Hollow Sidewalks – Show Review and Interview

I am always excited to hear new music but when I picked this random show, it wasn’t so random. I felt a real connection when I perused Hollow Sidewalks’ first album, Ain’t No Way on Bandcamp. The connection was so real that I bolted out of the door and headed straight to The Liquor Store. No, I wasn’t suffering from withdraws or seeing pink elephants, The Liquor Store is one of the newer venues in SE Portland and as its name might imply, it is hip. Chic even. The upstairs is droll. I had flashbacks of every other bar put together in the last 5 years. But the basement–in spite of the clunky art work hung so low on the wall that I couldn’t lean back in my chair–was like stepping inside of a wonderland.

The sound was marvelous and Hollow Sidewalks sounded marvelous in it. They created a heavy wall of crunch that bent when the lead singer’s voice called out for a bend. The mixture was ghostly-meets-spaghetti western meets that magical time when glam was becoming grunge. I was enthralled to hear such an unassuming revival of the despondency I learned to love by way of L7, The Breeders, and The Pixies. I want to believe that Hollow Sidewalks have a future in making futureless music, music that radiates dead energy, zapped by heartache, anger, and a love that only a true pessimist could understand.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to ask lead singer Nora Murphy Hughes a few questions about music at large:


How do you think you would handle fame? Big time, Beetles level, almost impossible fame?  

Me personally, I think I’d handle fame alright.  I’m fairly open about my life anyway.  I think there is a sliding scale of desire for fame and desire for privacy in the band.  All I know is we each have a that little narcissistic part of ourselves that wants to be worshiped, idolized, immortalized.  Performers have to have that trait a least a little bit.

What type of world would we have to live in for a band like Hollow Sidewalks to achieve that level of notoriety or do we live in that world now?  

Sadly, we live in a world that renders people commercially unviable after a certain age.  Luckily there is no age limit to self produce whatever media you like.  Accessing people through social media, youtube channels, music blogs is what makes fame possible, not the record labels.  If somebody is constantly generating content, they can be that famous.  Hollow Sidewalks want to keep churning out music and other bi products of that until everyone takes note.

In your opinion, where does Portland stand on the playing field of music today, in the U.S. or the world?

Our band stands hardly divided on this subject.  I think Portland has always been over saturated with bands both young and seasoned, but that’s not to say there aren’t some gems you can sift out if you go to enough shows and listen to enough bandcamps.  The musicians here take it upon themselves to create and produce things themselves on their own terms, in their own tight knit little world of rock n roll.  It’s beautiful and fun, but in terms of national and global appeal, it comes off too intentionally weird to be taken seriously.  The real bands that want to branch out beyond that bubble will have to set a certain kind of professionalism and play out of town a lot.  Portland has a decent roster of globally recognized acts, and i believe it’s poised to grow in the coming years.  Other people in our band think there aren’t any good bands in Portland.  Every band’s gotta have a grump.
You can follow Hollow Sidewalks on Facebook and listen/download their music here on Bandcamp. If you live in the Portland area, look them up and go see them. If you live anywhere else, look them up and go see them. 



Lunar Isles – In Any Other


Inner Wave – Mystery


Ovlov – Strokes

Related articles