The Hero Cycle

The Hero Cycle“The Hero Cycle are one of those rare bands that has the ability to mesh brilliant instrumentation, artistic lyrics, and great guitar indie pop melodies.” –  Your Standard Life

With seven band members feeding into the mix The Hero Cycle create a joyously large, textured sound coupled with complex arrangements to produce a feel that is at once spontaneous and measured. The band possess that magic combination of sound and song, pooling all the ingredients of shoegaze rock and indie pop and distilling them into undeniably catchy and driving tunes.      


Lakes & Ponds

January 2007

From the exultant indie rock joyride of “Breathing In” to the bursting pop immediacy of “Lovers Crime”, “Lakes and Ponds” grabs you by the hand, tickles your palm and propels you into it’s spacious and twisting trajectory. The EP manages that perfect balance between viscera and brains where pop hooks and songcraft walk hand in hand with a big layered sound.


The Hero Cycle started in the Green Mountains of Vermont in 2005, combining the varied talents of drummer John Gorman, synthist Tom Kelly, and guitarists Mike Prall and Frank Smecker (ex-Drowningman and ex-Escapist). Soon after, the band quickly grew, including fellow Burlington residents Hannah Wall (Magogs) on keyboards, Shawn Flanagan (Fire the Cannons and ex-Starlight Conspiracy) on bass, and third guitarist Adam Fuller (The Year’s Best). Thus, The Hero Cycle’s unique sound has been shaped by the eclectic mix of energy brought forth by each individual member.

The band’s sound remains solid, despite the unique influences of the many members, and hopes to continue a successful trend of interesting and powerful performances as well as recordings. Bringing years of musical experience to the table, the project acts as a creative haven for everyone involved. The music demands attention. Overall, The Hero Cycle shares their musical tastes and influences of the 80′s to current day and emotional attachments to vice and pleasure with a hopeful ever evoloving crowd of music-lovers.

Frank Smecker – Guitar, Vocals
John Gorman – Drums
Mike Prall – Guitar
Adam Fuller – Guitar
Hannah Wall – Synth, Vocals
Tom Kelly – Synth, Vocals
Charlie Gerry – Bass
Kristen L’Esperance – Art


  • Hidden Shoal in Textura’s Ten Favourite Labels of 2018 List!

    Hidden ShoalHidden Shoal is incredibly honoured to have been selected as one of Textura’s Ten Favourite Labels of 2018. Textura is, in our opinion, the premiere new music magazine and favourite of the label team for unearthing and exposing new and exciting new music. This is the second time Hidden Shoal has been selected in Textura’s best labels list and as always we are nestled against some other very special labels, all of who you should check out.

    Now for a very brief and unnecessary acceptance speech – we are nothing without our incredible roster of artists, who continually amaze, inspire and surprise us. Thank you all!



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  • Eat Your Friends: A Hidden Shoal 10th Anniversary Compilation

    Eat Your FriendsHidden Shoal is excited to end the celebration of its 10th year of existence with the new compilation album Eat Your Friends, comprising remixes and covers of Hidden Shoal artists, by Hidden Shoal artists. This freely downloadable album not only showcases the wealth of original music released through Hidden Shoal, but also the creative ingenuity and deft musical touch of the remixers and cover artists.

    From searing solar-flared adaptations to delicately reconstructed covers, deep space jam reworkings, and shimmering ambient tapestries, Eat Your Friends reimagines the Hidden Shoal discography in new and beautiful ways, playing to all the strengths of the roster’s dizzying array of talent.

    Includes remixes and covers by: Antonymes, Arc Lab, Glanko, Wayne Harriss, Liminal Drifter, Makee, Chloe March, Markus Mehr, Erik Nilsson, REW<<, Slow Dancing Society, Tin Manzano, Willem Gator, and Zealous Chang  of music by: Arc Lab, Brother Earth, Cheekbone, City of Satellites, Medard Fischer, Gilded, Glanko & Daniel Bailey, Kryshe, Memorybell, Erik Nilsson, perth, Slow Dancing Society, Tangled Star, Umpire, and Zealous Chang.

