HSAL #50 (free download)

Last month, we threw a big party to celebrate TEN YEARS of central Virginia based rock action! It was a blast – thanks to all that attended & sent well wishes our way. We were able to capture sounds from the Warehouse Theater & thought it appropriate to share some of the memories that were made via a release such as this.

HSAL #50 (Digital) is available NOW!

We present to you HSAL #50 – a “Harding & Main Fest” sampler! Present on this compilation is a live cut from each performance. Many of these tracks are currently unreleased (Graven Image, Toan Team, Opin, Young Scum, Jeremaih Lloyd Harmon), which just adds to the uniquness of this document. The cover art is a collection of shots from the show snapped by Stefanie Murza, who debuted her video for L.A. Dies‘ “Circle” last month as well.

So, THAT happened!

WOW. That’s really the best word to describe our reaction to everything that went down this weekend. From the Drifting Still” LP listening party – which was attended by over 60 people – to the whirlwind that was the Harding & Main Fest, wonderful time seemed to be had by all! If you played any part in all this action (meaning you played, you carried gear, you directed traffic, you attended, you bought records, or you just said nice things on social media), we sincerely appreciate you. It’s times like these that completely reinforce why we push forward.

We are working on a proper recap of the big party & hope to share that with you all in the weeks to come.

L.A. Dies at HSAL #50. PC: Stefanie Murza

In the meantime, our heartfelt thanks go out to: Geoff (for sharing a vision), Corey, Brittany, Michael, & the team at the Academy Center (for facilitating that vision), Mike (our sound man for the event), Emma (for the killer print features), Kathy & Jason (our volunteer crew), Stef (for so, so many pics), Blake (for an open ear & a like-minded heart), Graven Image, Toan Team, Opin, TLVS, Young Scum, L.A. Dies, Nickelus F, Sound of Ceres, & Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon (for taking our stage & pouring your hearts out over the Hill City).

HSAL, by Todd Webb

As we inch closer & closer to our HUGE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT, we thought it would be interesting to connect with people who have been with us through various seasons. These may be artists we’ve worked with or simply friends of the label who have watched us grow.

This time around, we caught up with Todd Webb. Over the past couple decades, Webb has fronted multiple music projects (Seamonster, Fox Hands, Oahu). Additionally, Webb’s visual output has been featured in gallery shows on both US coasts, his Instagram based audio/visual series & numerous illustrations in various published comics. We asked him a handful of questions & here’s what he had to share:

Webb performing in Norfolk, June 2019 (PC: Joe Justice)

When was the first time you heard about HSAL?

I’m not positive, but I seem to recall getting a letter and CD out of the blue of (probably TLVS) stuff sent to me by Nathan way back in the early days? But then I think the first time we crossed paths IRL was in like 2012 when I did a couple Seamonster tours with Suburban Living (who I temporarily played bass for) and we played at Speakertree & stayed with Joe (Morgan, of TLVS) afterwards. It was an extremely fun show and visit and we’ve all been pals ever since, which is the best thing that can happen on tour!

How has HSAL connected with you personally over the years (either as a fan or an artist)?

I just love the enthusiasm they have for local creators across the board – and the positivity promoted by the label as a whole. Putting good vibes into the world is a lost art in these dark days, so I love that aspect of HSAL. Plus, HSAL chooses interesting music to release so its a win win for me. 

What do you think HSAL has meant to “the scene”?

I think they’ve provided a central hub for music in this area that is indispensable – a lot of stuff might not have continued to grow and evolve if HSAL wasn’t there to cheer-lead it onward. I know I personally probably wouldn’t have started releasing Oahu stuff publicly if it weren’t for Joe and Nathan’s encouragement. 

Which two or three HSAL releases would you use to recommend the label to a friend?

Anything by these three gets my full recommendation!

HSAL, by Aaron Jacks

As we inch closer & closer to our HUGE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT, we thought it would be interesting to connect with people who have been with us through various seasons. These may be artists we’ve worked with or simply friends of the label who have watched us grow.

