What I’m Listening To is a series where we talk to exciting artists and musicians and get a five song slice of their current playlist.
“There are great shows happening in Sacramento almost every night .”
Sean Hills. Courtesy of the artist.
Sean Hills, bassist of Bastards of Young, member of Enemy Fire, founder of Punch and Pie and this month’s curator, got into music by listening to the radio as a kid. “I got hooked on bands like Green Day, Nirvana and Weezer. Their music was different than anything else I had heard before and [it] introduced me to a lot of other great bands like The Clash and The Pixies.”
This motivated him to go to concerts and make friends with people in bands. When his brother took up guitar, Hills picked up bass and they started their first band together in high school. Hills went on to play in a handful of bands and eventually joined Hanover Saints with his brother. There they worked with future Bastards of Young bandmate Wyman Harrell. They also met Nick Ripley, who, though not in Hanover Saints, played in many of the same shows and would later complete the Bastards of Young line up.
When Hanover Saints broke up, the former members scattered. Then, “Nick had some songs written on acoustic guitar so we started jamming and before long I dragged Patrick and Wyman into the mix.” Soon after, Bastards of Young was born. The band, which was named after one of Hills’ favorite Replacements songs, still has the same line up ten years later.
Hills is also the founder of Punch and Pie, an event promotion company. Hills started by booking his friends’ bands when they came through Sacramento on tour. The name is from the South Park movie:“Stan and Cartman were trying to get people to join ‘La Resistance’ and they thought more people would come if they told them that there would be punch and pie served at the meeting. So I just started putting that on flyers as a joke and eventually it became the identity of my promotion ‘company.'”
Over the years Punch and Pie has grown enough that Hills has been able to book bigger bands like Subhumans, 7Seconds, Youth Brigade, Joyce Manor and Mad Caddies. “I’m just really stoked when I’m able to help bring cool bands [to] play here because a lot of them skip over Sacramento.”
In addition to playing with Bastards of Young and running Punch and Pie, Hills has recently joined some members of Dcoi! to form Enemy Fire. He quite enjoys it, calling the band “a little faster and more aggressive than Bastards of Young. It’s kind of a throwback to the kind of music we were playing in Hanover Saints.”
So what is multi-band member and punk promoter Sean Hills listening to?
The Hold Steady-‘Constructive Summer’- “Craig Finn might not have the most beautiful voice in rock and roll but he’s one of the best lyricists I’ve ever heard. This song is about making the best of a shitty situation, getting drunk with your friends and listening to your favorite albums.”
Beach Slang-‘American Girls and French Kisses’- “Beach Slang is one of the best new bands I’ve heard in years. They write catchy, fuzzed out sing-a-longs that make me feel like a kid again. They unapologetically worship Jawbreaker and The Replacements which are two of my favorite bands of all time.”
Fugazi-‘Cashout’- “This song was released in 2001 on Fugazi’s last album, The Argument. I’ve always loved this song but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to relate to it on a personal level. Living in Sacramento the past few years, it’s impossible to ignore all of the new development that is happening around town. It’s really unfortunate when wealth and greed takes precedent over the history, culture and identity of a city or neighborhood.”
Hot Water Music-‘No Division’– “I’ve been listening to all of the bigoted, hateful shit that Donald Trump has been saying on the campaign trail this year and I can’t believe how many people are actually voting for this asshole. This song is about solidarity and standing up for one another. It’s about rejecting the standards of a society that tries to divide us and turn us against each other.”
Run The Jewels feat. Zack De La Rocha-‘Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)’- “I had almost given up on hip hop when I discovered Run The Jewels a few years back. Killer Mike and El-P produce the kind of socially conscious hip hop I fell in love with in the 90’s while remaining relevant lyrically and pushing the envelope musically.”
Bastards of Young will be playing at The Press Club on August 22nd with PEARS and Direct Hit at 8pm.
Next month they will be playing the Awesome Fest in San Diego (September 2-4) and This Is My Fest in Oakland (September 15-18). Enemy Fire will be playing the Colony with Acidez from Mexico on August 18th.