    Eat Your Friends is available now as a free download via Bandcamp and is also streamable via SoundCloud. Listen and then throw yourself into the wormhole as you explore the originals and more work by the remixers and cover artists.  For all the filmmakers, games designers and others in need of engaging music, don’t forget that all tracks in our catalogue are available for licensing (film, tv, games, compilations etc).

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  • Hidden Shoal is 10!

    Hidden ShoalHidden Shoal is extremely excited to be celebrating its 10th birthday this month. It’s hard to believe that back in May 2006, Perth-based musicians Cam Merton, Stuart Medley and Malcolm Riddoch began Hidden Shoal Recordings as a means to put out releases by local artists. Tim Clarke, based in Melbourne, joined the team in 2007. Hidden Shoal has since gone on to become a much-loved independent label and publisher, releasing over 120 albums from a diverse range of international artists and licensing music from its catalogue across film, tv, web and compilation.

    Stay tuned for special anniversary announcements in the coming months!

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  • Hidden Shoal Turns Six!

    Throughout the month of May 2012, Hidden Shoal Recordings is celebrating its sixth birthday. Later in the month will be the release of the latest free sampler album, Triangulating Nature, which compiles 12 singles released over the last 12 months. Other delicious surprises will be revealed in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more info.

    Since starting up in Perth, Western Australia in 2006, Hidden Shoal has developed an enviable roster of genre-defying global and local recording artists. With 40+ acts from 10+ different countries, ranging from British ambient artist Antonymes through to American musical experimentalist Todd Tobias and beyond, the committed team at Hidden Shoal continues to play an integral role in promoting exciting new independent music.

    Come join us and keep an eye on the Hidden Shoal Store for lots of cool special birthday deals!

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  • 2007: Onward, Upward, Outward

    As part of our 5th birthday celebrations, during the month of May we’ll be looking back at the history of Hidden Shoal, year by year, casting some light on artists and releases that may have been overlooked. For one week, all releases covered below will be available from the Hidden Shoal Store with a 40% discount. Flavoursome!

    In 2007, Hidden Shoal pushed onward with a ridiculously full release schedule and tons of new signings. The label continued its expansion internationally with 2007 seeing releases from a diverse and beautiful spectrum of artists based in Germany (Sankt Otten and Jumpel), France (Beautiful Lunar Landscape), the US (Slow Dancing Society, The Hero Cycle, Iretsu, Wes Willenbring, Monocle), Belgium (Colour Kane) and Japan (Cheekbone, The Retail Sectors).

    Locally, 2007 saw releases from ambient duo Moongoat, a new album from Chris Mason and an EP under his My Majestic Star moniker, plus an EP from Melbourne instrumental quartet Bury The Sound (with HSR’s Tim Clarke on guitar).

    In May 2007 we were proud to celebrate our first birthday with the release of the second volume in our free download compilation series, The Garden of Forking Paths. And if that wasn’t enough, we saw out the end of the year with the release of a third compilation, Limit of Maps, rounding up tracks from the second half of 2007 and also featuring a sneak preview of a few 2008 releases, too.

    However, perhaps the crowning achievement of a busy year was being named one of Textura’s 10 favourite labels of 2007. The feeling’s mutual – Textura is easily one of our favourite music sites. To be just one year in and be acknowledged like that felt like quite an honour.

    HSR013:   Moongoat Moongoat EP
    HSR014:   My Majestic Star Fining EP
    HSR015:   Sankt Otten Wir Koennen Ja Freunde Bleiben
    HSR016:   The Hero Cycle Lakes and Ponds EP
    HSR017:   Colour Kane A Taste Of
    HSR018:   Wes Willenbring Somewhere Someone Else
    HSR019:   Various artists The Garden of Forking Paths
    HSR020:   Bury The Sound Autumn Magnets EP
    HSR021:   Chris Mason Restless
    HSR022:   Jumpel Samuel Jason Lies on the Beach
    HSR023:   Cheekbone Yesterday EP
    HSR024:   Beautiful Lunar Landscape Alone in this Dark Romantic Night EP
    HSR025:   Iretsu The Moon and Stars Remain in the Morning Sky
    HSR026:   Slow Dancing Society The Slow and Steady Winter
    HSR027:   Monocle Outer Sunset
    HSR028:   The Retail Sectors Foregone Conclusion
    HSR029:   Sankt Otten Wunder Gibt Es Immer Wieder
    HSR030:   Various artists Limit of Maps

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  • Hidden Shoal Label Feature at Breakthru Radio

    Check out the latest edition of the wonderful Inside The Label show at New York’s awesome Breakthru Radio (home of the mighty DJ Mojo!). The show features an hour of tracks selected from across the Hidden Shoal catalogue. Lurvly!

