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BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD

Crossover Prog • United States


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Blow Up Hollywood biography
A very difficult band to write a biography on, since they actually don?t even have one on their website. Following in the vein of their band name, it appears they believe more in substance, quality, and anonymity than in popularity and greenbacks. Apparently they wish to be known as a ?band?, not a group led by anyone in particular, as there's no list of members on their website, no band members listed on their releases, or listing of songwriter(s). It took some real searching to find a list of some of the primary members (4 total), even though they?re actually a 7 member band. The 4 members found are: Thad DeBrock (guitars, processing), Dave Eggar (cello), Steve Messina (voice, guitar) and Daniel Mintseris (keyboards).

Blow Up Hollywood is from NY, NY. The members are, in their own rights, all accomplished musicians, successful in their other ventures in music. Not sure when they formed as a band, but their first studio release was in 02?. They write, produce, and perform (top quality I might add) a style of music that will definitely remind one of Pink Floyd (later years). They are their own record label. Everything they sell is over the internet, not in stores. All their studio releases are conceptual pieces that, lyrically, provoke thoughts and emotions that are supported beautifully by their melancholic, melodic, atmospheric, and orchestral music. I hope you?ll enjoy them as much I do. They deserve all the support that can be dished out.

Blow Up Hollywood official website

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Buy BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD Music


The Diaries of Private Henry HillThe Diaries of Private Henry Hill
MJ12 Music Label 2006
Audio CD$6.19
$0.01 (used)
Take FlightTake Flight
Blow Up Hollywood 2010
Audio CD$11.00
$2.44 (used)
Blue Sky BlondBlue Sky Blond
Single
blow up hollywood 2014
Audio CD$13.71
$3.99 (used)
stars endstars end
mj12music 2005
Audio CD$9.59
$8.40 (used)
CollectionsCollections
CD Baby 2011
Audio CD$10.97
$3.94 (used)
Blow Up HollywoodBlow Up Hollywood
ACM Records 2011
Audio CD$9.99
$9.97 (used)
Ambient Vol. 2: Blow Up HollywoodAmbient Vol. 2: Blow Up Hollywood
CueHits 2014
Audio CD$11.95
Ambient Vol. 4: Blow Up HollywoodAmbient Vol. 4: Blow Up Hollywood
CueHits 2013
Audio CD$11.95
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BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD discography


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BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 6 ratings
Blow Up Hollywood
2002
3.84 | 7 ratings
Fake
2004
3.63 | 7 ratings
The Diaries of Private Henry Hill
2006
3.25 | 4 ratings
Take Flight
2010
3.40 | 6 ratings
Collections
2011
2.83 | 5 ratings
Blue Sky Blond
2014

BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.25 | 3 ratings
Stars End
2005

BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Blue Sky Blond by BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.83 | 5 ratings

BUY
Blue Sky Blond
Blow Up Hollywood Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

3 stars This is the first album I have heard from BUH since 2004's 'Fake', although it has been only been three years since 'Collections', and there have been some other albums in between as well. Their website gives little in the way of who is involved, although singer/guitarist Steve Messina obviously is as it is his band, but interestingly they say that this album is "ambient pop/rock" whereas they originally came to prominence through the prog scene. Well, there are some prog influences here, but the prominent sound is that of a laid back Coldplay, with some slight touches at times of Muse and Porcupine Tree. The result is something that is, well, pleasant. "Shine" wouldn't sound out of place on radio, and is easily the standout song on the album. Piano led, with hooks aplenty, gentle orchestration and some good female harmony vocals against Steven's voice make this song a delight.

But, for the most part this is an album that drifts along with little in the way to really capture my attention. It's not that it is a bad album, as it is well recorded and well performed, but rather this style of music is not one that I would generally listen to. If you enjoy music that drifts along without being obtrusive then this may well be for you, and although it would definitely appeal to fans of the likes of Coldplay I somehow doubt that it will sell in the same quantities. For more information visit www.blowuphollywood.com

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 Stars End by BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2005
2.25 | 3 ratings

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Stars End
Blow Up Hollywood Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars If my memories serves me right from the interview I did with them, this is a recording of a live session the band did where they were told just to play their instruments.

