Category Archives: Catching up with

Catching up with Brian Harnetty

If I were to scribble my own Overlooked in Ohio piece, Brian Harnetty would likely be my artist of choice. I’ve written about Columbus’s gentle giant quite a few times, and I began wondering what Harnetty has been up to lately. Turns out, quite a bit.

Like he did for his collaboration with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Silent City, and his previous full-length, American Winter, Harnetty continues his excavation of the Berea College Appalachian Sound Archives in Kentucky, finding old folk songs, interviews and other odds & ends from Appalachia and layering the found sounds with his own instrumentation. His new album will be called Rawhead & Bloodybones, and it’s a collection of old archival folk tales as told by children. “The combination of the children’s innocence and the often gruesome tales is a pretty powerful combination already. I added some instrumental parts, and other samples,” Harnetty says. This one will be out in late winter/early spring of next year — on vinyl this time, too.

Harnetty also has a sound installation that will open Nov. 12 at a sound art gallery called the Audible Gallery, which is part of the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. The installation is based on the archives of enigmatic jazz musician Sun Ra. (He’s hopeful that this, too, may become an album, pending permission from the Sun Ra archives trustees.) Full description of the installation below. I particularly like this excerpt from Harnetty: “I am not a jazz musician. I cannot lay claim to Sun Ra’s history, nor can I ever fully understand him or his music. But I can listen, intently, and enter a dialogue, bringing my own knowledge and thought and experience.”
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Catching up with: Titles


mp3: Titles – Fully Dressed In Bed

Last summer I happened to catch a really weird show at Bernie’s. I can’t remember why I ventured out, but there was a really bad emo band called E for Explosion, which cut its set short because the PA was making a noise even worse than the band’s music, and then locals TV Eye and Winter Makes Sailors. And for some reason, a band from Connecticut called Titles got stuck with the opening slot that night.

Titles’ indie pop, led by singer Brad Amorosino’s singed-around-the-edges vocals, impressed me enough that I checked out their last record, 2008’s Up with the Sun (Safety Meeting Records, New Haven, CT). And that album impressed me enough that I’ve often wondered what Titles has been up to since. So I asked. Here’s what Mr. Amorosino said:

We’ve been recording our 3rd LP off and on for over a year. All the tracking was done at home, or wherever else we could set up (our practice space, [guitarist Matt Wilson’s] dad’s furniture store, etc.) We tracked maybe 17 songs, and it looks like 11 or 12 will end up on the record, which is called Dirt Bell. The name of the record comes from a book I’m finishing up. It’s a fairy tale called Demon and the Dirt Bell, in which two characters wander a strange planet in search of a mystical bell that, when struck, rings endlessly and turns evil creatures to dust. The record and the book have little in common, except maybe the mood and the artwork.

The record is being mixed by Greg Giorgio [engineered the National’s Boxer] atTarquin Studios in Bridgeport CT and has a late November release date. Safety Meeting Records is putting it out on vinyl. …Overall the record is less sunny than the last. The instrumentation is more layered and the sound is more trashy. The production on Up with the Sun was very clean because the whole thing was tracked at Tarquin. Dirt Bell was tracked at home so it has more grime on it. The tone of the whole thing is maybe more somber or aimless. …Our guitar/steel player Matt moved to Knoxville a few months back, but he tracked everything before he left.

Tentative track list and a couple of random in-the-studio shots after the jump. Continue reading