dandfREAL

Departure and Farewell

Seven Angels Music Video feature by The New Yorker

Tourniquet Music Video feature in NPR’s All Songs Considered

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funnelcloud

Funnel Cloud Press

The Best Music of 2006 – #27
“This Brooklyn Americana outfit consolidates its strengths on Funnel Cloud, almost becoming a genre unto itself with aching, heartfelt laments supported by just-right orchestral backing. The band expertly employs dynamics, wth heart-quickening shifts between quiet and forceful passages, plus a memorable foray into (for them) all-out rock.”
PASTE

**** Four Stars! “The homey indie-pop tunes on the band’s third studio full-length come encased in gorgeous mini-orchestral arrangements that sound inspired by classic Disney scores, not dusty old Pentangle records. The music is grit-free but laced with melancholy”
SPIN

“The term “countrypolitan” has been used to describe Hem’s style, but with each album release that characterization seems less and less adequate. While main songwriter Dan Messe has called the band’s music “alt-country, pop-rock orchestral lullabies for adults,” the influence of Tin Pan Alley and musicals from the ‘60s are just as evident as, say, the orchestral albums of Ray Charles or Glenn Campbell.”
NO DEPRESSION

“Bands like Hem, and albums like Hem’s third, Funnel Cloud, are meant to be passed from person to person and played to tatters by those who need them most.”
THE ONION

“…Funnel Cloud, keeps lead whisperer Sally Ellyson’s rich and dreamy simple melodies front-and-center while puffy clouds hover around.”
THE VILLAGE VOICE

“…even the band’s most stripped-down music sounds contemplated and mused over.”
TIME OUT NEW YORK

Funnel Cloud makes NPR station WKSU’s Top 10 albums of the Year!!
NPR

“While Hem remains committed to acoustic music, the electric guitars, pedal steels, found sounds, and tighter arrangements on Funnel Cloud showcase Ellyson as a passionate singer who perfectly interprets her bandmates lyrics and musical ideas.”
ALL MUSIC

“With their third full-length album Funnel Cloud, Hem take on themes of fear and innocence. It’s enough to make even the most jaded pause for thought”
STEREOGUM

“…New York’s Hem, a group best known for haunting twilight lullabies and lushly orchestrated countrypolitan slow-dancers.”
NOW MAGAZINE

“Hem’s light touch and deft arrangements ensure that no matter what the direction”
EXCLAIM!

“This is an album best suited for the lonely late night hours; songs of romantic longing and wistful reflection; songs filled with heartache, yet shot through with hope; songs which feel old fashioned, yet are thoroughly modern.”
TWANGVILLE

Rating: 3 1/2 stars
“There is no shortage of material from folk quartet HEM floating about out there. Funnel Cloud is the sixth release from the New York band since 2001, and the second release since 2006 (a rarities and b-sides album was dropped earlier this year). There’s certainly nothing wrong with having that much HEM available, and Funnel Cloud is no poor showing. Tin-voiced frontwoman Sally Ellyson sounds a lot like Beth Orton, and while the band is accordingly quite sombre sounding, their sadness is tragically beautiful. Fans of Neko Case, Jacksonville City Nights-style Ryan Adams, and the Be Good Tanyas will find another good friend in the Americana stylings of HEM.”
SOULSHINE

“Grace, comfort, quiet persistence, and delicate, heart crushing prettiness radiate from Hem’s songs”
THE PORTLAND MERCURY

“Hem’s productions blend, juxtapose and in some cases jam idiomatic references”
THE CITY PAPER

“…a sound that is lush, emotional and utterly beautiful”
THE DAILY BRUIN

“Brooklyn’s Hem will ease you into the coolness of fall with pretty pop songs…”
NEW YORK POST

“Over what’s now three albums (and another worthy collection of odds and sods), Hem’s piquant melodies and evocative mental vistas beg a change in the way you listen, and yes, even see”
DALLAS OBSERVER

“It’s a spacious, open sound marked by leisurely beats, contemplative melodies, and the mandolin pricks of a classic country tune. “
DAILY NEWS (NEW YORK)

“The band operates on a perpetual dichotomy between its country-flecked acoustic sound and the lyrical themes of loss, hard love and crippling nostalgia.”
RIVERFRONT TIMES

“For the Brooklyn based Hem, what you initially hear is what you fall in love with – soft melodies, delicate instrumentals, and quiet, detailed musicianship that seems destined to be duplicated over a career”
GLIDE MAGAZINE

“They at times recall the emotionally stirring sweep of movie music from an age when the best pictures were shot in Cinemascope and orchestras crowded onto sound stages to perform the scores.”
JIVE MAGAZINE

