click here to listen to Hollands Full Live Concert from Pianos NYC on 12.21.12 - the world did not end!
(but John-Paul broke a string on his Fender Stratocaster during the first song, quite a rare occurrence these days)
Here i as nice interview with Jezz Harkin, DJ for Breakthru Radio's "Get in the Van" - Jezz spoke with John-Paul for about 10 minutes concerning the new Hollands residence at Pianos, traveling by Prius, snowtires, kickstarters, etc. link below
Green Shoelace Live Show Review and Mother EP Review 7.21.09 / 11.3.09
In the long line of emerging bands from Brooklyn this year, Hollands are no stranger to the crowd. Made up of multi-instrumentalist John Paul Norporth and violinist, (Jannina Norpoth) the duo blends folk music with classic rock riffs like you’ve never heard before. Fresh from releasing their second EP titled Mother (Self-Released) the group is on the up and up.
Kicking off the record is “Air Conditioned Heart,” that sets the tone for the whole record with spacey violin sounds that echo throughout and haunting double vocals. “Cheerio!” takes the EP down a notch and is written in a style similar to that of Jon Brion. With humming guitars, sad but catchy lyrics, and just enough harmony to suit your needs, this is the standout track on the record.
“Just Like Them” brings the album back up to speed and Norpoth’s voice is soulful with just enough scratchiness to it, as “Lungs of Steel” and “Jackie” provide an alt-country tone to the record with twangy guitar strums and blissful vocals. Closing the record is the dreary yet unforgettable “Dirty Rum,” which is simple yet beautiful with the main focus on (Norpoth's) vocal and guitar. What a perfect and peaceful way to close this near brilliant EP.
It’s a Thursday night on the outskirts of Chinatown and I’m walking down a grungy narrow staircase in the back of Fontana’s. I come to a thick red velvet drape, part the curtain and step into the dark subterranean performance space. Already the room is vibrating with the sounds of Decostra, the opening band in tonights full line-up. - - - - - (content skipped with respect to author and bands reviewed)
By now crowd has picked up and a few girls have made their way up to the stage in anticipation of the final act. The room is soon filled to the brim with sounds of Hollands as the front man, wearing wire-framed glasses, begins a solid yet unassuming melody that takes on importance and credibility with time. Hollands can be described as emo meets alternative meets pure rock; a Weezer, Wilco, Local H reminiscence. Their track “Strong Arm” is a perfect example of where their talent. An unrelenting beat runs just below the surface of a well thought out, provocative lyrical landscape. With Hollands one can feel the tension and love in the fabric of their subtlety. A relationship between artist and audience that works only if the latter is willing to be patient and keenly observant. And for Hollands, we definitely are.
Hollands' second EP is a bit longer than their 2008 debut EP, Faces, with John-Paul Norpoth remaining prominent as the composer of almost all the material. Though not easily described, Norpoth's songs here are on the more downbeat side of singer/songwriter rock, even on the perhaps ironically titled "Cheerio!" His vocals are slightly reminiscent of the style singers like Ray Davies have brought to their phrasing, observing bad or at least mixed fortunes as if a touch of bemused detachment makes the situation easier to bear. The musical settings veer from near-folkiness to touches of fuzzy guitar blasts, and while string arrangements are employed, they're so subtle as to go largely unnoticed on what's basically a straight-ahead alternative rock record. -
Richie Unterberg - All Music Guide
Her dad plays avant-jazz guitar. His mom is a classical flautist. She plays the violin. He plays everything else. Meet New York City’s Hollands, a band whose “serious music” chops and theory-head pedigree makes their sidestepping of the garish hipsterdom stalking the streets of the LES a bit less perilous. And be thankful for that, 'cause who needs another chillwave buzz band, right? -
Jermy Leeuwis, Editor
November 26, 2009
New York continues to put out great music. I've really been into the whole "folk-esque rock band bringing in massive amount of distorted strings" thing lately, and NYC's HOLLANDS does it up right. Every member of the band has some serious credits under their belt, working with everyone from Jay-Z and Beyonce, to Sufjan Stevens, to Alicia Keys, to Sean Lennon. Recorded during a period of personal turmoil for lead man John-Paul Norpoth the tracks show the lead-singer and songwriter in a drowsy mood. Norpoth sounds a bit clumsy and disillusioned, not only with the American dream but with the possibilities of love and lust.
Hollands second EP, Mother, on October 13th revels one with pounding drums, driving guitar violin and cello parts that are all gritty and distorted up. We got a sneak peek at the release, and decided to drop a few tracks on you to enjoy.
9.29.09 J. Sully
Didn't know a thing about the band Hollands until I unexpectedly received a review copy of their debut EP Faces recently. Described as a New York duo comprised of guitarist/vocalist John-Paul Norpoth and violinist Jannina Barefield in the promo, the group appearing on the five-song disc appears to be a slightly different unit since Barefield's name appears nowhere in the credits. Instead, the second name on the creds is guitarist/violinist/electric bassist Earl Maneein, known for his more recent work in the heavy metal violin band Resolution 15, so perhaps Barefield replaced Maneein in Hollands after the band's debut was in the can?