This time around, we caught up with Aaron Jacks, who has been an Lynchburg art & music scene enthusiast for over half a decade now. Most know him these days as a member of L.A. Dies, whose “Drifting Still” drops this weekend! We asked him a handful of questions & here’s what he had to share:

Aaron Jacks tracking guitar during “Drifting Still” sessions.

When was the first time you heard about HSAL?

I first encountered HSAL when I went to Speakertree for the very first time back in early May of 2013. Nathan, who was behind the counter at the time, invited me to the show that was happening that weekend. Naturally, being entirely unaware of what I’d be in for, I went back to my dorm and sampled every artist on the bill I could find on YouTube. After some digging, I finally found a video of TLVS performing the then-unreleased “TV-MA-LSV” somewhere in Norfolk. I was blown away (and also surprised to see that the very same gentleman who invited me to the show was behind the drums absolutely killing it!) I needed to go to that show after watching that video. Luckily, I managed to secure a ride with some friends after some enthusiastic begging and we all went to the show. I left with a copy of TLVS’ “Porcelain“.

How has HSAL connected with you personally over the years (either as a fan or an artist)?

Had it not been for Nathan’s invite or that video of TLVS, I don’t think I would have been so insistent about going to that show; a show that I, without exaggeration, give credit for changing my life. From then on, I went to any local show and immersed myself in as much local music as I could. Almost four years later, this would ultimately lead me to attending a couple of L.A. Dies shows and subsequently tricking them into letting me join the band. In 2018, L.A. Dies was asked to participate in HSAL #44, which led us to Allen Bergendahl, who would later be at the helm of our upcoming LP “Drifting Still”. To be a part of the HSAL truly means the world to me.

What do you think HSAL has meant to “the scene”?

HSAL’s unending support for Lynchburg’s music scene has been integral to its growth and persistence. With every release, Lynchburg further secures itself as one of the most lush and eclectic music scenes any college town has to offer. We are extremely fortunate to have HSAL taking it upon themselves to ensure that the scene is both thriving and preserved.

Which two or three HSAL releases would you use to recommend the label to a friend?

  • TLVS, “I Can Dream All Day“: I had to wait TWO YEARS for “TV-MA-LSV” to finally come out, and it was worth every second. If you’re a post-rock fan of any degree, this is essential.
  • Benjamin Mauch, “Golden Bay Garden“: This is a tough contender for the most beautiful sounds HSAL has ever pressed.
  • L.A. Dies, “Drifting Still“: Completely unbiased here! You should totally listen to this album!

HSAL, by Allen Bergendahl

As we inch closer & closer to our HUGE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT, we thought it would be interesting to connect with people who have been with us through various seasons. These may be artists we’ve worked with or simply friends of the label who have watched us grow.

This time around, we caught up with Allen Bergendahl, who most recently produced the new L.A. Dies album. Over the years, he’s been involved with lots of Virginia based indie rock history from the K Word to Shy, Low, to Psalmships. We asked him a handful of questions & here’s what he had to share:

When was the first time you heard about HSAL?

I heard about Harding Street Assembly Lab so long ago. So long, in fact, I don’t recall when exactly. I had gotten to work with Nathan on (maybe?) the earliest TLVS recording, but that was pre-HSAL.

How has HSAL connected with you personally over the years (either as a fan or an artist)?

I can say for certain that I was distinctly aware of the label when Snowy Owls (a band I was in at the time) released a split EP with White Laces (HSAL #17) on the label. It was very cool. The artwork features a dude with a club in some sort of brutal battle with a many headed dragon/beast. Pretty cool! The bands are good too.

I had the honor of working on the (forthcoming) L.A.Dies record ‘Drifting Still’ and I cannot wait for that to find the ears of Virginia music lovers. It was an amazing experience with a supremely talented band. Their soulful, swirly, shoe-gazey, powerful music moves me and resonates with the sounds I love. Grandeur gives way to sparseness. Beautiful.  I first worked with them while making the HSAL compilation ‘History Lesson Vol.1‘. (Which, if you haven’t heard, you should check out.)

