TBD Records

Port O’Brien broke up last year and singer/songwriter Van Pierszalowski took a long break from music, living in Oslo, Norway and then traveling to Alaska, California and Brooklyn. He’s about to reemerge with a solo project under the moniker WATERS. It’s fuzzy and loud and the debut album, Out In The Light, will be released on 9/20 via TBD Records. Here a taste of Van’s new sound in “For The One.”

WATERS – For The One

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henry clay people

“We want our music to be accessible, but still mean something,” says lead singer/guitarist Joey Siara. “That’s the spirit of this band”nothing we’re doing is rocket science, but we’re playing the music we love. And if some people recognize that, great. Rock ‘n’ roll is rock ‘n’ roll.”

That statement sums up The Henry Clay People better than I can. Their songs reel you in and never let go, even after countless listens. And if you are lucky enough to see them live, well then, you’re hooked for good. As I mentioned in my SxSW recap, there isn’t a band that has more fun playing live. I have them seen them open up Lolla at 11:30 am, bust out six tunes in our live session the following morning (we were all a little hazy), and play to capacity venues. Each and every time they were phenomenal. They live in the moment and make it contagious.

On Somewhere On The Golden Coast, The Henry Clay People’s TBD label debut, the LA quintet expand on what made For Cheap Or Free so damn catchy. In fact you will even hear freshened up versions of “This Ain’t A Scene” and “Working Part Time” from their prior release on Somewhere On The Golden Coast.

But in the new material, The HCP offer a couple down tempo tracks in “A Temporary Fix” and “Two Lives At The End Of The Night,” giving Joey a chance to showcase his vocals. “Two Lives” a great choice to finish an album that is, more often than not, rocking you to your core. And speaking of those new rockers, “Keep Your Eyes Closed” is my favorite. I’ve been humming that chorus, “Half my life was half your life …” since they played out our session back at Lolla ’09. “End Of An Empire” is another rabble-rouser that features solid work on the keys. It’s a fantastic tune to scream while after a long day of drinking tallboys – I know this from experience.

This album is everything I thought it would be and then some. It’s a must buy if you like authentic rock and roll performed by a group of sincere and genuine musicians. Somewhere On The Golden Coast is out tomorrow.

The Henry Clay People – Your Famous Friends (via The Tripwire)

The Henry Clay People – End Of An Empire (from the HearYa Live Session)

The Henry Clay People – Keep Your Eyes Closed (from the HearYa Live Session)

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Brothers Joey, Andy and the band stopped in our studio during Lollapalooza for a live session, early morning bloody mary’s and several laughs. The band recently signed to one of our favorite labels, TBD Records, which is also home to Radiohead, Port O’Brien, White Rabbits and Other Lives. Head over here to download the session.

Exclusive: The Henry Clay People – Switch Kids (HearYa Live Session version)

Catch them on tour with Drive-By Truckers:

May Tour With Drive By Truckers

May 5th Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ
May 6th House Of Blues San Diego, CA
May 7th Avalon Ballroom LA, CA
May 8th Fillmore Theater San Fran, CA
May 12th In The Venue Salt Lake City, Utah
May 13th Boulder Theater Boulder, CO
May 14th Aggie Theater Ft. Collins, CO
May 15th Belly Up Aspen, CO

Video: The Henry Clay People – Something In The Water

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port-obrien-threadbare-album-art

Port O’Brien have been one of my top five favorite bands for the past three years. Each album they release far exceeds my expectations and slowly becomes an addiction. I’ve seen them in San Francisco, Austin and once in Boston where I had the opportunity to chat with lead singer Van Pierszalowski over a pint. He gives great hugs. I digress. The band’s latest album, Threadbare, recently elbowed its way near the top of my list of best albums of 2009.

The nucleus of the band are Van Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin and, while past albums have drawn their influence from Van’s commercial fishing exploits off the coast of Alaska, Threadbare is a different sort of expedition. The music is more focused, which I assume is the result of more time on land, on tour and in recording studios. The lyrics are more serious and at times very sad. The passing of Cambria’s brother just before recording the album may have had something to do with that.

I’m sure that tragic loss burned the fuel that became Threadbare. Cambria’s desolate voice shines on “High Without Hope 3,” the title track, “Next Season” and “(((Darkness Visible))).” Van is even despondent on tracks like “Calm Me Down,” but more frequently he balances the album with uptempo songs like “My Will Is Good,” “Leap Year” and “Love Me Through.” I haven’t even mentioned two of the best tracks, “Oslo Campfire,” “Sour Milk/Salt Water” and a song from previous albums called “Tree Bones” that has a Meat Puppets “Lake of Fire” vibe. That last part may just be in my head.

If an album is very good, I procrastinate writing about it. I’m painfully aware that I’m not a professional writer, so putting pen to paper over an album I love is daunting. For the great albums, I know I’ll never do them justice so I put them off for days or weeks. I’ve had Threadbare for about five months. I’m just now writing about it.

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Port O’Brien – My Will Is Good

Port O’Brien – Sour Milk/Sour Water

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Port O’Brien releases another new track, My Will Is Good [new mp3]

August 11, 2009

Port O’Brien just premiered another new track (via Stereogum) called “My Will Is Good.” The album entitled Threadbare will be released on October 6th. What strikes me about this album, in addition to Cambria Goodwin taking on more vocal duties, is the change in Van Pierszalowski’s vocals on most tracks. His delivery is less forced […]

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Port O’Brien – Sour Milk/Salt Water never tasted so good. [new mp3]

August 7, 2009

Port O’Brien is releasing a new album called Threadbare on October 6 via TBD records. I’ve been wanting to write up a proper review, but fellow HearYan, Woody, tells me it’s too early. I’ll time a proper writeup closer to the release date, but let’s just say I absolutely love this record. We got early […]

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White Rabbits brandish Percussion Gun [new mp3]

April 3, 2009

White Rabbits have a new album called It’s Frightening coming out on May 19th via TBD Records (home of Radiohead and Other Lives). It was produced by Britt Daniel (Spoon), recorded by Nicholas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter) and mixed by Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead). But no one likes a name dropper, so here’s […]

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