As someone who actively seeks out new bands on a regular basis and averages about 2-3 shows a week, it’s always REAL REFRESHING to stumble upon new musical treasure when you LEAST EXPECT IT. That was the experience I had last Thursday when I walked into the Rickshaw Stop with zero knowledge and zero expectations on the scheduled acts, only to walk out ON CLOUD NINE from discovering what would be my TWO TOP PICKS of NoisePop: Day Wave and Harriet. <3 🙂
Harriet is a band that difficult to describe with one genre, for they continually transition from rock to pop to electronic to jazz, tempting us with tasty teasers from each. Their debut album — American Appetite, released on Jan 29th by Harvest Records and produced by Sean O-Brian (The National)– is a magical menagerie of many different music styles, and I can’t help but draw parallels to a whole slew of bands: Dutch Uncles, Radio Dept., MGMT, Wolf Gang, Geographer, LCD Soundsystem, Passion Pit, Local Natives, Broken Bells, and Dirty Projectors (mostly Mark Longstreth). Formed in LA in 2011 by Alex Casnoff (former keyboard player for Dawes and Papa), Harriet consists of Patrick Kelly (bass), Henry Kwapis (drums), Matt Blitzer (guitar) and Casnoff (keys). Casnoff’s falsetto vocals are reminiscent of Wes Miles (Ra Ra Riot) and Mike Deni (Geographer), and even Matt Bellamy (Muse).
Showcasing the band’s eclectic influences and constant creativity, American Appetite serves up a smorgasbord of rotating themes, tones, and mood, keeping us on our toes from the beginning to end. It’s obvious that this album cultivated creative challenges in favor of crushing complacency, a devout mindset that Casnoff practices in his daily life and hopes everyone else will to: “My wish for myself and all of my very talented friends, is to never stop scaring ourselves. I think we can handle more than the leap we’ve taken. Complacency is the same as dying. Let’s push ourselves, let’s inspire each other. I want us all to be brave enough to be terrible, and comfortable with the fact that we will always be in “process.” Product is something that’s dead already. Push.” AMEN.
The more I listen to American Appetite, the more I want to be back on that platform at The Rickshaw basking in these beats straight from the source. Harriet had definitely built up our appetite and now we are HUNGRY FOR MORE. Come back soon.. PLEASE!
(more show details and videos below)
You know it’s a CATCHY SONG when you’ve never heard it before in your life but yet find yourself CRYING OUT the chorus like a crazy person. Yup, that was me that night with their soon-to-be chart-topper, Inheritance: “So you wanna save my soul?… what do you know? Cause I will take it slow… I ain’t gonna be the one to change.” Damn straight.
Having recently released a video for this one a few months ago, Burbank is quickly gaining high visibility and becoming an hard-fast hit. It’s undeniably sexy and seductive, and the racy lyrics that coincide with the alluring guitar chords, slow base, and simple drum beat only add to the seduction. Harriet was surely aiming for an arousal with this one… 😉
A song that I WISH I would have caught on video is Ten Steps, which deserves TEN THUMBS UP and was ringing in my ears all night: “Ringing in my ears as I’m coming in closer, I just hope my heart don’t stop. Ten steps but it feels like am crossing an ocean, One wave and I’m on the rocks. ” It reminds me of a mix between Ra Ra Riot’ Beta Love and Passion Pit’s Make Light/Little Secrets/The Reeling, carefully distilling the best of both bands’ elements (e.g. unique sampling, distortion of guitar and keyboard, falsetto vocals, unusual lyrics) into an intoxicating blend of %100 pure BLISS. (insert goofy grin face)
Inheritance and Irish Margaritas serve up that same sampling of compelling hooks and catchy melodies, and you would have needed to be PASSED OUT on the floor to not be shaking your hips and bobbing your head to these tracks. Irish Margaritas triggered flashbacks to the 2010 Austin City Limit music festival when I first discovered LCD Soundsystem (and so thankful for it): “These Irish margaritas bring me right back to the start… And I’d say, One more drink and I might tell you all my secrets… And I’m pretty good at keeping them alive …(YES)… I could take you higher… But I can’t take you home… You’re a tough desire… You may be all I needed but it’s not like we’re alone.“
Bring Me When You Go is also a fun one, and upon first listen had me thinking Wolf Gang meets Geographer meets Local Natives (all band I LOVE). The tempo drops a bit with Up Against It, but that doesn’t mean your interest will drop with it. The simple strums of the guitar and Casnoff’s persistent, penetrating plea (“You won’t bring me down…”) had elements of Radiohead, Muse, and even The Beatles, as did This Time I Was Right (a true masterpiece of melodies). SO GOOD. I’m ready for more. <3
Link on my personal music blog: