Band of the Day

2012.09.10

A House For Lions

Charming alt-country with splashes of 90s influence
Come on to the penny arcade. We can make the lights flash bright. We can make the old bells clang. We could run away tonight.
lyrics from Come On Let's Go

Boy moves west in pursuit of dream is a familiar Hollywood story--but in the case of Daniel Norman, he wound up in an entirely different dream than the one he had been chasing. Norman switched coasts four years ago to make it as an actor in Los Angeles. After acting revealed itself as less than fulfilling, he switched scenes and began to write music instead, booking several gigs at open mic nights. In 2010 he met guitarist Mike Nissen and upright bassist Eric McCann. The trio clicked instantly and credit their musical chemistry for their rapid success. Soon after the band began playing together, they met with Raymond Richards, producer for the Local Natives, and recorded their first EP. The EP earned them some serious fans, among others, the LA Times and Snow Patrol’s lead vocalist Gary Lightbody. They played at CMJ 2011 and SXSW 2012 and are currently working on their debut album.

Thanks to the dusty alt-country touches, you don't think about it at first, but after a few spins it dawns on you: these guys are bringing back the 90s! Not the angst-y post-grunge 90s, but the thoughtfully sentimental, lighter-waving ballads 90s of bands like Gin Blossoms, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Wallflowers and others. Formed in 2010, A House For Lions are a four-piece fronted by singer/guitarist Daniel Norman. Soon after beginning to write songs in 2009 Norman found his bandmates and created A House For Lions, recording their excellent debut EP I Want Us To Be Remembered within just six months of the band's genesis.

Produced by Raymond Richards, the man behind the also superb L.A. band Local Natives, I Want Us To Be Remembered packs a big punch for its six tracks. A House For Lion's music is predominately chilled out (lions sleep the vast majority of the day!), findings its power in quietly beautiful corners and serene landscapes.
Stand out “Come On Let's Go” echoes Goo Goo Doll's late 90s hit “Iris.” But where that anthem got a bit over the top, A House For Lions keep things reeled in. Acoustic guitar and Norman's vocal's stay front and center, swelling with vocal harmonies and atmospheric splashes of electric guitar. “Let Back” is a similar slice of mellow rock, mixing acoustic guitars with shimmering electric guitars that perfectly frame Norman's vocals. A House For Lions have this unique ability to be quietly intense; you can let the track slide by as smoothly enjoyable, or focus in and realize how impassioned it is. Other songs are less fierce, dealing in fire fly catching country music that slowly ambles along, mixing a hint of melancholy with the easy-going vibes.

With their effortless mix of roots instrumentation and compellingly sincere ballads, these guys are going places.