SOCIAL DISTANCE SALE!

SOUND: L.A. Dies, “Tend To Do (Opin Mix II)”

We’re offering 50% off all titles through the weekend (we’ll ship on Monday). Our goal is to put new music into homes as we hunker down to stop things from getting any worse. Stay healthy, keep rockin’!

Starting 2020 Off Proper!

Hope you and yours made the holidays special in unique ways. We took the downtime to exhale in preparation for all that the new year will swing our way. Here’s what we know right now:

L.A. DIES ON WNRN!

The Commonwealth’s widest reaching independent radio station, WNRN, has just picked up “Feels Really Small” from the four-piece’s HSAL debut for regular rotation. We supremely proud of this record, so it’s swell to learn of it capturing the ears of others.

HSAL #52 IS ABOUT TO DROP!

Cover image for HSAL #52 created by James Wood.

Our next release comes courtesy of Blacksburg’s Graven Image. This EP, the first proper recording for the cello/synth + voice duet, was tracked at the Old City Cemetery Chapel right here in Lynchburg back in November. Joey from honeybrandy sat in on the session as well. The result is a really dark ethereal pair of long-form compositions that feel akin to the work of Julianna Barwick or Richard Skelton. The band is going to end up with most of cassette run, but we will have a handful to sell once the release drops in February. Stream a sample from the EP here.

OUR BANDS OUT & ABOUT!

Most of our acts are hitting stages in the coming weeks. Here are the dates we know about (follow the bands directly for the most up-to-date information):

  • L.A. DIES / TLVS: 01/10 @ Taphouse (Norfolk)
  • YOU’RE JOVIAN: 01/24 @ Fuzzy Cactus (Richmond)
  • L.A. DIES: 01/25 @ Nicky’s House (Richmond)
  • TLVS: 01/25 @ Speakertree (Lynchburg)
  • YOU’RE JOVIAN: 01/31 @ Meridian (Williamsburg)
  • YOU’RE JOVIAN: 02/01 @ Tea Bazaar (Charlottesville)
  • HONEYBRANDY: 02/07 @ The Academy Center (Lynchburg)

Do the bands a solid – dance, sing along and buy some merch!

Thanks, Folks!

We’re only days away from the end of the decade! It’s been a complete BLAST working with so many talented folks thus far. We are especially thankful for what 2019 brought our way:

  • EP’s from Good Dog Nigel and You’re Jovian
  • Full lengths from Andres Momentomori and L.A. Dies
  • A double CD from Oahu
  • A completely killer ten-year anniversary party at the Academy Center featuring friends old and new

We threw together this Spotify playlist as a “debrief” for all that action that we were a part of this year. Also included are some choice sounds that the Commonwealth birthed over the past twelve months. Some of these are as-of-yet unsigned acts (Emily Brophy) while others are between labels (Big Baby, KEEP, Opin). Then there is the latest single from our good buds DEMONS for good measure…

Here’s to a new year, a new decade, and a new chapter in the HSAL story!

L.A. Dies on the air!

WNRN’s 4th annual holiday showcase, featuring L.A. Dies, debuts 12/11/19!

Fresh off their “Dead Air” appearance at the Academy Center last month, regional independent WNRN has invited L.A. Dies up to the studio to help usher in holiday cheer this week. Wednesday evening (12/11) from 8P – 10P, the band will join other Commonwealth up-and-comers (Will Overman, Saw Black) to perform live. If you’re in Virginia, chances are you can find it on an old fashioned receiver dial. Everyone else can pull the show up online via the tune in app.

In related news, the station is currently running a poll for the best albums of 2019. While there are several records of note, we’d love to see “Drifting Still” come up in the final tally. Simply write in the latest L.A. Dies album and submit it with the records you returned to the most this year.

New L.A. Dies Single!

On Friday, November 29th, we are dropping the new L.A. Dies maxi-single! “Tend To Do” is the second official cut to be featured from the four-piece’s spectacular LP, “Drifting Still“. HSAL fans can the entire release here prior to the 29th!

At the album’s release back in September, we reached out to HSAL friends & family about the possibility of reworking one of the tunes. Multiple responses were that the track would have to be “Tend To Do”. For this maxi-single, which clocks in at roughly 18 minutes, the single proper is paired with remixes from Tracy Shedd (ex-Band & The Beat), Benjamin Mauch (Colin Phils) & Opin (who are currently mixing down their new LP).

The single comes across like a long-lost remnant from the last Cocteau Twins album. Slithering bass lines that work around programmed rhythms with a vocal delivery that earns allure as it escapes translation. Each of the remixes lean into the ethereal space trapped within the original. Tracy Shedd & Opin both find themselves working with processed percussive elements to augment the tune. Ben Mauch’s redux is floats away from the base, landing at an authentic recreation.


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