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Friday, February 03, 2006

Bryan Harvey 49, formerly of House of Freaks - Jan 1, 1996


Whoa! This is one for RA Wilson. No sooner do I get introduced to the Steve Wynn album below, then I am looking up The Paisley Underground and I find a band I would never have associated with the 'sound' listed. House of Freaks was an awsome duo out of Richmond, Virginia who recorded some of the most authentic Americana rock ever. Their debut "Monkey on a Chain Gang" and sophomore followup "Tantilla" just rang out with a powerful Blues influenced Folk rock. That a duo on guitar and drums could make so much sound was to me unheard of. Driving rhythms chug and boil throughout. Harvey's bass lines while playing his melodies simultaneously just put one in wonder. Many a 5pc band might wish they had the full sound that this band did.These are songs that energize and lift you out of your seats.

I just happened to have purchased a special Rhino Records release of MOACG with bonus tracks and it was heaven for the last couple of months.

Then I read this...

On January 1st, 2006, Bryan Harvey, his wife Kathryn, and their daughters Stella and Ruby were found murdered in the basement of their Richmond home. The crime is still under investigation. As of Saturday, January 7th, two men have been arrested in connection to the killings.
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read_more...__CNN_report of the murders...


This is just heartbreaking. I wish any and all their survivors the best and send all fans' condolences for their losses. -pseudolus Posted by Picasa

Update:
Andy Wolfe has it nailed. He says it better than I ever could. Good on ya! Andt
A review for MOACG from Amazon.com:

***** (5 stars) Darkness & Light: An Indispensable Gem, January 9, 2006

Reviewer: Andy Wolfe
Precis:

Solid and uncompromised rock. Relentlessly raw. No disposable tracks. Louder than you think you need, smarter than you think you are. Unlike any "genre" rock you've absorbed before. A real voice, a matchless passion. Turn it up and in several seconds you'll have to admit you've found something brutally new.

Essay:

How thin and insufficient that taxonomic shorthand seems now, bandied so blithely about by a press that just a fortnight ago knew nothing of the work this half-doomed duo was destined to give us: Rocker. Indie Rocker. Power Pop. Progenitor of the White Stripes. That last one actually not a bad observation, a welcome reminder of the organic continuum that even the most original of rock acts swims within.

Chords drive, skins pound, hooks infect. Because whatever else they were, and they were many things, House of Freaks were at bottom and top a rock and roll band, and a blistering one at that. But one must seriously remember the synth-drenched and slick-sheened production value heyday of the 1980s to truly appreciate how wildly out of nowhere this record sounded when we slit the shrink-wrap and spun it under the needle that loud first time. Damn.

Back then of course the gold standard of less-than-a-quorum mega-noise was Rush, who nevertheless had the good sense to incorporate a bassist. But these House of Freaks freaks, no, they didn't even bother with session men: track after track, the record rolls on with just the lonely two of them making such an extravagant racket in what sounds like the biggest darkness a Gibson and Zildjian ever did try to conquer. Johnny's stampeding tympani kicks up sparks like the hearts of a dozen flint hummingbirds while Bryan etches jagged signatures from the raw blackness of the vinyl and the silence both, letting the echoing residue cascade and fade at the same time like copperhead scales shed from the stiff coiled asps of his E and G strings.

One could now and should wax on about Bryan's lyrics. But that would take an English major, so I'll just open the floor to whoever she is. Come on, you, and do him justice. His work is worth it.

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