The Soft Hills
Seattle, Washington-based indie Americana band the Soft Hills began in late 2007 with drummer Caleb Heinrich working out songwriter/guitarist Garret Hobba's understated tunes with him.
The two were joined by bassist/guitarist Drew Dresman in December of that year and began playing live locally. Multi-instrumentalists Brittan Drake and Brett Massa joined the group in 2008, filling out Hobba's melancholic indie songs with additional keyboard flourishes and guitar work. In this time, the band recorded their debut EP, Painted World, in a nearby elementary school, putting to use many of the children's toy instruments on the recording. This EP was followed in 2010 by debut full-length Noruz. Shortly after, Caleb Heinrich was replaced by drummer/Moog player Randall Skrasek (also of Seattle psych rock band Hypatia Lake). Drew Dresman left the band in July 2010 to go to grad school, leaving the Soft Hills a four-piece, and uncluttering their sound somewhat. With a solid lineup in place, the band worked ceaselessly to develop their sound, cultivating a soft psych take on indie rock bearing elements in common with the sad slowcore of Red House Painters as well as contemporaries like Grizzly Bear or Fleet Foxes. The band toured the U.S. several times in this period. In late 2011, the group began work on second full-length album, The Bird Is Coming Down to Earth. The record saw release in early 2012 and a European tour was planned for the early summer of that year. Third album Chromatisms materialized in early 2013, and fourth album Departure showed up just one year later. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi