Monday, September 2, 2013

Some Days It's Not Even Worth Getting Up To Scrape The Shit Off The Walls

I was unaware that this record even existed until a year ago when I eagerly fished it out of the 99-cent bin at Willimantic Records, even though the cover was emblazoned with the WFCS call letters (hence the 'found' images here) and the vinyl itself was pretty thrashed. Everything else I've owned by these guys is pretty fucking nifty, so I had no problems with the condition-- see, now you can't blame me if the rips aren't perfect-- plus it's something that every one of you should do someday, meaning go to Willimantic Records and buy something, because they've got lots of cool stuff that hasn't surfaced in ages and most of it isn't even in the 99 cent bin.

Hollow Heyday existed from around the late '80s into the early '90s and occupied roughly the same space as Honor Role, creating hefty art-damaged rock under a variety of different names (Hostile Heyday, Hollow Heyday, Headless Heyday). Their record sleeves were always full of mis-directions-- intentionally incorrect song lengths, mis-spelled band member names, made-up song titles, erroneous discography information, and other total bullshit-- which, along with their constantly evolving band name, probably worked as a huge kiss-off to anyone who wasn't paying attention, a concept that I can wholeheartedly support. The two songs on the a-side are both solid winners, and seem to have been intended to be part of an LP ("Grate") which I'm not sure was ever released, though I would love to hear the tapes in any case. "Messy Black Hog" sounds like it's playing at the wrong speed at first, until you realize that's just how the guy's voice sounds, while the guitar riff to "Tussle" sounds darn close to something you'd find on "Rictus". The two songs that make up the b-side are supposedly from "Hollow Heyday's first seven-inch", and you know what, you can't find that one on Discogs either, though who knows who puts those things together (probably Marc Masters when he isn't busy writing A Wicked Tumblr). "Resolve to Reserve" could almost be considered shitty, until you focus on the neat little synth part bubbling underneath, and then it becomes awesome. "Stop It" is probably the closest that Hollow Heyday ever came to writing a catchy-sounding pop song and also appears in a different version on 1989's "Abandoned" LP, which actually does exist and is worth way more than a moderate amount of effort to track down.

Hollow Heyday -



"Messy Black Hog"


"Stop It"

"Resolve to Reserve"


spavid said...

Thanks for posting this. Saw the 12" a few times on Ebay, but never made the plunge. I think I have a Hostile Heyday LP somewhere around here. Never thought it was particularly special, but the songs you put up today are fairly decent.

Brushback said...

Someone suddenly/mysteriously put up a complete Hollow Heyday bio the day after put up this post:

"Boston Post-Punk-Alternative trio, originally formed by BahB Finetime (Robert Finton) on guitars and vocals, Mann Well (Manuel Roman-Lacayo) bass, and Dave (David Ryan) on drums, in July 1986. Dave’s doughnut making job and friction with BahB prompted his departure by December 1986.

In January 1987 Chris Pee (Christopher Sanborn) joined the band and within a month the first single (Stop It/Resolve to Reserve) was recorded at Phil Tatro’s Human Ear studio in glorious 8-track. Mann Well briefly left for Florida and upon his return to Boston in August 1987, the first single was released on Tantrum Records (Heyday’s own label) to local acclaim and college station airplay, selling out in short order. Over the next six years Heyday played frequently in the Boston area and toured the US in support of further Tantrum releases (Two 7” 45 rpm singles Headless Heyday, Hectic Heyday; a 12” 33rpm LP Abandoned and a 12” 33rpm EP Verge, containing new releases and the much sought after first single on the alternate side). Tour/show mates included Dinosaur Jr., The Jesus Lizard, Sebadoh, Buffalo Tom, The Lemonheads, Lincoln Logs, The Eels (Boston), Thumper, Screaming Trees, Dirty Bird, Unwound, Green Magnet School and numerous others.

Hollow Heyday developed a mixture including the intensity and volume of punk rock, odd time signatures and adventurous soundscapes including heavily processed guitar and bass sounds. Though their introduction was as an alternative pop-leaning band, later work displays a penchant for song structures and texture experimentation, sometimes challenging the listener to move beyond typically predictable forms. A critic once described them as “what juice concentrate is to juice.”

Heyday played under numerous monikers, switching “Hollow” for some whimsical word (such as Hectic/Headless/Rocketship/Battleship/Humble/Humbug/Howling/Haughty, etc.) for performances and recordings. Chris Pee liked traveling and Dave would fill in upon his absence, between his commitments to his then-current bands, The Lemonheads and Fuzzy.

Heyday spent one week recording with Steve Albini in April 1993 but went their separate ways upon their return to Boston. Though the band remained on friendly terms, each had additional pursuits that took them elsewhere (Chris Pee moved to San Francisco, Mann Well finished his studies and became an archaeologist, BahB moved to China), never releasing what was most likely their best work.

As of 2013, Chris Pee is a member of The Grannys, a San Francisco band; Mann Well is a college professor in Nicaragua and BahB lives in the Buffalo, NY working in IT."