12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The release of the Hunches’ third album Exit Dreams in early 2009 came with the news that the Portland, Oregon group was about to disband. That’s a shame, because this garage-rock combo achieves a grimy sort of excellence in these crude but not ungracious tracks. The Hunches suck the vital juices out of the fabled Nuggets compilations and spew them back with punkish glee. “Actors,” “From This Window,” and “Not Invented” trudge with inebriated menace, allowing singer Hart Gledhill room to rant at humanity. Note-gargling guitars and Neanderthal-style drumming lend “Deaf Ambitions” and “Street Sweeper” a mind-frying psychedelic aroma. Glendhill and his cohorts flail about joyfully during manic exercises like “Carnival Debris” and “Your Sick Blooms,” and on “Swim Hole” they skirt the edge of acceptable power-pop, though sheer weirdness keeps them from falling in. In its own shambolic way, Exit Dreams seems like the work of committed rock scholars who know all the moves of semi-forgotten ‘60s no-hit wonders. But it also sounds like the unfettered eruption of maladjusted outsiders with no goal except to flip off the world. If the Hunches had to exit from the scene, this was the way to go.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The release of the Hunches’ third album Exit Dreams in early 2009 came with the news that the Portland, Oregon group was about to disband. That’s a shame, because this garage-rock combo achieves a grimy sort of excellence in these crude but not ungracious tracks. The Hunches suck the vital juices out of the fabled Nuggets compilations and spew them back with punkish glee. “Actors,” “From This Window,” and “Not Invented” trudge with inebriated menace, allowing singer Hart Gledhill room to rant at humanity. Note-gargling guitars and Neanderthal-style drumming lend “Deaf Ambitions” and “Street Sweeper” a mind-frying psychedelic aroma. Glendhill and his cohorts flail about joyfully during manic exercises like “Carnival Debris” and “Your Sick Blooms,” and on “Swim Hole” they skirt the edge of acceptable power-pop, though sheer weirdness keeps them from falling in. In its own shambolic way, Exit Dreams seems like the work of committed rock scholars who know all the moves of semi-forgotten ‘60s no-hit wonders. But it also sounds like the unfettered eruption of maladjusted outsiders with no goal except to flip off the world. If the Hunches had to exit from the scene, this was the way to go.

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About The Hunches

Specializing in epochal rock & roll noise in the grand tradition of the Velvet Underground, the Jesus & Mary Chain, and a guitar and amp being pushed down a flight of stairs while cranked up to ten, the Hunches were a band from Portland, Oregon who set new standards for energetic cacophony during their run in the 2000s. Guitarist Chris Gunn and lead vocalist Hart Gledhill first met when they were on the same little league team, and the two began making music together when they were in eighth grade. (Gunn claims to have taken guitar lessons from Zoot Horn Rollo, aka Bill Harkleroad, the former guitarist with Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, though Gunn had little positive to say about the experience.) Gunn and Gledhill later formed a band called the Conmen, and when that group parted ways, they teamed up with bassist Sarah Epstein (ex-the Roswells and the Flip-Flops) and drummer Ben Spencer (formerly with the [Real] Pills and Jetpack) to create the Hunches. The Hunches made their recorded debut in 2002 with a single for In the Red Records, "Got Some Hate" b/w "Lost Time Frequency." The single was soon followed by the album Yes. No. Shut It, which inspired rave reviews from the most adventurous corners of the independent rock press. In the Red issued a second Hunches album, Hobo Sunrise, in 2004, which like the debut was produced and engineered by Mike McHugh at his California recording studio The Distillery. The Hunches toured America and Europe extensively over the next several years, and released a handful of small-label singles and compilation tracks, but the musicians became disenchanted with the group, believing the project had run its course, and after recording a final album with producer/engineer Justin Higgins, 2008's Exit Dreams, the Hunches broke up. The band's final release, 2009's Home Alone 5, featured four unreleased studio tracks paired up with a live-in-the-studio session the Hunches recorded for John Peel's BBC Radio series in 2004. ~ Mark Deming

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