Ears Wide Open: Hello Stranger

Hello Stranger (Photo by Sofia Felguerez)

First, some delineation: The currently active rock band who appropriated the name Hello Stranger have no relation to the L.A. dance-rock outfit Hello Stranger, who were masterminded by singer-songwriter Juliette Commagere and her now-husband Joachim Cooder, who released a self-titled album in 2006 and who went on to tour with people like Kings of Leon.

This Hello Stranger, formed in 2015, combines the talents of singer-guitarist Sam Deffenbaugh, Alex Monfort, Doug Slohm and Dillon Yoder.

Authors of two full-lengths, “Long Division” (2018) and “Social Dissonance” (2020), they’re a riff-loving bunch, checking somewhere in between KROQ 1996 and KLOS whenever. They don’t color outside the alt-rock lines very much, but they direct their bombast at some worthy targets.

In the case of their meat-’n’-potatoes new single “True Belief” — released Friday as the title track to a new EP they will release Aug. 26 — it’s performative rebellion. “The abyss is staring back at us,” Deffenbaugh sings, lamenting a marketplace full of “false prophets.”

“I was inspired after seeing Che Guevara shirts for sale at popular, conservative retailers,” he says of the song. “It’s infuriating to see historical figures and artists decontextualized – from Joe Strummer to MLK Jr.”

If you banged heads back in the day, maybe Hello Stranger has some moves for you.

||| Stream: “True Belief”

||| Also: Stream 2021’s “Social Dissonance”