Harlem is a trio from Austin by way of Los Angeles by way of Nashville by way of Tucson. Their genre follows suit with their geography, Harlem is punk? garage rock? retro garage pop? R&B? proto-punk? etc etc. While their genre remains elusive, I think they explain their sound best: “When kids are jumping on the bed playing tennis rackets like guitars. We are the music that is playing in their brains.” Harlem’s newest release, Hippies swaggering, exuberant, unpretentious jaunt of an album. Hippies opens with the unavoidably catchy “Someday Soon” is a headbopping little number about “letting that shit burn”. Though Harlem certainly has a distinct sound, each of the 16 tracks bursts in its own unique way, alternating between heavy percussive surges and sweet and mellow throwbacks. There’s something disarming about the charm of Harlem’s insouciant take on whatever genre gets pinned on them. “Friendly Ghost” is yet another highlight, with winsome lyrics of, well, what the title suggests. Finally, I’d suggest checking out “Gay Human Bones” a welcome jolt of clear sound in a thickly distorted album. Overall, Hippies is the perfect thing to get you through the last searing days of classes and into the much needed lackadaisical days of summer.
– Tiare Dunlap
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