Described as “Bill Hicks, Hunter S. Thompson and Joe Strummer all rolled into one” by Philadelphia Weekly and a “one-man Tarantino flick: loud, vicious, luridly hilarious, gleefully and deeply offensive” by the Village Voice, New West Records is proud to announce it has signed folk-punk provocateur Hamell on Trial. His ninth album, The Happiest Man In The World, will be released February 25 and sees Hamell still as uncompromising, fearless, insightful, absurd, hysterical and as poignant as he was when he descended upon the music world with his debut 25 years ago. The LP is chock full of Hamell’s biting wit, rapid fire strumming, motormouth rants, spoken word interludes, genre hopping and comedic one-liners and features collaborations with Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches and longtime friend and mentor Ani DiFranco.
Hamell spent several months on the road last year supporting The Uncluded, the project of Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock and will be touring extensively in the U.S. and Europe in support of the album. He will play several locals shows in New York this month before heading to SXSW. On the way south he'll hit Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans and several others. In May he will head across the Atlantic for a UK and Irish tour including a performance at the Rhythm and Roots Festival in Kilkenny, Ireland.
The musical alias of New York-based anti-folk hero Ed Hamell, Hamell on Trial is a one-man punk band that plays loud, fast music informed by politics, passion, energy and intelligence. His caustic tongue and devil-may-care attitude has long been a favorite of anti-establishment musical icons Henry Rollins and DiFranco and the critical elite and incited Rolling Stone to call him “bald, bold and superbad” and described his signature sound as “attack-dog protest folk and ferocious staccato strumming (think Husker Du on Folkways Records).”
Armed with a battered 1937 Gibson acoustic guitar he strums like a machine gun, a politically astute mind that can’t stop moving and a mouth that can be profane one minute and profound the next, Hamell sets his sights on some classic subjects (sex, drugs, and rock and roll) and some personal ones, too. His performances invoke thoughts of the great rebellious comedians and social commentators of the past: Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, and even a bit of Sam Kinison. Hamell is a great mind; acoustic punk rock mixed with a traveler’s soul. There’s no way around his obscenity, but in that is a willingness to fight for the freethinkers of the world. Hamell On Trial is a refreshing punk-rock bomb on the unsuspecting folk singer-songwriter world and above all else a preacher of common sense and truth.
Hamell on Trial calls himself “The Happiest Man In The World” as evidenced by the title of his new album but forever the agitator we present to you: “5 Things That Piss Hamell On Trial Off:”
1. Overly Happy Bands – I want to start by saying I’m a pretty happy guy. As a matter of fact, I would venture to say I'm a very happy guy. I mean if you go see my show you'll pretty much see that I'm happy, because I love to play. That having been said I think it's important and essential that within the 90 minutes of my show we might visit a whole range of emotions, because unquestionably 'challenging' is one important variable in my definition of 'Art' or 'Rock and Roll.’ So if I get angry for a bit, or confrontational for a bit, or stretch the boundaries of what is considered decent for a bit, it's not because I'm pissy, it's because I'm desperate to not let myself down and consequently disappoint the audience. Those artists that are happy all the time on stage, or histrionically pretending that some emotion of joy is taking them over for the entire show every night of a six month tour, if they won't give me some insight to their genuine character, let's say, I don't know, maybe Mumford and Sons and that ilk, I feel insulted and that pisses me off.
2. People That Look At Their Phones (All The Time) – The other morning I was at the library and the guy checking out my books was actually listening to Mumford and Sons on his phone. He never looked up from his phone. I find that incredibly rude and offensive. I see couples sitting at the table in a restaurant dining and BOTH LOOKING AT THEIR PHONES! FOR THE ENTIRE MEAL! Isn't that like saying, “I don't find you interesting enough to engage with. I'll look at Facebook and Miley Cyrus videos on my phone instead”
3. People Upset About Miley Cyrus – Miley pissed off more people than the fucking Sex Pistols at the VMA 's and that was pretty cool, although I don't know anything about her music. But I can tell you this: Nick Cave is DYING to do a duet with her to which I say: Wait in line!
4. Bill Hicks Never Getting His Due & Ignorant Assholes – I wonder what the great comedian, now dead and gone God rest his soul, Bill Hicks would have said about both ‘Mumford and Sons’ and 'People that look at their phones (all the time).’ He would have ripped them a new asshole I bet. It pisses me off that when Bill Hicks was alive he never achieved the recognition he so richly deserved in this country. And frankly, even posthumously, too few people know about him. I don't mind those that have never been exposed to him, that's okay, I've got my fingers crossed for a movie, not unlike what Dustin Hoffman did for Lenny Bruce, that will expose Bill to a greater audience. It's the people that 'Don't get him” because he told the truth and that offended them. About politics. About religion. About art. I think those that were offended were kind of ignorant assholes so I’ve got to add that to the list. Ignorant assholes.
5. Throwing Away My Cassettes - When I got divorced I threw out all my cassettes. I had a lot of really cool shit. Don’t throw away your cassettes.