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Eight Bells – “Hold My Breath” (Premiere)

Photo by Velda Thorsson
Photo by Velda Thorsson

We—us at the site, musicians, you in the comments—throw around the word “dark” too often. It can’t describe music accurately, the way it can a painting. For example the painting “Eight Bells” by Winslow Homer is in fact dark. Homer’s color scheme is cool, he put a sizeable amount of black paint on the canvass.

Winslow Homer's Eight Bells
Winslow Homer’s Eight Bells

I cannot say the same for “Hold My Breath,” the new song by Portland (and now Chicago as well) power trio Eight Bells. I hear this song and my brain says “dark,” but the pieces that guitarist Melinda Jackson, bassist Haley Westeiner and drummer Rae Amitay (Immortal Bird, Thrawsunblat) construct with sound bright. Jackson’s chiming and piercing guitar tone evokes The Edge’s celebratory playing style. She and Westeiner employ two-part harmonies, the sort often used in medieval choir music.

Darkness conceals; it is more than the absence of light. Eight Bells sound as if they, too, are hiding something. Their jagged, sometimes Slint-like approach to songwriting, and their assonant singing make their songs obscure. This is the case on their entire new album, Landless. Like Homer’s sailors cave across the surface of the ocean, I find myself obsessed with the surface of Eight Bells’s music, curious what lies beneath.

—Joseph Schafer
—Twitter – @JosephPSchafer

—Instagram – @timesnewromancatholic

Landless is out on February 12 via Battleground Records. Pre-order it here.
Follow Eight Bells on Facebook and on Twitter at @EightBellsBand.

Eight Bells plays solo on the following dates
Jan 28 – Portland, OR @ High Water Mark
Jan 29 – Sacramento, CA @ Starlite Lounge
Jan 30 – Glendale, CA @ Complex w/ Bosse-De-Nage, Wreck and Reference
Jan 31 – Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap
Feb 4 – Worcester, MA @ Ralph’s
Feb 5 – Hamden, CT @ Outer Space Ballroom w/ Vektor

Eight Bells will open for Vektor and Voivod on the following dates.
Feb 6 – Providence, RI @ Fete Ballroom
Feb 7 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
Feb 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Feb 9 – Morgantown, WV @ Mainstage
Feb 10 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
Feb 11 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Stone Pony
Feb 12 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
Feb 13 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Feb 14 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Feb 16 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings
Feb 18 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
Feb 19 – Sanford, FL @ West End Trading Co.
Feb 20 – Ybor City, FL @ The Orpheum
Feb 21 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
Feb 22 – Knoxville, TN @ The Concourse
Feb 23 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House Revival
Feb 24 – Chicago, IL @ The Abbey Pub
Feb 25 – Cudahy, WI @ The Metal Grill
Feb 26 – St Paul, MN @ The Amsterdam
Feb 27 – Omaha, NE @ Waiting Room
Feb 28 – St Louis, MO @ Firebird

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