell Hollow
Bell Hollow 2008.jpg
from left to right: Christopher Bollman, Todd Karasik, Greg Fasolino, Nick Niles
Background information
Origin Brooklyn, New York, United States
Genres Dream pop, post-punk revival, alternative rock
Years active 2003–2009
Labels Five03 Records, RCRD LBL
Associated acts The Naked and the Dead, the Children's Zoo, the Secret History, My Favorite, Lubricated Goat, the Harrow, the Chandler Estate
Website www.bellhollow.com
Past members Christopher Bollman
Greg Fasolino
Hayden Millsteed
Nick Niles
Todd Karasik

Bell Hollow were a four-piece post-punk revival band based in Brooklyn, New York, composed of Nick Niles (vocals/keyboards/guitar), Greg Fasolino (guitar), Christopher Bollman (bass), and Todd Karasik (drums). The band's music was often categorized as a blend of atmospheric 1980s post-punk and dream pop, and also encompassed elements of shoegaze, indie rock, gothic rock and new wave.

The band's primary influences included the Chameleons, the Smiths, Radiohead, Cocteau Twins, the Comsat Angels, Slowdive, the Sound and Echo & the Bunnymen. Said acclaimed journalist Basim Usmani of The Guardian and Vice: "A lot of revival bands rely on a caricaturized impression of the decade they're apeing. That's why Post Punk revival bands can leave me frustrated. They're a cliff notes version of a life-altering text. Bell Hollow is the next chapter in that text".[1]

The band's songs and live show won over several publications, including The Big Takeover[2] (who said "It’s rare to find new music so heavy and yet so heavenly and light at the same time"), The Deli, veteran UK music journalist Mick Mercer.,[3] and New York Press (who said, "Experience pays off with Bell Hollow, as the band brings a childish genre into adulthood"). Anti-Mag interviewed the band and proclaimed, "Beautifully delayed guitars reminiscent of a certain Mr. Smith, shining drums really caught my ear, and a heavenly voice radiated from the stage. I had found my childhood again".[4]

Bell Hollow were interviewed on several New York radio stations, including East Village Radio and BreakThru Radio,[5] playing live on the latter, as well as Detroit podcast "Most People Are DJs".[6] Over the course of their three-year public career, Bell Hollow performed with New Model Army, Bush Tetras, Soundpool, Robbers on High Street, the Prids, Longwave, the Kominas, Stellarscope, Lene Lovich, Entertainment, Frank the Baptist and Bunnydrums, among others.[7]

History[edit]

Bell Hollow was formed in 2003 by Fasolino and Bollman, both members of influential 1980s New York City outfit the Naked and the Dead, who had briefly reunited during 2002. They soon added drummer Hayden Millsteed (also a member of Lubricated Goat).

In 2005, singer Nick Niles joined the band, filling out the sound and solidifying their direction. An initial four-song eponymous demo quickly garnered them local and European media attention.

Freshly signed to Five03 records in spring 2006,[8] the band recorded their first EP, Sons of the Burgess Shale, which was issued that October. Said AllMusic's Jo-Ann Greene: "If any reminder was needed of the incestuous relationship between post-punk, early new wave, goth, and later, shoegazers and dream poppers, Bell Hollow's Sons of the Burgess Shale EP provided a crucial primer. In the space of four songs, the band zapped the zeitgeist of heady days between punk's final funeral pyre and the phoenix-like rise to success from its ashes of the New Romantics".[9] Tom Murphy of Westword in Denver said, "While so many latter-day post-punk bands fall all over themselves trying to mimic the more danceable moments of a Gang of Four record, Bell Hollow chooses to embrace atmosphere and mood".[10]

In late 2006, Todd Karasik (formerly of acclaimed New York indie pop band My Favorite, and also a member of the Secret History) replaced Millsteed.[11] Their first performance with the new lineup was at the prominent annual Winterfest arts festival at the Crane Arts Building in Philadelphia, promoted by InLiquid, who said, "The Bunnydrums were good, but Bell Hollow, in retrospect, stole the show".[12]

The band recorded their first full-length record, Foxgloves, at Water Music in Hoboken during June 2007, with producer/engineer Hillary Johnson at the helm. Guest musicians on the album included Joshua Strawn of Blacklist playing acoustic guitar on the track "Eyes Like Planets", and Andrea Vaughn of My Favorite, performing backing vocals on "Getting On in Years." Foxgloves was released by Five03 in November 2007, to considerable acclaim. AllMusic called it "A mesmerizing album that will haunt listeners for years to come".[13] The album made No. 18 on the list of "Best Rock, Electronic, & Folk Albums of the 2000s, Pt. 1" on CultureCatch, whose Steve Holtje said, "There were lots of acts looking to the early '80s for inspiration, but few managed to do such a good job of drawing on that era's iconic sonic aspects without actually sounding like they were imitating particular bands".[14]

Johnson soon became the band's live keyboard player (and eventually, manager).[15]

