(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #328: Reuben Hollebon

By on Tuesday, 20th January 2015 at 12:00 pm

If you’re interested in experimental folk, Norfolk’s Reuben Hollebon might be an artist to keep an eye (or an ear) out for in the coming year. Hollebon came across our radar at TGTF when he was announced as part of the lineup for SXSW 2015, and a quick Internet search revealed that he is working on a full-length album, also expected for release this year.

Hollebon’s first EP ‘Clutch’ was released on Akira Records in December 2012. Combining tremulous, echoing vocals with stark, often discordant instrumental parts, the seven tracks on the EP are instantly reminiscent of Bon Iver. Standout track ‘Skin Addict’ features a minimal arrangement of piano, percussion and ethereal layered vocals along with equally minimal, bluntly emotional lyrics, including the relentlessly repeated chorus “get out of my head, get out of my bed / get out of my mind, give me back my time / get out of my skin, my blood needs thinning”. Hollebon shows a deeper, more soulful side on ‘Home’, where the solidly grounded bass line and more traditional acoustic guitar melody contrast his pervasive and unique falsetto vocal style.

In August 2013, Hollebon released his latest single ‘Faces’, which continues in the same gracefully refined yet slightly bizarre musical vein. Hollebon’s vocal effects here remind me of Eddie Vedder, not in the actual vocal sound but in their ability to convey the idea and emotion of a person balancing just on the edge of sanity. The video for ‘Faces’, directed by Emma Rozanski, visually captures the anxious tension of the percussion-driven musical arrangement.

The end of 2013 saw Hollebon playing live shows and sharing stages with TGTF favorites Cocos Lovers and Nathaniel Rateliff, among others. In February 2014, he was invited to play a solo show for Sofar Sounds in London, where he recorded the exquisitely haunting performance of ‘Fields for Fields’ featured below. A glance through Hollebon’s Facebook page reveals that he and his bandmates Jacob Hollebon and Jake Wheeler spent much of 2014 in the recording studio, interspersing their studio time with a few one-off live shows. Their scheduled appearance at SXSW this March will likely provide a sneak peek at what to expect from Hollebon’s anticipated album release later in the year. In the meantime, you can stream Reuben Hollebon’s currently released songs on his Bandcamp page.

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