There is no real structure on this music. Stars End is a thirty seven minutes piece of improvised music in the post-rock genre. It is based on emotions and long winded drawn out melody lines. One melody line to be honest. The first twenty minutes is a reflection over a sombre melody line where there are some dynamics at the final half of this recording. The instruments are guitar played as a slide guitar, tangents, samples, cello and some vocals used as instrument. The sound is excellent though so no complaints there.

I do have complaints about this being a very pedestrian, non-event piece of music. I understand what they are trying to achieve and I respect the effort. But the result is not good so hence my lack of warmth towards this album. But perhaps post rock and emo fans will like this better than I do. Blow Up Hollywood is an excellent band and this album is only an oddity in their discography.

2 stars

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 Collections by BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.40 | 6 ratings

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Collections
Blow Up Hollywood Crossover Prog

Review by squonkuk

4 stars I was privy to Collections as early as November 2009 and have had the 'album' for a full 16 months. Steve Messina sent it to me for an article I wrote for a comics website I used to write for, in a series of musical interludes and because he wanted a transatlantic perspective. When Messina sent me the disc, which until last week was filed under BUH 2009, he offered me a vague reason for why this album would be called Collections, but for me the reason it is called that is because it collects the wide array of styles you find in Blow Up Hollywood's music. There's everything from prog to rock to soul to jazz to ambient noodling stuff. The band, of which Messina is the principal songwriter, don't do labels; of their 6 'albums' no two are alike, although the eponymous titled Blow Up Hollywood and its follow up Fake are probably the most similar, but even then it is just Messina's vocals that connect the two. Collections is good. It kicks off with two really powerful prog like instrumentals - NCK and JCK, both of which show some of the influences that have helped define this vastly underrated band. It is followed by the atmospheric DDK - possibly my favourite instrumental track on the album; it reminds me of early William Orbit, but with a depth and gravitas that Orbit's early stuff seemed to lack and it has a layered guitar in it that makes you want to pick up an air guitar and noodle along with - well, it does me... Sweet Memory is a lovely love song about loss; it combines piano, Steve's voice and a subtle use of strings to convey an almost 1930s feel. I didn't like this much on first few listens and now I find it's been put right at the end of the release I think it's a great way to end the album. This is followed by When It's Over, a song about loss that seems to examine who ends up taking the blame; it's also got a sing along quality, something you could argue BUH are not renowned for. Then we're treated to the cover version of Kite; Kitty Kite is in many respects the best track on the album; but this might be due to the fact that Kite is one of BUH's best loved songs. The female vocalist, Kim Wayman has a fabulous voice, all croaky and soulful and she really gets to use her ability on Slow Down - a song that Messina tends to sing at live shows, but Wayman really makes this a soulfully beautiful track. Her final input is Crash, another painful sounding song that seems to describe the affects of a full on affair has on people. In many respects, Collections is split into sections; the modern rock instrumentals; a section of vocalising the impact of relationships, of love and loss, and then there's a final section; the jazzy experimental stuff; where BUH's love of cello, John Cage and the avant garde really shines through. For Jessica is a deep, rich and almost sad piece of music that has a feel of Take Flight, the last BUH album. It also reminds me of the early instrumentals from the eponymous album and the original reason why I fell in love with Blow Up Hollywood's unique style. This also acts as a sort of bridging point for the full on weirdness of Caged, More Caged and Cello/Piano/Radio/Woodwinds which explore the dark side of the band's love of the unusual and the uncommercial. While Blow Up Hollywood have never been commercial, they do have songs that you could play at parties; these 'weird' pieces of music are the kind of thing you put the headphones on when you're in need of a self-analysis moment or are feeling a wee bit introspective. You can understand why a sideline of the band is to produce soundtrack music and you can see why they also have a love of the freeform - whether it's jazz or modern classical. This is wall of sound as far removed from Phil Spector as is earthly possible. In many respects, the three avant garde pieces don't sit naturally with the rest of the album, mingled with the rest of the songs they almost throw down a gauntlet, suggesting to the listener that what they're listening to isn't your standard fayre. The album is only available as an MP3 download at the moment and would cost you a measly £6.99; which by today's standards is a great price for an album that defies description in places. Do yourself a favour and buy the album and remember something, with the release of the band's last album Take Flight, they gave the proceeds to a building program in Nicaragua, to help the homeless there have some place to live. this from a band that are barely known outside of their native New York. You don't find the U2s, Arcade Fires and Radioheads of this world doing such a charitable and altruistic gesture and that alone make this a band worth speculating on.

