April 11, 2010

Introducing: The Head and The Heart



The Head and The Heart ::: photo courtesy of Robertsen Ashman

Are you ready to fall in love? Prepared to discover your new favorite up-and-coming local band? Because for at least a few of you, that’s going to be what happens upon first listen to “Sounds Like Hallelujah” from The Head and The Heart. I know, because that’s exactly what happened to me.

A local six-piece, The Head and The Heart’s sound recalls some of pop’s truest masters–most notably Rufus Wainwright and The Beatles (especially Paul McCartney’s Tin Pan Alley inspired tunes). The band is in the process of finalizing their debut EP, due out next month, but the three songs that they do have available on Facebook further evoke the soaring but subtle refrains of Bon Iver’s Forever Emma Ago and the foot-stomping twang-twinged tunes of The Avett Brothers. Those are lofty comparisons for a brand-new band to garner, but there isn’t a single note or phrase that I’ve heard from The Head and the Heart that even hints the band isn’t worthy of them. There’s a cohesion, confidence and craft displayed in the songs that sounds more like something a seasoned band nit-picked at for years than it sounds like a debut album.

The shared lead vocals of Josiah Johnson and Jon Russel have a sweet timbre with just the slightest twang that floats above the acoustic arrangements and flawlessly melds with the backing vocals of band-mate Charity Thielen. The trio’s harmonies are backed by sparse piano hooks that feel as if they haunt the heart of the songs, and nimble bass work by Chris Zasche (also of The Maldives and Grand Hallway) makes for a warm full sound that plays more like an acoustic orchestra than a six-piece.

Its been a long time since I was so excited to share a band with you or so confident that you’ll be hearing a lot more about them in the coming months. The band’s next show is April 21st at the High Dive, and they’ll also be playing Hey Marseilles’ vinyl release show on May 22nd at The Tractor Tavern. You can expect Sound on the Sound to be there in the front row; we’ve been told by folks we trust that the band and their songs are even more awe-inspiring live. Check back here in the next month, when we’ll be sharing a track off the band’s debut EP as soon as it is ready.

Until then, here is a video from a recent acoustic show of the band’s “Sounds Like Hallelujah” (For the First Time). For those of you who are about to hear the band for the first time, the title seems especially fitting— discovering The Head and The Heart was definitely a hallelujah moment for me. I hope it is for you too.

The Head and the Heart – Sounds Like Hallelujah from Whitney Moreno on Vimeo.


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  1. Wow Abbey! You did it again. I’m so glad you’re introducing me to great new music… as opposed to, let’s say, drugs. Otherwise, I’d be showing up at your house in the middle of the night for another fix. Peace to you.

  2. Jess #

    Just saw their in-store at Sonic Boom in Ballard today. SO AMAZING. Totes my new favorite band right now. LOVE. xo

  3. Greg #

    I heard these guys at Bumbershoot this saturday. They sounded great. I hope they do well and keep making good music.

  4. Kate #

    Saw these guys open for Vampire Weekend last night at the Paramount. They totally rock!!!

  5. abbey, I’m just now reading this as greg plays “winter song” on the roadhouse — it’s so funny, when I’m at head and the heart shows with strangers, I turn around and go, “are you ready? you’re about to meet your new favorite band.” so much love for them, and you. xo

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