Jon Hardy & the Public "In the Morning" / "1974" soundcloud.com/jon-hardy
The past few years have been series of peaks and valleys for Jon Hardy & the Public. The highs (a few well-received LPs, a spot at 2011's LouFest) were met with some momentum-killing lows, especially after Hardy fractured two vertebrae after falling out of a tree. So the appearance of these two new songs marks the band's first release since 2010's A Hard Year EP.
This digital release serves a few purposes: to remind St. Louis and parts beyond that the Public is still an active band, for one, but also to prime the pump for an upcoming LP release. Hardy & Co. recently completed a crowd-funding campaign that netted nearly $5,000, which will be used in part to continue tracking songs with producer Benjamin Balcom at Chicago's Minbal studios. Balcom has worked with Daughn Gibson recently, as well as a host of other midlevel indie bands, and his work on these tracks simply amplifies the aesthetics that the Public and its more modestly recorded output has carved out.
There's more ambience around the edges of these tracks -- churchly organ chords, some rhythmic bursts serving as punctuation -- but the core of these songs remains centered on mid-range guitar slashes, a sturdy rhythm section and Hardy's always emotive voice. Hardy has been playing "In the Morning" at shows for nearly three years, and it's a comfort to have one of his best songs to date appear in digital form.
Set amid a relationship's long goodbye, the song's lyrics reference exotic, refined luxury (Champagne and trips abroad), but Hardy sounds as bereft as ever. "1974" is a bit more domestic in location (Cleveland, Ohio to be precise) and seeks an almost sunny optimism amid the brokenness. In that sense, it was wise to pair these two tracks as the Public's reintroduction -- they show Hardy's belief in maintaining hope amid exquisitely heartbreaking strife.
Check out the new songs below:
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