My friend Tom emailed me a little report from the Lemonheads show he was at last night (not good, he says), and although we differed on the glory (or lack thereof) of Evan Dando, one thing we both agreed on was opening band Hymns. Tom writes:
“Let me say if you’re thinking about going to see this tour make sure you get there in time for the opening bands, because last night at least, they were the best part of the night. Hymns started the night off with a set of songs that started off sounding like Wilco and then kind of morphed a bit into a more late 60′s sound — I really liked them. Easily ended up as best band of the night.”
I had a chance to chat with Hymns dudes Brian Harding (vox/guitar) and Jason Roberts (guitar/Wurlitzer) recently in a crowded stairwell at the Bluebird Theatre, for lack of a better place to talk. As people pressed past us, I caught up with them about their current tour and their new album Brother/Sister.
Q: After spending time apart from Hymns as Jason joined the Ben Kweller’s tour and other side projects, how has this tour been so far?
Brian: Yeah, after time apart we were a little rusty at first, definitely, but now we feel like we’ve been jelling back as a band and hit our groove again together. Lots of long drives so far on the tour, and we wrecked our van the other night on black ice! But this is the first time we’ve had this big of a crowd watching us perform, so it’s great. We’ve played some shows in the past to like 40 people, so these crowds are cool — there’s a lot of enthusiasm.
Q: What’s been your coolest moment on this Lemonheads tour so far?
Jason: Oh, I’d say on our last stop — Boise I think? In Boise, Evan [Dando] came out and sat right down in front for our set, just pulled up a chair and no one noticed. Then at the end he jumped up on stage and joined us for that Neil Young cover (Don’t Cry No Tears) that we’ve been doing. It was pretty awesome.
Q: If you had to pick two songs from your catalog to introduce people to the Hymns sound, what would you choose?
Brian: It’s A Shame & Friends of Mine. “It’s A Shame” is fun to play and was easy to record — we laid it down live for the album in about two hours. It also just got on the latest sampler CD for Paste Magazine, so we were excited about that. Yeah, our song is there right after Cat Stevens. (big grin)
Jason: I’d say It’s A Shame too, and Stop Talking.
Q: Any new materials being recorded or written?
Jason: We’d love to do another album — and we’ve already got enough for probably two new albums — but we want to give this album its time to breathe before releasing anything else. People haven’t had time to fully absorb it yet, so we’re not in a hurry.
Hymns have three shows left with the Lemonheads:
-Tonight at the Black Cat in DC
-Friday at Irving Plaza in NYC
-Saturday at the Avalon in Boston
You can listen to more Hymns on their MySpace — they’re addicted to it, so leave ‘em a comment and make their day. Their album Brother/Sister is available now from Blackland Records. And their three picks for songs you should hear: