Archive for the ‘hopewell’ Category

Hopewell – Islands

October 5, 2009

We are happy to announce that the video for “Island” exists and is ready for your eyes.

The band’s good friend Art Boonparn (who’s done videos for The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Coldcave & The Silent League) managed to pretty accurately represent the spirit of the song by shooting hand held super 8 scenes in and around Brooklyn and mixing them together with archival war footage and found sound.

The whole thing feels more like a short film in 3 parts (a la Kurosawa) than a rock vid. We are pleased!

click below, enjoy…

Hopewell “Island” from Painless Surgery on Vimeo.

Hopewell – Daytrotter Session

September 10, 2009

Free MP3s provided by Hopewell and

Words by Sean Moeller // Illustration by Johnnie Cluney // Sound engineering by Mike Gentry

1. Welcome to Daytrotter

2. Stranger – Originally from “Good Good Desperation”

3. Preamble Pt. 2/Island – Originally from “Good Good Desperation”

4. Realms Of Gold – Originally from “Good Good Desperation”

Early last week, a photograph on the front page of the New York Times showed the skyline of Los Angeles, California, from slightly above, on level with the tops of the highest buildings. Just behind those buildings, up on the surrounding mountains raged those scary and damaging wildfires that seem to find extra lives, like Mario or Luigi cracking bricks with their heads find them, continuing to tick and rampage across the dry grounds and forested areas, taking hundreds of homes and firefighters with its deadly stroll.

The fires in the photo were eye-popping and terrifying in their height and in their glare. They had nothing but hot evil on their minds and it appeared that everyone was in danger of being smoked and burnt completely out of the picture, sent screaming and running into the ocean, with their knuckle hair and eyebrows singed off. The Brooklyn band Hopewell, pulls off a stirring accompaniment to those wildfires, which have become such a summer and autumn tradition in California and Arizona. It’s music for the viewing of such magnificent tragedies that are so easily set into motion, ignited into realism, yet are tamed or curtailed so impossibly.

The roaring and chiming guitars and the pulsing vocals of Jason Russo, provides such burning bolts of continuous smoldering – as the heat builds, wanes, ashes and then tokes back up into its most heartened form before eventually coming into contact with a foil. Hopewell, hand-picked by Wayne Coyne and the rest of the pride of Oklahoma City – the Flaming Lips – to play in their personally curated All Tomorrow’s Parties showcase this weekend in Monticello, New York, is mindful of this overwhelming feeling of displacement of self and the way that its actions are seldom not perpetrated by powers outside of one’s own control. It’s as if wildfires and ground tremors, or surprise wind storms that knock the power out and shift homes upon their foundations, are drawing themselves more elusive bodies and working outside of their normal strictures.

They’ve costume-changed themselves into affectations that can alter moods and the people they belong to – into heightened positions of drama and fear – bringing these end of time scenarios that feel disciplinary, but still manage to get the blood racing and the sweat popping out of the pores in a way that isn’t all that displeasing. The songs on “Good Good Desperation,” the band’s latest on Tee Pee Records are rife with moments that make you feel as if you are in touch with the camera’s lens in that photograph of the burning trees in the mountains of California, zeroing in on civilization for a stand-off, taking it all in and only feeling slightly afraid of what’s next, mostly just sitting there in awe of the brute force. It might be that good, good desperation that would make a plundering or a praising seem like one and the same, as if conventions and odds, gentility and fussiness have just been shot down and there’s no need to get too over-alarmed by what’s to come next. It may be a good show – or as good as you’re gonna see before the fires find your house for a final gobbling and goodbye to you.

The Hopewell Interview

August 31, 2009

Interview By: Jim Markunas

I caught up with my friend, Jason Sebastian Russo, lead singer and principle songwriter of New York’s Hopewell for a quick e-mail Q&A. Hopewell’s new record “Good Good Desperation” is out on Tee Pee Records… Buy it!!!!

JM: Jason, you’re a veteran musician and very prolific. How do you manage to make each Hopewell record innovative and different from each record before it?

Jason: Jeeze, thanks. Well, my abilities and tastes keep changing. So…the music does too. Also, time keeps passing, advances in technology happen, my patience for trends wane, etc.

JM: Awhile back, you left your supporting role in Mercury Rev to front Hopewell. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve done to hone your skills as a frontman. How is fronting a band different? What did you learn as a sideman that you brought to your lead role in Hopewell?

Jason: Well, I guess the main thing that helped pull me out of my reclusive shell is playing a shit ton of shows. It starts to become fun. Now, it’s like brushing my teeth, or taking a shower, but in front of people.

