Home By Hovercraft performs "Blessed Highway" from On The Eve, A New Musical. Promotional interview for the Lamar Street Festival with Erykah Badu.
Made Of Chalk. Today, we are premiering the album Are We Chameleons? by Home By Hovercraft, which you can listen to below. Given that we are headed to Austin for SXSW this week, it seems fitting to promote this great Texan band. Fronted by husband & wife duo Seth Magill and Shawn Magill, Home By Hovercraft describe their sound as classically influenced rock, often drawing comparisons to The National and Nick Cave. But let me tell you, their music will make you want to groove around in your room; it’s catchy, but with a lot of heart.
Mario Tarradell, Dallas Morning News. All indie rock bands, local or national, should have an opening song like “Lie in Your Bed.” The tune starts with a Coldplay-styled keyboard solo, but before long the moan of a tuba, the percussive taps of a step dancer, the pounding rhythm of the drummer and the elegant combo of violin and mandolin join in to create a spacious, enveloping wave of sound. By then there’s no turning back. We are hooked. We want more.
Kelly Dearmore, Dallas Observer. Home By Hovercraft aren't afraid of going for the big finish.... They rightfully draw comparisons to The National and even Nick Cave for their impeccable ability to bring dramatic ambition into their work.
The group, whose members have played together in various incarnations since 2009, has now filled a chamber-rock void in Dallas with a stunning, robust new album, Are We Chameleons?. It's impossible to not respond to the grandiose, swelling sense of theatrical climax on Are We Chameleons?. It's a mode the band not only seeks, but does expertly and naturally.
Muzik Discovery. Sometimes, appreciating the beauty of life becomes most difficult precisely when you need beauty the most. The burdens of every day have a way of silently crushing you, as the books in your bag push your head down until all you can see is the gravel. The timing is apt, for theatre-rock troupe Home By Hovercraft’s debut release, Are We Chameleons?, is a much-needed panacea for these trying times. It’s so bright it’s practically drenched in color, but its aesthetic qualities belie an album that’s more than willing to delve into the darker reaches of the human heart—even if it ultimately comes out triumphant.
The Magill family feature heavily in this debut album by Home by Hovercraft, a 5 piece indie rock band from Dallas, Texas. There is a plethora of instruments ranging from the usual – guitar, drums, violin to the unexpected – tuba, banjolin and step dancing. Yes, they use Irish step dancing as percussion. No surprise then that there is a hint of theatricality here. Layers of violin and piano combined with his deep vocal and her high, soft tones enhance the catchy songs. The theatre and classicism of the whole album blends well with the indie rock rhythms and is satisfactorily viable as a discrete entity on its own. It is a likeable and engaging melee of songs with interesting vocals and musical arrangements. Who would have imagined you could produce all of this with a mandolin, tuba and a pair of shoes?
I have a penchant for the dramatic when it comes to music. No smart ass remarks, friends of mine. Yes I know it extends to other areas. Paint me a moody scene, make my insides swell along with the rise and fall of your music and you are gonna win my heart and ear’s favor. As I wrote in my first mention Home By Hovercraft’s Are We Chameleons? release, they had me from the first note and kept me all the way through. This band out of Dallas, Texas is absolutely one of my favorite new discoveries of the year. I am so pleased they took the time to answer some of my questions. When you are done reading, listen to the album and once you fall in love…which I am certain you will…spread that love around and share it with a friend!
Spoiler alert: Home by Hovercraft are not chameleons. They have a fairly original sound achieved by using unusual instruments like a banjolin (which, by the way, is not a mandolin-banjo nor a Banjoline) and a step dancer (as percussion) mixed with classical elements like piano, mandolin, tuba, violin, xylophone, and drums.
Art&Seek. Paul talks with husband-and-wife duo Seth and Shawn Magill of Dallas’ Home By Hovercraft about their new album, Are We Chameleons?.
Magnet Magazine. Having an eclectic sound involving an array of instruments ranging from the xylophone to the tuba, Home By Hovercraft is a quintet based in Dallas. The band’s lead vocalists, Seth and Shawn Magill, do not fit the typical husband/wife archetype. Rather than arguing this tax season, the Magill alliance will be celebrating the release of Are We Chameleons?, Home By Hovercraft’s debut LP. The self-issued album is due March 12. Download the classical/folky “Zoo Lion”.
Being favorably compared to critical darlings like The National or Nick Cave can oftentimes be a double-edged sword for a young band, as any perceived expectations can hang around the band’s neck like a deadweight. But in the case of theatrically and classically influenced rock band Home By Hovercraft, which is led by husband and wife duo Seth Magill and Shawn Magill, the accolades are well-earned and only just scratch the surface of their intricately layered and beautifully melodic take on indie rock. Playing tightly wound songs that explode outward at the slightest provocation, Home By Hovercraft manage to incorporate recognizable influences, both current and those resting in decades past, without ever seeming to rely on them as musical crutches.
