My next add is another artist that I’ve actually been a big fan of for quite a while now, and am now lucky enough to call a Band Mom band for the first time this year! 2012 is a big year for that sort of thing, I guess! I first heard Harlan (the largely one-man project of John Harlan Norris) when I was a college radio music director myself, back in 2007 when his first album The Still Beat was hitting the airwaves. And here we are full circle, and I get to be the one to introduce this glorious new record to a whole new crop of radio heads! YES!
I was 100% sure Harlan was a Scandanavian band, for some reason, until this year when I learned that the guy is a Southerner: he’s from Kentucky, the band began in Baton Rouge, and now it’s comprised of two guys who live in Arkansas and New Orleans. Imagine my surprise! But maybe that’ll tell you something about the impression these jams give off: I’d say this album would be completely at home in your snacks snuggled right between The Radio Dept and Jens Lekman. Read on for more!!
Still Beat Recordings
Harlan began as a solo recording project by founder John Harlan Norris in 2005. While attending graduate school at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Norris conceived of a recording project that would coexist with a body of paintings for his Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition. The resulting album, recorded entirely by Norris himself, was called The Still Beat, and it quickly caught the ears of several local musicians who soon formed into the band Harlan. The Still Beat received national distribution in 2007. Usatoday.com called it “really smart pop from Baton Rouge, Louisiana; classic songs mixed with moments of weirdness and overall a killer.” Harlan’s second album, Spiderette, was released in 2008 and was described by music critic Alex V. Cook (Paste, Wire, Oxford American) as “a mature, confident album filled with wonder.”
Harlan’s latest album, Night Loop, began as a series of electronic improvisations that were eventually formed into completed songs through an exploratory process combining vintage analog synths and drum machines, natural instrumentation, and loop-based production. The result is an album that moves Harlan into new sonic territory, exhibiting a wide array of influences ranging from Kraftwerk and Brian Eno to The Go-Betweens and The Clean. The album, produced by Harlan, was recorded largely in New Orleans and Arkansas throughout a two-year period. Night Loop was mixed by Ray Ketchem (of the band Elk City) and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music.
Thematically, Night Loop observes the sense of groundlessness that can arise during the unwieldy transition from youth to adulthood. Whether the result of perpetual roaming (the southern travelogue of “Mirrorland”), the unease to be found in domesticity (“Death in the Living Room”), or the mercurial nature of love (“Sending Your Positions”, “Catherine O’Hara”), Night Loop embraces a sense of mystery and stares deeply into the unanswerable question of where do we go once we’re supposed to have arrived.
RIYL: The National, Echo & the Bunnymen, Jens Lekman, Elk City, The Radio Dept
Start With: 3, 5, 2, 4 Track 2 says “bitch” but otherwise FCC CLEAN
Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!