H.D. Harmsen-Idiot Boy


It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from H.D. Harmsen. Back in 2013 he put out Papoose, which is still one of the most criminally under-heard records of the decade. It’s on Spotify, go listen now and come back to this later!

Did you like it? “A Love Forgotten,” right? That turn-on-a-dime guitar solo just hits you out of nowhere. Great stuff. And it gives you a little insight to the eclectic nature of Harmsen’s sound.

Idiot Boy was released as a surprise a couple day’s ago on the musician’s 30th birthday. Maximum Ames once again dropped a great record that’s flying under the radar. It’s available for the low, low price of only five dollars. Grab it here.

There’s a lot going on here, and things can change pretty quickly from song to song or even verse to verse. Sometimes he’s singing about a pretty normal domestic life and then all of a sudden you’ll start hearing lyrics about death and this existential dread just kind of creeps into your head.

Adding to the darkness is a strange dichotomy of beginnings and endings. Very late in the double album we’re introduced to “Baby Esme” only to be followed up by a song called “Things Don’t Last Forever.” Earlier in the album we’re treated to a recounted story of President Kennedy’s death and funeral. I think these, along with a quick interlude consisting of a man buying lemonade from a kid, are subtle reminders of the constant cycle in which we find ourselves.

My personal favorite song is “I See The Moon.” It sounds like The Strokes covering Wilco’s “Dawned On Me” off The Whole Love album. It also perfectly encapsulates the albums themes in the opening lines: “We had fun, now it’s gone. Say hello, now so long.”

Idiot Boy is exactly the kind of album I needed in the dead of summer when I’m surrounded by big music festivals in Chicago that try to appease all tastes with watered down lineups that leave me wanting more. Harmsen’s singular vision for his music is a testament to his talents and a gift to us all. It’s music that hasn’t been focus grouped and tested to get the formula just right. Some people may not dig it, and that’s fine. Those of us that do like it will defend it until our death.