Death House emerged in 2002 in the creative mind of Matthew Holl–a somewhat unassuming character who gets down on the guitar like few people you’ve ever seen or heard. He had formally fronted LA rock band, Robot. When that project disbanded he set his mind on creating a band with more of a raw, angular sound, and some serious-meets-tongue-in-cheek lyrics to match. Holl asserted this band be a three piece to help with the raw sound and to give space to the music. He solicited the help of two friends and the determined to write a record.
Drive Through Disaster Relief was what resulted from their efforts. The self-released debut record was written in the wake of the September 11th tragedy. When writing the record, Holl struggled to create music that would make sense out of what he saw to be a completely senseless world. Without the answers, he wrote songs stream-of-consciousness. His aim wasn’t to save the world or even make you feel good. Holl wanted to simply convey the message of “my head’s a mess, I’m usually not OK, and if you feel this way too it’s perfectly normal.”
Soon after the full length, the band was offered a development deal with Sony Records. They put a small demo together, but no record deal actualized. Shortly thereafter, the other two members left the band. But this wasn’t R.I.P for Death House.
Over chicken and chips at El Pollo Loco one night, friend, fan, and soon to be drummer, Ben Heywood, convinced Holl to keep going as DHC, and offered his services as a drummer. Just like that, the band was off and running again.
The new DHC got down to business, booking shows and perfecting their powerful and aggressive guitar-rock sound. Comparisons to Television, The Cure, The Who, US Maple, The Minute Men, and a plethora of others are not uncommon, but are few and far between because the band really doesn’t sound like anything else out there. Holl’s voice is edgy and unrefined a la Isaac Brock sans lisp and all the anger. Guitar work is driving and off-beat, but somehow maintains its pop sensibilities. Drum beats are unexpected in a way that makes the music entirely interesting. Because of the unrestrained sound, the bass lines really stand out in the mix. In fact, you’ve never heard bass like this.
At the end of the day, Death House Chaplain is a band that believes there is still hope for this world—that the future is a canvas we all help to paint. This is not music for the faint of heart.
Of Asthma was released on Lujo Records March 11, 2008.
CD / Digital