One fine autumn evening, Steve Babcock was attending a Sunny Day Real Estate show, who just happened to be touring with Spencer Jacobs' old band as an opening act. although Steve enjoyed the show thoroughly, he was somewhat familiar with Spencer's band [had heard of a couple of his previous projects during his Idaho rearing], and thus his main motive was to lure Spencer away to start a new project that would later come to be known as Hudson River School. Steve ended up helping Spencer get a job at his place of employment, and it just so happened that there was a very talented (said talent would come to be discovered later after a "second chance" had been given) young lad named Bobby Brinton who was head of the mailroom.
Spencer had a friend since first grade, known as Andy Patterson, and in fact, they used to play together in a pissed off (not really all that pissed off) hardcore band called Reality, in high school.
So, during the time Spencer was busy with his other band, Andy was filling in on drumming duties for the likes of State of the Nation, Bluetip, Sense Field, and Shelter, and after 3 official drummers, and about 146 "drummer auditions," steve, spencer, and bobby somehow lured andy to "give it a try."
Steve nominated himself as band president (approval by the rest of the band still pending). Bob is the "talent" of the band, and we're all gracious to be riding his coat tails - although we all tend to have good ideas once in awhile.
Hudson River School
Album: Scenes from a Vinyl Recliner
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
With a 10 song CD with full-scale production quality, this is hardly your run-of-the-mill indie release. This is a great blend of mellow rock mature in nature and subtle enough to knock you silly at the same time. The mid-tempo rock format leaves the listener with indelible melodies and catchy harmonies. HRS remind me of Jimmy Eat World and Guster. Standout tracks include "Evolution" and "I'm Not Folding." This is a great new underground band to take a chance on.
Two really good tracks to check out are Open air and Complications. I know we have already discussed this band previously, but I have been born again with this band. This album is so good. I have been listening to it a lot lately and have found myself singing along to their songs. They are also really good performers. This is their first album, and by the way, they are local boys from Utah.
- Bigpimpin : (7/10)
Headline: Hudson River School
City: San Diego
Despite missing the first few songs of the set due to changes in schedule and intense security searches at the local teen center (I guess they confiscate pens now?) I made it just in time to witness Hudson River School get down to business rockstar style. The venue, complete with snack bar and a big yellow bus in the parking lot might have fooled anyone into thinking they needed to be home by the time the streetlight came on. However, rest assured there was nothing novice or juvenile about what was happening on stage that night.
The quartet, with lead vocalist Bobby Brinton on guitar is rounded out by Spencer Jacobs also on guitar, Steve Babcock on bass and Greg Baker on drums. The foursome jammed through numbers off of their debut release Scenes from a Vinyl Recliner and a few new demos with an intensity that conflicted with the casual humdrum of the mostly underage crowd. The only rational explanation, I have since concluded, for the anesthetized bunch was that they were simply awestruck by the musical splendor before them. With a pop-rock base, songs like "Don't Keep Me Waiting" deserved at the very least a universal head bob every now and then (well, except during the breathtaking guitar riff solo care of Spencer), but alas as a whole, the crowd did not oblige. Still a few who couldn't sit still (I am guilty as charged) hopped up and down like little kids in a candy store to the intoxicating chorus of this new song. Please... if I may be trite and cliché... don't keep me waiting for this song to be released on a full-length album! The second I heard it I could imagine weeks and weeks of airplay for this number. My gut tells me this song can be described in one word: hit. But don't take my word for it - mosey on over to their website and download the demo for yourself. You'll see.
The intimate setting and scarce crowd allowed for easy access to the stage and post-show chat sessions with band members, who in typical grass roots manner could be found manning the merchandise table themselves and offering Nilla Wafers to crowd members in a "no, I'm serious, want some cookies" manner. And what nice guys these boys from Salt Lake City are! Not only were Steve and Bobby (the two members I was lucky enough to snag a few words with) gracious, they were genuine sweethearts who seemed tickled pink to talk to any and all fans offering congratulatory hand shakes and "great job" head nods after the show. The Hudson River School experience in its entirety left me with only question:
So... when are you going to be in Southern California again? Or better yet... when are you playing again period? At this point, I'd drive anywhere for another sampling.
Rock on with your bad self and buy the new CD... that's an order and here's the link: http://www.hudsonriverschool.com