Monday, March 2, 2009

They Could Be Famous: The Burning Hell


Every once and a while, a band comes along that you can’t help but listen to for a whole week or so. They have a certain “je ne sais quoi”, an “it” factor that elevates the music above standard-but-respectful indie music fare. However, I have been listening to Peterborough natives The Burning Hell in numerous binges since seeing them at the Hillside Festival last summer, and again in a thrift store this past winter. Since I’m in the throes of one of those binges right now, I figured I’d do well to write about one of the most engaging songwriting outfits I’ve come across in a long time. Signed to (weewerk), a fine label based in Ontario featuring some great talent (Great Lake Swimmers, The Fembots,) they are led by Mathias Kom, a part-time history teacher.

While the recording and production values aren’t spectacular, it’s the pure ingenuity of the songs that compensate for and easily overcome any technical shortcomings. Despite the fact that these are just great pop songs, there’s a quirkiness about the whole outfit that makes The Burning Hell especially endearing. Kom himself leads the band with a ukulele, while the lead guitarist is actually well...the lead ukulele-sized banjo player. Better yet, they are accompanied a nice, big back-up band to fill out the song live and in the studio. However, don’t think that The Burning Hell is cutesy, for while that sometimes may be the case, there are many sides to the mind of Mathias Kom that can come off as morbid, funny, mundane or just plain old eccentric, sometime at once. It’s something that you truly have to listen to in order to appreciate. Therefore, it’s my pleasure to offer the link below so you can peruse three songs that do not appear on either of their fine albums, Tick Tock and Happy Birthday. They are also touring across Canada for the next few months, check out their myspace to see if they are playing near you – if they are, gamble a few bucks and check them out. As for a song to stream below, it was difficult to find a single one that truly captured their essence, so I just picked a favourite from Happy Birthday.

Unreleased Burning Hell tunes

"General Electric vs. The Imperial Moth "

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