After several releases in a row this year where I was promoting albums to genre charts (Electronic or Folk) alongside the general Top 200 panel, I’ve finally got one that’s just solidly in my more rock-forward usual wheelhouse. I actually first met Sam Russell through fellow Band Mom artist Tekla Waterfield, back when Tek and I were living together as housemates. It’s a very sweet lil Band Mom family reunion going on here this fall!! A lot of Sam’s music falls into the kind of poetic hard-livin’ jams you might expect from The Hold Steady or Bruce Springsteen, but you can also hear some definite 90s-rock influences a la Pavement and Built to Spill, and even some cool doo-wop vibes spilling over into the mix. I’m excited for you to hear it!

There are a bunch of swears on the retail version of this album, but don’t worry – Sam graciously had some very pro-sounding radio edits done, to which I listened several times to make sure nothing was missed, and that’s the version (100% clean) that’s included in my download link. (Yes, even the clean version does have a track called “Orgy Dorm”, but it’s actually not dirty or explicit at all, unless you simply can’t say the word “orgy” on the air at your station lol.) Actually BOTH versions (clean and FCC dirty) were included in the CDs that got mailed out – radio edits on the disc in front, but then open up the package a lil more and there’s the regular disc with swears hidden behind it (the clean one is clearly marked). An absolute wealth of content! This is some great stuff, and I’m so happy to finally get to work with this longtime pal!



KMV London

For 15 years, Sam Russell & the Harborrats have quietly transformed into a Seattle institution, fusing together Americana roots music, vintage doo-wop and classic PNW indie into a “rock n’ roll cabaret” presentation to celebrate the form’s majesty along with its direct honesty in equal breaths of theatrical display. They return now with Ocean Shores, their first full-length album in 9 years.

Started before and completed during lockdown of 2020, Ocean Shores presents itself as a handbook for getting through crises and panic while still being present in the world at large. Largely inspired by and written as a conversational response to Loose Wing’s self-titled 2018 album (written by Claire Tucker), Ocean Shores also serves as a homage to Sam’s 90s indie-rock influences of Pavement, Guided by Voices & early Wilco with sprinkles of 70s AM Gold and 60s British Invasion while marking a new era of the band exploring musical spaces for new revelations come.

Sam was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin as the son of a preacher man, growing up listening primarily to Christian Rock & oldies radio. The latter exposed Sam to his initial diverse influences of Roy Orbison, Motown, 60s garage-rock & Memphis soul. From 2006 to 2012, Sam released 6 albums collectively known as The Blue Moon Bible, which offered a wide stylistic range of material and an even larger rotating cast of musicians known as The Harborrats.

Recording for Ocean Shores was completed just before lockdown of March 2020 and the album was mixed the following summer and spring. The song “The Kenosha Kid” (written about the Rodney King beating and the LA Riots from a naïve white suburban adolescence’s POV) took on excruciating new resonance in August of 2020 as Sam’s hometown was on fire in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. As a response to this tragic yet all-too common incident, as well as the first half of 2020 and the prior four years of political nightmares, Sam wrote a spoken-word piece for each of the songs on Ocean Shores and recorded each as a free-verse recitation over each corresponding song’s backing track. The spoken-word pieces comprise “The Kenosha Kid” album, available only as a bonus disc with the Ocean Shores retail version of the CD.  

In August 2021, a final bonus track was recorded for the album, “Apocalypse (Turn to the Moon)” a reimagining of The Foghorns’ “Apocalypse (for Alan Wilson)” and sung as a duet with Ocean Shores’ main source of inspiration, Claire Tucker, and serving as a new epilogue to the album.

Sam & the Harborrats will celebrate the release of Ocean Shores at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle on 10/27/21 and will tour through late 2021-2022 at venues practicing vaccination & mask requirements.

RIYL: Wolf Parade, The Hold Steady, Guided By Voices, Built to Spill, Pavement, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, The Replacements

Start With: 12, 10, 2, 5

FCC CLEAN (download version/disc for radio is 100% CLEAN EDITS)

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!

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