There is no neatly packaged description for Hammer’s sound. You could shoehorn them into a 90s indie rock revival thing, but it’s a little like putting a squid in a sweater. Perhaps the fact that Joe Hall, Jeff Stickley and Duncan Webster have been playing music together since 1994 conjures nostalgic feelings of a sound developed and perfected over the past two decades. Hammer is a continually developing exploration of the music these guys were born to create.
Recorded in the Durham home of Jay Murphy, the 2007 self-titled EP catapulted Hammer into the Triangle music scene. After touring the release, the band received national recognition, most notably as a Stereogum Band to Watch. The band took their next batch of material to producer J Robbins to create their first LP, Looking for Bruce. Working with one of their heroes proved to be a defining moment for the band. J Robbins has fronted and produced many bands that were huge influences during their formative years. Hammer returned to work with him in 2010 to record Black Shark, their most recent full-length release. The second LP explored the use of strings and keys, adding a new dimension to Hammer’s ever-evolving sound. Touring both releases extensively in the US and UK, Hammer has found a growing population of die-hard fans.
Recently, the guys have explored side projects and solo work, revealing a new sense of purpose. The projects have inspired each member to bring more eclectic ideas to the table, creating an endless well of material. Hammer just recorded a 5-song EP with Black Mountain honey bear BJ Burton of The Love Language. They took a more stripped down approach to this recording, revisiting their enthusiastic beginnings of jumping around on couches during marathon practices. As always, the band’s favorite album is the one they’re working on.
Hammer is one of our headliners this year, so you can count on seeing them at some point mid-evening. We’ll let you know more details soon.