“When Hem’s gentle sound gels -as it does here and most notably on the band’s debut Rabbit Songs–it’s a lovely place to be.”
E! ONLINE

“It’s group has talent and are not afraid to experiment with that talent in different ways while still maintaining their own identity. It’s an album that you need to have in your collection…”
TRANSFORM ONLINE

“Moody songs that seem to complicate as they lengthen, “Funnel Cloud” is a whirlwind meant for pure unadultered digestion”
SMOTHER

“Hem has already set the bar ridiculously high, but Funnel Cloud just may be its best work yet. It certainly blows away the competition with its whirlwind of melody, stirring songcraft, and far-reaching emotions.”
PLAYBACK STL

“Funnel Cloud is a soothing record which is centered around Ellyson’s soulful, Sarah McLachlan-like style of singing and backed by unique sonic arrangement…This is good stuff.”
PULSE WEEKLY

“Ellyson’s singing always stands out on these songs, no matter the style. Her voice is conversational, much like a storyteller relaying a personal story.”
POP MATTERS

“Light and soothing, their music is a “Countrypolitan” mix that borrows from many genres, and masterfully crafts them into dreamy, peaceful orchestrations.”
OLD BLUE BUS

“This is the kind of spine-tingling song that goes straight through you…”
XO LONDON

“They are simply one of the best bands to see live, absolutely thrilling. I cannot say it enough.”
TRACE MY FACE

“The production lifts the vocals above the music, making it feel as if it’s a bird over a landscape rather than a fish in the river.”
LONESOME MUSIC

“Channeling a young Joni Mitchell something fierce, lead singer Sally Ellyson and the rest of Hem have quietly put together the sleeper album of the summer with Funnel Cloud.”
INDOOR FIREWORKS

“Fans should have no problem recognizing the low-key proceedings, extensive-but-unobtrusive instrumentation, and the smooth, lyrical vocals of singer Sally Ellyson.”
PLAGUE OF ANGELS

“The delicate compositions sound like the most fragile and beautiful flower you have ever seen. Hem’s power comes as much from the strikingly crisp vocals of Sally Ellyson as it does from the expansive band, who weave a lovely acoustic folk web around listeners’ heads; encapsulating them for the entire scenic ride of Funnel Cloud.”
THE ONION AV CLUB

“Funnel Cloud, the graceful countrypolitan band’s third studio album, has all the sweeping beauty and folksy tenderness we’ve come to expect from Hem, who have finally recaptured the vitality (if not the magic) of the seminal Rabbit Songs.”
COKE MACHINE GLOW

“True music fans should take a listen to Hem, a band steeped in country, folk and bluegrass traditions, erudite songwriting, and a voice that will thaw even the coldest of hearts.”
TREBLE ZINE

“Much of Hem’s muscle comes as much from the sweet crystal clear vocals of Sally Ellyson as it does from the potently restrained songs of Dan Messe.”
TWANG NATION

“Every Starbucks in a 5 mile radius must have emptied out for this show, which was another typically fantastic performance by Hem.”
RAWK BLOG

“Taking their cue from folk giants and story-tellers, they bring the best of steel and strings (beautiful violin work) to create a sweet country-lane soundtrack.”
NOISE FOR TOASTER

“On Hem’s new album, Funnel Cloud, the alt-country band layers beautiful melodies with traditional instruments and rhythms, producing a stunning album.”
REVOLT MEDIA

“Hem’s exquisitely beautiful music is matched by the honeyeyed pipes of singer Sally Ellyson and songs that sometimes take deliciously surprising thematic leaps.”
DALLAS OBSERVER

“In a sea full of mediocre, cookie-cutter, paint-by-numbers, simple variations-on-a-theme bands; here’s one that draws deeply on its inspirations and reimagines them anew.”
LUNA PARK 6

“It’s an eloquent, disarming collection from a band that won’t be the secret they have been for long”
IN HOUSE RADIO

“Hem’s songs are brief, but well written and expertly produced. The music just sounds rich, big strings, quiet piano, records don’t sound like this anymore.”
PREWAR BLUES

“Great Houses of New York is probably my favorite selection – a lullaby, a sad remembrance…with dissonance, and really beautiful, finger-plucked bass melodies.”
BLOG SAN DIEGO

“The music is incredibly rich and well played; though original one comparison of this blend might be Hour Of Bewilderbeast-era Badly Drawn Boy.”
PUCKNATION

“…although their records are not toe-tappers they do make for an enjoyable listen while sitting back and having a big glass of wine. Can’t ask for much more than that. And as good as they are on record, they’re even better live.”
IN HEAVY ROTATION