I score Collections 4 out of 5

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 Fake by BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.84 | 7 ratings

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Fake
Blow Up Hollywood Crossover Prog

Review by Starless

4 stars A recent rediscovery for me are this nigh on un-categorisable and enigmatic band from New York. Fronted by Steve Messina (voice/guitar), ably assisted by Thad DeBrock (guitars, processing), Dave Eggar (cello) and Daniel Mintseris (keyboards).

This, their second album, was released in 2004, and is a lovingly produced musical journey through love and loss. Fake it certainly is not. Haunting, melancholic and uplifting by turns, there are ten songs on the album, five with vocals, five instrumentals. A simple but effective musical motif runs through the album like lettering in a stick of rock (rock candy for our American friends), reappearing for the final time on the last track DMK, the oddest of the instrumentals featuring what sounds like backwards keyboards. Buried in the middle of the album is the gorgeous love song Oceans, which you can easily imagine being played in stadium sized venue, audience with lighters aloft. My only gripe is that the wonderful slide (or bottleneck) guitar break is not long enough - maybe they extend it in a live setting? The title track has another highly personal lyric presumably from Steve, the song starts with a late Floydian sounding acoustic, and builds into a highly atmospheric and climatic coda.

Much as I hate making comparisons, I concede that for newcomers to a band it can be helpful, so here goes. The obvious influence is late period Floyd, but with a slightly less proggy edge. Believe it or not I could well imagine Robbie Williams singing the title track - stop laughing at the back, I mean it in a totally positive way!

Judge their consummate songcraft for yourself at their MySpace site. Oceans isn't on the there, but White Walls from this album is, along with some other fine examples of their songcraft.

An album for an introspective mood, with some lovely songs. Largely unknown outside of the USA, this band deserve to be heard.

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 The Diaries of Private Henry Hill by BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.63 | 7 ratings

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The Diaries of Private Henry Hill
Blow Up Hollywood Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars This is a concept album about the Iraq war and the ones that never made it back home again. Hence, I find it difficult to review this album because this will never be anywhere near an objective review. Well, no reviews is objective. But as objective as according to PA's guide lines. Please forgive me for my transgression.

The problem too is that the lyrics is far better than the music. The lyrics is naive and bordering to Forrest Gump type of innocence. And that is both factual information and a compliment, btw. Listen to the song WMD and listen to the rest of the album too. To a certain extent, Blow Up Hollywood is here following the path Bruce Springsteen followed back in the 1970s with albums like Born To Run.

Each decades have their own sound. Bruce Springsteens sounded like 1970s with his dense sound. Blow Up Hollywood sound like the noughties with a sound which comes across as a mix of laid back jazz, a bit Pink Floyd, a bit country 'n' western, film music aka Ennio Morricone and west coast rock. Different type of music, different decades. Same experience. Same message.

The music is laid back. The lyrics is everything but laid back. In this context, the music then becomes slightly sinister. Sinister as in a night in Baghdad, when taking incoming fire from RPGs and small arms. Sinister as seeing your best friends being blown up by a suicide bomber. Sinister as facing roadside bombs every day and ever mile. Sinister as being scared 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

When putting the lyrics together with the music, this concept album hits you in the face. And you keep quiet. You start to think. You start to think about coffins draped in the American flag on their way over the oceans in the back of an airplane. The family who receive their loved one in this coffin. The family who finally lays him/her to rest in a remote graveyard in Montana while the rivers makes their way to the ocean.

