Maria's Local Radar: The Hollow—by Maria Ciezak, January 7, 2015
Wednesday is once again upon us, my favorite day of the week for so many reasons. The work week is half done, and naturally, I get to chat local music with all of you. What could be better? Thanks for all of your constant support kicking off the New Year right with some awesome talent. Just a friendly reminder, if you are in a band or have some music you’d like me to check out, please don’t hesitate to send your press materials my way at firstname.lastname@example.org. That being said, it’s about that time to put another act into the spotlight.
This week, I am going to talk about a modern rock band hailing out of Morris County, New Jersey, whom I recently saw on the big stage. Which big stage, you ask? Well, they opened up for Badfish: The Ultimate Sublime Tribute at Starland Ballroom on Saturday, Jan. 3, along with some of my other local favorites including My Life On Film and Political Party Crashers. They left me with a lasting impression, wanting to learn as much as I could about them. So as you will see, I am still new to their fanbase, however, I think I can still justify bringing them to your attention. They go by the name of The Hollow. You may or may not have heard of them, but by the end of this article, I can almost guarantee you will not be forgetting them.
The Hollow consists of members James Vilade, Brian Wilson, Jim Goodwin, and Kevin Barry. They’ve had a ton of press, done some radio stuff, and even worked with some of the biggest concert companies in the country. Now, when describing their “modern rock” sound, this could mean many things. I think you need to hear their style in order to interpret their sound how you want. What’s the impression it left on me? Well, I will try to break it down as best as I can. Ever hear a band that has such a solid single that you know it belongs on mainstream active rock radio, yet, you don’t want it to be, for they are too original and don’t sound like everything else that’s out there? That’s the best way to put a description on it.
One single in particular that I am referring to is a track called “Ms. Behavior." It’s super catchy, and emphasizes not only their vocal talent, but their sound as a whole. It has that “it” factor, without sounding too overproduced. I really enjoy this track. I decided to then check out some more tunes, including a song called “Let It Burn," which has a completely different sound. This is their “anthemic” track, if you will, that could have fans singing along with no problem. I found myself learning the words very quickly, as I wanted nothing more than to be able to blast it in my car and sing along. These are just two songs that I have on my radar, but all of their tracks are listen-worthy, so be sure to check them out.
If I had to compare their sound to another band, I am not sure that I could. Not that one has to be compared; however, bands tend to list other acts that they may “sound like” or artists that are “similar” in sound, just to give you a better idea. They combine various elements of acts, yet their style is all their own. I highly suggest you pick up their self-titled record, and give it a chance for yourself. It’s enjoyable from beginning to end, with a solid amount of filler, not making you want to skip the tracks. That is a quality that is hard to find these days, because for the most part, we live in a singles world. What I mean by this is, sometimes artists shouldn’t even bother releasing an entire album, because the single tends to be the only “good” song. Call me crazy, but that’s my personal opinion, agree to disagree. It is compacted with solid rhythm sections, extremely talented vocal range, heavy guitar riffs, and so much more. I am confident you will be sold on this band after hearing not only their album, but their live set.
You can learn more about The Hollow over at their Facebook page at facebook.com/TheHollowBand. They also have an official website at TheHollowBand.com. Over there you can check out their new music, find out tour dates, and just show them some love, encouraging their dreams. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for this act, as they’ve got the talent, the look, and what seems to be a nice following. I am lucky to be able to discover such natural, fresh talent in this area, for we surely live around an artistic bunch of people.
I will be back next week, same time, same column, with some more talent to beef up your playlist. In the meantime, keep on sending in those submissions, and I will continue to support you, one act at a time!
The Hollow: The Hollow
Modern Melodic Hard Rock | 4.0/5.0
by Craig Hartranft, 07.11.2011
Hailing from Morristown New Jersey, The Hollow's September 2010 debut came to me nearly two months ago. Though I don't normally review material this old, The Hollow's self-promoted first work is entertaining and definitely worth exploring.
