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Musical year in review- February: Harlan Pepper, Take Out a Twenty and Live Life to the Fullest

Though the release date for this one was technically in March, by the time you could actually buy Take Out a Twenty and Live Life to the Fullest, the band had released just about every song online accompanied by a slew of homemade YouTube videos.

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The album is a blast from start to finish and makes it clear that these guys can hold their own both in the studio and onstage. From the opening organ chords of “Gimme Love“ to the unruly breakdown at the end of “Risky Business“ the party never stops with Harlan Pepper.

However, this is not just a rock and roll record full of love songs. Much has been made of the wild psych-rock sounds of the band, and the way they have revived the sounds of groups like The Band. But beneath the wail of their amps is a sly lyrical undercurrent of all that comes with being twenty-something in this city. Their rambling, Dylan-esque lyrics deal with deadbeat roommates who bail on rent and the disappointment of a new boss who isn’t all that different from the old boss. This bemusement with the state of the world is perhaps best captured in the lines:

Sometimes I can’t figure it out

Too much floating around

Handshakes, neckties, dump trucks, beehives,

Now I guess I’m falling down.

As the reverb slaps back on Dan Edmonds vocals creating a sonic haze you get to step into his swirling world.

Another big lyrical theme on this record is Hamilton pride, as their love for the city is integrated into everything these guys do. On โ€œAllisonโ€ Dan Edmonds laments that his love is “gone like TH&B“ as he rides his bike down James street. These guys boast about their city to anyone who will listen and Hamilton has begun to return the favour. These days you can’t walk more than a couple block downtown without seeing a 2015 Junos poster with the band on it. And with the album getting regular play on from CBC and a couple of opening slots with the Skydiggers, it won’t be long before more than Hamilton knows about Harlan Pepper.

Here`s an interview I did with Dan around the release of the record:

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