Reviews & Articles
Bluntly put, halie and the moon is a band comprising five crackerjack musicians whose creativity, chops and sophistication would be breathtaking to encounter in any setting, much less little old Eugene. Tapping a tradition of intricately orchestrated and yet infectiously catchy pop music — think Beach Boys, R.E.M., The Jayhawks — the band composes music that is at once earthy and disarmingly cosmic.
To fully immerse yourself in the delicate beauty that is halie and the moon, skip forward to “Balloon,” the final track on the Eugene band’s upcoming debut album, Blue Transmissions: vol 1 & 2. Lifting aloft on a breath and gently strummed guitar, the song is a whisper of gossamer pop that envelopes the listener in an atmosphere forever threatening to evaporate. “Hey, did you get the news?” sings Halie Loren, her layered vocals weaving like a benediction. “I’m a balloon floating to you.”
Fragile and transcendent, “Balloon” recalls those quieter moments when George Harrison led The Beatles into the ether with a song like “Here Comes the Sun.” And now flip back to the album’s opening track, “In the Atmosphere”: Cheerful, beckoning, the song gains momentum until it practically crackles with triumph — an affirmation of unconditional love that ratchets upwards like an antenna. “Can’t you hear the sound,” Loren sings, her voice soaring, “blue transmissions ringing out?” The effect is electric, like catching a spark on your fingertip.
Together, the two songs that bookend the album also describe the two poles of halie and the moon’s strong appeal: Otherworldly yet intimate, their aesthetic is a kind of catch-and-release, grounded in pop smarts and yet forever urging itself into the firmament. The result is a symphonic, atmospheric sound that is no less mysterious and thrilling for being entirely accessible.
“All these songs feel like they’re from some place in the ether,” says guitarist and primary songwriter Daniel Gallo. “I have this feeling that all songs have already been written. You just channel it. You can think of it as an antenna.”
An internationally renowned jazz vocalist, Loren is the perfect translator of Gallo’s lyrics; her gorgeous, husky voice moves in and through the soundscape, capturing with equal parts restraint and playful passion the poetic yearning of the words. On “The Story (Never Told),” Loren sings: “I’m the girl inside your window painted blue, who holds the shadows, waves goodbye and shelters you …”
“I don’t feel like I’m carrying the song in the same way as in my jazz music,” Loren says of singing in halie and the moon. “It’s more like I’m creating a puzzle piece that was honed for that particular puzzle. I have to work my way into it very gently.”
This is an apt description for the entire band, and for how the players so seamlessly coalesce — puzzle pieces fitting together in a way that, in the end, seemed fated all along. The sum is greater than the whole of the isolated parts, as solid as those parts are: Percussionist Beau Eastlund and bassist Bobby Stevens are a rhythm section to die for, and cellist/vocalist Katherine Dudney is integral to the band’s lush sound.
Blue Transmissions (made up of a recently released EP and six brand-new songs) is an accomplished, captivating debut that reaches out to a broad audience with its effervescent pop sound. Halie and the moon will be celebrating its release Saturday, May 6, at First Christian Church, where they also performed a breathtaking show last year (the acoustics in there are angelic). As excellent as the album is, there’s nothing quite like seeing this band live; their love of performing as a unit comes through in an energy that is palpable and, dare I say, uplifting. We could all use more of that these days.
Review by Rick Levin for the Eugene Weekly, 5/4/17 – visit the full article here:
halie and the moon stood in a huddle prior to an intimate show at Tsunami Books back in February. The five musicians wrapped their arms around each other like it was first-and-10, but they didn’t say much. They never say much in this moment. It’s a transference of feeling, a moment of privacy before they turn and face the crowd for a public display of affection.
All five musicians, a pastel-smooth collection of guitars, drums, piano and cello, will perform a benefit concert for Occupy Medical at the First Christian Church on Saturday to launch their first full album, “Blue Transmissions: Vol. I & II.”
