The Everyday Visuals with Annie Stela + Big Harp

The Everyday Visuals

The Everyday Visuals are a band that has the heart of a lion, the mind of a falcon, and the patience of a saint. We live in Los Angeles. We like harmonies, 12 string guitars, and reverb.

After a childhood spent writing poems and songs in quiet suburban Michigan, Annie Stela moved to LA at the age of 22. She got a hard core-case of mono and some serious culture shock - but once she recovered, she was signed to Capitol Records. She recorded her debut full-length record, Fool, with producer Bill Bottrell(Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne). Influenced by artists like Billy Joel, Ben Folds Five, and Tori Amos, Fool chronicles Annie's journey from Michigan to LA and, as such, from childhood to adulthood. Before Fool could make it to the public, Capitol experienced a devastating label shake-up. Seeing a bad road ahead, Annie left Capitol and took her record with her. She released it independently on iTunes in early 2008.

After touring with artists like Joseph Arthur, Ron Sexsmith, and Bright Eyes, Annie settled back into her house in Los Angeles, hung out with her dog, and holed herself up to write. The result of her seclusion is the EP Little House, the first in a two volume series of EPs called Little House/Hard City. Produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and Jason Lader (Rilo Kiley, Jakob Dylan), Little House is strikingly bare in comparison to Fool;

"After all the complications and mess in my life, I found myself writing songs that were clear and strong, songs that could stand on their own. I wanted the music to sound exactly like it sounds live."

Annie recorded Little House as a trio, with piano, bass and drums. The pared-down set-up forces the listener to hear what Annie's grappling with, which is a lot: success, failure, love, confusion, and way too much sunshine. Little House will be released online in May, with Hard City to follow in Fall of 2009.

Big Harp have just finished working with indie super-producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Modest Mouse, Rogue Wave, David Byrne) on the self-titled “Big Harp” (release date TBA), their third album in only three years.

Following their now-usual pattern of album-to-album reinvention, they’ve created a strikingly modern, vibrant sound that takes the best elements of their first two records and adds heaping dollops of explosive color and light. Incorporating inspirations and sounds from ‘60s psych to ‘80s megapop, from brooding melancholy to unbridled joy, “Big Harp” is the statement of a band that has burst through genre limitations and uncovered a unique, original voice.

Big Harp has songs placed on TV shows (Girls, Suits, Pysch, etc.), co-written and recorded a song featured in the closing credits of a movie (Stuck in Love) and have been featured on All Things Considered on NPR.

Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (The Good Life, Bright Eyes, She & Him) formed Big Harp in 2011, after a three-year whirlwind that saw the two meet, have a baby, move halfway across the country, get married, move halfway across the country again, and have another baby. When the dust settled, they holed up in Stefanie’s parents’ spare bedroom, practiced for a week, and recorded their debut album “White Hat”, a collection of dusty, low-key folk-rock laced with subtle irony and dark humor that earned them comparisons to songwriters like Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt. After earning praise for their energetic, amplified live shows, they quickly started work on a second album, “Chain Letters”, adding crackling fuzz bass and angular electric guitars and keyboards to the mix. Both albums are available on Saddle Creek Records.

Now, with drummer Daniel Ocanto, they’ve put everything together in a free-wheeling, multifaceted sound that moves far beyond anything they’ve attempted before. If their first album was a relatively monochrome affair, and the second saw them adding more volume and texture to a still fairly somber, if slyly winking sound, then “Big Harp”, their self-titled third album, finds them moving whole-heartedly into brighter, sharper regions brimming with life.

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The Everyday Visuals with Annie Stela + Big Harp with Annie Stela, Big Harp

Wednesday, May 15 · 8:30 PM at The Echo