Welcome Back to Brooklyn’s Hem–Check Out Animated Video For New Song “Tourniquet”

Jan 30th, 2013 in Music


Once upon a time there was a brilliant, early-Brooklyn-adopter band called Hem.  In 2001, Hem released an album entitled Rabbit Songs that took over our ears with its heart-rending melodies, traditional instrumentation, stirring lyrics and singer Sally Ellyson’s luminous vocals.  Hem followed Rabbit Songs with two more similarly enthralling albums in 2004 (Eveningland) and 2006 (Funnel Cloud).   Over a decade after the release of their first album, Hem is back and will in April release a new album entitled Departure and Farewell on Waveland Records.  We can’t wait.  They’ve now released the first song from the album and animated video for Tourniquet, which you can check out below via NPR.  After the song’s lyrics and video, download the song via the provided widget.


Songwriter and pianist Dan Messe told NPR recently that he “discovered the healing power of his own music in a song he wrote called Tourniquet,” for the new album.   Check out below the song’s trouble-laden topics as depicted in the song and its new animated video from Jordan Bruner.  Dan Messe told NPR “the band fell for the idea of animals that come to the city and become human. ‘We in Hem are suckers for anything involving anthropomorphic animals, so of course we jumped at this idea. It was important to us that the video ended with the wolf finding his way back home. It makes me especially pleased to see him and his girl howling at the end.'”

Check out the song’s sterling lyrics below followed by the video.  The pain is palpable when Sally Ellyson ends the song’s first stanza with a barely-whispered “Where it sinks to the bottom, and it hurts like hell.” If you don’t know Hem, do yourselves a favor and pick up their entire discography.  And then pre-order Departure and Farewell.

“Brooklyn, I’m broken – I’m breaking apart –
Greenpoint pins down my hand, Red Hook pierces my heart –
And my blood runs into the Gowanus Canal
Where it sinks to the bottom
And hurts like hell.

The Prospectors still search for highs in the heights
‘Til their first bloody nose which they laugh off despite
How it seems that whatever gets left in a bar
Just becomes part of Brooklyn
And here we are.

Oh, here we are…

Brooklyn, your war was just won by the South –
Some kid’s shooting off rounds from the roof of his mouth –
And these trains held in Chambers are ready to blow
All the way back to Brooklyn
And here we go.

Oh, here we go…

Oh Brooklyn, your bridges are bound up in light –
Every artery’s clogged as you pull the belt tight –
And this tourniquet turns even tighter until
Traffic comes to a standstill.
We come to a standstill.
I come to a standstill.

Oh, here we are…”

© 2012 Peep Music, Inc.


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