Some songs gestated as long 13 years for Daniel Gallo, the group’s principle songwriter and guitarist.
“The concept of ‘Blue Transmissions’ is that of a place in the ether wherever inspiration comes,” Gallo said. “There’s a unity to them. There’s a blueness to them. That’s not to say they’re blues, but there’s a blue about it.”
The songs hold a pillowy melancholy that’s easy to settle into.
Halie Loren, lead singer, piano player and purveyor of the occasional shaker, and Katherine Dudney, cellist and no-doubt-about-it soprano, transmit said blueness, but with a nod to the silver linings rimming the clouds.
“It’s not just the sonic feeling of it,” Loren said, “but the content of each song feels to me like a poem, an ode to some sense of beauty and hope. This music unapologetically celebrates beauty and sounds beautiful. That’s the intention, to really look for the art inside of the destruction, to remind me to live artfully. It’s OK to appreciate beauty in times when it feels like things are anything but beautiful.
Dudney joined the band most recently. The timing worked for Dudney since the band needed a fifth while she was looking to draw her bow across the strings for a band of this nature.
The band has issued two EPs, 2015’s “Blue Transmissions: Vol. I” and 2016’s “A Million Suns: Vol. I.”
This new recording, produced by Loren, Gallo and drummer Beau Eastlund, pushes their abilities to the next plane.
“I was wowed by the first (EP) and by the technical and musical ability of the group,” Dudney said. “Halie, Beau and Daniel, they’re incredible sound engineers. The second (EP) came out and it was more refined, and now this third one. This blows me out of the water. I just show up and record my parts, and they take and turn it into something magical.”
“It’s great satisfaction to create something that is very layered and nuanced and combines heartfelt messages with satisfying personal performances,” said bassist Bobby Stevens.
“Blue Transmissions: Vol. I and II” has 10 songs, six new ones and four re-mastered tracks from the “Blue Transmissions” EP.
In the track “The Story (Never Told),” Loren sings, “We write the songs we know we can believe in/we breathe them, hold and free them/’cause baby, that’s the only way that we know/to send the sun shining through the stereo.”
Elsewhere on the record, namely on the track “Sunday,” a song that had many false starts and lives for Gallo, is piercing in its evocation of memory and loneliness as a summer symphony of crickets chirp over the outro.
“I played that song for years and years and years,” Gallo said. “It’s never been released on anything. The fact that it’s coming out now and it’s been that long, at some level it was agonizing that it hadn’t been released. Now I realize the absolute perfection of that because it was supposed to be this. It was waiting for this incarnation. Born, lived, died, been reborn so many times. This song matters. It’s going to be really important to somebody.”
Gallo noted that the album is loaded with “vibe songs,” songs that he says are easy to fall back into.
When producing the record, Eastlund, who owns and operates Golden Lab Studio, said he “got a little OCD, and (Halie and Daniel) did, too. We pushed each other to make it good. The other six songs were added and the (previous) songs wanted to be fleshed out fully. There are moments of beauty that knock me back in my chair. That’s beautiful music, and hopefully it gives people a vacation from their troubles.”
The band is also a vacation of sorts for the musicians themselves. The members of the group were friends long before they decided to record and play live together. The band has been jamming for more than two years, and the chemistry has led to immeasurable comfort and trust.
“None of us are doing this band project because our ambitions are the driving force,” Loren said. “We share this connection off the stage, as well. I feel like I’m playing with my extended family. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. It’s like we’re all in the same boat. It’s sink or swim for us all. It makes us feel a real sense of camaraderie and a same sense of vision.”
“Those moments come out of a lot of work, right?” Gallo said. “Everyone’s been playing their instruments for decades, lots of awful gigs, other bands, heartbreaks, things have gone down. The history of the universe makes every moment. Our individual lifetimes in that plane has built to that, that synergy is like…it’s the beautiful price of five lifetimes that comes together.”
“When you find that chemistry,” Eastlund said, “there’s no describing it. It’s effortless.”
