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“I don’t know—it’s mellow, kind of late-night music,” replied singer-songwriter Steve Schlitz when asked to describe his music in his own words. And it’s a fair description—there aren’t any loud, bang-it-out, anthemic choruses. No bluesy riffs snaking around a frisky bassline. No goofily misplaced electronics. This is personal, intimate, delicate music—“mellow, kind of late-night music,” indeed.
Schlitz took a break from his New York-based indie group Longwave after a 10-year run to start up a smaller, more personal project called Hurricane Bells. Using only a simple laptop studio in his house, Schlitz expected to make a few songs, sell some music and do a quick tour. Instead, Hurricane Bells blossomed into an expansive endeavor, with a B-side from his initial recordings ended up on the Twlight: New Moon soundtrack. Since then, Hurricane Bells performed at South by Southwest and cranked out a five-song EP entitled Down Comes the Rain.
“Make a Deal With the City” beings boldly with a charming, familiar electric melody laid over standard pop-tune drums. The song, a cover of East River Pipe’s of the same name, is a quaint introduction to this mellow act. Schlitz comes into full view with his cover of Blue October’s thumping “Into the Ocean.” Substituting the overdramatic electronics of the original with simple drum pounds, shakers and an acoustic current, Hurricane Bells offer a new imagining of an incredible song.
Let’s dissect the band’s name: a hurricane is a powerful force, and bells are soft, sweet and charming noises. Yeah, sounds about right for this band.
Listen to Hurricane Bells' latest single off Down Comes the Rain, "The Waiting Song":