Welcome to the fifth edition of Nicky Reviews Rock, bringing you interviews and album reviews from rock bands around the world… with an extra special place for new and emerging talent. Rock On!
Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome THE HUSH. If you’re looking for rock with a difference, something unique and amazing, look no further. In this feature, find an introduction to THE HUSH, kindly provided by the band itself; an album review written by yours truly (me!); and an interview. Grab a cuppa or something stronger, sit back, and enjoy. And for the really authentic experience, check out those links and have a listen while you read!
MEET THE HUSH
Original, fresh, infectious and in-charge, THE HUSH is a five piece rock band delivering pop sensibility combined with musical artistry and thought provoking lyrics filled with plenty of attitude. Lead singer Jazmine Giovanni embodies rock & roll by commanding the stage with seductive allure while slicing the air with her astounding range and powerhouse voice. Their music is bonafide hard rock yet doesn’t neglect dynamics. “Our style has landed us in a unique spot,” explains Lee Landrum, lead guitarist and founder of the band. “Full of surprises, some of our songs start out with melodic innocence then, suddenly, full-blown energy takes over.”
THE HUSH was born in 2009 and immediately were off and running, throwing themselves into writing/ recording/debuting their EP, Scene of the Crime, while playing acclaimed Los Angeles venues such as The Viper Room, Troubadour, House of Blues and more. With each show came more and more followers and buzz.
Individually the members of THE HUSH have been performing/writing/recording for years with notable artists including Gwen Stefani, KISS and Miley Cyrus. Playing with various artists throughout the Country, they have also performed on The Tonight Show, The View, Good Morning America and at Coachella and SXSW. While each member of THE HUSH stands on their own, together they are a force of nature.
Give it a minute. With more to come, THE HUSH tells Nicky Reviews Rock that the band is about to get louder:
***’Tip of the Tongue’, new single, now on iTunes. Link available at www.THEHUSHrockband.com
***’Hold You Down’, new single, to be released early March.
***’Hold You Down’ video release event scheduled for March 30 at Key Club in Hollywood. Details about the show available soon at www.THEHUSHrockband.com
THE HUSH ALBUM REVIEW: SCENE OF THE CRIME
When I downloaded this album, the first thing that struck me was the unusual cover. No black background here, no ‘traditional’ rock images. Instead, a soft-edged, white-and-grey picture of a woman’s face and hand, making the classic ‘hush’ gesture: finger on lips. It’s a very impactful image, universally recognised, and aptly captures the name of the band. But what about the album title: ‘Scene of the Crime’? That would suggest violence, something bad that happened. Why must we be quiet (Hush!) about it? What kind of crime was being committed?
I rarely find myself quite so intrigued by an album cover, and with all the seeming contradictions going on, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. Well, what I got was strong, engaging rock with haunting melodies and tantalising beats. Success!
The opening track, ‘So Hollywood’, instantly had me grooving. After a powerful intro come clear, carrying vocals. The instruments pull back a little to give me the full impact of that voice, but by the chorus, the band is rocking with strong riffs and a good beat. The overall effect is… unexpected, distinctive and unique. I like the way in which the vocals and guitar work together, echoing each other, continuing each other’s themes. The next track, ‘Touch and Go’ has a gritty feel to it, and I mean that in a good way. There are strong guitars and a powerful rhythm, and always that juxtaposition between an all-out chorus and the slightly gentler verses, where the emphasis is on the melody and the voice. And so it continues; I am hooked! ‘Queen of Sheba’ starts off hard and fast with instant sing-along value: Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Half-way through, we are treated to another slower, seductive, lyrical moment with a beautiful melody. This is my kind of music! If you’re looking for a fantastic guitar intro, check out ‘Fire Lights the Way.’ My favourite track is possibly ‘See God Tonight’. It has a lovely, rolling drum rhythm and a slightly bluesy undertone, but it’s particularly the lyrics that capture my attention here.
So let’s talk about lyrics. Lyrics matter to me, greatly. If I can’t connect to the lyrics, I can’t connect to the music. In this regard, THE HUSH has two fabulous things going for it. First of all, the vocals are clear and the lyrics can mostly be easily understood. This is an instant winner for me. And secondly, there are the lyrics themselves. In my humble opinion, THE HUSH is tackling some slightly unusual subjects and each song tells a story. There’s the lady of the night who has started to care about one particular man; but does he give a damn (Touch and Go)? And there’s the unsure believer who’d like some certainty (See God Tonight). These are lyrics that draw you in and get you thinking, and they’re married extremely well with the music that delivers and supports them.
THE HUSH, ‘Scene of the Crime’: A distinctive, unique and engaging rock album featuring powerful vocals, great instrumentals and beautiful lyrics. I thoroughly recommend listening!
But why not listen for yourself? Follow these links to listen to SEE GOD TONIGHT or TOUCH AND GO. Enjoy!
AND HERE COMES… THE BIG INTERVIEW WITH THE HUSH!!!
It is with tremendous delight that I introduce today my very special guest, THE HUSH! Welcome to Nicky Reviews Rock! I stumbled across you on Twitter and am delighted to meet you ‘in depth’ today. As always, I’d love to find out about the people behind the music as well as the music itself. You guys have very kindly offered to answer a few questions this here new fan has for you, so here goes…
NRR: First of all, I love the band history you sent me; that’s an impressive story! I am wondering whether you might tell me a little bit more about how you met and how THE HUSH band was born?
