Signal Hill Transmission | An Empty Space

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United States - California - LA

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Rock: College Rock Pop: Garage Pop Moods: Mood: Brooding
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An Empty Space

by Signal Hill Transmission

"It's all cool. If tracks 4-7 don't thoroughly SMOKE your barbecue, perhaps you need to step back and re-evaluate whether this "rock & roll thing" is in your best interests." IOWA PRESS CITIZEN
Genre: Rock: College Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Pipe Dream
4:18 $0.99
2. Alright
3:07 $0.99
3. Polyvinyl Acetate
2:20 $0.99
4. No More Rides For Free
3:18 $0.99
5. Cherry is a Girl
3:09 $0.99
6. An Empty Space
3:13 $0.99
7. Salt in the Sore
3:54 $0.99
8. On and Off
3:08 $0.99
9. 95 North
4:48 $0.99
10. Ordinary
3:23 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

Los Angeles based Signal Hill Transmission was formed in 2001 by singer/guitarist Scott Warren and drummer Scott Schoen in the basement of Warren’s Hermosa Beach apartment. The band was originally conceived as a lo-fi alt-country pop outfit, with Schoen adding a backbeat and the occasional background vocal to Warren’s acoustic-based material. Before long, they began playing the local club circuit and in 2001 traveled to Warren’s hometown of St. Louis, MO to record their first release, “Home.”
By the beginning of 2002, though, Warren and Schoen were looking to fill out their sound. At the same time, bassist Duane Rakestraw had just left indie band Robot and attended an SHT gig on the recommendation of a friend. Within days of the show, Rakestraw became the third member of the band and when they brought in former Robot guitarist Mon Agranat a few weeks later, SHT’s transformation from a no-frills two-piece into a bonafide rock outfit was complete. Together they recorded two self-produced albums- “Tomorrow, The Stars” in 2005 and “An Empty Space” in 2007. Both were well-received by the critics and college radio alike and showcased a knack for pithy, catchy songwriting that has become the band’s hallmark.

In January of 2008, SHT won $25,000 in a competition for unsigned bands sponsored by a local radio station. This allowed the band to focus exclusively on songwriting and in May, the band went into the studio with producer Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Pete Yorn). They emerged with a four song EP, "Starting Gun," their first release with ATO records. Rolling Stone Contributing Editor David Wild writes, “’Starting Gun’ is not the beginning of the race, but an altogether winning start for Signal Hill Transmission – a new melodic rock band that promises to be around for the long run.”

"Alright" featured in Fox Atomic's film, "The Rocker."

Absolute Power Pop ranks "An Empty Space" at 30 in their "Best Of" for 2007 and lists "Cherry is a Girl" as one of the best songs of the year.

"Pipe Dream" ranked 11th best song of 2007 by Pop Bang Radio.

On their third release, An Empty Space, longtime L.A. indie darlings Signal Hill Transmission have crafted a fine-tuned, melodic departure from their previous volume of work. An undeniable product of the local indie scene, Signal Hill Transmission's sound draws on the same bouncy pop as fellow pop/rock outfit Irving, but also dabbles in a jazzy The 88 realm, with traces of Elliott Smith and Sea Wolf melodies all worked in to their layered sound. An Empty Space boasts a range of styles that are both naturally cohesive and aurally pleasing. "Pipe Dream," the album's opening track, has a beautifully finger-picked intro matched with thoughtful lyrics: "Just one last thing before you go / I'll have you know, I'll have you know / Your picture-perfect painted scene / Is an illusion, a pipe dream." Perfectly juxtaposed with the track's layered magnificence is "Alright," a rocking, nostalgic homage to the '70s glam rock scene in L.A. "No More Rides for Free" is a complete departure from this sound and is the song most highly reminiscent of Sea Wolf's textured alt-country/indie-folk sound. The title track continues this trend with its bouncy indie ho-down appeal. Clocking in at close to five minutes, "95 North" is comprised of a mere 25 words that are carried by surreal instrumentals that have an improvised feel but a clean sound. The ten tracks on Signal Hill Transmission's new album each have a unique instrumental quality that is cohesively held together by singer Scott Warren's jazzy vocals. The orchestrations are uplifting and are layered with soft harmonies that work together to produce a whimsical romp through many different styles. (P.A. Juice) -Jen Tartaglione

My they've changed! Good as they were - I reviewed their debut EP 'Home' back in 2002 - the ensuing 5 year period has seen them completely reinvent themselves. Now augmented to a four piece line-up, the more hushed, primarily rootsy approach on their debut has been traded in for far more instant hooks, loud guitars delivered with an unexpectedly swaggering confidence. While there's still occasional shade to be found pervading their lyrics, their newly found near-euphoric mastery of the big pop hook deserves to see them mentioned in the same breath as Fountains Of Wayne, those other rare masters of alt country and pop - the album's title track in particular ably demonstrating they've got a more than decent grasp of both genres. Elsewhere 'Salt In The Sore', close to being the cheekiest Oasis rip-off I've heard in quite some time, is actually an improvement on much of the Mancunian's output of recent years. A quality fully realised guitar pop opus, 'An Empty Space' is anything but., Geraint J.