Home By Hovercraft has been compared to indie bands with a classical/folk twist like Beirut, the Dresden Dolls, the National, and Tilly And The Wall. After you hear “Zoo Lion,” one of the first singles from the band’s debut full-length, Are We Chameleons?, the comparisons to the National, in particular, High Violet, will seem particularly apt — although Home by Hovercraft’s sound is much more Romantic/dramatic.
Preston Jones, DFW.com. The level of ambition fueling Home by Hovercraft's debut album is as daunting as it is dazzling -- this Dallas-based collective swings for the fences from the opening moments of this 11-song effort, which has its roots in the theater. Led by husband-wife team Seth and Shawn Magill, and rounded out by Abbey Magill, Max Hartman and Johnny Sequenzia, Home by Hovercraft wears its heightened pop-rock lightly, never tipping over into cloying cuteness. Are We Chameleons?sets a bold, high bar for this go-for-broke group to clear on subsequent records, but one senses the band welcomes the challenge.
GoodbammShow. The deep, brassy murmur of Seth Magill’s tuba broke up the quick break that punctuated Home By Hovercraft’s appearance, followed rapidly by the sound of accelerated, vivaciously-poppy keyboard. Hopefully you liked your spot if you were at the show, because the moment the group took stage there was no moving around. Dada was jammed and bursting with an enthusiasm equally shared on stage and off.
Groove Loves Melody. One of the most exciting and original shows debuted in December 2012 in Dallas, Texas. I’m talking about “On The Eve”, a new musical with songs written by Seth & Shawn Magill of Home by Hovercraft. Enjoy the first single, “Rocket”, from their forthcoming release Are We Chameleons?, which will feature songs from that musical.
Richard Sullivan, D Magazine, November 2012. During this year’s Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase, Home by Hovercraft owned the stage at Club Dada with their effusive, anthemic pop. They appeared too experienced for a band that had just landed on the scene — and for good reason. Home by Hovercraft’s long and peculiar genesis is reminiscent of what famously buoyant PBS artist Bob Ross would call “a happy accident.” To put it another way: when life hands you a marriage, a vintage xylophone, an Irish step-dancing sister, and a tuba you do not know how to play, start a band.
The Majestic Show. We receive music recommendations on a daily basis. Very few local bands have been brought to our attention more than Home By Hovercraft. The Dallas band is built around the husband and wife duo of Seth and Shawn Magill. The five-piece has a sound that is reminiscent of Beirut, Tilly and the Wall, and Amanda Palmer. Yes, we know that doesn’t make sense, but listen to “Rocket” and you will understand…. This is anthemic music at its best. You will sing. You will dance. You will have a better day after listening to Home By Hovercraft. The group is also known to put on excellent shows.
D Magazine. “Nouveau 47 and Spacegrove Productions’ gave us a new musical that’s joyful, original, engaging, restorative; with a cast, crew, and creators who so clearly delight in testing the boundless limits of the stage.” — Liz Johnstone
“As busy as we are, it is not often that critics get a chance to see a play more than once, especially ones that we are not reviewing. When I heard the unbelievable buzz about this show, I had to check it out. I was blown away to the point that I saw this musical extravaganza of wit, whimsy, and whirlwind performances twice.” — M. Lance Lusk
Elaine Liner, Dallas Observer. “It feels as if Dallas theater is on the cusp of a new era of greatness, and what better evidence than the last show of the year, the time-travel musical On the Eve? Written by Kitchen Dog actor Michael Federico and Home by Hovercraft band members Shawn and Seth Magill (who also played time-challenged hero “Chase Spacegrove”), the show directed and designed by Jeffrey Schmidt filled tiny Magnolia Lounge with really good rock music, Irish step-dancing, eye-popping bits of stage magic and stirring performances. The too-short 10-performance run left standing-room-only audiences begging for encores. If any show needs a repeat in 2013, it’s this one.”
Lawson Taitte, Dallas Morning News. On the Eve is such a mix of the pretentious and the random that it shouldn’t work at all. Against all odds, however, it’s one of the most entertaining and exhilarating theatrical events of the year. Go figure….Magill and his wife, Shawn Magill — leaders of the rock band Home by Hovercraft — wrote the songs for the show, and the classically trained Shawn leads the onstage band from the keyboards. The music brings depth and power to the fragmented, postmodern script.
Liz Johnstone, D Magazine, December 2012. The experience is a novel one, right down to the clever clogging of the two talented Irish dancers (Abbey Magill and Shannon McCauley) that infuses the music with percussive sound and the idea of a living, bleeding statue (played by Maryam Baig) who ends up having the greatest instinct for self-preservation. It’s still the most fun I’ve had at a show in ages; what’s more, the cast and crew seem to feel the same way. It’s alchemy of casting and process, but also of a freewheeling story that actively disclaims perfection yet still holds together admirably.
