New Band Love: Harper Blynn

The best band discoveries are always the ones that come unexpectedly. You’re sitting in the back at the bar talking to some friends when this band you’ve never even heard of takes the stage. They may not look like much (or they may look bat shit crazy) and you kind of cock your head in mild amusement, surveying the musicians on stage and their particular set up for anything of note.  You’re just about to dismiss them as another one in a loooong line of mediocre bands when they start to play. By the end of the first song, your attention is rapt.  A couple songs in and you note the goosebumps on your arms. Then, before you know it, you’ve gravitated to the front of the room and you’re dancing, swaying, fist pumping, hand clapping, throwing gang signs, or whatever the style of music necessitates. You have this question swimming around your head; “Where has this music been all my life?!?” The excitement is palpable. You might even find yourself at the merch booth before the set is over to make sure that you get a copy of what is soon to be your new favorite CD.

At least…that’s how it happens for me…

Friday night I met up with friends at The Mint. We wanted to see The Damnwells/Alex Denzen, a band from New York City that we had enjoyed for several years. We got there in time to catch one of their openers, another NYC –based band called Harper Blynn. I think it was about two songs into Harper Blynn’s set and we were already discussing the possibility of driving down to San Diego the next day to see them play again. I’m not sure what exactly hooked me. Perhaps it was some combination of rock intensity mixed with catchy melodies interlaced with intricate harmonies and fun guitar solos (although if I had to categorize the group I might go with folk pop). The energy jumping from the stage was easily picked up by the audience who packed the venue (tables had to be moved!). I had goosebumps and an overwhelming urge to make a beeline to the merch booth.  I had fallen in love.


Since Friday, Harper Blynn’s 2010 release, Loneliest Generation, has gotten a lot of play in my car and in the office. I found myself wishing that I had had this CD a few years ago when I was going through my quarter-life crisis. Lyrically, the tunes speak to my mid-twenties self, floating on that line between youthful idealism and realizations about harsher realities. Right now, my favorite songs are the more upbeat “This Is It” and the perfectly titled “25 Years” but the slow melodic beauty of songs like “The Doubt” and the building anthemic quality of “All Pretenders” showcase the band’s ability strike a deeper emotional chord and highlight the reasons why I love their music. Harper Blynn also have a self titled EP released this year.


Monday night, I headed out once again to see The Damnwells as well as the always enchanting Cary Brothers at Bardot in Hollywood. I enjoyed the sets from The Damnwells and Cary Brothers (both backed the members of Harper Blynn), but I was especially ecstatic when Cary announced that he was ending his set a couple songs early in order to let “the hardest working band in show-biz” (or at least that evening) take the stage and perform a couple of their songs. The place exploded when Harper Blynn did one of their tunes and then followed it up by their fun cover of Beyonce’s “Halo” (could that song be more catchy?!?). The DJ who played after the band did not have a difficult transition to make as the entire place was dancing.


If you want to learn more about Harper Blynn, here are some useful links. This fall they are out on the road again with The Damnwells, hitting up cities in the midwest and east coast. Check their website for the specifics (sadly no west coast dates…).!/harperblynn

~ Kristen

















It’s a School Night: Everest and Lemon Sun

Giving Room 5’s Songwriters in the Round some competition for my favorite Monday night activity would surely be the It’s a School Night events at Bardot. Bardot is this lovely club located above The Avalon in Hollywood…worth going to check out the decor alone. Every Monday night the club plays host to a couple amazing bands; up and comers like Carney, The Rescues, Madi Diaz and occassionally some pretty major acts like Ben Folds and next week’s guest Curt Smith (of Tears for Fears).  And did I mention all of this is FREE?

The catch? Acts aren’t always announced very far in advance. Also, the events are generally RSVP only and with major acts like Ben Folds, get there early or there will be a line down the street! Fortunately, all you need to do is check the it’s a school night website and get on the mailing list then RSVP and you’ve got an in past the velvet ropes (yes, there actually is a velvet rope)!

Last night, I ventured to Bardot to see Everest and Lemon Sun. Everest has been on my list of bands to see for awhile now and they certainly did not disappoint. Be sure to catch them out on tour with Guster and then Matt Costa. They put on a fantastic live show:

Lemon Sun, as usual, gave us a rockin’ set…even with a drummer they’d never played with before.  However, the dance party was cut short when the cops showed up. I’m guessing there were some noise complaints… The band insisted on busting out one more song before giving in to the authorities:

All in all a good evening. Next week: Curt Smith and Angela McCluskey. It was also mentioned that sometime in October, Fran Healy (of Travis) will be making an appearance on a school night… To give you a tiny idea of what this means to me, I’ll just say that the Travis tune “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” was my theme song for many many years…

~ Kristen

Truth & Salvage Co. full length CD out TODAY!

It’s Tuesday. You music lovers know what that means. This Tuesday is particularly important as one of my fave LA bands has their first full length CD available. Truth & Salvage Co. has been on my must see list for awhile now. They put on one of the most enjoyable live shows and now, their music can be brought to you, wherever you are.  Their self-titled album is available on ITunes and in select stores. Their official CD release party is in Ashville, North Carolina tonight at The Grey Eagle. If you’re lucky enough to live close by, go celebrate with the band for me! I, for one, am participating in the Storming the Amoeba event and will be dropping by the Hollywood location later this evening to pick up my copy.  

Check it out before you buy it on AOL’s listening party.

And please, please, please, do yourself a favor and go see their live show. They are touring all over the country. Check to see if they’re coming to a town near you:

May 25, 2010 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle (CD RELEASE SHOW)
May 26, 2010 – Charleston, SC @ The Pour House
May 27, 2010 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
May 28, 2010 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
May 29, 2010 – Birmingham, AL @ Workplay Theatre
May 30, 2010 – Little Rock, AR @ Little Rock Riverfest
June 3, 2010 – Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley 
June 5, 2010 – Ozark, AR @ Wakarusa
June 6, 2010 – Dallas, TX @ Cambridge Room at HOB
June 7, 2010 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s BBQ
June 8, 2010 – Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock @ HOB
June 9, 2010 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Chelsea’s Café
June 11, 2010 – Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s
June 12, 2010 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo
June 15, 2010 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird Cafe
June 16, 2010 – Washington, DC @ DC9
June 17, 2010 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
June 18, 2010 – Philadelphia, PA @ North Star Bar 
June 19, 2010 – New York, NY @ Piano’s
June 20, 2010 – Northampton, MA  @ Iron Horse Music Hall
June 22, 2010 – Syracuse, NY  @ Westcott Theatre
June 23, 2010 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
June 24, 2010 – Pontiac, MI @ Pike Room
June 24, 2010 – Pontiac, MI @ Pike Room
June 30, 2010 – Saratoga, CA @ Mountain Winery
July 1, 2010 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
July 2, 2010 – Jacksonville, OR @ Britt Pavilion
July 3, 2010 – Quincy, CA @ High Sierra Music Festival
July 4, 2010 – Reno, NV @ Aces Ballpark
July 5, 2010 – Crystal Bay, NV @ Crystal Bay Club
September 4, 2010 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks
December 10, 2010 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
December 11, 2010 – Hollywood, CA @ Hollywood Palladium

Enjoy the new music!

~ Kristen