In the new album’s 46 minutes, it alludes to the cosmos, light in dark times, nostalgia, and the glue of the ether. Now there’s an eagerness to get out and play.
And so they’ll huddle together prior to the show, these five players, arm in arm, looking comfortably nested in what they’ve created.
Article by Brendan O’Meara for the Register Guard (on Twitter @BrendanOMeara) – visit the full article here:
Middle Tennessee Music featured halie and the moon in an article about their “A Million Suns” EP, including an in-depth Q&A:
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
Our band is based in Eugene, Oregon. The music we create could be defined as “acoustic poetic dream pop” – many of our songs root themselves in themes of love, beauty, nature, and celestial imagery, woven into dramatic musical topography that travels from hushed simplicity to almost-symphonic moments of lushness featuring swirling layers of vocals and instrumentation.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
We are all life-long musicians who share a bright passion for creating. We have all worked on our craft for many years in a multitude of different bands and contexts… our motivation for putting our energies into halie and the moon is a shared sense of belief in and deep love of the music we are creating, as well as very close friendships with one another. We are motivated by our belief in the goodness and beauty that music can bring into the world.
Who or what are your biggest influences when it comes to your creativity?
Poetry, nature, the night sky, love, melancholy… and sonically, our music has been greatly influenced by symphonic music, Eric Satie, Sarah McLachlan, the Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, The Beatles, Imogen Heap, Beck, the Sundays.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
Our newest EP “A Million Suns: vol. 1” was consciously created as a sort of counter-point to our debut EP “Blue Transmissions: vol. 1”. “A Million Suns” is the first of a series of planned releases that delves into the more pop-centric, rhythm-drenched part of our sound as a band, with a decidedly warmer and sunnier vibe, whereas the “Blue Transmissions” series is more ethereal and introspective, with crystalline and (for lack of a better word) “blue” qualities. The two are conceptualized as expression channels for the yin and yang elements of our music, both revealing markedly different–and symbiotic–aspects that are equally present within our musical identity.
Do you face any challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? On the flip side, how has technology helped you (if it has)?
This is quite a complex question to answer, but in extremely simple terms, yes – and the challenges of the digital age are, in so many ways, the flip side of the advantages of the digital age. For example, it’s only because of the incredibly improved accessibility of recording technology and music release platforms that an indie band can create high quality recordings on a very low budget and release it out into the world (via the internet) for people to listen to and to buy… the ease with which a recording can be not only created but shared with the public is an AMAZING leap beyond the hurdles indie musicians faced in getting their music out there only 15 years ago. The flip side of this particular aspect is that there is now such an unfathomably deep ocean of music out there for people to discover that being a new indie band with music it wants to share with the world and to draw the ears of listeners is a hugely daunting prospect. Luckily, we are slowly but surely finding an audience for what we create… and the entire reason we’ve been able to do what we’ve done thus far is thanks to technology. So, in our view, the pros outweigh the cons by quite a lot.
How do you feel about streaming services? Any romantic attachments to the physical formats: vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, CDs?
We love how “discover-able” music is on streaming services – we’ve found a lot of great new music to inspire us via Spotify and the like, and we love that our music is finding its way to listeners that might not hear us otherwise. That said, we have an intensely romantic attachment to the idea of music as not only an audio experience but a tangible and visual one as well, and we’ve put a lot of thought and effort into the artwork and imagery that go along with the physical CDs we’ve released… even in this digital era, which sees the value of the physical album (or, in our case, EP) diminishing rapidly, we treasure the ability to pair the music we so lovingly craft with artwork that, we feel, brings greater life and dimension to the worlds we paint with our songs.
Where can we follow you online and hear more music?
We are on Facebook, Instagram (@halieandthemoon), Twitter (@halieandthemoon), Tumblr, SoundCloud, and YouTube, and our music is available from our Bandcamp store (halieandthemoon.bandcamp.com), iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon… we also have an official website, halieandthemoon.com, which is a great hub for information about us and for finding our music and following our social media links.