As a “sideman,” I learned exactly how random and annoying band leaders/lead singers can seem. Honestly, I was the “lead singer” in Hopewell before I joined Mercury Rev – so when I returned my focus to Hopewell, I was armed with the knowledge of both sides. It’s a 2-sided dance, no one is innocent.

JM: You have a reputation for being a “work-a-holic.” Please tell us a little bit about the projects you’re working on outside of Hopewell.

Jason: Hmmmmmmmm…a solo record ( recorded in a cow barn the English countryside, a band with my Brother (the Silent League) & dear friend Bill Whitten (Grand Mal) called the Paxil Brothers, two film scores this year, a book about my father…

JM: There have been a few solo projects that you’ve done described as “twangy/alt-country” can you tell us a little bit about that?

Jason: I don’t remember talking about a twangy alt-country side project. There is a fair amount of acoustic guitar on my solo thing, but I made sure to use dead strings. I tried to avoid things that could be described as jangling or shimmery. Also, for the record, this is my first solo endeavor. It felt weird – as if I was cheating on myself – but good weird.

JM: Tell us about “Good Good Desperation.” Is there a story behind the album? What is the album all about?

Jason: The album is the sound of us touring a lot through the American west. When you are on tour with a marginally-appreciated, space rock band, you get intimate with feelings like desperation, loneliness, ennui etc. We realized though – after a bit – that we make our best music when faced with opposition.

We once played a festival that was flooded, we’ve played outside in 101-degree heat, we played outside in 40-degree cold (Joshua Tree at night – no exaggeration here – it may have been below 40) – these were some of our best performances. We excel when circumstances are desperate. Thus, good desperation.

JM: Hopewell’s music uses a lot of cool little effects (pedals, synthesizers, etc.) What kind of gear do you use, and what kind of experimentation with new sounds went into the making of “Good Good Desperation?”

Jason: Well, here is a sample of some of the more bizarre gear we use:

Ruggiero Phase Simulator
White Tuxedo Vibra-Trem (TVT-2)
Liquid Fuzz (LF-101)
Fender Jazzmaster/Telecaster/Statocaster
Personal Pitch Pre-amps (sponsored)
The Tettix Wave Accumulator
EML Synkey Synthesizer
EE-1 Echo Echo analog delay delay
The Hazer (reissue)

JM: Who are your influences?

Jason: Hrmmmm…

Don Dellilo
Warhol & The Velvets
David Foster Wallace
Werner Herzog
Damo Suzuki
Marcel Duchamp

JM: If you could jam with any musician, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Jason: Uh, I would jam with whoever it is that invented the guitar – just to see the look on his/her face when I plug in.

Editor’s note: That would be Les Paul : )
JM: What can we expect from Hopewell this year? Any plans for a tour?

Jason: We just got done with a full US tour, coming up we are doing the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. Should be fun.

JM: What’s your favorite venue to play at?

Jason: I like Spaceland in LA. Or Glasslands here in Brooklyn. Or Pappy & Harriet’s in Joshua Tree.

Hopewell – Stranger

August 24, 2009

Download “Stranger” by Hopewell
Off “The Desperation Suite”


August 24, 2009


Staying true to their 90’s space rock roots, Hopewell releases the track “Stranger”, the second single off their newest album, Good Good Desperation (2009 Tee Pee Records). A swirling, aggressive, hazy waltz in the tradition of Loop, Flying Saucer Attack, Ride and early Mercury Rev, sound is treated more as sculpture, becoming a sonic canvas for whispered vocals, heavy phase and polyrhythms as layers of feedback and fuzz wash through the speakers.

The term space rock, originally describing bands in the late 60’s like The Pink Floyd or albums like Bowie’s Space Oddity, gave way to a 90’s version that was decidedly more shoegaze oriented. Hopewell, being part of that original Detroit Space Rock revival on Burnt Hair Records are now getting louder and hazier than ever, combining the best of both the 60’s and the 90’s movements.

Hopewell will perform a version of the single “Stranger”, along with several other tracks from Good Good Desperation at this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in Monticello, NY. Asked by The Flaming Lips to do something “out of the norm” for their set, Hopewell’s performance will include a medley of song variations both old and new, topped off with a Jane’s Addiction cover. Dubbing it “The Desperation Suite”, the 45 minute piece will also include the addition of a female choir as well as the the avant-garde sax player Mark Marinoff.

Hopewell – "Island"

August 3, 2009

Download “Island” by Hopewell
Off “Good Good Desparation”