Of Brooklyn based Hem, The New York Times has said, “Making music that’s categorically neither country nor folk but a flexible citified mix of the two, its songs send one branch toward the hymnal, another into droning soft rock, and a third toward the kind of film music that evokes prairie sunsets…Beautiful.” The group’s fourth full-length album, Funnel Cloud, perfectly reveals their singular sound. It has recently been featured on NPR’s online music show, “All Songs Considered,” as one of the most anticipated releases of the summer. Waveland Records releases the album September 5. Beginning September 9, Hem will tour nationally in support of Funnel Cloud featuring performances in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
Funnel Cloud was produced in New York City at Loho Studios and Stratosphere Sound by Hem members Dan Messé and Gary Maurer. The album features the 21-piece Gowanus Radio Orchestra, Olabelle vocalist Amy Helm on “Too Late To Turn Back” and Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha who adds vocals to two of the album’s standout tracks, “Not California” and “The Pills Stopped Working.” At the heart of the recording are Hem’s core members: primary songwriter Dan Messé (piano, celeste, glockenspiel); songwriters Steve Curtis (guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals) and Gary Maurer (guitar, mandolin, harmonica); and vocalist Sally Ellyson.
Funnel Cloud is the follow-up to No Word From Tom, a collection of rarities, covers and live performances released earlier this year. The Washington Post said, “…the collection flows seamlessly, with live tracks recorded just as clearly and precisely as any of the album’s studio counterparts.” The Boston Globe recently said of the band, “Over the course of a half-decade and three albums, the Brooklyn band (that oscillates between four and eight members) has mapped out lovely, languorous territories that ebb and flow, stretch and bend, and forever unfurl, always slowly. That landscape—often dappled with pedal steel guitars, richly twinkling piano, and the gentle wonder of Sally Ellyson’s voice casting a twilight tint over it all—sounds at once sepia-tone ancient and as vital as a heartbeat, veined with blood and life.”
Formed in 1999, Hem self-released their debut Rabbit Songs in 2002 to much acclaim, establishing Hem as one of the most promising bands to emerge from Brooklyn. In 2003, Hem signed to DreamWorks for 2004’s critically lauded Eveningland, which The New York Times called, “rich” and “emotive.” The album is now available on Waveland.