Behold Hella: Masters of noise, flying hair, chaos, sweat, noise, and more noise!; destoyers of drums and guitars and ears…and posers! This is not your older brother’s indie rock group. It is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of will. It does not bow to trends or ride waves. Avast! Hella’s surprisingly palatable new track, “Friday the 13th,” finds the Sacramento duo of Spencer Seim and Zach Hill coming dangerously close to true song territory, instead of avant-garde noise-rock that starts and ends on different continents and features little to no repeated phrases or themes. Over the past year, the group added a few new members and deliberately retooled its sound. Does this mean Hella has sold out? Hell no! It means the band has got better. Much better. This bodes hella well for its new record, due Jan. 30 on Orinda’s Ipecac Recordings.
We can thank Nevada City, CA, label Grass Roots Records for this early taste of Hella’s new material. It recently released the Family Album compilation, a sampling of tracks by 18 of its artists, who range in style from indie pop (Golden Shoulders) to acoustic folk/rock (Alela Diane) to moody post-rock (Kings & Queens)…to Hella’s riff-heavy madness. Each song was recorded live in-studio and committed directly to tape. Grass Roots Records celebrates the release next Sunday the 17th at Bottom of the Hill. The show starts at 4 p.m., costs a measly $7, and features ten artists.