Elaine Liner, Dallas Observer, December 2012. It’s about time a Dallas theater birthed a cracking good musical. This one, directed and designed by Jeffrey Schmidt, with a 12-song score by Dallas band Home by Hovercraft‘s Seth and Shawn Magill, is a small show that feels like the start of something big. Moving with the same throbbing beats and sexy energy of the musical Spring Awakening, it also is brimming over with the dark wit of the movies Back to the Future and Time Bandits. Good theater should inspire joy. In this show’s 135 minutes, joyful scenes and songs spill out like colorful candy. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets A Wrinkle in Time with a nod to Evita and a wink at Warner Bros. cartoons.
Richard S Blake, The Column / Examiner / Pegasus News, December 2012. Spectacular, nothing less than spectacular! Spacegrove Productions & Nouveau47 Theatre presents a new rock musical with style, excitement, phenomenal vocals and astounding performances. “History is revision, words are power, time travel is cool.” With an introduction like that, how can you not be intrigued? The new rock musical On The Eve is a superb combination of musical presentation(s) that will amaze you.
David Novinski, Theater Jones, December 2012. With the enigmatic, rocking musical On the Eve, Spacegrove Productions and Home by Hovercraft create a show you won’t soon forget. [Home By Hovercraft’s] wall of sound will envelope you with lush color and swirling fragrance with a beat that will enlist you in its bouncing anthem stomp. You could use Polyphonic Spree as a reference point, but just when you’ve taken their measure the rhythm is reinforced by synchronized Irish step dancers. The only quibble may be the lack of an encore. So, if you want more, you’ll just have to return….
ON THE CUSP. ON THE EDGE. ON THE BRINK. ON THE MARK. ON THE LAM. ON THE NOSE. ON THE MONEY. ON THE EVE
Alexandra Bonifield, Critical Rant, December 2012. Mother Nature, blood-red in tooth and claw, jangles her gaudy bangles and flashes a predatory grin, relishing the prospect of portentous paradigm shift in Nouveau 47’s ribald, uninhibited, anti-establishment World Premiere rock musical On the Eve, book by Michael Federico with songs written and played live by local band Home By Hovercraft. “History is Revision. Words are Power. Time Travel is Cool.” Sitting through its performance (moderately full house on a sunny Sunday afternoon) is how I imagine injecting the sweetest heroin might feel, minus the dirty needle and nasty addictive aspect, pure joy flowing straight to the heart. It’s flawed. It gets repetitive. It’s loud. But what a glorious emergence of a new, raw, honest, raucous, energized, sensual, celebratory work of art. You want to be there, let a piece of it rub off, seep into your pores, wear down your world-weary cynicism as ye slouch towards Bethlehem, Ozymandias. Glimpse cast members rockin’ out to the onstage beat back stage. Join in. At the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park…. On The Eve is one of the most genuine, risky, creative, committed stage works I’ve had the pleasure to experience this year. It should be On Your Schedule to attend. You’ll come out smarter, sexier and happier, after.
Mitchell Owens, Radio UTD, December 2012. Trying to describe the plot would be a futile effort, because it’s so insane and intricate that I couldn’t begin to do it justice. But it is a look into storytelling, and what would happen if the players in the story decided to take the plot and their fate into their own hands and away from the ones in charge of making decisions. It involves Marie Antoinette, a time-travelling hot-air balloon, a dystopian reality, a failed hero of a future space cowboy, and a living, talking statue. It’s every bit as crazy and awesome as it sounds.
IT TAKES MONEY TO MAKE MONEY - ARTCON
Dallas Observer. At ARTCON, Home by Hovercraft won over the crowd with their filmic melodies.
Dallas Observer. Seen anyone new lately that raised your eyebrows? I just saw a show this last weekend that had three amazing bands on the bill. First was Home by Hovercraft, who really blew me away. They have a very engaging and energetic live show and I’d highly recommend checking them out.
MORE PRESS LINKS
We Only Have Limited Control - Jamie Laughlin, Dallas Observer, November 2012
The Eve of Something Big - Mark Lowry, Theater Jones, November 2012
Where The Heart Is – Home By Hovercraft explains how they came to write a time travelling musical - Hannah Allen White, Central Track, November 2012
Home By Hovercraft – Get to Know Your Dallas Observer Music Awards Nominees - Audra Schroeder, Dallas Observer, November 2012
Party to Raise Funds for Home By Hovercraft Musical - Rachel Stone – Lakewood Advocate, May 10 2012
Paving the Way for New Works - Mark Lowry – Theater Jones, April 24 2012
Benefit preview for new rock musical about Marie Antoinette - Lawson Taitte – Dallas Morning News, April 17 2012
Excerpt from Q&A with Tom Parr IV, Artistic Director at Nouveau47. - Mark Lowry – Theater Jones, January 22 2012
2012 Forecast: Homegrown Plays - Mark Lowry – Theater Jones, January 5 2012
Off with their heads and on with the Show in On The Eve - Elaine Liner – Dallas Observer, November 15 2011
Home By Hovercraft produces rock-n-roll musical - Rachel Stone – Lakewood Advocate, November 14 2011