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  • Hidden Shoal Free Label Sampler Volume 5

    Hidden Shoal Recordings is pleased to announce the official release of compilation album Crushed and Reminded, the fifth installment in its free sampler album series. Whilst the keen eyed amongst you may have already noted that this has has been available for a few weeks now, we thought we’d allow some breathing space before making the official announcement (busy month!!!)

    Crushed and Reminded takes the listener on a multi-dimensional sonic rollercoaster ride, showcasing tracks from recent 2009 HSR releases. Moving from bitcrushed remixes through cinematic instrumental rock to deliciously mellow ambient electronica, Crushed and Reminded shines a new light across the breadth and depth of the Hidden Shoal landscape.

    It includes stunning songs from 11 Hidden Shoal artists and bands: The Caribbean, HC-B, Sankt Otten, Hotels, Down Review, Tangled Star, Apricot Rail, Tarcutta, Sleeping Me, Elisa Luu and Jumpel. Dip in, then explore each artist’s album and EP releases to experience their full splendour.

    “a gripping, adventurous and touching journey across their catalogue of ambient, shoegaze, post-rock and indie-rock releases. The perfect introduction for the artists and bands, or alternatively, the perfect sampler for those who cannot decide which of these fantastic bands to pay attention to at the moment” – Post Rock Community review of Limit of Maps, volume 3 in the free sampler album series.

    Crushed and Reminded is available for free download from the Hidden Shoal Store, along with volumes 1 to 4.

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  • Hidden Shoal Turns Three!

    Hidden Shoal is proud to announce its 3rd-birthday celebrations! With a roster of 30+ acts from 8 different countries – ranging from the epic ambient-rock cinematics of Italy’s HC-B through to the genius space-pop of one of Seattle’s bright lights, Hotels –Hidden Shoal has earned a special place in the new musical landscape.

    “Finding Hidden Shoal Recordings could rightly claim to be in the top 10 best things that ever happened to me, such is the quality and diversity of their roster”– Boring Machine Disturbs Sleep

    “they continually showcase new, innovative artists to the masses” —The Silent Ballet

    “This generation’s 4AD” New York radio host and promoter DJ Mojo

    The label will host a birthday bash at the Velvet Lounge in Mt Lawley, Perth on the 13th of May. Special guest DJs will be spinning sets curated from the Hidden Shoal catalogue, including previews of some exciting upcoming releases. There will be giveaways, CDs available, and a bevy of local HSR artists to touch! The evening will also feature a special performance by the wonderful pairing of Tristen Parr (Fall Electric, Schvendes) and Stina Thomas (Fall Electric, Stina).

    During May the label will be running a number of promotions, including CD giveaways and HSR Store vouchers, as well as in conjunction with a number of other music sites and radio stations. Mailing list subscribers will be in for an extra special range of treats so be sure to sign up and get ready for the goods. All details will be revealed during the month, so stay tuned!

    Read a full press release here.

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  • Hidden Shoal's 4th Free Label Sampler Album Released

    Hidden Shoal Recordings today announced the release of East-West Section, the fourth volume in the label’s free sampler album series, compiling tracks from recently released albums and EPs.

    East-West Section is like a knife with ears – an audible slice through Hidden Shoal’s 2008 releases. But no blood! We’ve stitched these killer tracks into a brand new tapestry… From the delicate ambient murmur of RL/VL to the avant-pop mastery of Iretsu; the lush lounge-jazz of Rich Bennett to the sublime ambient rock of City Of Satellites; the charming electro-pop of Ghost In The Water to the addictive indie-rock of Fall Electric and The Slow Beings; and acclaimed Hidden Shoal mainstays My Majestic Star, Sankt Otten and Slow Dancing Society. This is an irresistible showcase of the breadth and depth of the Hidden Shoal catalogue.

