What began in the Fall of 2000 as an experiment in non-linear digital audio editing at Brick House Recording in Fairfax, VA, slowly evolved into the music project known as Hitchcock Blonde. Founders Scott Goodrick and Eamon Loftus were joined in their bit-splitting lab by friends and fellow musicians, Kevin Kerr (AKA Kowtow Popof) and Janna Audey, both extraordinary singer/songwriters well known on the Washington DC/Metro area music scene. The rest, as they say, is history!
Impressed by one of Hitchcock Blonde’s early pieces titled, The Formula For Life, released on the now defunct Web site, GarageBand.com, writer/director Keith Jodoin of Sapling Pictures approached the group in early 2004 and enlisted them to provide the opening title sequence music for the independently produced, spy-themed short film, Evenfall. The very bond-esque, Compromised, starts the film off with a bang…literally! Evenfall premiered on March 6, 2005 at the Sedona International Film Festival in Sedona Arizona. The Formula For Life and both the film (short) and full length versions of Compromised can be heard on the Listen page.
In March 2006, Hitchcock Blonde released Soul Button, its debut CD featuring, as noted in its promotional material, “ten tasty slices of sonic perfection”. Soul Button can be heard in its entirety on the Listen page.
Hitchcock Blonde is:
▪ Janna Audey: voice
▪ Scott Goodrick: loops, samples, keyboards, rhythm, percussion, bass, programming
▪ Kevin Kerr: words, voice, loops, samples, keyboards, rhythm, acoustic guitar
▪ Eamon Loftus: loops, samples, electric and acoustic guitar, bass, processing
Please be sure to check out Scott Goodrick’s solo electronic dance music project, Peroxide Vampire.
"Sit back. Relax. Close your eyes," advises the voice on the lead-off track of Hitchcock Blonde's debut CD, Soul Button. The band's invitation to contemplate its "glorious poetry of love" seems simple enough, but the path to enlightenment soon takes twists and turns which amuse and disturb like an electronic pop version of Alice in Wonderland.
Hitchcock Blondes's cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s "E.T.I." continues the meditative spirit with soft ambient choruses featuring lead singer Janna Audey, but only after full-on, rocked-out verses have buzz-sawed under the whisper-singing of Audey's male counterpart, Kevin Kerr, while the song’s lyrics suggest the three wise men were "men in black".
The beds of syncopated loops, synths, and samples made by band leader Scott Goodrick continue, with the rhythmic undercurrent cutting under the ambiguous angst of the next three songs: The understated funk of the fear-of-flying "Taking Flight" features Eamon Loftus' slip-slidey electric and loose Bowie-esque acoustic guitars. Guest Mark Castaldo’s rolling piano weaves in and out of Loftus' e-bow in a backhanded Floydian toast to faithlessness ("Oblivion"), while the techno-cadenced cosmic code of survival "Black Eye Galaxy" grooves under Kurdish samples, sci-fi whirs and Kerr's pop vocals.
Then things start to get weird as "The Man With the Flower In His Mouth" attempts to flee the watchful eye of his wife amidst churning strings, maniacal laughs, trash can drums, and sinister guitar solos. It's unclear whether he's trying to step out on her, or simply trying to enjoy his last moments in the shadow of a terminal disease, but the band's off-kilter path has a sense of direction, setting the stage for two tunes haunted by Sep. 11: the folk shuffle of "Amazing Tales," complete with a pool hall mouth trumpet break, in which fortune tellers complain of the uncertainty in the world; and the swirling, elegant pop anthem "Shangri-La," in which the individual citizen tries building hope on a world turned upside down.
In the band's take on Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love," that faith seems only possible in the far reaches of space, or at least in a parking lot on Mars. The mood moves from a sort of melancholy detachment to a festive dance-party as the muted vocals, eerie effects, and soft rhythms give way to an arena-rock guitar solo care of Rob Santos, before finally launching into a joyful finale of big guitars, percolating beats, and nods to Mystery Science Theater.
In a final twist, what seems like an appropriate ending leads to the album's coda, Holly Beth Vincent's "Rock Against Romance," a rocking, romance-scarred declaration of freedom, fittingly featuring Audey's out-loud questioning of the existence of Wonderland. If it does, Hitchcock Blonde's Soul Button provides the travelogue-soundtrack.
Hitchcock Blonde formed in the fall of 2000 when, after years of playing in conventional local rock outfits, guitarist- bassist-audio engineer Eamon Loftus and drummer-Propellerhead Reason maven-technophile Scott Goodrick teamed up to embark on a nonlinear digital audio editing adventure. The duo started out experimenting with loops and samples, cutting, pasting, chopping, and shuffling the audio tracks in recording software and adding electric guitar, bass and drums. Their first recording was “The Formula for Life”, which the band views as an alternate, albeit condensed, soundtrack to Universal’s 1935 classic, The Bride of Frankenstein. The song did well on the Electronic charts on Garageband.com, and eventually was noticed by a local film director who asked the band to provide an opening title track for his film, Evenfall (www.evenfallmovie.com), in 2005.
In between that first recording and the movie title track, Hitchcock Blonde developed a style based on loops, samples, and sequences while emphasizing more traditional song structures, as well as more conventional instruments, such as acoustic and electric guitars, piano, and bass, and not quite so conventional ones such as Theremin and mouth trumpet. This direction coincided with the arrival of local singer/songwriter Kevin Kerr (aka Kowtow Popof) in mid to late 2001 when the band invited Kerr to add vocals to what would eventually become “Shangri-La” on the band’s debut album, Soul Button. While the electronics still infused the recording, the song followed a verse-chorus-bridge structure with the addition of Kerr’s lyrics. Original influences of acts such as Tangerine Dream and Enigma became fused with those of rock bands like Pink Floyd and David Bowie, and a full-fledged album be- gan to take shape in band originals like “Taking Flight,”“Black Eye Galaxy,” and “The Man with the Flower in his Mouth.”
While constructing these originals, Hitchcock Blonde showed a flair for slightly warped, deconstructed cover songs as well: Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love,” which originally appeared as a Kowtow track on the 2003 Wampus tribute CD After Hours, Blue Öyster Cult’s “E.T.I.”, and Holly Beth Vincent’s New Wave anthem “Rock Against Romance.”
Soul Button’s originals book-ended-by covers gives the recording an album-within-an-album feel, but the instrumentation threading through the CD’s tracks ties these songs together into a whole, particularly singer/songwriter Janna Audey’s vocals and Loftus’s guitars. Kerr and Audey trade verse and chorus on “E.T.I.,” with Audey then turning up later backing Kerr on “Oblivion” and “S.O.L.” before taking over the lead on the album’s closer, “R.V.R.” Loftus’s electric guitar adorns most of the record in various forms--mournful e-bow, singing slide, straight-ahead power chords, and frenetic leads--sometimes all at once.
What started out as a Frankenstein-like experiment in electronica evolved into the rock monster Soul Button. Could Bride of Soul Button be next?