While modern American rock bands are busy mimicking heavy post-grunge tendencies and advacing hardcore overtones, The Hollow revisits basic melodic hard rock. Likely akin to mid-Nineties rock than the Eighties, The Hollow has a penchant for composing solid songs with strong melodies and infectious hooks.
The Hollow is best when those strong melodic characteristics are front and foremost. Notably, the album starts well with those very things on Run Away and Open Your Eyes. Both offer a heavier, more modern, motif but never at the expense of tight melody and strong vocal arrangements. (James Vilade is an excellent vocal talent).
But for real accessibility and innovation, the best songs are Move on Past, a lighter tune with a pop vibe, which can get heavy later on; Ms. Behavior, a catchy rock song with friendly melodic and lyrical hooks; and, Just Go Away, with a toe-tapping, near funk, rock groove and excellent guitar solo. And speaking of fret work, Brian Wilson is no slouch, offering sterling performances throughout. (Dig the work on Ms Behavior and Feel So Alone.)
Perhaps the mundane comes only when The Hollow simply does modern heavy rock as on No Way to Live, Let It Burn, or Rule the World. Fine songs, yes, but more or less derivative of current trends. Yet this also provides a conundrum with the last number Feel So Alone. The longest song, it smacks of modern post-grunge hard rock, but is saved by its subtle groove and Wilson's inspired guitar solo at the end.
The Hollow is not your typical modern American rock band. They neither mimic current trends or try to be so scarf-wearing indie to coddle to the hipster crowd. Ultimately, their debut is solid and entertaining modern melodic hard rock. They get it, and that's good. Very recommended.
Sometimes it’s good to just hear a good old dose of rock ‘n roll without a thousand bells and whistles. The Hollow can be counted on for exactly this, as their self-titled debut packs enough soul, rock and electricity into their 11 tracks to power a small city. If you’re looking for a rocking good time, then look no further: The Hollow are at your service.
James Vilade sings/speaks/shouts his way through each of the tracks with the confidence of a seasoned veteran, Steve Babula lays down some solid bass lines (especially on the rollicking “Ms. Behavior”), Kevin Barry thunders away on the drums (check out is frenetic work on “Rule the World”) throughout and Brian Wilson provides one nasty guitar lick and solo after another (too many songs to mention here). Some of the edges on their songs are rough, but that’s in true rock ‘n roll fashion, so it’s all good.
“Ms. Behavior” is a highlight as the bands rocks out with abandon. “Let It Burn” is another driving rock number filled with excellent drumming and Vilade’s aggressive vocals. In the midst of the raucous noise that fills this album however, is a beautiful, brief ballad called “In Between” where the band croons “Ooo-ooo-ooo” for about a minute as an acoustic guitar combines with some orchestral sounds to create a lush track that is one of the album’s best. “Just Go Away” is another good one because it takes a more funky, jam band approach and makes for another nice change of pace on this record (plus it doesn’t hurt that some of the solos on this track sound like something Joe Satriani would cook up).
The Hollow are a band with considerable promise. They don’t just belt out the crunchy rock tracks one after another, but instead they infuse their music with a lot of soul, variety and precision. They also don’t just play the same three chords over and over either, instead choosing to mix in time changes on several songs to change up the dynamics. It’s because they are so well-rounded as musicians that this band has a chance to go somewhere, and The Hollow is a great starting point for the band.
By Brian Palmer
I love hearing from new bands looking for exposure in The Aquarian. I mean that’s the sole reason why we do this, right? So, when I was contacted by the Morristown, NJ band The Hollow, I immediately clicked on their link to give them a listen. I got to hear the songs “Runaway,” “Let It Burn” and “No Way to Live,” off of their debut self-titled CD, and their sound really brings me back to the mid-90s. I felt that the boys from The Hollow really nailed that alternative rock sound that I remembered listening to when I first got into radio. They reminded me of bands like Cracker or The Toadies. Their first single and video, “Runaway” will stick in your head for days.