Whatever the case, the Hollands repped on Faces has a winning alt-rock sound. Singer/songwriter Norpoth's has some of the alt-ish wavery flatness that I associate with bands like, oh, Dinosaur Jr. though it's more on key. I could do without the Strokes-styled vocal mushing that appears on some of the tracks, but that's my particular audio bias.
In any event, the group is at its best flat out rockin', which they efficiently do on three of the disc's five cuts. Opener "Strong Arm" features some nicely muted feedback, while "Over and Out" starts with guitar noise that brings to mind some of Lou Reed's more stately solo tracks before zipping into an organ backed (courtesy Thomas Shaw) rock groove. The one dominantly acoustic number (by Maneein, interestingly enough) demonstrates that Norpoth could go the Jeff Buckley route if he so chose; it's sweetly moody with an appealing Latinate tinge.
The only duff track proves the disc's final cut: a slow and meandering piece of ponderousness entitled "High Class," which works overtime to convinced you how serious it is with all kinds of ambient computery background sounds. Okay, everybody's allowed one dud. Me, I'd rather hear Norpoth repeatedly rhapsodizing about how much he loves the freeway on "Coughing Boy," sounding like a more world-weary Jonathan Richman but still going a hundred miles an hour. After visiting the band's MySpace page and hearing how the current iteration sounds, I'm definitely curious as to how they'd fill a full-length CD.
Bill Sherman, June 6, 2009
Hollands' debut EP was recorded between March 2005 and August 2007, and released in 2008. A brief five-song affair that lasts a bit more than 20 minutes, it's not long or distinctive enough to leave you with much of a sense of where this band's coming from. Guitarist John-Paul Norpoth leaves the heaviest imprint as the sole songwriter, his singing and composing both espousing a vague aura of dissatisfaction and weariness. His wandering, slightly sing-speak vocal phrasing is set against varying backgrounds of lightly funky alternative rock, delicate folk-rock, and dark post-punk, "Coughing Boy" working best owing to its effective and understated strings.
- Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
Yes in my Backyard: Download Hollands' "Air Conditioned Heart"
Christopher Weingarten interviews John-Paul re: Mother EP
Washington Heights freak-poppers Hollands are a cheery mix of folk, punk, and free-noise. Both frontman John-Paul Norpoth and violinist Jannina Barefield have laid down some sessions on various Akron/Family records (and certainly share their vibrant spirit and dizzy textures), but Hollands' sound is more mellow--think Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips, with folk that's torn between '90s "anti-" and '00s "freak-." Their second self-released EP this year,Mother, leads with the joyous burst "Air Conditioned Heart." The track is made from a little bit of Grizzy Bear's "While You Wait For The Others," and a whole lot of breezy melodies and whimsical cuteness. In the song's lyrics, Norpoth treats Kansas as a great, mythical escape from the bustle of New York--and certainly somewhere better than where he was at for much of the Mother sessions: spending a summer stuck in his childhood town of Stony Brook, New York.
What is this song about?
"Air Conditioned Heart" is about summer vacation. I was living back at my family home in Stony Brook-- "Story Book," where I was born and raised. Well, actually I was born in the ugliest hospital on Earth, Stony Brook Hospital. One day they should launch that thing to Mars, or back to Mars. I was stuck at home, licking my wounds perhaps, broke, trying to avoid NYC rent for the summer. Mom was nagging me to move back to the big city and go work construction for my brother. Dad, a professor, was going through the process of a job interview, negotiation with University at Kansas, Lawrence. We didn't know at that point whether he was going to be commuting to Kansas, and the evolving dynamic of my family was wearing thin. I don't remember much about how I wrote the song other than I wanted the lyrics evoking strong and colorful imagery. I wrote it on a baby grand piano, at home, laptop on top, headphones and mics everywhere.
Have you ever been to Kansas?
I've never been to Kansas, but at that point it felt like a new day--one with the same escape/trappings I was looking for at home. Comfort, calm, financial freedom. New York City has a way of beating everyone up in different ways. "Air Conditioned" is the way I felt, static or contained, cold. But still with this "Heart" beating me up inside.
What are "old fashioned sex dreams"?
The old-fashioned sex dreams are the first sexual encounters I had, when I was 10 or 11. I had my first about Madonna, "Vogue" -era. Then she went Erotica later on.
What's your most memorable New York show?
Mercury Lounge last year, one of the first shows with this new band. We made $67. That's just swell. I'm sure more people make that amount going to the toilet in this town but that Sunday night was incredible. No rehearsals. It was a mess and a triumph.
What's the your favorite place to eat in New York?
Jannina and I definitely think the best place to eat in NYC is our apartment here in Washington Heights. Ms. Barefield is the best soul-jew-chef in New York. I'm the only man who gets his chicken-fried gefilte-fish with BBQ sauce. She is a legendary cook! We love Covo too, Naples-style pizza, hidden underneath Riverside at 130th street. They let you keep your dog with you outside. Dino BBQ too at 127th street and Carmines at 96th street. We're fat, we know where to eat in this town.
Download: Hollands, "Air Conditioned Heart"