Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (The Good Life, Bright Eyes, She & Him) formed Big Harp in December 2010, 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.
Understandably for a band that had only existed for a week before recording their first album, and had never played a show, their sound began to change almost immediately. They packed up the kids and hit the road, earning high praise for their surprisingly energetic live shows, where the intimate acoustic-based arrangements they'd recorded gave way to something increasingly complex, ragged and dirty.
In March, 2012, only six months after the release of their debut, Big Harp began working on their follow-up, Chain Letters, bringing in old friend John Voris to play drums. The album finds them moving away from the rustic, pastoral sound of their first album and towards a truer union of their L.A.-meets-isolated-cow-town backgrounds. Built on a foundation of crackling fuzz bass and angular electric guitars and keyboards, the songs on Chain Letters play like a series of character sketches with characters caught between escape and surrender, or poised at that edge where the two become indistinguishable.
Chris Senseney (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (bass, vocals)
March 8, 2013
SXSW is almost here, and this year we have Big Harp, Icky Blossoms, PUJOL, The Thermals, and UUVVWWZ in Austin. Our showcase is Wednesday night at The Parish Underground (214 E. 6th St). The lineup is:
8 PM – Jake Bellows
9 PM – UUVVWWZ
10 PM – Big Harp
11 PM – PUJOL
12 AM – Icky Blossoms
1 AM – Harouki Zombi
You can get more info on the bands, listen to songs, and get a full rundown of all the shows they’ll be playing at saddle-creek.com/sxsw/.