The past few years, the final Key Studio Session of December has been one for quiet contemplation — an echo of the headspace we all find ourselves in as we get ready to hang up a new calendar and promise ourselves that this will be our year. It may not always play out like we want it to. Things can change, external forces we don’t have any control over can muddle our goals up. But stepping from one year to the next with the right outlook, and attempting to maintain that outlook as the months pass, is crucial.
In the Philly scene this year, few did quiet contemplation quite like Hello Shark. The songwriting project of Lincoln Halloran began when he was a teenager and his family relocated from Massachusetts to Burlington, Vermont. His first two albums — 2011’s Break Arms and 2015’s HS — were recorded in places as far-flung as Savannah, Georgia and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Last year Halloran relocated a few hours south to continue the project in the fertile musical grounds of West Philadelphia.
The result is the latest Hello Shark record, Delicate, a moving set of music delivering melodic introspection in the vein of Ida, Iron + Wine and Jackson Browne, a guy he named a wonderful song after. We hear it played live in this session, where Halloran is backed by his rotating cast live band that at various points features members of Free Cake For Every Creature, Circadian Rhythms and more.
Though the tone is often downbeat and understated (“Alligator”), Hello Shark the band knows how to bring a quiet energy to the forefront, which we hear on “Fishing for Bats” and “Drake Night,” a poignant tale of the impermanency of love and life as told through a fleeting glimpse from across the crowd at The Dolphin.
Listen to the session in its entirety below, and grab a download for free from our Soundcloud page. Hello Shark’s next Philadelphia show is January 21st at All Night Diner.
Hello Shark, The Key Studio Sessions