Rhythm & Views


Hella make a hell of a lot of noise. Guitarist Spencer Seim and drummer Zach Hill sound like what happens at the end of most bands' practices, if it was a good practice with lots of beer involved--giddy messing around, lots of knob-tweaking and feedback and rhythm freakouts. Free jazz with fuzz pedals. The important elements are not things like melody, or an emotional arch, or any of the conventions normally associated with a "song" in the traditional sense: What Hella does is centered on rhythms, energy and interesting sounds that repeat endlessly or evolve into noise. There are no lyrics. There are only ideas.

Concentration Face/Homeboy is both a DVD of the band's 2004 Japanese tour (Concentration Face) and an EP of new songs (Homeboy). Although Homeboy is only four songs, it is by no means short: "Gothspel for You Not Them" runs 11 minutes, and the last song, "If I Were in Hella I Would Eat Lick," is 12. "Madonna Approaches R&B Blonde Wreckages" is short, but the drums are all over the place without missing a beat, and an organ goes dance rock and then Dracula. The inclusion of Concentration Face is logical: This is not music that one merely listens to.

Hella is an experience that makes the most sense seen live: Hill knocks his drums over and continues to play; Seim seems to be emitting the guitar noises from his mouth, and it's clear that even though the songs sound like complete improvisation, they are, in fact, carefully thought out.

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