The Head And The Heart's fantastic self-titled debut record landed at #14 on my favorite albums of 2010 list. The truth is, with a few more months to marinate, it's now probably somewhere in the top 10. Songs of weariness, of love and of home, delivered with honesty, confidence and a bouncy folk-pop jangle. With a rough-edged charm, sugary-sweet melodies, male-female vocals and earnest stories of distance, there's a lot to love about this band.
As memorable as the songs themselves are, I'll never forget the journey they took into my collection. Waking up in Seattle, hungover, with fading, hours-old memories of hearing about this great band that had just signed to Sub Pop records, I opened the band's myspace page and let the music revive me. It wasn't long before I was in a coffeeshop expousing the merits of the band from my little soapbox here. Hours later I was on a mission to get the album; a digital download just wouldn't do, I needed the physical artifact. You see, there was no telling if I would have another chance to get the pre-Sub Pop self-released version back home in Boston - and for someone like me, that just wouldn't do. So we walked. First a pleasant stroll to Sonic Boom Lower Queen Anne. "Sold out". Then, coffee in-hand, a longer jaunt in a steady drizzle to Silver Platters. "Nope, but Sonic Boom Capitol Hill might have some copies". The cold drizzle now a heavy downpour, we kept walking - there was one last chance. Through puddles and mud and tire spray, up Capitol Hill (the long, long way) and finally success. I've never worked so hard to get my hands on an album. Admittedly, it was a little insane - but well-worth all the effort.
So, you can understand my excitement this past weekend to see the band live for the first time. As good as the songs are on record, believe me when I say that this is a band that you have to see live. Playing their first-ever shows in Boston in support of Dr. Dog, they exuded the stage presence of a band far more seasoned. It was one of the most impressive opening sets I've seen in a long time. They held the focus of a rowdy crowd, performing a set that was energetic, engaging and hopefully a precursor to many headlining shows to come.
Check out a full recording of the show below - taped from the front row of the balcony, the sound is excellent. Please support the band by picking up their album here.
The Head And The Heart
Paradise Rock Club - Boston, MA
February 20, 2011
Full set download: mp3 zip