“I had chills for the majority of the time Hem played.”
EMBIGGEN YOUR MIND

“At its finest moments, as on “The Pills Stopped Working,” ‘Funnel Cloud’ is right there with the best of contemporary indie country and folk, and its rigorous song structures and unapologetic pop sense give the album an epic scope akin to Wilco’s ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ or R.E.M.’s ‘Automatic For The People’.”
REGN YOUTH

“Hem might just be the epitome of the new “Americana” classification.”
POST MODERN SOUNDS

“Three formal releases later and Hem has put out probably their most accessible album to date with really memorable tracks such as Not California and Reservoir… Welcome to autumn of 2006. Here is your soundtrack.”
MUSIC YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO

“The achingly powerful, “He Came To Meet Me” sets a high water mark for the album that any band would be hard pressed to match.”
THA BOMB SHELTER

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No Word From Tom

The first thing you notice about Sally Ellyson’s voice is the almost overwhelming warmth, the fulsome heat of her tone…
NO DEPRESSION

No Word From Tom is heavy on old material, from a gorgeous, mandolin-embellished live version of “Tennessee Waltz” to a heartfelt “Rainy Night in Georgia” to a moody, Cowboy Junkies-ish version of R.E.M.’s “So. Central Rain.” Sally Ellyson and company are even credible on an earnest reading of Fountains of Wayne’s “Radiation Vibe.”
HARP

“Making music that’s categorically neither country nor folk but a flexible citified mix of the two, its songs send one branch toward the hymnal, another into droning soft rock, and a third toward the kind of film music that evokes prairie sunsets. Beautiful.”
NEW YORK TIMES

“Classy, contemplative listening…”
HARP

“…one of the classiest and most consistently listenable rarities collection today…the combination of Ellyson’s voice, Dan Messe’s lit-from-within keyboards and the rustic acoustic work of Curtis and Gary Maurer (mandolin and guitar) has quickly become one of the warmest, most effortlessly pretty sounds in modern pop.”
PLAYBACK ST. LOUIS

“Few band conjure pure sonic beauty the way this local outfit does.”
TIME OUT NY

“Over the course of a half-decade and three albums, the Brooklyn band (that oscillates between four and eight members) has mapped out lovely, languorous territories that ebb and flow, stretch and bend, and forever unfurl, always slowly. That landscape — often dappled with pedal steel guitars, richly twinkling piano, and the gentle wonder of Sally Ellyson’s voice casting a twilight tint over it all — sounds at once sepia-tone ancient and as vital as a heartbeat, veined with blood and life”
BOSTON GLOBE

“[No Word From Tom] could easily have been a gathering of novelties and throwaways. But the skill and recording clarity here preserves Hem’s usual luster, making the album more than just a collector’s item for completists. Amazingly exciting music from such a subdued band, it’s a continuing testament to their evocative depth and celestial elegance.” (4 out of 5 stars)
ORLANDO CITY BEAT

“Where many of its alt-country peers urbanize hillbilly style by adding punk grit, Hem adopts a more sophisticated approach, smoothing out the music with clean-channel electric guitars and Broadway-worthy sting arrangements.”
AMERICAN WAY

“Hem’s central instrument, however, is Sally Ellyson’s voice, whose immaculate clarity has no provision for twang.”
WASHINGTON POST

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Eveningland

“16 delicate miniatures of melancholy and longing, steadied by piano and pedal steel and liberated by Sally Ellyson’s warm September morning of a voice.”
TIME OUT LONDON (UK)

“‘Eveningland’ boasts a surer touch [than "Rabbit Songs"] where previously the songs trembled and shadow boxed, now they are defined and distinct. The core facets are Dan Messé’s songwriting and Sally Ellyson’s singing. The former writes with the ghosts of 1960′s and 1970′s classic tunesmiths breathing down his neck; the latter sings with a spirit that is so soothing you just want to wallow in it for hours. Not the Kaiser Chiefs, then, and by no means Bloc Party, but in its own little, magical way just as relevant.”
4 STARS – IRISH TIMES (IRL)

“Hem are still capable of the extra-ordinary, such as the hymnal sedated gospel of ‘Strays’ or the swaying fairytale ‘Jackson’. Long delayed by record company wrangles, this is an album to snap up and treasure.”
4 STARS – SUNDAY TRIBUNE (IRL)

“[Eveningland] sees the group ranging in tone from intimate lullabies through some big and brash country flavoured orchestral numbers.”
4 STARS – DAILY EXPRESS (UK)

