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 disc 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.
Mark Olson’s singularly mournful voice—markedly unchanged from The Jayhawks’ first widely distributed release Blue Earth in 1989 to last year’s solo masterwork The Salvation Blues (Hacktone)—has always suggested someone far older in spirit than in age. But in forming that cult-legend band that jump-started the still burgeoning roots-rock/No Depression/Americana movement, Olson evinced this quality in his mindset as much as his singing. Read the rest…
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