Har Mar Superstar grows up, Fuzz releases its debut, Fuck Buttons returns to form
"It was just like, the show almost seemed like something we had to get through to have the party. And I was like, I want the show to be the party. So I merged my lives into one tidy package."
Plus, Sean Na Na was already closing with a cover of R. Kelly's "When a Woman's Fed Up." And it was "slaying." Having personally witnessed this, I can attest to the awesomeness of the tribute.
As Sean Na Na was still touring when the Har Mar concept was hatched, Tillman at first claimed Har Mar was actually his younger brother, though he eventually gave up on the ruse. "It started out as a character, but it's not really one anymore. Now I just am that guy."
So Har Mar's tight package (see what I did there?) was born with 2000's self-titled KRS record, and Tillman began stripping down, break dancing, and erotically humping pillars at live shows. All well and good, but the press often lambasted him, assuming that as a sleazy white male singing R&B, he was a novelty act. But despite his early noise, Har Mar's contemporary R&B and pop roots run deep.
"I was, like, 12 when I started my first band. I was really into the Pixies, Nirvana, Velvet Underground. I wanted to sound like that but it took forever to figure it out," he says. "But I was into R&B at the same time. I was listening to the Dead Kennedys and New Edition on my paper route, you know what I mean? I was always into pop radio at the same time as all this punk and weird stuff."
He name checks youthful favorites like Keith Sweat and all the New Jack Swing stuff, and says he rediscovered his love of contemporary R&B pop during college in Chicago in the '90s with Aaliyah, Ginuwine, and that Brandy and Monica song ("The Boy is Mine"). All those inspirations came out in some form or another on early Har Mar records.
Now, his biggest inspiration would seem to be soul pioneer Sam Cooke, both sonically on Bye Bye 17, and in first track "Lady, You Shot Me" — the title comes from Cooke's supposed last words.
With Bye Bye 17, Har Mar melded himself and Har Mar into one act, taking bits and pieces from early Sean Na Na soft pop days, vintage soul superstar inspiration, and his own vocal capabilities to create an album that's both thoughtful and entertaining.
"I finally got to be in the winter in New York when I was writing it, and I think that kind of took it in the direction it went. I came back to a form and took two styles I'd done before and put them together and it became more of a soul thing, which is awesome."
The music may be more authentic and personal but he still prefers a passionate live show to a snoozer.
"It just comes from wanting the audience to not be bored. There's a lot of boring shit happening," he says. "I'll still end up shirtless and probably making out with people but that's just because it's fun as fuck. My job rules."
The golden-locked golden child Ty Segall returneth, pounding and hollering behind the drums of newish group Fuzz. Fuzz, which includes frequent Segall collaborator Charles Moothart on guitar and vox and Chad Ubovich on bass, just last week released a self-titled debut full-length on In the Red. The noisy record, tripped-out and heavy, is said to be influenced by both Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix. Picture that in a cloud of smoke with the backbone of California's most prolific weirdo rock'n'roller and you'll have a good sense of what goes down on this debut.
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