Slow Hollows' new-gen new wave

L.A. act brings back hook-heavy synth-pop

Will Slow Hollows be the spark that revives new wave? Maybe.
  • Will Slow Hollows be the spark that revives new wave? Maybe.
  • Image by Riley Donahue

"Watch This Movie"

...performed live by Slow Hollows

...performed live by Slow Hollows

Rock radio in the years leading up to Van Halen was overwhelmed with the sounds of a format called new wave, otherwise known as synth pop. A lot of that music was exported from Britain. A Flock of Seagulls, Duran Duran, the Eurythmics, Pet Shop Boys, the Thompson Twins, Ultravox, and more like them filled radio playlists, for better or worse, and influenced pop culture with their odd wardrobe and complicated hair styles. Not that members of Van Halen were styled any less than big-hair-arena-ham, but they allowed us to like electric guitar again. And new-wave synth-pop shriveled and became a footnote in music history.

But this is precisely the mound of old radio gold that a new band called Slow Hollows mines. And they do it well, blending it with other eras from American pop music like surf rock and indie rock. Slow Hollows is based in Los Angeles, a once-dominant industry town that is re-growing its music scene. Slow Hollows songs are about shades of human gray: loneliness, rejection, self-doubt, and melancholy. All this, even though the title of their latest full-length is Romantic.

Past Event

Cherry Glazerr and Slow Hollows

  • Friday, December 30, 2016, 8 p.m.
  • Irenic, 3090 Polk Avenue, San Diego

The band’s grown some across-the-age-spectrum appeal in just a few years. I suspect new-wave fans who were around during the ’80s dig Slow Hollows, along with a younger crowd for whom it’s a brand new day. And we’re talking about a band that is just past high-school age themselves; Austin Feinstein was a minor when he started Hollows in 2014. The “Slow” in Slow Hollows came later, after the lineup solidified around guitarist Dylan Thinnes, drummer Jackson Katz, and Aaron Jassenoff on bass. No, they don’t look like the synth-pop ’80s, and their sound is thinner, sharper, and sometimes includes horns. Will this be the spark that revives new wave? Maybe. For now, the record industry (such as it is) likes these guys.

Cherry Glazerr also performs.

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