LL: I worked with Andrew, Blake and Greg on another project a few years back. We always had a good vibe so when that project concluded (Dec. 08) we decided to continue together. We played around with some new ideas and, after a couple months, started looking for a singer. Blake brought in Jazmine one day and that was it. We knew she was the perfect match. The five of us have been running fast ever since.
NRR: Congratulations on a fantastic album, ‘Scene of the Crime’. Tell me a little about the dynamics behind making this album… is there a chief songwriter?
JG: I write all the melodies and lyrics. How I come to both of those varies from song to song. Sometimes Lee will bring in a riff or a chord progression and the boys will mold it and arrange it into a byte that I can take home and write around. Other times I have my ideas pretty well set and they write around them. But the songs as a whole are really a group effort, each member contributing quite of bit creatively.
NRR: Unusally, there is no title track as such… Yet ‘Scene of the Crime’ is picked up in ‘Fire Lights the Way’. Would you like to tell us more about your album title, and the connection between the song and the album title (if there is one)?
JG: You are right. Scene of the Crime is a lyric in ‘Fire Lights the Way’, which was the first song we wrote as a band. It was very fitting, this LP being the origin of our path together as a band, that it be named for a lyric in our first song. Sort of “it started here.”
NRR: Who did you all listen to (still listen to, perhaps) when you’re not making your own music? Any particular influences or idols?
LL: If you asked every member is the band this question there would be a list of influences a mile long. Music is our life, when not creating our own we listen to others, go to concerts and clubs – basically soak it in. For me personally, any great guitar player in the zone is an inspiration. I’ll leave it at that and let Jazmine share her specific favourites.
JG: I grew up in a varied musical scene. My dad was a jazz drummer and I spent 10 years in the Opera as a child so my taste and influences cover the spectrum; Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Puccini, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Whitney, NIN, Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye all had a significant impact. Right now I’m listening to Mutemath, Jane’s Addiction, Bon Iver, Scissor Sisters.
NRR: As you might know from previous editions of NRR, lyrics matter to me. Greatly! Your lyrics are thoughtful and thought-provoking, and deal with quite different subject matters than one might perhaps expect of hard rock. I’m thinking “Touch and Go”, I’m thinking “Queen of Sheba”. Who’s in charge of lyrics? And: what comes first, the lyrics, or the music?
JG: I’m glad you are enjoying them. It’s interesting—when I write alone, the music and lyrics seem to present themselves together, as though already married. With the boys, they give me something musically to work with and I write to the vibe; what the chords are suggesting and what it seems to want to say.
NRR: Why ‘The HUSH’? Your music is anything but… is it that juxtaposition that intrigued you? What’s the story here?
JG: I love the story of our name and I find that because it’s a total juxtaposition, I love it even more. I come from a theatrical background. Every show has a life of its own and a different personality. But there is always a commonality to each performance. As the house lights dim and the audience begins to settle in right before the start of the show, there is a moment of hush. It’s a quiet shared by the audience and the players on stage that only lasts a second, but that is THE HUSH. We thought it was apropos.
NRR: I daresay that ‘HUSH’ of anticipation is present even in a rock concert when the house lights go down… blink and you’ll miss it, but it is there, before the cheers erupt. Thanks for sharing, this is fascinating!
NRR: What’s the most musically complex song you’ve ever made? Do you all have a favourite song—and if so, which one and why?
LL: ‘When the Night Comes’ is probably most complex. The chords in the verse are a combination of both guitars and the bass—meaning, the three of us playing different lines to make up one chord progression. My personal favourite is ‘See God’ because it reminds me of the experience of night surfing alone. Right before paddling out, everything in the water and the air has a mysterious feel, just like the verse. When catching the wave there is a powerful burst of energy, like the chorus. The haunting drum beat is much like the adrenaline pumping through my heart. That song is in my head almost every time I paddle out in the dark.
NRR: Where do you see yourself going next? Do you have plans for more albums? Any plans for going global?
LL: We really want to get out on the road. Global, absolutely. Since coming together we’ve been writing, recording and, with Hollywood in our backyard, playing local shows at the same time. We are so lucky that ‘local’ includes great clubs like The Viper Room, House of Blues, The Troubadour, The Roxy—some of the greatest places to play on Earth. We will always continue to write so, yes, more albums on the way. We just released a single, ‘Tip of the Tongue;, and have two more coming in the next couple months—‘Hold You Down’ in March and ‘Hanging by a Thread’ in April. We are putting the finishing touches on the video for ‘Hold You Down; and are going to debut that March 30 at Key Club in Hollywood. This is our first video, big milestone to celebrate so we are really looking forward to this show.
NRR: And finally! In my rock star romance, Sophie’s Turn, rock singer Dan reassures Sophie that ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour.’ Would you mind sharing the weirdest, funniest, scariest or most bizarre thing that ever happened to THE HUSH on tour or during a show?
JG: I think Dan has it right. Why break the code?
LL: Agree, what happens on tour stays on tour.
NRR: I guess I asked for that… :-) But now I really wonder what you guys get up to! XX
Thanks so much to Jazmine and Lee for your time and for sharing such fascinating insights. I love the whole idea of ‘The Hush’ and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be listening out for it—and the band—and pointing it—and the band—out to anyone who cares to listen. I wish you every success with your song launches, video launch party (how I wish I could be there) and future album. And when you go global, I look forward to seeing you in the UK!! “Rock on…”
Visit THE HUSH on their website, follow THE HUSH on Twitter or on Facebook. Find sample tracks and more information about THE HUSH on Reverbnation. And last but not least, you can get your copy of “Scene of the Crime” and all the new tracks on iTunes and CD baby.
A spot of housekeeping: all information, photos and links used with artist’s permission.