Hopelifter - Anthemology
Hopelifter came and went in a flash. Fronted by vocalist Andrew Champion (Screw 32, Dance Hall Crashers), the Santa Cruz-based band blended an expert interpretation of West Coast skate-rock, East Coast hardcore, and post punk—the collective mix delivered with ferocity and urgency over blitz-speed blast beats, harmonies, and, according to Hitlist Magazine, “the most innovative guitar work in Northern California.”
No ProTools, AutoTune, click tracks, loops, samples, or effects were employed by the band while creating their short-lived magic. Anthem was recorded and mixed in two days, just three weeks after Andrew‘s first practice. With a buzz brewing, Hopelifter quickly rehearsed North of the 36, tracking that batch of songs one month later. The band then jumped in the van for a seemingly endless nationwide tour, relentlessly performing every night of the entire Summer and Fall—at grand music halls with the likes of Strung Out & The Experience, or in Jersey basements, or at an abandoned elementary school in rural Illinois. Each show was a celebration of punk rock’s unifying forces, and an adventure: “Oh, we never sleep here. It’s haunted.”
And then, that’s it. A roaring melodic fireball of music—pummeling, beautiful, and chaotic all at once—exploded in starlight like so many others. Nine months out of the year 2000, 11 songs, a couple hundred shows. That’s it. Sort of.
Adding another item to the list of things you didn’t see coming in life, the entirety of Hopelifter’s catalog is now reissued for the first time on 45rpm vinyl. The band enlisted Andy Ernst (Green Day, AFI) to remaster his original recordings, and Monica Schlaug, graphic artist for The Anthem EP, to redesign album art that represents both titles.
The resulting rediscovery is of a lost but valid musical message, carved in the language of punk rock, floating adrift for more than two decades, finally recovered and injected into your ears. It's perhaps the finest hardcore album you've never heard. Enjoy.
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