Holy Hail Put Politics In Their Pop With Their Lead Track “Elemental”

Play Public Assembly Oct 25th In Williamsburg, BKYLN
Independent Pleasure Club Out November 11th On Kanine Records

Click Here To Listen To “Elemental”

“Play this when you’re getting ready to go out, even if it’s just to the grocery store.” PitchforkMedia

“Rap-sung, girl-boy duets over danceable synth-pop, a fresh take on Luscious Jackson circa ‘In Search of Manny.'” New York Magazine

“Big Guns is a most appealing debut that bodes well for what comes next” All Music Guide

“Embracing the kind of gritty stripped-back beats most expertly used by The Gossip and featuring half spoken, half sung duets between Hartwell and Cooke, the band at their absolute best, like on ‘County Far (Part Two),’ are like a post-modern Sinatra and Hazelwood, reared on a love of hip-hop and early New Order.” DrownedInSound.com

“Holy Hail are a real breath of fresh are – four hot young punks from New York who are making the sassiest disco pop around.” Music Week

“Holy Hail is a party-starting coed dance-pop quartet…this band has a fun live show and a bunch of smart, thumping tunes to its credit.” Time Out NY

Are you keeping up with the debates? Like some politics in your pop music? Well Holy Hail are chiming in with their debut album opener, Elemental:

I’m aching. Elemental
Set for tracks to be guided yet hostile
The sun and the moon have conspired against me
My only true recess – pursuing insanity

Save my mama and save my place
Junior cries just to save his face
To being, been seeing. Heathens,
In my place of being

Fortress of the soul to brood
That old cheap sunset – solitude.
In the cave of my home rooms the truth
That old cheap sunset – solitude.

We took our cues from the high almighty
By that I mean the colonel man
He gave us ten commandments
Fighting wars in a desert land
My mind’s made up, I want to get out (2x)

Be my. Tell my. Show my. Send my people back (4x)

Dear Betty, did I take your true and sweet lone heart?
To the sea, my decree, that takes me from my liberty?
Did I spell my deeds in sorrow sand?
To kill and sleep and learn the land?
To soak in bloody cloaks
That shakes and takes and aches the folks?

Simple son of the mother gun
The air our share of breeze and sun
Encased my stain in sleeted sleep on streets of rain and slick and sleet
Too shy to die and weep at feet of horses brave and sick of meat
Retrograde degrade the salt of wounded knee, the march to halt
The fault of hell, my fine decline. So languid, not aware of time.

More album lyrics here: http://www.kaninerecords.com/promos/hh_lyrics2.pdf

In between touring Europe, first with New Young Pony Club then with Bonde Do Role, and gigging in Mexico, Holy Hail made their debut album, “Independent Pleasure Club,” to be released November 11th, 2008 on Kanine Records.

Fusing pop, hip-hop, new wave, and electro with an occasional country twang, Holy Hail creates one rollicking dance party. But don’t mistake them for your average dance band: a good portion of these tracks is strewn with political undertones. The album opener tackles the Iraq war and at album close, the south’s big catastrophe Hurricane Katrina. In the middle, references are made to the environment, wire tapping, and the American-Indian genocide. It’s not heavy handed; most unsuspecting audiences dance completely unaware of the politically charged lyrical content. Mixing in tracks with more lighthearted themes like Las Vegas and NYC, Holy Hail’s always-upbeat dance-rock covers both the promises of America, as well as its sprawling dark side.

The Holy Hail story starts with Cat Hartwell. Originally from the south, she fled to NYC as soon as she could to DJ where eventually, she met Bronx born union rep Kevin Cooke at a 4th of July BBQ. Maybe it was the festivities or just all the beer, but they decided to form an Americana dance project – with a twist. Holy Hail would put lyrical potency back into pop music.

But every good dance band needs a killer bassist. Enter Michally Kaye, a first generation American of Indian-Croatian descent and daughter of a Pentecostal preacher raised Jewish in Minneapolis. After a phone call from Cat, and without even having heard a song, Michally made a leap of faith and rather big move back to NYC to join.

Things continued to come together smoothly – with their second ever show opening for The Gossip. By their seventh, they were playing Rory Phillips’ Trash Club in London. Upon returning home, Holy Hail discovered that NYC’s pre-eminent dance punks The Rapture were fans and invited them to open some shows.

In 2007, the band got their first UK and US releases, in the form of dual vinyl EPs, which were well received here and abroad and set out on massive European tours in support. With the release of their debut album, Holy Hail is ready for their first tour of the US heartland.

The bands’ collective influences include Nas, The Fall, The Band, Gang of Four and southern literature. Holy Hail might be best described as mixing the political activism of Neil Young, the southerness of Leadbelly, the aesthetic of ESG, with the pop sensibility of the Tom Tom Club.

The bulk of the album was recorded and mixed by Eric Emm at Brothers Studio with Nicholas Vernhes of Rare Book Room and Alexander Posell, who plays drums for the band, producing a few tracks. While the live set doesn’t include a guitar, Michally and Cat contributed guitars on the record.


1. Elemental
2. Luck Will Find You
3. Peep Show
4. County Fair Part 2
5. Cool Town Rock
6. Double Dutch
7. Independent Self Devotion
8. Samo Son
9. Flying Kites From Satellites
10. Backwater
11. Cherry Street (Bonus Track)


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