Charity begins at home, the old phrase goes – and if the history of Canadian melody-merchants Hollerado is anything to go by, it seems that musical genius begins in that area too. Born and raised in Manotick, Ontario (infact, three of the band members grew up on the same street together), the four Hollerado boys – Menno Versteeg, Nixon Boyd, Dean Baxter and Jake Boyd – officially came together in April 2007. Relocating to Montreal, they’ve since been gathering a well-deserved reputation as everyone’s favorite Bright Young Things.
According to the band, they came together “playing yardboard listening to the Yardbirds on the same street in Manotick. For those who don’t know what yardboard is, it’s a popular game played in rural Canada, similar to chinese checkers, except life size and you can score “tri’s.” It’s played in open fields using curling stones and you ride on lawn mowers.”
Jake in particular has vivid memories: “I was probably 9 or 10, or 11. Menno took Nick and I to our first rock concert. He’s a little older than us and he had a car. It was Foo Fighters and Green Day, back when both were still awesome. Neither of those bands are the worst things out there though.” The group are all big fans of the Kinks (stating in the past that they prefer them over the Beatles or Stones) and their pop sensibility has often been compared to the likes of Supergrass, Stephen Malkmus and Weezer.
That pop sensibility is clearly evident on their recorded material. Their first full-length album ‘Record In A Bag’ was released in 2009, and given a high-profile 2010 re-release due to massively escalating interest. This came after a series of demos, titled – in no-nonsense fashion – ‘Demo In A Bag 1, 2, 3, 4′ and ‘5’, which were unleashed between 2007 and 2008.
‘Record In A Bag’ remains one of the most strikingly confident debut albums in recent memory. It’s not hyperbole to call it a ‘Murmur’ or ‘Surfer Rosa’ or ‘The Smiths’ for the twenty-first century. Don’t just take our word for it, though – there’s a plethora of reviewers out there who hold ‘Record In A Bag’ in similarly hallowed sanctity.
‘There is absolutely no reason why you should not get this album,’ enthused Grayowl Point, while Sputnikmusic simply went for the term ‘phenomenal’. Even a cursory listen to a couple of the album’s highlights (below) should be enough to make any rock fan agree.
The release of 2013’s ‘White Paint, however, saw the band really hit their stride publicity-wise, and those who had failed to leap on board the Hollerado train thus far soon found themselves jumping on the nearest available carriage.
‘This is a band that loves what they do,’ reflected The Silhouette, while mvremix predicted that ‘White Paint’ would ‘end up filling a hole in every current 20-something’s heart’. ‘Hollerado have still held on to the aspects that won them so many fans,’ mused Beyond The Watch. ‘They’re still as playful and witty as they were on their debut, but after a few years on the road Hollerado have obviously matured and White Paint is a reflection of that.’
As with its predecessor, reviews might be a good barometer of consensus – but the only way to appreciate the music for itself is to, well, open up yer ears to a couple of ‘White Paint’ highlights (below) …
It’s not just reviewers who have been giving the band constant praise – and its not just Hollerado’s music that has been gathering attention either. While they have supported acts such as Andrew W.K, The Stills, Malajube and Jack White’s The Dead Weather (singled out by Mr White himself, no less), they’ve also developed something of a reputation for crafting fantastic, viral-material pop videos along the lines of youtube superstars OK Go. Check out the cinespiels for both ‘Got To Lose’ and ‘Americanarama’ (below) for proof of this. 2011 saw them nominated for a prestigious Juno Award.
They’re also no slouches live: they’ve played as far afield as China, and in 2009 they embarked on their “seven bars in seven cities seven days a week” tour, taking in Boston, New York, Lacolle, Quebec, Hamilton, Ontario, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Sound slightly nomadic. Vocalist Menno would agree: “right now, we don’t have a home. We’re living in a van.”
They claim their craziest moment on the road so far has been “meeting the lead singer of Bad Company at Sears”, which – as far as supermarket-related celebrity encounters – is undeniably pretty impressive. Just don’t get them started on Nickelback. “Bands like us who are working really hard to make music different and interesting have a real bone to pick with Chad Kroeger, who’s making it, uh, uninteresting and not very inventive,” says Nick. “His lyrics are total crap, and we just always have a bone to pick with him I guess.”
Hollerado: mixing killer guitar melodies with bear-baiting opinions since 2007 … and hopefully well into the future.
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