Bootleg Theater Presents
Big Harp, Nik Freitas
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
This event is 21 and over
Maria Taylor’s Something About Knowing beckons with the opening track “Folk Song Melody,” a mesmerizing acoustic-with-celestial-atmospherics composition crafted around a wordless singsong passage that’s instantly familiar. “That section says everything without words and the rest of the record fills in the emotions,” she says. And the emotions brimming on the album are bliss and contentment. On the title track, with a molasses flow, Maria names her blessings from the diurnal to the divine. Here she sings: “I got you/I got me/I heard the sweetest voice call me mommy/got my old 5 string/I’ve got everything.” The music is balmy with a sweetly swaying groove, angelic backup vocals, gospel organs, and a shooting star guitar melody. The stunning “Tunnel Vision” is expansive and chiming pop with a lose-yourself-on-the-dance-floor beat.
Something About Knowing’s spirit of “coming home with confidence” extends from Maria’s personal and artistic peacefulness to the team she picked to surround herself with while making this album. She enlisted producer Mike Mogis, an essential creative foil on her first two records. Her brother Macey Taylor played bass on every song as well as keyboards and piano. And her old high school music pal Brad Armstrong co-wrote, played on, and recorded two tracks in his garage. “There we were back in his garage, only now we both had kids running around, it was really special,” Maria says. Longtime friend and collaborator Andy LeMaster mixed these two songs. Additionally, Maria recorded the track “This Is It” with Lester Nuby, and Daniel Farris—two trusted companions she worked with on her last two records—at home in Birmingham, Alabama.
Maria Taylor has released four solo albums and an EP, and has been lauded for her collaborations with artists such as Bright Eyes, Michael Stipe (R.E.M.), Moby, David Barbe (Sugar, Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt), and Crooked Fingers.
Big Harp released their new album Wavelesson August 14 via the Portland-based tape label Majestic Litter. Big Harp's third album follows up the limited edition single "It's A Shame". Waveless marks a complete sea change in the band's approach. All signs of the folk or Americana heard on their past albums are gone, replaced by loose, fast, sometimes heavy, spaced out thrash pop. Gone are the slow-burners and heavy-handed narrative lyrics which sometimes made their earlier albums sound like auditions for the role of serious songwriters. In their place are big, fuzzed-out riffs and scruffy pop melodies floating over sneakily complicated timings and changes. The exuberance and fuck-it-just-do-it-ness carries over to the release itself -- the album came out only a month or so after most of the songs were recorded. Free from the typical cycle of record - wait a year and a half - tour - write - repeat, Waveless is by far Big Harp's most immediate recording.
In the band’s own words: The truth is Big Harp doesn't really exist. It's kind of a catch-all that covers whatever Stef (Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, who plays bass and sings) and I (Chris Senseney, who plays guitar and some keys and sings) and now Daniel (Ocanto, who is the drummer) feel like doing at any particular time. None of our albums are really related to each other. We don't typically perform back catalog material; in fact, most of our songs have only been performed BEFORE they were recorded. Which could change, if we feel like it.
So, we made a new record. We're not putting it out with the labels we've worked with in the past (Fat Possum and Saddle Creek). We're releasing it on Majestic Litter, a tape and digital label run by a close friend in the Pacific Northwest. It feels pretty great to be putting out an album basically right after it's finished. A few of these new songs we recorded with John Congleton in 2014, but the rest we self-produced with our friend Pierre de Reeder engineering like a month before release (June /July 2015). The music is fuzzy and poppy and kind of thrashy and Stef and I sing together a ton. We think it rules the most of all our albums, but we get that people who like the first two might not love it (they would be wrong though). Like I said, the records don't really have anything to do with each other, except that the same people made them. Sort of the same people. Although how the same are we really? Wait, wait, sorry, I'm rambling, I do that. See ya.
Nik Freitas is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist living in Los Angeles, CA. A self taught musician and engineer, Nik records and plays everything on his albums. He has released 6 records since 2002, and just finished his 7th entitled 'New to Here' due out in 2015.
Nik has toured his own music extensively and has been the opening act on many U.S./European tours for such bands as Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Rilo Kiley, Azure Ray, and The Submarines.
In early 2008, Nik became a member Conor Oberst's Mystic Valley Band. Freitas played guitar on and toured for Oberst's 2008 self titled solo album, and 2009's 'Outer South', including having two of his own songs featured on the album.
In 2010 Nik joined the live performing band for the Danger Mouse and James Mercer project Broken Bells, and spent the year playing guitar on the road with the band. At home in L.A. Nik writes and records at his home studio called Poppy Peak and has had his songs featured on Film ('The One I Love', 'Devolved') Television shows on FOX (New Girl, Ben & Kate) MTV ( Real World, Teen Mom, Slednecks, Viva la Bam) and HBO (Sleeper Cell).
Freitas has also had the opportunity to work at other studios on larger productions, most notably playing guitar on The Shins record "Port of Morrow". Always up for taking a break from the studio, Nik also keeps busy on the road playing drums forJenny Lewis in 2012 (west coast tour) Bass for Johnathan Rice in 2013 (US tour) and Bass for M. Ward in 2014 (Australia, Europe, and Eastern U.S).
Look for the new album 'New to Here' and other recording from Nik in 2015.