Harkin has just announced her debut self-titled album is set for release April 24th via Hand Mirror, a new label set up by Harkin and her partner Kate Leah Hewett and is sharing new single “Nothing The Light Can’t Change” from the record.The track features Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa and Wye Oak & Bon Iver’s Jenn Wasner and is streaming online now. Harkin will tour across Europe over the next few months supporting both Sleater-Kinney & Torres.
Speaking about the new single, Harkin said “‘Nothing the Night Can’t Change‘ is a love song inspired by the North of England. Anyone that’s been on a night out in Leeds, or any of those places knows all the switches get flipped after dark. The romance and chaos of this song belongs to those nights.
Jenn and Stella were both old tour friends of mine but had never met before our recording session together. By the end of day one they were finishing each other’s jokes and, miraculously, a bunch of the album’s foundational live tracks are first or second takes. The whole recording and mixing process only took 16 days total, but I ended up working in studios across three different time zones, so that spontaneity was essential to keeping the spark alive in the final song as it travelled with me. Jenn and Stella are as good as it gets and I’m hugely grateful.”
Harkin has been touring since her teens and is one of the most prolific collaborators of her generation. Now, a lifelong collaborator steps into the singular.
In addition to her own bands, she has been a touring member of Sleater-Kinney, Wild Beasts, Flock of Dimes, and Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett. She performed backing vocals for Dua Lipa on Saturday Night Live. Harkin also dueted with comedian Sarah Silverman on ‘Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s The Midnight Organ Fight’.Her studio work includes contributions to Waxahatchee’s ‘Out In The Storm’. Outside of the music world, Harkin has composed for Turner Prize-winning artist Helen Marten and British comedian Josie Long. She even has a Saturday Night Live sketch named after her (Fred Armisen’s 2016 ‘Harkin Brothers Band’).
‘Harkin‘ will be released on Hand Mirror, with publishing support from Rough Trade Publishing. Harkin and her partner, the poet and live arts organiser Kate Leah Hewett, founded Hand Mirror in 2019. The record is the first full length album to be released on Hand Mirror, and the organisation also will also have literary publications, compilations and live events in both the US and the UK in the pipeline.
The album was written on the road, in a cottage in the Peak District – the UK’s oldest national park – and in Upstate New York. The record was as nomadic as its creator, made over time in three different time zones – at Seahorse Sound in LA, Tesla Sheffield UK with Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Darkstar) and with John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Waxahatchee, Kurt Vile) at Sonic Youth’s Echo Canyon West NJ USA.
The record features contributions from Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa and Wye Oak & Bon Iver’s Jenn Wasner and was completed over 16 days dotted between Harkin’s gruelling tour schedule.
The result of Harkin’s unique trajectory is an album that fuses the eeriness of the English countryside with the pace of the mechanized world. In addition to the live foundation of the record, formed of her in-demand musicianship and that of her world class collaborators, manipulated samples and synths howl out over the songs like the winds on the moors themselves. The album cover features a portrait by acclaimed cinematographer Ashley Connor (Angel Olsen, Maggie Rogers, Mitski, Broad City S5, The Miseducation of Cameron Post) overlaid with Harkin’s own photo of marquee letters she discovered in a venue laundry room. Truly an album born on the road.
Harkin on the album:
“I was living in a Peak District cottage beneath the moors when I started this record, but it mostly formed as I took it with me round the world in the slipstream of the music of my friends. It was wildly rewarding, but what left the most indelible mark on this album was how jarring that time in my life was. Many of these songs grew from the tension between opposites. Between the wilderness and the city, between self-examination and communal ecstatic, night and day, love and shame.
Growing up in the North you can be on the moors and at a warehouse party in the same day if you have bus fare. Sonically, I was searching for a sound that reflected that experience, that combined the eeriness of the English countryside with the pace of the mechanized world.
It’s taken me a long time to get to the point of being able to put this record out, and in many ways I’m grateful for the fractured process that led to it, as it has allowed me the space to reflect and create something that is truly without compromise. Founding Hand Mirror is such a big part of that. Culture has always been our personal scaffolding, and with Hand Mirror, we want to build something that can in turn provide that support to others. This album is as much to honour my hard-won sense of self as it is the music that has made the world porous for me in ways I could never have hoped for. “
Pre-order ‘Harkin’ here.
See Harkin live:
Feb 18 – Berlin DE – Astra*
Feb 19 – Amsterdam NL – Paradiso Kleine Zaal*
Feb 21 – Brussels BE – Botanique*
Feb 22 – Frankfurt DE – Batschkapp*
Feb 24 – Paris FR – Trianon*
Feb 26 – London UK – Brixton Academy*
Feb 27 – Manchester UK – Manchester Academy*
Feb 28 – Glasgow UK – Barrowlands*
Mar 01 – Dublin IRE – Vicar Street*
Mar 03 Bristol UK – The Louisiana^
Mar 04 Manchester UK – YES^
Mar 05 London UK – Oslo^
Mar 09 Hamburg DE – Uebel & Gefährlich (Turmzimmer)^
Mar 10 Copenhagen DK – Loppen^
Mar 11 Berlin DE – Kantine am Berghain^
Mar 12 Heidelberg DE – Karlstorbahnhof^
Mar 13 Zürich CH – Rote Fabrik^
Mar 14 Torino IT – Circolo della Musica^
Mar 16 Paris FR – Le Pop Up du Label^
* – supporting Sleater-Kinney
^ – supporting Torres