Band Bio -
Seattle power pop quartet The Hoot Hoots are irresistible party starters. Their songs are powered by fuzzy guitars, fuzzier keyboards, and headhum-inducing hooks, and all these combine in a glorious, slightly insane energy in both their live shows and in their newest album, Colorpunch, out November 19, 2014.
Seattle Weekly has compared them favorably to the Shins, the Deli Seattle Magazine has praised them for their “flashy, out-of-control pop sensibilities”, and Seattle radio 90.3 KEXP named their song Go For a Walk their Song of the Day, calling it a “briliant pop tune and nothing you should skip out on.” Think vintage Flaming Lips with a splash of NES and a dash of the Unicorns, and you get the idea.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Adam Prairie grew up with his brother/drummer Chris in the middle of Midwestern corn fields in Clifton, IL. The two played whiffle ball and Nintendo, watched the original Star Wars trilogy obsessively, and learned to play guitars and Casio keyboards in the bedroom they shared for most of their formative years. They wrote a few songs in high school, but they mostly tinkered with sounds until Adam left home to study at Knox College in western Illinois followed by Chris a few years later.
“The Hoot Hoots really took shape at the end of my stay at Knox,” Adam said. “Chris and I wrote and performed music for a psychedelic 60's production of Shakespeare's As You Like It, and we were kind of overwhelmed how much people were into it. That was the first time we both thought, ‘Maybe we should give this band thing a shot.’”
It was at Knox that the Prairie brothers first met keyboardist Christina Ellis and ex-bassist Geoff Brown, but the foursome never played a note together until they all reunited in Seattle late in 2008. Geoff passed the torch to current Hoot Hoots bassist Ben Lewis in the summer of 2014.
Since 2008, they've released three albums, and the second, Appetite for Distraction, inspired this praise from Seattle Weekly: “While the group's fun-loving, reverential spirit keeps them orbiting their influences, their high-energy songbook, full of stories about ghosts and robots and brain eating dinosaurs, captures the essence of goof-pop with upbeat, irrepressible glee.” The lead track from Appetite for Distraction, “Mr. Ghost”, was also included on KEXP's Music That Matters Podcast shortly after the album was released.
Their follow up EP, Feel the Cosmos, introduced a whole new audience to The Hoot Hoots and brought more glowing praise. Seattle Metropolitan Magazine named it their album of the month in December 2012, saying it was a “fun-loving and energetic brand of power pop suited for sing-alongs.” Following the EP's release, Indie Rock Cafe named the Hoot Hoots one of their 5 DIY Bands to Watch in 2013.
They've also relentlessy hit the road the last couple years, making stops in the Midwest, Southwest, Texas, West Coast, and all over the Pacific Northwest. And they somehow manage to do it stuffed into a Toyota Prius.
The Hoot Hoots released their EP Feel the Cosmos in late 2012 and the big, bright synthy sound - with lyrical references to video games and silly ways to pass the time - charmed the city. At a live show, you might catch keyboardist Christina Ellis dressed in a cardboard robot costume, or the whole band dressed in robes or '80s sunglasses. What you will most certainly encounter is one of the strongest rock bands in Seattle. They sound like Franz Ferdinand jumping on a trampoline.
“Go For A Walk” is the opener to Feel The Cosmos and man alive is it a good time. Beach Boys style vocal doubling, a simple, driving 70s bass and drum groove, over the top 80s synthesizers, and fuzzy, whimsical, indie rock guitars - they are all there with more to boot. Adam's vocals are dripping with confidence, the band is as tight as can be, and the melody is catchier than anything you'll hear on pop radio. Altogether, it's a brilliant pop tune and nothing you should skip out on.
The Hoot Hoots' songs are jammed with fuzzy guitar, fuzzier keyboard lines, cheerfully crashing symbols, and sugary background vocals that appear intermittently. Even though the album sports crisp production, there are certainly traces of the exuberant lo-fi pop charm of bands like the Unicorns.
Adam and Chris Prairie have developed some serious pop songwriting chops over the years, and to top it off, they've figured out how to capture the awesome energy of their records in the live setting. Even now in the band's early stages, we are seeing some seriously promising omens of success from the Hoot Hoots.
Their mixed-up power pop is flexible, punchy, sweet - and at times, just like the Bluth family, crazy. With catchy tunes that sound like early Beatles fused with Modest Mouse and the Postal Service, they do their own thing, implementing Nintendo-sounding background synthesizers.
I'm ready to warm up and cheer up, and Appetite for Distraction is getting the job done. It's like a crunchy, crooning, synth-laced pep talk.
You will inevitably hoot, stomp, surf, and cheer your way through their full-length Appetite For Distraction, which came out in December of last year. “Do You Know What They Say About the Pacific?” is anchored by a voice that sounds remarkably akin to Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes. Songs like “Mr. Ghost” and “Scully” show they can rock their fuzzy pop with the best of them.
With The Shins on sabbatical and quirky pop outfit The Unicorns long-dissolved in other projects, The Hoot Hoots have picked up the torch. While the group's fun-loving, reverential spirit keeps them orbiting their influences, their high-energy songbook captures the essence of goof-pop with upbeat, irrepressible glee.
If you like the artistic and flashy sound of Animal Collective, but are looking for something a bit more accessible, check out The Hoot Hoots. They employ similar intricate and unconventional song structures as Animal Collective, but inject it with just the right amount of sugary pop.
The Hoot Hoot songs aren't just upbeat, irresistible dance party starters. They're complete mood alterers that shoot rainbows and cupcakes and kittens and sunbeams into your black little heart.