Bell Hollow toured the Southeast and Midwest during 2008, including prominent concerts in New Orleans, Atlanta, Athens, Buffalo and Detroit. NBC 4 in Washington, D.C. previewed the tour, with Chris Gerard saying, "Foxgloves was clearly a labor of love - the songs are exquisitely crafted and expertly performed, and they all have real feeling and drive...producing a record that appeals both to die-hard post-punk aficionados still pining for that rare Chameleons 45 that they lost in their parents basement 25 years ago, as well as a new generation of fans who are under the delusion that the Killers' kinetic new-wave sound is original".[16]

In the summer of 2008, Bell Hollow signed with online music purveyors RCRD LBL,[17][18] releasing five free remixes from Project Jenny, Project Jan; hip-hop producer/remixer Phofo; Nine Inch Nails remixer Halo33; Cruel Black Dove; and Peter Du Charme (aka Master Cylinder, of "Jung at Heart" fame). "Copper Crayon (Project Jenny, Project Jan Remix)" was featured in the NBC television series Kath & Kim.[19] These remixes were packaged with three outtakes as a digital-only EP, Foxgloves Extras, released in December 2008.

Vocalist Niles departed in December 2008 in pursuit of other musical endeavors, but it was not until February 2009 that Bell Hollow formally announced its dissolution, citing his departure as the reason.[20] Fasolino resurfaced with new project the Harrow, who have since released an eponymous EP in 2013 and the Silhouettes album in 2015.[21] Karasik formed the Chandler Estate with Vaughn and other former My Favorite members, releasing the Infrastructure" EP in 2016.[22]

Members[edit]

  • Christopher Bollman - bass (2003-2008)
  • Greg Fasolino - guitar (2003-2008)
  • Hayden Millsteed - drums (2003-2006)
  • Nick Niles - vocals, keyboards, guitar (2005-2008)
  • Todd Karasik - drums (2006-2008)

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Foxgloves CD (2007, Five03 Records)

EPs[edit]

  • Bell Hollow demo CDR (2005, self-released)
  • Sons of the Burgess Shale CD (2006, Five03 Records)
  • Foxgloves Extras digital (2008, Five03 Records/RCRD LBL)

Singles[edit]

  • "Eyes Like Planets (Halo 33 Remix)" digital (2008)
  • "Jamais Vu (The Harrow Remix)" digital (2009)

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • "Contact" on Dots to Connect: The Music of The Prids digital (2009, Five03 Records)
  • "The Bottle Tree" on Gothic Compilation 43 CD (2009, Bat Believer/Audioglobe)

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://punkistani.livejournal.com/2006/06/29/ Jihadi Pastrami: Thursday, June 29th, 2006
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2008-09-10.  Blacklist with Bell Hollow - Mercury Lounge (New York) - Sunday, August 6, 2006 by Kristen Sollee
  3. ^ The Mick
  4. ^ "http://www.anti-mag.com/bellhollow.htm Anti-Mag: Bell Hollow - A Solid Force
  5. ^ http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?show=3349/ BreakThruRadio.com
  6. ^ http://www.podfeed.net/episode/MPAD143+PlayRadioPlay...Bell+Hollow/1209405 Most People Are DJs MPA D#143 "Play Radio Play...Bell Hollow"
  7. ^ http://www.bellhollow.com/shows/index.php Bell Hollow: Past Shows
  8. ^ http://www.bellhollow.com/news/bell-hollow/2006/06/ Bell Hollow on June 24, 2006
  9. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/foxgloves-mw0000579464 Foxgloves - Bell Hollow Allmusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene
  10. ^ http://www.westword.com/2006-12-07/music/listen-up/ Denver Westword: Listen Up Thursday, Dec 7 2006
  11. ^ http://www.bellhollow.com/news/bell-hollow/2006/12/ Bell Hollow on December 26, 2006
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-25.  Winterfest reviewed by James Rosenthal
  13. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/foxgloves-mw0000579464 Foxgloves - Bell Hollow Allmusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene
  14. ^ http://culturecatch.com/music/best-rock-electronic-folk-albums-2000s-pt-1 CultureCatch: Best Rock, Electronic, & Folk Albums of the 2000s, Pt. 1
  15. ^ http://www.bellhollow.com/news/2008/2008/08/ Bell Hollow on August 15, 2008
  16. ^ NBC4.com: The DC Scene January 29, 2008)
  17. ^ http://www.bellhollow.com/news/bell-hollow/2008/08/ Bell Hollow on August 26, 2008
  18. ^ RCRD LBL Archived September 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ http://www.bellhollow.com/news/2008/11/ Bell Hollow on November 28, 2008
  20. ^ http://www.shadowtimenyc.com/2009/02/rip-bell-hollow.html Sunday, February 15, 2009 RIP Bell Hollow
  21. ^ http://www.popmatters.com/review/the-harrow-silhouettes/
  22. ^ https://jigsawrecords.bandcamp.com/album/pzl099-the-chandler-estate-infrastructure-ep

External links[edit]