What an unspeakable tragedy.

And then it dawns on me that although the music is not worth more than three stars, the lyrics and this tragedy makes this a four stars album. This album is meant to make an impact........ and it does.

This my friends is a musical document and not a progressive rock album. This my friend is as strong as music gets.

Gosh !!!!!!

4 stars

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 Fake by BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.84 | 7 ratings

BUY
Fake
Blow Up Hollywood Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Blow Up Hollywood grows up on their second album.

Gone is the house at the sea front which served as a recording studio. This time, Blow Up Hollywood lock themselves into a state of the art recording studio and does the album this way.

The result is a much more considered expression. The big difference is a more dense sound with more than one reference to the likes of R.E.M and Pink Floyd. There is also a lot of references to electronica music here. In other words, a very modern sound which should win the band a lot of new friends among the art rock fans. And it did. This album is a pretty major success which opened up a lot of doors for this band. It is easy to understand why.

The sound is still dominated by the vocalist Steve Messina and his understated, but still excellent vocals. The other dominant instrument is the elegant synth. There is also a lot of guitars on this album. Even some slide guitars. Low and behold; there is even guitar solos here ! The addition of the guitars has added another dimension to this band and improved their sound. But Blow Up Hollywood, despite of their bomb(astic) name, still use an understated sound where less is more. And it works like a treat.

The quality is superb throughout. This album even have a signature song......... and dare I say it...... a hit. This song is called Ocean and it is a brilliant song. Some melancholic sounding verses dominated by the vocalist and then there is a long guitar solo from the excellent Thad DeBrock. This is four minutes of pure magic, no less. The rest of the songs are in the same vein too. They all follow a melancholic, but still strangely uplifting pattern.

This album is an album for the silent nights alone or together with the special person in your life. It is also a progressive album which also takes the best from the American songbook and merges that into this album. This album leaves me very uplifted indeed.

4 stars

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 Blow Up Hollywood by BLOW UP HOLLYWOOD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.13 | 6 ratings

BUY
Blow Up Hollywood
Blow Up Hollywood Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A new band for me, Blow Up Hollywood. I had no clue about this band until I interviewed them one month ago. I then got their albums and I am starting with this album, their debut album. I have no idea what they have done on their other albums (besides of their own words in that interview) so I am just describing what comes out of my speakers.

I am also listening with open ears and an open mind. That is required here because this music is pretty far removed from the dense music I am normally listening too. This album is a case of "less is enough". The instruments here is piano, some cello, synth/hammond and vocals. The mood is melancholic, dark and strangely uplifting at the same time. There is no time shifts and no intricate melody lines here. The songs are mostly vocals driven. The vocals and the rest of the instruments is excellent. Yes, I do regard the (excellent) vocals as an instrument on this album.

Reference points ? A bit Pink Floyd, Manning, Radiohead and Coldplay. But just a bit of all these four acts. Blow Up Hollywood is not copying anyone, as far as I am aware of.

The quality is actually very good throughout. I am actually very surprised by this album because the description in the interview did not give me much hope. But it is obvious that sea-breeze is an underestimated creative force. The best song of this album is Kite. A superb and strangely catchy melancholic song with a captivating melody line, driven along by some excellent vocals.

But most of the other songs on this album have subtle melody lines which just crawl under your skin and stays there. It is a strangely captivating album. Bizarre, because this is not the type of music I like.......... so I thought ! Well, stay long enough in ProgArchives, be a musical adventurer and your world will be turned upside down. This album proves that.

I give it three stars today, but it is bordering to four stars and I may do an upgrade later on.

3.75 stars

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Thanks to ComfortablyNumb for the artist addition.

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