The Harmaleighs Talk About Life as Postmodern Vagabonds, Taylor Swift, and Nudist Colonies

The touring season is coming to a close, however, there are still a small handful of upcoming shows in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection that are...

The touring season is coming to a close, however, there are still a small handful of upcoming shows in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection that are well worth braving the snow and cold.  This Monday, December 18th, singer/songwriter Chris Pureka will be headlining Boot & Saddle.  And while we’ve got much love (and affection) for Pureka, we’re actually most excited about openers, The Harmaleighs.  The sort-of-Nashville-based duo is comprised of Haley Grant on lead vocals and guitar and Kaylee Jasperson on bass and harmonies.  2015 saw the release of Pretty Picture, Dirty Bush, an ineffably charming and existentially inspiring record of the folky indie pop persuasion… or perhaps the poppy indie folk persuasion… The album’s completion and release led Grant and Jasperson to ditch their apartment, put their physical histories into a storage unit, buy a van, and dedicate the foreseeable future to life on the road… with their baby pug, Gus.  Earlier this year they released their latest EP, Hiraeth, which was inspired by this indefinite road trip of sorts.  In a recent chat with the duo they tell me, “Our last record was all about living on the road, in our van.”  They would seem to slow things down a little bit and get a little emotionally heavier on this batch of songs.  When I ask them what kinds of things have inspired their latest sounds they mention Brandi Carlile and PHILTHY-favorites Lucius, although when I ask them about what’s been in heavy rotation in 2017, they imply that their tastes are quite varied and often times outside of their genre: “I could not stop listening to the new Paramore record.  I feel like I’m in eighth grade again.  Unfortunately, I’m also listening to a lot of Taylor Swift again [laughs].”

I ask The Harmaleighs about their “process” of writing and recording, if they even have one, and Haley explains that it’s relatively haphazard, although has proven to be rather tried and true: “All of our songs pretty much just start with me in my car or me in my bedroom and then I take it to Kaylee and she polishes it up.” The album has done well for the band and already afforded them some rewarding time out on the road this year.  I ask what have been some of the band’s recent highlights and Kaylee tells me one of them came very recently, in New York: “Well, I think a highlight for me was when we went on tour with The Ballroom Thieves.  We played Rough Trade in New York City and we were kind of afraid of New York City crowds, especially opening, because in Nashville they can kind of not be very receptive and just talk through your set and ignore you, and we were projecting that onto the New York crowd, but it wound up being totally amazing.”  However, it is the favorite response that their music has gotten, which seems to be their personal, crowning achievement: “My favorite reaction was having someone email us and tell us that they really liked our music and they wanted to use it.  They told us they were making a French film about a nudist colony and they pictured naked men running down the beach to our song [laughs].”  The Harmaleighs’ Boot & Saddle show this Monday is their third to last for 2017 but, when I ask what they have planned for next year, Haley tells me that it’s looking like they’ll definitely have their hands full in 2018: “I’m really trying to finish and get out our next record, which I’m really excited for.  I will finish writing it and hopefully release it, but that probably wouldn’t be until the end of the year. It feels very fresh. With everything we write it feels like we’re chipping away at something new.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.