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Charlie Martin and Will Taylor met at a baseball game while on tour drumming for different bands. Back home in Austin, the two Texas natives discovered both held batches of compatible songs, intended for solo projects. They merged as Hovvdy instead.
Penned separately, the duo’s first-ever songwriting efforts coalesce seamlessly on debut LP Taster. To this day, Charlie and Will create like satellites on the same orbit, combining bedroom recordings into a singular worn-in sound. Their downtempo rock found an audience in the Austin and New Orleans scenes, elevated by support from small indie Sports Day Records.
Brooklyn label Double Double Whammy re-released Taster in 2017, followed by Cranberry in 2018. The sophomore work solidified the group’s sturdy guitar strums and rhythmic instincts, enveloped in nostalgic glow. Third LP Heavy Lifter finds new dimensions in the Hovvdy soundscape.
For Heavy Lifter, the duo worked with producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Ben Littlejohn. Throughout fall 2018, the team built out the album in makeshift home studios around Texas. Both singers’ voices cut through more decisively than ever, carried by vivid storytelling and production eccentricities.
Familiar fuzz maintains the warmth of past work, but Heavy Lifter is never muffled. Clear-cut characters and scenes emerge in the 13 tracks. Antsy love song “1999” wanders around a small town, while bright pop piece “Mr. Lee” retells a lonely day in reverent detail. Lo-fi Daniel Johnston moment “TellmeI’masinger” empathetically enters an artistic perspective, unwound lyrically as: “Tell me I’m a singer.”
Memories inform present decision-making throughout the album. Two tracks dive into family legacies, “Pixie” admitting “outside my mind/ is where i’m gonna be/ not what i had hoped at 14.” “Sudbury” recounts childhood major league dreams: “front yard catch, you got a plan/ to be a baseball star/ texas ranger shortstop.”
Breaking from the confines of guitar-based slowcore, pop and hip-hop influences expand Hovvdy’s established framework. Propulsive, straightforward hooks usher in autotuned tweaks, chugging beats and genre exploration. By pulling apart slightly, Charlie and Will step into new spaces on Heavy Lifter. Always in sync, it’s a balanced effort.