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Music Review: Hi Lo Ha – ‘Ain’t Gone Tonight’ Metes Out Smooth Indie Rock

San Francisco indie rock band Hi Lo Ha drops a new EP, Ain’t Gone Tonight, on April 13, which is a Friday. Obviously the band – made up of Ben Reisdorph (lead vocals, guitar), Brian Davis (vocals, bass), James Fisher (drums), and Willie Rusert (keys, guitar) – is not superstitious.

The band’s name comes from the Woodstock-area home where Bob Dylan wrote Highway 61 Revisited, and demonstrates the band’s respect for the past, including influences like The Band and the Rolling Stones, even as they remain firmly planted in the here and now. In 2013, Hi Lo Ha dropped the EP Extended Play, followed by a full-length album in 2015, These Are the Doldrums.

Ain’t Gone Tonight comprises five tracks, ranging from straight-up indie rock to country rock. The first track is “Cold Weather Clothes,” an indie rock number with dream-pop and country radiances spilling forth. I love the vocal harmonies on this tune; they give off a retro flavor that’s cool and nostalgic.

“Come Down” starts off like a ‘60s beach number, and then flows into an indie rock-lite tune with sparkling guitars just this side of jangly, along with mellow vocals. “Guest List” might be my favorite song on the EP. The guitar accents and swaying rhythm provide the tune with a tropical country flavor that’s deliciously different. “Radio” features luminous guitars, a pulsing bass and snug drumming. A country essence threaded with indie sonic filaments gives the music a Poco-like feel.

“Thinking ‘Bout A Friend” rides a country rock tune that leans heavily in the country direction. Gleaming guitars atop a rollicking piano remind me of Leon Russell crossed with the Eagles.

Ain’t Gone Tonight delivers innovative melodies different enough to make them uniquely attractive, while simultaneously providing potent rhythms. And Reisdorph’s voice, with its high tenor and rounded inflection, exudes a tasty combination of nonchalance and wistfulness. Ain’t Gone Tonight deserves your attention.

Follow Hi Lo Ha on their website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About Randall Radic

Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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