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August-September 2013 News Archive
September 28, 2013
NPR Tiny Desk Concert
The Tiny Desk Concert that Hem recorded in June is now here! It's below, as well as at NPR's site. There's a link on NPR's page to download the audio of Hem performing "Walking Past The Graveyard, Not Breathing," "Tourniquet," and "Seven Angels." You can also click here to see a picture of the 8-piece band performing while crammed around the tiny desk. A permanent link to this performance is at the interview archive, which is a little of a stretch, but Sally does talk some about "Seven Angels" before it's played. The early NPR piece mentioned in the Tiny Desk description is All Songs Considered on July 1, 2002, though a (re)visit to Hem's July 10, 2002 All Things Considered spot is worthwhile too.
September 23, 2013
Seattle Show Photos
Here is a lovely collection of pictures of Hem from the band's September 18 show in Seattle (thanks, Kirk!). You can see more awesome photos at Flickr of both Hem and opener Dawn Landes. You can find these and many other show pictures at the tour photos archive.
September 22, 2013
San Francisco Show Photos
Click here to see a bunch of pictures from Hem's September 15 show in San Francisco. There are also some at the end of the opening set by Dawn Landes. They're not my finest work, but there's still hope that one of these days I'll pay less attention to the music and more attention to photo-taking. You can find these and many other show pictures at the tour photos archive.
September 21, 2013
Portland Show Video
Below is a nice video of the song "Identical Snowflakes" from Hem's September 17 show at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, OR. Stay to the end to hear commentary from the band about the song.
September 19, 2013
Independent's Day Radio Show
Click here to stream or download Hem's entire hour-long segment on Independent's Day Radio. In an interview rarity, everybody in the big touring band chats about Hem's music, history, and style. Hem also plays 6 songs live ("Tourniquet," "Walking Past The Graveyard, Not Breathing," "The Seed," "The Jack Pine," "Half Acre," and "So Long"). You can find a permanent link to this show at the interview archive.
Seattle Setlist and Video
Click here for the setlist from Hem's September 18 show in Seattle (thanks, Dan!). You can find these and many other show pictures at the tour photos archive and the 2013 tour archive. There are also a number of full and partial videos from this show. My favorite two are below, for "The Jack Pine" and "Tourniquet," with more available at YouTube for "Stupid Mouth Shut," "The Seed," "Reservoir," and "Not California."
September 18, 2013
Portland Setlist and Poster
Click here to see a couple pictures from Hem's September 17 show at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. No pictures of the band, but there are photos of the setlist and show poster. You can find these and many other show pictures at the tour photos archive and the 2013 tour archive.
Independent's Day Radio Show
Hem is the guest tonight on Independent Day's Radio. There's an interview and in-studio performance from when Hem was in Los Angeles on September 14. You can stream the show at 7:00pm (PDT), or it should be available in a while here. A later news update will have a download link when it's available.
September 17, 2013
Departure And Farewell on Vinyl
Hem's latest album, Departure And Farewell, is out on vinyl TODAY! It has been available at this week's west coast shows and is at stores, like Amazon. There is a code inside the package for a free digital download of the album. The art is similar to the CD's art: album cover, sleeve side 1, sleeve side 2. insert art (without the red lines), and label stickers (2 hearts on each side of the record). The vinyl is apparently a limited edition, so get one before it's too late! This is Hem's first release on vinyl, but hopefully it won't be the last.
Los Angeles Setlist
Click here to see the setlist (as in, a picture of the literal setlist) from Hem's September 14 show at The Troubadour in Los Angeles. I'm told that the songs actually played are just as listed. You can find this and many other show pictures at the tour photos archive and the 2013 tour archive.
September 16, 2013
Los Angeles and San Francisco Setlists
New today are the setlists from Hem's show on September 14 in Los Angeles (thank you, Dan!) and on September 15 in San Francisco. Pictures are coming soon for the San Francisco show, so stay tuned! I was at that show, and it was delightful. There was a rare (for Hem) call for audience requests mid-show, which resulted in a last minute addition of "Pacific Street." Thank you to whoever called for that one! And thanks to Sally for adding "The Golden Day Is Dying" and to all of Hem for again being so welcoming and great in ways too lengthy to list here.
September 15, 2013
Video From Los Angeles Show
Here is a clip of Hem playing "He Came To Meet Me" last night at The Trobadour in Los Angeles.
September 13, 2013
Ticket Contests
Win tickets to see Hem in San Francisco (Sep. 15) or Portland (Sep. 17)! To enter either contest, you just have to go to the giveaway pages and leave a comment.
Hem Studio Information
At Hem's Facebook page, Gary recently gave some details about Hem's technical setup. Last time Gary shared something like this, I put it here in the news, and people commented to me that it was interesting to read. I cannot find that old post anywhere in the archives, but I know it's there somewhere! In any event, here's what Gary had to say this time, and hopefully people will again enjoy hearing something about how Hem literally makes its music:

"We have tried at least a half dozen different makes, models and manufacturers for acoustic pickups, and these [sound hole pickups, pictured in a photo with Gary's comment] are the ones we think sound best. I actually do use a dual soundboard transducer system on my '69 Gibson Hummingbird (B-Band), but all the other guitars use sound hole pickups. I think the quality of the acoustic reproduction really depends on matching the sound of the pickup with the style and sound of the instrument. For the Gibson jumbos, I play a lot of big chords, at a pretty good volume, and the contact pickups are just too sensitive. Steve tends to play a lot of single note melodies — he's a very strong, loud player — and nothing except the Bagg's pickups have sounded good on his guitars (a 70's Guild Dreadnought and the little Epiphone). These pickups produce a dry, sweet sound that really sounds like Steve! I use the Bagg's on my '85 Gibson Jumbo and the Sunrise model on my 2000 Jumbo. I do use the B-Band unit on the Hummingbird, but I tend to play more quietly on that guitar (fingerpicking, etc.). Steve and I also both use the Bagg's Para-Acoustic D/I - EQ Boxes, which are really great (they have balanced outputs, use phantom power and their EQ is great) especially for eliminating the frequencies we don't want to hear (Like 1K)! On our albums, we record using only high quality condenser microphones, and no pickups whatsoever, of course!"
September 2, 2013
Discography Updates
I know what the people want, and the people want details about 7-8 year old promotional CDs that are not available anywhere anymore. Newly added to the discography page are a 2005 Rounder Records sampler that includes Hem's song "Strays," and a 2006 Funnel Cloud instrumentals CD that includes instrumental versions of all of Funnel Cloud's songs except "The Pills Stopped Working." "Not California" has its na-na-na vocals, but it and the other tracks are otherwise just music on the instrumentals CD.
August 20, 2013
Paste Magazine Interview
Paste Magazine has a nice new interview with Dan about working on the music for the Broadway adaptation of Amélie. He talks about writing this new music and also about how it fits with Hem's music. I've not heard the private demo mentioned in the article (my email is ALL OVER the place here, demo sharers), but I have heard bits and pieces of this Amélie music, and it is so delightful I cannot even tell you (except I just did). You can find this interview and many more at the articles archive.
Meanings Update
The song "Half Asleep" has its first entry on the meanings page as a surprise bonus from the Paste article. Click here to jump right to the new meanings entry.
August 19, 2013
Hem in Northern Ireland
Congratulations, Belfast! You have the newest tour date! Hem will visit Belfast on October 19 at Elwood Hall, Queen's University as part of the Belfast Festival. Tickets on sale now. You can find more details about this and other upcoming shows on the tour page.
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