    “Hidden Shoal Recordings is on a mission. The Australian label is busy enhancing minds, widening musical consciousness, opening ears, and taking us beyond the sometimes all too comfortably familiar” – Blogcritics

    “a gripping, adventurous and touching journey across their catalogue of ambient, shoegaze, post-rock and indie-rock releases. The perfect introduction for the artists and bands, or alternatively, the perfect sampler for those who cannot decide which of these fantastic bands to pay attention to at the moment” – Post Rock Community review of Limit Of Maps, volume 3 in the free sampler album series

    East-West Section is now available for free digital download from the HSR Store. Read a full press release here.

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  • The 2008 Hidden Shoal Xmas Party – It's Almost Time!

    xmas-party.jpgYes folks it’s almost time for the 2008 Hidden Shoal Christmas Party, presented by wonderful team at Aperture. The event will be held on Friday 19th December at the Bakery in Perth and features a stunning line-up of bands: Enargeia, My Majestic Star, The Slow Beings, Fall Electric, Apricot Rail and Toby Richardson and The Surround Sound. The night will also include artwork by visual artists Nicola Kaye, Stephen Terry, Uriah Mathews, James Stillitoe, Sam Landels and Stuart Medley, video greetings from our international artists, and delicious selections from the Hidden Shoal catalogue played throughout the night.

    We can also announce a very special closing set from experimental electronic acousmatitians Enargeia. The duo will perform “Hidden Shoal Redux”, a Stockhausen inspired Hymnen to the HSR sound using their colleagues own recordings as source material for an exploration in sonic chaos.

    The party is also the celebration of the release of the new volume in our free sampler album series, East-West Section, which will be available for free download on the night. To anyone attending, bring along your thumb drive or USB stick to be the first to download the album! East-West Section will then be available through the HSR Store.

    This event will be suitably HUGE! Be there or become the rhomboid you always feared you might.

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – Your Standard Life

    Excerpt: “Just in case you missed it, one of the best EPs and hidden gems heard at Your Standard Life in a while, was the release Lakes and Ponds by Vermont’s music collective The Hero Cycle… The band is America’s version of Broken Social Scene (and are that good!). The Hero Cycle is one of those rare bands that has the ability to mesh brilliant instrumentation, artistic lyrics, and great guitar indie pop melodies. The single ‘Breathing In’ was one of the coolest singles of 2007 and the rest of the EP is killer… To The Hero Cycle: please release a full length…cause we love you”

    Your Standard Life 

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – Erasing Clouds

    “The Hero Cycle’s Lakes and Ponds EP is a five-song release influenced by the likes of Sonic Youth and Modest Mouse. ‘American Proxy’ and ‘You vs. Them’ are the two strongest tracks. When a band releases an EP they need to make sure that there is no filler because they have only a handful of songs to impress the listener. The Hero Cycle has definitely placed their best material on Lakes and Ponds and this listener is impressed. Also, my indie-rock hating co-workers liked this album and they had little if any complaints about The Hero Cycle’s music.”

    Erasing Clouds 

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – Burlington Free Press

    “This is one of the nicer breezes to blow across the Burlington indie-rock scene this year. The tunes on this five-song mini-album have a poppy yet forceful aggression that hooks you from the start. Lakes and Ponds pulls influences out of the 1980s post-punk scene, echoing The Chameleons with the wall of chiming guitars or Sonic Youth with the tangled feedback combed out. It’s a sweet 25-minute drive.”

    Burlington Free Press 

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  • The Hero Cycle live review, 11 May at Mr Beery’s – The Battering Room

    Excerpt: “Was all sorts of pumped up for their set after listening to their EP on repeat… The road may have been rough on these guys, but the experience seems to have paid off, because they sounded like veterans. I was expecting some Broken Social Scene groovyness and that’s exactly what I got. From all seven of them. Not since The Most Serene Republic have I encountered a band that has taken cues from BSS so well. The band played every song off of the Lakes and Ponds EP (front runner for EP of the year) and a couple new ones that fit in seamlessly with the old. The dual keys blending together with multi-vocal interplay and some sharp as a pinpoint riffs from the lead kept all in attendance transfixed.”