Anything else before we sign off?
We’d just like to thank you and MiddleTennesseeMusic.com for this opportunity to share a bit about our art and our band with new audiences – it’s been a pleasure
Article and Q&A by Joshua Smotherman from Middle Tennessee Music, 11/5/16 – visit the full article here:
Halie and the Moon’s recently released their second EP, A Million Suns Vol. 1. I loved their debut Blue Transmissions Vol. 1 and so, waited with bated breath for this new addition … The overall sound of this EP is less of the dream ethereal nature the Blue Transmissions and more along the lines of ballad pop … Shangri La is an ode to that notion that we desire to share our best moments – that fabulously slowly and chromatically shifting sunset, those perfect vignettes of a street side café with early light filtering over your cappuccino and croissant or lovely mundane moments of: “…tangerines/ and here’s the scene/ I got the light just right / and the Beatles in the kitchen.” I don’t know if there’s irony in this, but there seems nothing missing in this symphony of sound. While it starts with a simple guitar and Ms. Loren’s voice coming together on the melody, as it moves on, layers of instruments (cello, voices, piano) converge to create a more complex sound mix. As if that someone came and joined in the moment. I love the play with complexity as it’s broken back down to Ms. Loren a capella then to layers and next to an instrumental interlude. The tapestry of sound woven in this song is just right.
The sentiment of Shiny New Thing is that we will bob together on the sea of life whatever waves may come; this is reflected in the bouncy beat of the music. She sings of her willingness to be the “shiny new thing” to the end: ‘Til I stop shining/ The light of your days/ ‘Til we grow sick of trying/ Or ’til we live with the crazies /Or we’re pushing up daisies/ Or slide into the steep sea/ With the angels below.” We will be the ones who ramble life together: “I’ll be the bread in your mouth/ Poetry on the table/ The one who remembers/ To weave all the fables…” These slightly crazy lyrics looped into this bubbly song make for a wonderful combination of ardent sentiment and a light heart. Rather than cloying or heavy on the notion of sticking together, this celebrates the wackiness of life in riding the rapids together.
Sunshine in Disguise seems to pair the first two songs where we’re stumbling along together and that’s precisely how we have those missed moments fromShangri La of perfect (and not so perfect) vignettes shared. Sharing those moments (“I can taste the sunshine in your voice when you’re singing along”) keeps us both shiny new things for each other (“So let’s stay and dance all of our prayers until the dawn”). Clearly, I love this song. While its beat is up, it’s also more directed. The moment the drums start the rhythm to the final tone from Halie Loren, there is purpose and play, poignancy and whimsy.
Paint the Stars provides a sonic impressionist image drifting near the edges of jazz and pop where we sense the stars and crickets, taste the ocean in the sand and leave wrapped in devastating joy. I love the textures of the song, how the individual clear notes of the piano infused in the overlay of Ms. Loren’s voice and then the layers of the percussion, guitar, and layered voices come in and out and all weave together this wonderful harmony as the melodic narrative thread continues through it. This song epitomizes this group; it all comes together to make for glorious sound, brilliant images where the whole woven together takes on a quality no individual element quite matches.
A Million Suns, Vol. 1, is a great celebration of summer, love, and beauty, and in these days of so much hate and violence, an homage to love and beauty is to be cherished. The combination of Daniel Gallo’s writing (and guitar playing), Halie Loren’s vocals and the precise yet lyrical playing of Katherine Dudley on cello, Bobby Stevens on bass, and Beau Eastlund on drums bring together magical moments on the EP. I cannot recommend it enough.
EP review by JT Frazier, from music blog JoesGeekFest, 12/26/15 – visit original review source here:
“From the very first verse of The Story: “I’m the girl outside your window painted blue/who holds the shadows, waves goodbye, and shelters you…” to that of Into the World “He spoke you into the world on the edge of his tongue…,” Blue Transmissions: Vol 1 wraps you into a lovely cocoon of eclectic sound not easily pressed into any genre while bearing the mark of this special collaboration of vocals, cello, bass, acoustic guitar, and drums.
