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Sound Off!: The Harlan Twins come down from the mountains

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MP3: The Harlan Twins – White Light from The Harlan Twins (2009)

Over the past two years, The Harlan Twins have gained a reputation among everyone from the hipster set to the aging folk-rock cognoscenti as the best band in Pittsburgh, resulting in scenes like the overflow, sell-out crowd at the unveiling of their self-released debut discharlans this past summer.

Covering ground from Allmans-esque jams to subdued high-lonesome folk and beyond, the band casts an eye to a century’s worth of Americana influences without letting it contain their creativity or enthusiasm. Be no more surprised to see a banjo or mandolin appear than to be immersed in swirling loops or pummeled by a bone-crushing deconstruction of an ’80s goth classic. James Hart lays down some of the finest guitar leads you’ll see anywhere while he and Carrie Battle trade off tailor-made Appalachian-tinged vocals. Their allegiances here won, it’s time for the Twins to get on the radar of roots-rock enthusiasts everywhere.

The Harlan Twins perform at Golden West Cafe in Baltimore on Fri December 4 and at Cafe Nola in Frederick on Sat December 5.