“The sound of [Eveningland] is more opulent than that of their 2001 debut “Rabbit Songs” but the production is intimate enough to give the feeling of sitting in the wings of a big ole theatre, wrapped in a plush red velvet curtain”
DAILY TELEGRAPH (UK)

“Awash in subtle, ever tempting hues of mellow flavours [Eveningland] is very much a listening affair and one where once you have heard and become attuned to their work you will be playing them over and over again – gaining more and more enjoyment with every play”
4.5 STARS – COUNTRY MUSIC ROUND UP (UK)

“At a time when there seems to be an insatiable demand for gentle mood music, Hem fit the bill nicely, sewing their elegant and endearingly crafted songs into what turns out to be a substantial fabric”
SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH (UK)

“Eveningland, the second album by Hem…sets allusive, haunting songs not only to mandolin and steel guitar but also to chiming celeste and mallet instruments like glockenspiel – countrypolitan trademarks – as well as passages of rich, emotive playing by a full orchestra”
NEW YORK TIMES

“A collection of fairy-tale melodies fleshed out with idiosyncratic instrumentation… Eveningland inches toward the countrypolitan sound favored by seventies acts [with the] languid, fetching soprano of their front woman, Sally Ellyson”
NEW YORKER

“On their second album, this Brooklyn Octet weave together haunting melodies and delicate orchestrations to craft intimate country/folk lullabies. Sally Ellyson’s vocals are as homey as a snow day spent with hot chocolate and a fleece blanket”
SPIN (Heavy Rotation)

“On Eveningland… the band finds an aching humanity, exploring insecurities, heartbreak and that strange emotional uneasiness made more uneasy at nighttime. Ellyson, with just the slightest inflection, is able to capture a whole world of feeling. Hem’s softness may indeed be readymade for sleepy time, but it’s a softness containing endless pleasures.”
ROLLINGSTONE.COM

“Eveningland is a place filled with Hem’s finely etched folk tunes”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“This Brooklyn octet plays sophisticated, subtle orch-pop that just happens to have a twang… the key to the group’s sound is singer Sally Ellyson. Her soprano — delicate, yet far from flimsy — steers such mid-tempo ballads as “The Fire Thief” into their forceful passages, which are usually fleeting yet often crucial.”
WASHINGTON POST – CD REVIEW

“The New York-based acoustic group Hem played at Iota on Friday night with a single-minded unity that gave its serene music an uplifting warmth. Behind Sally Ellyson’s peaceful vocals, the six instruments fused into a harmonious blend from which a keyboard flourish or mandolin solo would sometimes escape.”
WASHINGTON POST – LIVE REVIEW

“Hem plays an artfully understated brand of pastoral chamber folk whose hushed, rustic eloquence elevates it several notches above standard-issue Americana… Eveningland matches its predecessor’s graceful restraint, adding orchestral textures that enhance the songs’ melancholy resonance.”
TIME OUT NEW YORK

“If Rabbit Songs suggested Hem was one of the most promising new acts of the decade, then Eveningland, quite simply, delivers on that promise”
NO DEPRESSION

“The band’s latest, Eveningland, proves that Hem’s ability to tap into bittersweet feelings is no accident. Messe’s lyrics-delivered by Ellyson’s dulcet voice and backed by richly intricate arrangements-continue to mine deep veins of heartrending poignancy.”
PASTE MAGAZINE

“The finely finished, female-fronted Hem waltzes through “Eveningland” (Waveland/Rounder), an arty, lightly orchestrated folk/ pop project.”
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

“This Brooklyn-based octet – with its quirky yet charming blend of Americana, country/folk and chamber music – has enjoyed a sturdy word-of-mouth buzz since its 2000 debut, Rabbit Songs. Eveningland updates the rustic sound with something songwriter Dan Messe calls “countrypolitan.” Sally Ellyson and crew aim to enchant with intimate, detailed, dreamy songs.”
PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER

“[Hem's] countrypolitan meshing of pastoral country inflections and lush orchestration makes them sound both effortlessly genuine and refreshingly unpredictable.”
THE TENNESSEAN

“In recent years, a New York movement has centered on bands that filter folk, country and blues through an art-school prism… Among the most compelling are Hem, whose new Eveningland (Rounder) is a mesmerizing, moody album that draws on country and folk themes yet has a stately elegance that separates it from its influences.”
NASHVILLE SCENE

“[Hem] play a lush brand of loosely country-identified music with plenty of room for elements of musical theater and Tin Pan Alley and Aaron Copland and folk rock and chamber music and what Messe rightly calls “fairy tale melodies.”
BALTIMORE CITY PAPER

“Sally Ellyson’s knowingly sweet voice straddles the line between alt-country, traditional lullabies and contemporary folk music, and it is so instantly captivating that it is impossible not to listen.”
DENVER POST