Blue Transmissions: Vol 1 is a new EP (dropped December 8th) from a new group, Halie and the Moon. They hit my radar because of my love for Halie Loren’s velvet voice. Along with Ms. Loren (vocals & piano), they consist of Katherine Dudney (cello & background vocals) – to get a sense of Ms. Dudney’s talent, check out her original composition, River, Bobby Stevens (bass & background vocals), Daniel Gallo (acoustic guitar) and Beau Eastlund (drums). Both Messrs. Gallo and Eastlund previously collaborated with Ms. Loren onButterfly Blue (one of my favorite albums) and were members together in Concrete Loveseat (it seems that the Eugene music scene is close knit). While, along with Ms. Loren’s voice, it is Ms. Dudney’s cello that colors the unique sound they produce, the band melds so well that you would think they’ve been together for years. This is evident from how well they play very different types of songs in the jazz/pop of The Story to the ethereal ballad of Winter, the jazz/funk of Breathe and the folk/pop of Into the World. Listening to them fuse together the musical backdrop of the story given in Into the World is particularly mesmerizing.
Like a butterfly leaving its cocoon (OK, I couldn’t resist), Halie and the Moon is a new creation unlike any of the individual artists in it but making them, together, greater than the sum of their parts. That being said, The Story is more reminiscent of Ms. Loren’s sound on previous records, including Butterfly Blue, than the other songs here. The bouncy beat, turn of phrase and lit of voice all harken back to previous work (which is lovely), yet there is this undercurrent of bass beat, strings, and guitar that are the hallmark of the new collaborative sound they bring together. That bounce meshes well with the upbeat lyrics: “Well it’s high time that we stumbled to the city/don’t need a dime if we shine up all our pennies/A highwire and an umbrella make a new day/somersaulting to the faces on the subway…”
The band has emphasized their offering of Winter in a music video (https://youtu.be/n_MzpDmiecA) … They’ve done so for good reason. Ms. Loren’s honied-voice combines perfectly with the dream-like quality of the song with its poetic lyrics:
Love, won’t you sing a lullaby?
White, naked as the winter snow…
Hey, can we give another try?
It’s time to make our way home.
It’s time to be alone, time to hide away now
Time to keep a love alight inside – every love alight… Love, can we find the other side
of this night, woven with a silver hope?
I love the drum and bass beat intro into Breathe, the slide of the cello throughout and the interesting word-images it employs: “Don’t you feel like a homeless balloon/In someone else’s song?/And you play along” They delightfully frame the piece with their musical phrasing in a slight piano/cello interlude before it breaks back into: “Breathe now, baby/Let the constellations take you/And all and all the everything/Is hanging on an ether swing…”
In some ways, Into the World is my favorite song in an EP filled with delights. I love portraiture in words and this builds its pictorial narrative perfectly through music and verse. The vignette of their relationship opens with an acapella line: “He spoke you into the world/On the edge of his tongue…” It later fuses together voice, piano and string on the simple world of “You.” The theme is wonderfully repeated while transmuting into something new: “He wrote you into the blue/On the edges of the sky,” much like the relationship and person described. Finally, it ends, full circle, acapella, with that same line: “He spoke you into the world.”
My only complaint about Blue Transmission is that it is a four song EP and not a 12 (or more!) song full album. I clearly appreciate the effort it takes to produce something like this but do look forward to hearing more from this group. It is a delightful collaboration. So, if you’re looking for something new to play on that new smartphone, those new headphones or other musical accouterment from Christmas, look no further than Blue Transmissions. I highly commend it to you for your listening pleasure.”
EP review by JT Frazier, from music blog JoesGeekFest, 12/26/15 – visit original review source here: