Hailing from Minnesota, Marcellus Hall arrived in New York in the 1990s to form Railroad Jerk, an industrial grunge-folk band whose four LPs on Matador Records helped define the era.
With trademark absurdist, yet poignant, lyrics, Hall went on to form (with drummer Dave Varenka) White Hassle, a duo with guitar, harmonica, and drums that pre-dated the White Stripes and the Black Keys. Releasing albums on Orange Recordings (U.S.), Fargo Records (France) and Mazri (Japan) – as well as touring Europe – White Hassle incorporated a thereminist, a second guitarist and a DJ at its live shows before disbanding in 2006.
Hall then embarked on a solo incarnation that enlisted the talents of Damon Smith on bass, Matt Martin on keyboard, and Jimmy Ansourian on drums. The quartet (aka Marcellus Hall & The Hostages) played shows in and around New York while recording songs for what would eventually become The First Line LP on Glacial Pace Recordings. Mike Shapiro replaced Jimmy Ansourian in 2010 and the band continues to write and record.
Simultaneously Hall pursues a career as an illustrator, racking up a list of clients that includes The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The New York Times. He has also begun illustrating children’s books. A 44-page book of Hall’s art accompanies the new LP on Glacial Pace Recordings.