Piñataland: “Hymns for the Dreadful Night”
I’ve been reviewing the back catalog of Piñataland, along with their most recent “Hymns for the Dreadful Night.” They have an extensive record of creativity that is hard not to wonder at. “Hymns” continues the trend and firmly establishes with this reviewer—who has thus far been ignorant of this treasure—that Piñataland is easily one of my top ten musical discoveries for 2011. They have created a mixture of nearly festive, orchestral-folk (also a touch of pedal-steel), with genius literary/historical references. If this sounds unmanageable and chaotic then you might be correct if not for the amazing results.
It is your turn now to take a swing at the piñata. Take off the blindfold and hit with all your might! Their earliest releases are “Name Your Price” at their Bandcamp page and “Hell Helps Me Laugh” below is one those early songs.
A startling alchemy of strange-but-true history, haunting instrumentation, and sterling songwriting, Piñataland have become experts at conjuring the sad strangeness of history to life with violin, tuba, accordion, guitar and drums. The band’s music, lurching from the epic and grandiose to the aching and elegiac, evokes some never-existing strain of pre-WWII chamber-rock.
They have performed in the dark underground of the historic Atlantic Avenue Subway Tunnel (underneath Atlantic Avenue and Court Streets in Brooklyn); on a loading dock at the New York Times Building (where they were celebrating – uninvited – the 5th anniversary of the Time’s switch to color printing); the American Museum of Natural History‘s Margaret Mead Film Festival (in honor of onetime museum resident Ota Benga); the Thomas Edison Historic Site (where they demonstrated wax cylinder recording), and, of course, their two favorite islands – Coney and Riker‘s.