A House For Lions
Daniel Norman, singer/songwriter of A House for Lions, was a music lover who never intended to become a musician. But while hitchhiking through Germany, a melody and a few words popped into his head and never left: “we’ll write a book worth reading!” – the first line of what would become the first song Daniel ever wrote and A House for Lions’ statement of purpose, “Let Back”.
In that moment, he realized it might be possible to get off of the fence and create a project of his own; at least, it would be fun to try. Daniel had played guitar since he was a kid, but had no experience playing in a band. So he’d have to get better, (“we’ll pass the test, no cheating!”) but he’d also need to seek out kindred spirits to flesh-out the sound of his bare bones experiments.
In early 2010 he found just that in an unlikely group of strangers. Adding guitarist and designer Mike Nissen, bass player Eric McCann and drummer Joe Luisi, A House for Lions has developed a sound that according to The Deli Magazine “manages to blend the sleeker side of angsty 90s rock with the laid-back instrumentation and heart-string pulling melodies you might expect from an alt-country band”.
Within six months, the band had recorded their first EP I Want Us To Be Remembered, with LA producer Raymond Richards (Local Natives) and were off and running. From there the band garnered rave reviews from the LA Times and Billboard.com, made impressive debuts at CMJ and SXSW and established themselves as one of Los Angeles’ most promising young bands.
A House For Lions recently completed work on their debut full-length album with Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Biller (Silversun Pickups, Elliot Smith, Fiona Apple) after completing an innovative DIY crowdfunding campaign to fund the making of the album. By successfully bypassing the traditional crowdfunding platforms (Kickstarter, et al) and building their campaign from scratch, they’ve impressed the indie music world at large and attracted flattering press including an interview on NPR, articles from Digital Music News, Hypebot and many others.
Not content to rest on any laurels, these brothers-in-arms remain dedicated to creating and sustaining a distinct vision in an uncertain musical landscape. “To all the new beginnings/to all the screws unspinning!”
LA's A House For Lions caught us off guard with the single, "Ordinary Life", where Daniel Norman and the band give some slow strumming sentiments to lift spirits from the drudgery of routine. Norman with the help of Mike Nissen, Eric McCann and Joe Luisi create a sound that the 90s power poppers certified and set in stone as the standards of what a pop song should be. With an ever-so-slight twang, they shake down those old records from BMX Bandits, Boy Hairdressers, 80s Rough Trade distro underachievers, exuding a polished take on the entire 53rd and 3rd Records oeuvre that was managed and manicured by Stephen Pastel. "Ordinary Life" edifies the suburban ennui of the stuck-at-home where the cool folks that are all dressed up with no where to go and no one to go with find a common bond over an alt-LA pop gem. - "Week In Pop", Impose Magazine
With the band’s catchy, emotive sound — equal parts dusty alt-country and lovelorn late ’90s alt-rock — we’re surprised debut EP track ‘Let Back’ isn’t as big a hit as ‘Pumped Up Kicks.’ Maybe they need more synthesizers? - L.A. Times: Seven bands to watch at CMJ 2011
A House For Lions roars on new EP…one of L.A.’s best undiscovered acts… the modern rock genre is sorely in need of some fresh faces…Enter A House for Lions… Evokes the more sensitive days of ’90s alternative with a fresh spin. - L.A. Times
L.A.’s A House for Lions showed off a robust rock sound at Rusty’s on Wednesday, adding garage ferocity to the softer, ’90s-influenced alt-rock of debut EP “I Want Us to Be Remembered.” The group just finished a new batch of demos, including electric scorcher “XOX,” and hopes to record its debut album over the summer. - Billboard.com
They’re only just starting out but already they’re purring like a sleek machine with a human heart…seeing a band this good this early is a thing of wonder and ought to be celebrated. With parades. In lieu of a parade, though (tricky things to organise) I thought I’d write a few of them. Come On Let’s Go is as woozy and seductive as a Jay Gatsby party and there is an intensity and, paradoxically, a tenderness I’ve seldom heard. A supremely lovely piece of music that I find leaves me bereft when I can’t get to it. I obsess perhaps a little too easily, I confess, but when there is such beauty out there to pore over then a little obsession is far too rewarding to worry about. -Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol) - Q Magazine - Q50 Track Of The Month
A House For Lions is exactly the kind of music I like…a band after my own heart…giving the L.A. Music scene a good name. - Dave Holmes (MTV, VH1, FX)
Purveyors of gorgeous anthemic rock - Kevin Bronson, Buzz Bands LA - Bands to Watch in 2012
The band manages to blend the sleeker side of angsty 90s rock with the laid-back instrumentation and heart-string pulling melodies you expect from an alt-country band. - The Deli Magazine
[A House For Lions] favors classic songwriting, with the frontman’s crystalline vocals prevailing sweetly over arrangements bearing a faint hint of Southern-fried pop. – Kevin Bronson, Buzz Bands LA
Instrumentally and vocally they are so rich, raw, and appealing that we were already ready for more on the second track. Their sound is united, harmonious and seamless as much as it is layered, with hints of alternative, country, and folk in a rock setting. Also, we are very happy to report that the LA-based band’s sound is as polished in the live venue as it is in studio. - BeatCrave Fav
I had a 90s alternative rock dream, filled with the kind of music best punctuated by the rhythmic passing of streetlights on some interstate in the middle of nowhere. But then I woke up. Turns out? I was at The National Underground on Friday night, seeing A House for Lions…
All nostalgia aside, this is a band that has figured out how to craft a song, entirely in the present tense. The writing is simple, but evocative and intelligent. Mike Nissen’s guitar work is smart and versatile — warm where it needs to be, piercing through the texture where it needs to, calling up country and bluegrass on one track and settling into alt-rock reverb on the next. And on just about every track, my ear jumps at an inescapable comparison to Mark Knopfler. It’s these subtleties of tone that allow them to take their sound into a lot of different territories — so far they seem to be charting all of them with ease. - Loudersoft
So alluring and incredibly heartfelt. Lead singer-songwriter Daniel Norman swoons with his comforting voice, drawing in listeners to feel the honesty through his endearing lyrical content. Can’t help but keep my head swaying. Too good. - BBQCHICKENROBOT
A House For Lions provides an animated live show, drawing influences from soul, folk, and indie rock with each song sounding completely unique from that which came before. Their debut EP I Want Us To Be Remembered is certainly memorable… - Make The Girls Dance