HOWARD HELLO / GREENNESS: Split: 2 x CD

Sep 21, 2007

This is a double disc split, with five songs being done on the first disc by San Francisco’s Howard Hello (which is primarily Kenseth Thibideau of Thingy, Sleeping People, and Rumah Sakit) and the second disc being comprised of four songs from Greenness and eleven songs of collaborative material. Howard Hello really didn’t do anything much for me. For those not in the know, Howard Hello is similar to much of the other stuff on the Temporary Residence Ltd. label. However, unlike some of their bigger acts (Mono, Explosions in the Sky), Howard Hello doesn’t have any crunchy guitars that kick in. This is all very floaty, ambient fare (with the exception of the final track) with male and female vocals that seem pleasant enough. With the abundance of lots of programmed keyboards and acoustic guitar, this material may be somewhat sissy in some aspects, especially for readers of this zine. But the material from the Greenness disc seems to make up for any let-down Howard Hello may have provided. Greenness is an entirely instrumental act which has a lot more power behind their songs than the ones from Howard Hello. Similar in style to Don Caballero or Oxes, the bass is prevalent and up front while the guitar slinks around carrying the songs with a breath of lightness and the drums are steady but allow for a good groove. Besides, how can you not like a band that has a track called, “In Fond Memory of Doug Keith…Wait He’s Still Alive, I Gotta Call Him”? The collaborative material is fun and all over the place, sounding a bit more like Greenness type material than Howard Hello, but with vocals on some tracks. None of it, however, seems as focused as the Greenness tracks, rather it seems like some people collaborating and not taking it quite as seriously. It doesn’t mean it’s just a big mess, it just means it doesn’t seem to have that direction and drive like the other tracks. One big plus of this release is that all artists’ proceeds go to benefit Children’s Musical Education in St. Augustine, Florida.

 –kurt (Sickroom)

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