Editor’s Pick: Hip Hatchet’s New Album Release & Concert Saturday

Hip Hatchet's Joy and Better Days cover art.

Adding to the list of Middlebury’s post-grad music success stories, Philippe Bronchtein ’10 just released his new album, Joy and Better Days today.

And even better than his hearty indie-folk sound, artful guitar and banjo, and lyrics of gold? This Saturday, he’s returning to Midd, performing at the Grille Saturday at 8:30pm.

Under his folk project, Hip Hatchet, he’s created what the Idlest heralds as: “the ideal soundtrack to that experience [of many 20-somethings, who after spending ‘years in bucolic Vermont and are currently wandering one of America’s concrete jungles romanticizing their experience living the simpler life in the country.’]”

The Idlest continues:

 Bronchtein possess a deep, full, and affected storyteller voice; a talent for writing both accessible and brooding true folk songs; and perhaps most importantly, a vast knowledge of and dedication to production. These elements together give Hip Hatchet a sound unique to the current indie-folk scene, that of an artist equally dedicated to his whiskey and his musicianship.

You can stream and/or download Joy and Better Days here. I’d highly recommend American Charm, Sing Me a Reprise, Misdirected Man, and Second Pair of Hands — and let’s be honest — every track on this record. Listening to this album is like instantly transporting to a cozy evening in the Gamut room with good friends, great conversation, a Woodchuck (or whiskey), and maybe even an occasional old lover thrown somewhere in there. It’s hearty, skilled, and soulful.

Heralded as “folk music at its best” on twitter by we listen for you, what is perhaps most impressive of Bronchtein’s repertoire is that while he is clearly an insanely impressive folk-indie singer, he’s well-versed in other musical forms as well. Check out this video we found of a 2009 electronic performance with Music Professor Peter Hamlin:

And the band name? In a December 2011 Campus interview upon the release of his EP, Scarecrow, he explained Hip Hatchet was not in fact a very stylish hatchet, but a “Hatchet worn on the hip. That [name] was a danger. But I think alliteration justifies pretty much anything.”

Sounds like a rockin’ Middkid through and through. This is a show you will not want to miss!