Hippies (Bonus Track Version) by Harlem on Apple Music

17 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

From Free Drugs to Hippies, the Austin band Harlem seems to be working on a theme. (How about Sexual Revolution for album number three?) This charming trio kicks up a ruckus with a retro feel, but it’s more ‘60s basement party than garage-fest. There’s a lo-fi, lo-tech vibe here, but the band eschews the current trend of oversaturated reverb and high noise levels for something more akin to an earnest, D.I.Y, vintage pop-loving aesthetic. A variety of flavors permeate Hippies: “Torture Me” has a Ramones-on-Top of the Pops vibe; “Pissed” and “Spray Paint” are direct descendants of garage punk; the wistful pop of “Someday Soon” yearns to be played on a transistor radio; “Stripper Sunset” is an undulant, howling guitar grind. Most tracks, like “Be Your Baby” and “Gay Human Bones,” find the band in a shambling, jangly groove that brings to mind 7” singles, summer barbecues and polyester, not to mention serious dance moves. Harlem has a little edge, but it’s just enough to cut the cake into nice, bite-sized pieces.

EDITORS’ NOTES

From Free Drugs to Hippies, the Austin band Harlem seems to be working on a theme. (How about Sexual Revolution for album number three?) This charming trio kicks up a ruckus with a retro feel, but it’s more ‘60s basement party than garage-fest. There’s a lo-fi, lo-tech vibe here, but the band eschews the current trend of oversaturated reverb and high noise levels for something more akin to an earnest, D.I.Y, vintage pop-loving aesthetic. A variety of flavors permeate Hippies: “Torture Me” has a Ramones-on-Top of the Pops vibe; “Pissed” and “Spray Paint” are direct descendants of garage punk; the wistful pop of “Someday Soon” yearns to be played on a transistor radio; “Stripper Sunset” is an undulant, howling guitar grind. Most tracks, like “Be Your Baby” and “Gay Human Bones,” find the band in a shambling, jangly groove that brings to mind 7” singles, summer barbecues and polyester, not to mention serious dance moves. Harlem has a little edge, but it’s just enough to cut the cake into nice, bite-sized pieces.

TITLE TIME
2:39
3:01
2:03
1:31
2:11
3:31
2:52
2:22
1:58
2:33
2:38
2:55
2:08
1:49
2:23
3:37
2:29

About Harlem

Led by two vocalists who alternate between guitarist and drummer roles, indie rock trio Harlem play spirited, rickety garage rock with a heartfelt passion and a knowing smirk. Sharing a mutual admiration for Darby Crash’s troglodyte on-stage antics, Tucson, AZ buddies Curtis O’Mara and Michael Coomers started making purposely sloppy punk music in high school. They performed sets under several names, including Smart Pussy, Coomers Explosion, and Pink Extreme, before graduating and going their separate ways. O’Mara moved to Nashville and Coomers found his way to the Bay Area. Discouraged by the monotony of day jobs, the two picked up again in Nashville and set out to play their way back home. Sleeping on floors and rotating bass players along the way, they eventually landed in Austin, TX, where they were picked to be included on a compilation of local indie hopefuls that was released by Matador Records in January 2010. Soon after Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010 hit store shelves, Matador signed the band and Harlem’s debut, Hippies, was released only three months later. ~ Jason Lymangrover

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