Best of What's Next: Harper Blynn

Music Features Harper Blynn
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Hometown: New York City
Album: Loneliest Generation
Band Members: Pete Harper (keys, guitar, vocals), J.Blynn (guitar, vocals), Sarab Singh (drums, vocals), Whynot (bass, vocals)
For Fans Of: Wilco, Queen, Jellyfish

Harper Blynn’s songs are catchy, and the band’s okay with that. “We’re not really trying to shy away from that and we’re not trying to write songs for a very select group of people,” says Pete Harper, one of the group’s two frontmen. “The point is to get people to love the songs before they maybe even realize that there are lyrics.”

The band has been working overtime the past few months to get people to love those songs, playing SXSW in March and touring all over the U.S. in support of their new record, Loneliest Generation (out now). It’s the group’s first LP as Harper Blynn; they used to record as Pete and J, also named for the two lead singers, a perhaps unlikely musical pair.

Blynn, a Philadelphia native, comes from a folk and soul background, while Chicago-bred Harper cites grunge among his earliest musical influences; they met on a summer orientation trip through the wilderness with Amherst College in Massachusetts, and have been pals and collaborators ever since. Generation trades on straightforward hooks, self-reflective lyrics and the occasional dirty guitar splash, but is greater than the sum of its reference points. Says Harper: “It became something that was impossible to define, because we were listening to so many different kinds of music.”

Their friendship is more important than their shared reference points, it seems; “If you have a songwriting partner you’re working with,” Harper says, “you always have to trust them before you trust yourself.” It’s vital, too, when it comes to life on the road—but a small amount of Googling will turn up the band’s “Geology Hour” videos, mini-mockumentaries they’ve filmed while on tour.

Given the shorts, perhaps it’s no surprise that Blynn and Harper are already setting their sights beyond music. “Pete and I also want to make a comedy show at some point, like a cabaret-style show,” co-frontman J. Blynn admits. “We have lots of late shows and tonight shows but they’re kind of lacking a really variety type show. We know so many comedians and great bands, it would be cool to produce something like that.”

“Listen to “25 Years from Loneliest Generation on the Paste & Starbucks Music Channel.

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