The Hollow is an alt-rock act out of Morristown, NJ. They boys are no strangers to the scene though. They actually used to play under the name The Meathooks, where they released their first full length CD in 2008 titled No End in Sight, which got them some recognition in many media outlets. They recently felt that the band needed a change and a fresh new start, so they changed the name to The Hollow and rebranded the whole project. The Hollow is singer James Vilade, guitarist Brian Wilson, bassist Steve Babula and drummer Kevin Barry, and together they spent the past year writing and recording all the tracks on this new CD.
The Hollow, who was nominated as one the Top 5 New Jersey Bands on my bud, Lindsay Klein’s “Homegrown Spotlight” on WDHA, self-produced, recorded and mixed the disc at bass player Steve Babula’s private studio. They plan on spending the better half of 2011 promoting the new music, so log onto thehollowband.com to find out when they’re playing in your neck of the woods.
—by Tim Louie, February 9, 2011
Indie Rock Cafe
Of all of the bands featured in this post, The Hollow are probably the most polished-sounding. But, in their case, it’s not a bad thing; although their songs, at least the two tracks featured here, are more likely to be played on college radio alongside bands like My Morning Jacket and 3 Doors Down. That said, The Hollow are an unsigned band; whether they progress more towards the modern rock sound, and away from alternative or indie rock, remains to be seen. Of course, they didn’t do themselves any favors as far as the band name, when you consider that there are numerous bands with the same or similar name. Luckily, it was easier to find them in a Google search then it is for other bands with common names – especially over-used favorites like bear, deer, shark, and so on.
The Hollow’s first single, “Run Away,” with it’s opening atmospheric guitar lick (which sounds remarkably like the intro on U2‘s “Where The Streets Have No Name”) has the makings of a college radio hit, even though it could benefit from a little better mixing on the percussion. The second single, “Move On Past,” is another solid modern rock track, elevated by high-octane guitar licks (and a not too shabby solo) and soulful lead vocals. The band have received numerous accolades on rock radio in New Jersey and in the local media. Apparently, they have only opened for one band, The Marshall Tucker Band. We’re not sure how an alternative rock band in the 2000s got paired up with a classic southern rock band from the 1970′s; but, you know, strange bedfellows and all that.
"The pedal is being put to the metal in Rockaway, New Jersey. The Hollow, is an unsigned rock band that sings about not taking life too seriously. This is evident with the loud track "Let It Burn," which is from the CD "The Hollow" released in early summer 2010. A raucous tale about people living life to the fullest, and having fun in the process. This track features "gritty," but soulful vocals and intense melodic rock riffs...
The Hollow plays soulful rock music that will touch every human emotion."
(Indie Rock Magazine) Leslie Snyder
"These guys are fantastic and bring lead guitar and vocals playing off each back to the table. Reminds me a little of the old Jeff Beck Group in many ways. Brian Wilson may be one of the most up and coming lead guitarists in NJ today and James Vilade on lead vocals is smooth! Run Away is undoubtedly one of their most catchy, but listen to these guys a little further and they grow on you!!!! Personal favorite is Move on Past!"
"The Hollow’s debut album is jam packed with rock goodness. These guys are quite talented and it really shows on this album. I’ve spun it 5 times now and it keeps getting better. Definitely try to catch them live if you can!"
"So I’ve been listening to these guys for years and have been awaiting the new album! TRUST ME, this CD ROCKS! These 4 guys figured out how to write amazing songs! This album is full of heavy “bang your head grooves,” super catchy choruses, great melody, and of course awesome guitar work with solos! Check these guys out if you’re ready to hear a kick-as album from beginning to end!"
"The Hollow’s self-titled release is tremendous work. From the hard-working pace of “Run Away” to the palpitating rock engine of “No Way to Live” to the soulful and potentially epic tandem of “In Between” and “Take You There”, the band is honest to its influences and delivers. The album truly has depth."
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