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HALA
with PONY

Songbyrd Presents
Downstairs, All Ages


DOORS: 7:00 PM // SHOW: 8:00 PM

$12 / $15
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Songbyrd Presents

Sunday May 10, 2020

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Hala (pronounced haw-luh) is the performance moniker of Detroit-based musician Ian Ruhala. Ruhala’s music is at once precise and playful, skipping breezily between decades and their attendant musical aesthetics while executing them with care and sincerity. On his studio debut Red Herring, Ruhala elevates this formula, applying his genre-agnostic blueprint to a set of songs that comprise a no-concept concept record: a varied LP which explores the tragedy and comedy—often, both at once—that color and confound the modern 22-year-old’s existence.

To execute his wide-lens vision, Ruhala worked with producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Vance Joy, Ra Ra Riot) at his legendary secluded Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington. Apart from strings—played respectively by longtime Brandi Carlile collaborator Josh Neumann and Andrew Joslyn—Ruhala wrote and performed each instrument on the record, including guitar, piano, bass, drums, baritone ukulele, xylophone, vibraphone, and all vocals.

The result is a coming-of-age record from an artist recognizing that cohesiveness need not only be expressed in structural sameness. It can and should be found in other experiences, in the complex, poignant, life-and-death fleetingness of a three-and-a-half-minute pop song. Or better yet, 12 of them back-to-back.

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Take one listen to the grungy power pop of PONY and you’ll immediately realize why their music was once included in an episode of Degrassi. Each of their tracks is a mini exploration into some of the most relatable feelings, including the pitfalls of falling hard and fast and the all consuming dread and worry that comes with the mundane decisions of daily life.
 
The Toronto-based outfit formed in 2014 by vocalist Sam Bielanski, makes songs about the dissatisfaction of growing up, that you can actually dance to. Since the bands inception, PONY has released two EPs, including Crushed and Do You, which came out in 2017 on Buzz Records. Inspired by artists like Paramore, That Dog, The Breeders, and Veruca Salt, PONY has already started carving out a name for themselves, sharing the stage with acts including Charly Bliss, Shonen Knife, Bleached, Chastity Belt, and Remember Sports.
 
Although the band may have missed their rightful chance to soundtrack the penultimate dance scene of every 90s teenage romantic comedy, their debut full length — which is due out in 2020 — will be filled with more than enough emotive glitter power pop to accompany our modern-day crush-filled daydreams.