Nostalgia and lineage are two different things. The former tries to capture the essence of something that has come and gone. Lineage, however, is something deeper, and when applied to music, often relies on die-hards – the people who were there and keep on showing up. Providence’s The Hammer Party brings a laundry list of lineage, with each member contributing history to their collective sound: a sludgy, distortion-rich pummeling.
“Having grown up as teenagers in the 1980s, our musical influences are vast, but as far as The Hammer Party is concerned, we’re mainly based around 1980s underground rock music,” says the band’s singer and frontman Dan St. Jacques. “Our music reflects the stuff we were listening to and saw live in the club scene in Providence back then. Many of the bands from the hardcore punk music scenes of Los Angeles and New York and also the post-punk/noise rock scenes of the Midwest all toured extensively, and we were lucky enough to have venues in town such as The Living Room, Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, The Rocket, and AS220 to provide exposure to such incredible music scenes.”
“We initially formed a couple of years ago as a Big Black cover band [seminal group founded by Steve Albini], to play a one-off Halloween show,” says St. Jacques, “but then decided to write our own material and ditch the drum machine.” The full lineup includes Joe Propatier on drums, bassist Justin Silvia, and Andy Newman on guitar. Pre-pandemic, The Hammer Party had been playing scattered shows in the area and writing new tunes that continue to carry the torch for noise and hardcore in the Providence area, adding to the continuation of a scene that has been around for so long.
“We have quite the combined list of underground bands we’ve played, recorded and toured in,” begins St. Jacques. “Sourpuss, Glazed Baby, The Laurels, Thee Hydrogen Terrors, Scarce, Landed, Olneyville Sound System, Whitey, Six Finger Satellite, Silver Apples, Bevis Frond, Will Oldham, and The Jim Rose Circus. We have also been fortunate enough to share the stage with a lot of influential and important bands of the past three decades; but any stories, rumors or accusations from these years are purely up for debate!” The band is currently at work on their debut LP at Andem Street Studios, Providence.
St. Jacques recalls, “The music scene for the past 30 years in Rhode Island is like the tides, it comes and goes. There’s been moments of excitement and well-attended shows and then it all disappears just as quick only to leave a dirty ring around the tub. And we are that ring!”