“Hem have laid claim to their own unique brand of Americana, one that’s truly timeless.The band have two potent ingredients that set them apart. One is the dazzling production team of band members Gary Maurer and Dan Messe, The other is the voice of Sally Ellyson, one of the most naturally gifted songstresses out there… the emerging goddess of the modern lullaby. Eveningland is a soundtrack for values lost and yearned for these days, perhaps recoverable through love and community.”
PLAYBACK – ST LOUIS

“[Eveningland] is a countrypolitan take on Billie Holiday’s “Lady in Satin,” wherein the orchestra is not so much a backdrop for the singer as a completely separate storyteller that might insinuate itself at any moment.”
NY JOURNAL NEWS

“Eveningland is an elegantly epic work of mystical beauty. Spellbinding stuff.”
5 STARS – NOW TORONTO

“[Hem's] second CD, “Eveningland,” is elegant and lush, soft without being squishy, catchy without being cloying. After a few listens you’re bound to have songs like “Lucky” or “An Easy One” bouncing around in your head for a few days.”
BURLINGTON FREE PRESS

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Rabbit Songs

“Rabbit Songs is full of thoughtful arrangements … of beautifully recorded warm-sounding instruments….And singer Sally Ellyson has one of those voices-an understated powerhouse that wows with serene confidence. The result is a rich debut that shouldn’t be over looked.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“Rabbit Songs is sophisticated, sexy and gorgeous … exquisite acoustic pop, Rabbit Songs typifies musical elegance, a passionate and beautiful folk-pop record.”
ROLLINGSTONE.COM

“In only a few years, and with a single album, the New York group has defined a sound – dreamy and detailed, intimate and horizon-eyed…”
WASHINGTON POST

“Rabbit Songs is a gauzy, dreamy masterpiece, a latticework of lovely vocals and atmospheric guitar, mandolin, pedal steel and orchestra… This is an exquisite album.”
ASSOCIATED PRESS

“The album is still fresh–a low-key masterpiece filled with woodwinds and precious harmonies, … Songs like “When I Was Drinking” and “All That I’m Good For” are melancholy treats lifted by former TV news producer Sally Ellyson’s butterscotch voice. And the album’s gentle, ’70s country-rock mood could make anyone feel nostalgic for the days of brown corduroy and real instruments. You’ll be Hem-ing along in no time.”
E! ONLINE

“Gorgeous debut from alt-folk New Yorkers.”
Q MAGAZINE

“Subtly melancholic songs and delicate instrumental interludes that make a simple palette seem incredibly expressive.”
MOJO

“On its 2002 self-released debut, Brooklyn band Hem established itself as one of the most promising new acts of the decade.”
NO DEPRESSION

“American music doesn’t get any better than this”
MAGNET

“These songs are absolutely beautiful… sadness never sounded so sweet”
CMJ

“Lush textures… steeped in centuries of American tradition, yet entirely contemporary… quite magical.”
UNCUT

“a gorgeous and utterly entrancing take on alternative-country”
FORT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM

“It is rare, rich, sad and innocent, yet warm to the touch and wet with desire. Fragile pastoral Americana.”
TIME OUT LONDON

“A lovely alternative-folk record that blends all that warm, earthy instrumentation with Ellyson’s airy vocals.”
PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE

“A gorgeously evocative tapestry with gem-perfect piano playing, rustic guitar, and fiddle, and the caressing, gentle-as-a-breeze vocals of divinely gifted songbird Sally Ellyson.”
PLAYBACK, ST LOUIS

“[Rabbit Songs] is spooky and beautiful, with Sally Ellyson’s seductive voice fondling each word.”
LOUISVILLE COURIER JOURNAL

“Ellyson’s voice is a supple and beautiful thing that breathes astonishing life into perfectly paced, pastoral songs.”
TENNESSEAN

“Rabbit Songs is a striking debut, certainly one of the better albums of the year”
ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

“As if New York City didn’t have enough to brag about, one of the year’s best debut albums is by a band from the five boroughs — a country band.”
THE OREGONIAN

“[Rabbit Songs] is a wonderful debut. It will cheer all of those who thought that emotionally rich singing and warm instrumental interplay were a thing of the past.”
CDNOW.COM

“[Rabbit Songs] is full of quiet interweaving melodies that are elegant, eloquent, and anodyne. Its gossamer harmonies evoke a pastoral yesteryear that was simpler, more beautiful.”
BOSTON PHOENIX



Graphics by Jordan Bruner and Tim McDonagh Design by Aled Roberts Code by Nick Dooley