My brief treatise upon the merits of H Is For Hellgate, a rock band from Seattle, Washington
By Matt Brown
H Is For Hellgate churn out tricky indie-prog constructions onstage with little apparent effort.
The boys in the group mug and pose endearingly, while the two young women sternly apply themselves to the serious task of rocking the hell out. They were my favorite local discovery of 2007, and I try not to miss any of their Seattle shows.
Actually, I’m so deep in H Is For Hellgate’s junk now, I should pay them rent for hosting my parasitic carcass. A year ago, I’d barely heard of these four smarmy whippersnappers, and now I’m mentioned in one of their songs (the delightfully Seattle-centric novelty single “Tina Fey”), they’ve each signed my boobs in permanent ink, and I’ve listened to their debut album so many damned times I don’t even know if I like it anymore.
Fortunately, they’re making a new one – currently being recorded at Avast! – and reportedly it’ll be darker and more aggressive than the debut CD that songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jamie Henkensiefken created on her own under the H Is For Hellgate name.
2007 brought a series of triumphs and tragedies that pulled the band’s members (Henkensiefken, Marie Calderon, Ben Baier and David Thomas) into a lean and focused unit, musically and otherwise. They’re moving into the new year with a confident edge to their playing that’s exciting to watch.
Ms. Henkeniefken currently isn’t talking to me because I failed to get them a show in Portland with a friend’s band. Regardless of whether she ever speaks to me again or not (she will), H is For Hellgate are a band to keep an eye on in 2008.