Well crafted songs available in two flavours. 'Pipe Dream' starts proceedings on 'An Empty Space', the latest realease from Signal Hill Transmission. A fantastically catchy, chiming guitar backs the tumbling stream of roll over vocals. 'Alright' and 'Polyvinyl Acetate' both rock along with a 1970's, glam rock feel. 'No More Rides For Free' has a fifties, rockabilly air to it, and again showcases the tumbling vocal style which weave and flow around understated yet memorable melodies. Title track 'An Empty Space' is a bewitching slice of acoustic-ness, driven along by pounding bass drum and shimmering tambourine. It has a busked, underplayed quality to which only contributes to its charm. 'I'm always feeling out of place, no words to fill the empty space'. This track, along with the opener, are undoubtedly the records' highlights. 'On and Off' has a wholesome familiarity to it, '95 North' is all moody drums and guitar effects, while closing track is far from, as its name suggests, 'Ordinary'. A skew-whiff take on Travis' 'Ties To The 90's' with plinky, plonky piano parts thrown in for good measure. 'An Empty Space' splits its focus between mellow acoustic numbers and more raucous rockers. Whatever your preference there should be at least one track that tickles your fancy. Jason Walnut - Americana UK

When you're something of a basher band, it might be a mistake to open up with a subtle (if still quite active) soft burner like "Pipe Dream." Not for these guys. Rather, it simply prepares a listener for the coming wonderment. And Signal Hill Transmission is, in point of fact, much more than a basher band. The songs here do share a certain sense of urgency, that kinetic feel that almost always pricks up my ears, but the band is almost always under control. The sound is very professional. Not quite shiny enough for the majors, but in the same ballpark. It works here. These are songs that manage to be important without sounding exceptionally pretentious. And the subtle shifting of gears helps to make this something more than a nicely tuneful rock and roll album. More specifically, the shadings on this album help to tell the story of today. I suppose that is pretentious, but Signal Hill Transmission manages to pull it off with style. It ain't bragging if it's true. - Aiding and Abetting (issue #283)

I don't know squat about these Los Angelinos, but their first full-length ("Tomorrow, the Stars") landed unbidden in my mailbox a couple of years ago. Although I barely gave it the time of day and its lack of a full box or read-able spine rendered it nearly anonymous in that roiling sea of discs, it's hung steadfastly around my crib's music machine. Clearly, it was doing advance work for this sleek, punchy beast. While I hesitate to throw such names about, this booger is just saturated with that elusive rock-n-roll magic that's chromed the muscular, blue-collar/underdog breakouts by the likes of Big Star, Teenage Fanclub, the 'Mats and a dozen or so other feisty overachievers who have helped to make life worth living when all else has failed. The group shares songwriting credits. Lead singer/guitarist Scott Warren sports a warm, intimate delivery that favors Paul Westerberg with a dash of the P-Furs' Richard Butler. SHT's brand of punk-fueled power-pop is so robustly buff it begs for a steroid test. It's all cool. But if tracks 4-7 don't thoroughly SMOKE your barbecue, perhaps you need to step back and re-evaluate whether this "rock & roll thing" is in your best interests. -- Jim Musser -- Iowa Press Citizen

Signal Hill Transmission's third release "An Empty Space" showcases the band's maturity. While "Tomorrow The Stars" had all of the elements, but was raw. "An Empty Space" shimmers, jangles, rocks, and sounds finished. There is a slight angst that runs through the record, all wrapped around sing-along choruses and loud guitars. Fans of the mature Replacements and Fountains of Wayne will love this record. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music

Good news from the local music front: This indie-rock quartet gets better with each release. They've traded in earlier, rootsier flourishes for shimmering production, harmonies and more agitated guitars. Whether floating "Pipe Dream" on melodic waves of pretty fingerpicking, riffing to the '70s on "Alright," doggedly pledging to "get by with or without you" over the title track's stubborn beat, bopping wistfully to the nostalgic "Cherry Is a Girl" or closing with a ringing finish on "Ordinary," they're clearly paying more allegiance to R.E.M., Paul Westerberg and Elliott Smith than Uncle Tupelo. -Pasadena Weekly, January 25, 2007

Unrelenting melodies collide at high speeds and velocities, almost as if they were destined for one another. Smooching harmonies are reached for with behooved claws as if there was no other recourse. Daring adventures in melody are all mapped out. Meanwhile the songwriting is charted with deft precision. This is a highly creative and competitive group of songwriters and it shows., J-Sin, January 2007

2007 begins with an album that going to shoot right to the top of the class and fight to stay there. This album is, simply, great, great, great! They pull off a lot of influences that all mix up in a big rockin' bowl of tasty pop sounds: Superdrag, Fountains Of Wayne (check out "Cherry Is A Girl"), The Godfathers(listen to "Alright" below), Sloan, The Model Rockets and The Minus 5. Plenty of aggressive, jangly strums, well-layered and soothingly soft harmonies, dramatic, vibrant songs. -Not Lame, Bruce Brodeen, January 2007



to write a review

Samantha T.

I bought this CD after hearing one song off of it...usually I'm not really the type to do that but after reading the reviews I threw my caution to the wind! Anyways I was not disappointed! This CD is great to listen to and very sing-A-long-able!

Paul Graham

Awesome album and awesome music!! I recommend this to anyone skeptical, wonderful sound and great for any mood.

Red Perry

Best band/record I've heard in a long time.
I was turned on to these guys from a blog called absolute power pop. I had no idea they even existed and now I'm really glad that I do. Just a really balanced record here. They've got these pretty acoustic-based numbers (that still rock b/t/w) placed in between these straight-ahead pop/rock a Tom Petty meets The Strokes kinda way. I know it's early in the year, but these guys are definitely in the running for my best of 2007.

Marie Vick

Love every song and never heard them before.
I think the music is very good listening to anything that your doing.