    The Battering Room

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – On Tap Magazine

    “Vermont’s The Hero Cycle, a coagulation of assorted members of the eclectic Burlington scene, are a talented, energetic group. Huge, sweeping guitars mix with clever synth lines; big drums skillfully, often playfully, punctuate the elongated, epic riffs; the bass gives weight to every turn in musical direction; and the vocalists — there are three credited — are well above average for today’s indie music scene. Lakes and Ponds embraces everything from the cinematic quality of bands like Explosions in the Sky to the pop narratives of the 1980s, all without straining to coordinate the varying influences. For a debut EP, this is extremely impressive.”

    On Tap Magazine

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  • The Hero Cycle – Feature Article in Northeast Performer

    Excerpt – “The Hero Cycle is a small-town band with big aspirations – especially if one considers Burlington, Vermont a small town and believes that recognition, airplay and other perks are a lot to ask for in the independent music realm, particularly for a young band. Yet, The Hero Cycle has perhaps achieved more and propelled their imaginative blend of music further than many of their contemporaries purely through their ambitious, driven mindset.”

    Northeast Performer

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – Boring Machines Disturb Sleep

    Excerpt – “There’s a touch of Arcade Fire, a dollop of Broken Social Scene, while some of the tracks are peppered with experimental guitar work, reminiscent of Sonic Youth…….The Hero Cycle, however, have a knack of bringing their own unqiue burst of energy to the table, proving they have a superb handle of euphoric indie-rock theatrics.”

    Boring Machines Disturb Sleep

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – Avoid Peril

    Excerpt – “The liner notes seem to say it all: “Bravely written and delicately recorded by The Hero Cycle.” Bravely written indeed; this gang of seven doesn’t just hint at obvious influences like Built to Spill and Broken Social Scene, but beats what makes those bands great to a pulp and mashes it together into a sound that’s just as nostalgic as it is punchy and innovative. And as for delicately recorded, the production here is certainly astounding, allowing every song to flesh out while remaining crisp and focused, keeping every track sounding polished without sounding unctuous……a collection of undeniably catchy songs about as urgent and energetic as they are melodic and melancholy.”

    Avoid Peril

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – Seven Days

    Excerpt – “Opener “Breathing In” sets the tone for the rest of the record, with pinprick guitars and gauzy vocals that share an attractively muted quality. It’s a close cousin to shoegaze, the dreamily melodic genre that captivated indie fans in the ’90s. The main difference is velocity: THC skip along with a punky energy that’s missing in the haze-happy acts of yore………..“Lovers Crime” brings the keyboards to the forefront without sacrificing the six-string thrust. Wall’s voice floats airily above the instrumentation in a lovely, if disaffected, way before Smecker takes over for the bridge…….My favorite cut on the disc is the closing number, “You vs. Them.” While still somewhat derivative, it’s got a romantic quality that sounds gloriously bona fide. There’s also a really cool lead guitar part that shows the band is capable of more than just shuddering strums and cascading octaves.”

    Seven Days

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  • The Hero Cycle “Lakes and Ponds” – It’s Not The Band I Hate, It’s Their Fans

    “The most exciting release I’ve heard in a long while is the debut EP by Burlington, Vermont’s The Hero Cycle. I cannot say enough good things about their sound. They feel like an amalgamation of all of my favourite bands: Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, Built To Spill, Stars, etc……. The first track, “Breathing In”, is explosive and contagious. You will feel compelled to hit repeat as soon as it’s done, but I suggest you suppress that urge for now because the next song “Lover’s Crime” is just as infectious. The final track, “You Vs Them” is completely epic in proportion. Masterpiece….With the right promotion they are going to be the next big thing and you’ll definitely want to jump on this one nice and early.”

    It’s Not The Band I Hate, It’s Their Fans

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The Hero Cycle’s music is  available for licensing (master & sync cleared) through Hidden Shoal. Please contact us with some basic details about your project and the track(s) you wish to use and we’ll be sure to get back to you straight away.