What do you think HSAL has meant to “the scene”?

HSAL is unique in the way they conduct business. I personally have gotten to see behind the curtain and know that everything they do is completely deliberate, carefully planned and deeply loved. Serious and forward-thinking. Practical, professional, driven. Joanna and Nathan are the real deal – hands-on, heavy lifting collaborators.

Which two or three HSAL releases would you use to recommend the label to a friend?

White Laces & Snowy Owls, “HSAL #17“; Various Artists, “History Lesson, Vol. 1; L.A. Dies, “Drifting Still

HSAL, by Landis Wine

As we inch closer & closer to our HUGE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT, we thought it would be interesting to connect with people who have been with us through various seasons. These may be artists we’ve worked with or simply friends of the label who have watched us grow.

This time around, we caught up with Landis Wine, longtime RVA rock dude. His band White Laces were an early addition to the roster. His current act, Opin, has a single-sided 12″ through HSAL. We asked him a handful of questions & here’s what he had to share:

Landis Wine pre-show in RVA, 2018. (PC: PJ Sykes)

When was the first time you heard about HSAL?

The first time HSAL crossed my radar was on November 27, 2009 when my friend PJ forwarded me a press release detailing their first two releases. I was the music editor for RVA Magazine at the time and scanning through an endless sea of music arriving daily, but I distinctly remember receiving those first two 7″s and promptly wearing down the groove on TLVS‘ “Pebble Azalea Starfish” that winter.

How has HSAL connected with you personally over the years (either as a fan or an artist)?

HSAL were crucial in helping out White Laces as we started trying to crawl out of the morass. The special edition 12″ and split 10″ were huge deals for us and they were extremely encouraging. More recently, after Opin had a bit of a label reshuffling, HSAL stepped in to help release our Drifters EP (HSAL #43), which was a huge vote of confidence for us while we were touring and trying to plot our direction. As a fan, I’ve enjoyed dozens of their releases over the past decade, many of which I still tie with very specific/important moments in time.

What do you think HSAL has meant to “the scene”?

I think one of the most important things that HSAL has done, which has hopefully impacted what it has touched in Virginia and beyond, is stand by its roots in quality, craftsmanship and discernment. It has always served as a healthy reminder to other operators that you can survive by holding close to your guiding principles without chasing some obscure promise down one path or another.

Which two or three HSAL releases would you use to recommend the label to a friend?

TLVS,Porcelain“; White Laces & Snowy Owls, “HSAL #17” (NOTE: This was the first release Tori and I ever appeared on together, albeit on opposing sides); KillGXXD & Irving, “HSAL #42“; Various Artists, “History Lesson, Vol. 1“.

HSAL, by Ben Mauch

As we inch closer & closer to our HUGE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY EVENT, we thought it would be interesting to connect with people who have been with us through various seasons. These may be artists we’ve worked with or simply friends of the label who have watched us grow.

This time around, we caught up with Ben Mauch, who not only turns heads with his solo work, but as the drummer for Richmond-based post-rock outfit Colin Phils. We asked him a handful of questions & here’s what he had to share:

Mauch performing in Greenville NC, 2018. (PC: HSAL)

When was the first time you heard about HSAL?

I first heard about HSAL when I was in college around 2010. I was living with a bunch of people on Yeardley Ave. in Lynchburg that were involved with the band Alaska (HSAL #10). I eventually met Nathan and Joe somewhere around town.

How has HSAL connected with you personally over the years (either as a fan or an artist)?

HSAL has always been a constant source of interesting music for me, and I always look forward to listening to the releases that come out. As an artist, HSAL has pushed me to create meaningful work that I feel can have a lasting effect on a listener, and I am proud to be a part of the community.

What do you think HSAL has meant to “the scene”?

HSAL is a big part of the western Virginia music scene and is important to Virginia overall, because of the aesthetic of the music and the DIY nature of it all.

Which two or three HSAL releases would you use to recommend the label to a friend?

Oahu‘s “Slow Waves and Simple Sounds“, Opin‘s “Drifters“, and Alaska‘s “Alaska“.