“This album chronicles a battle with anxiety and depression and conquering it to the best of my ability. I’d say everything I write is a reflection of myself, but this album was particularly candid and soul-bearing:”
Maybe I’m just tuned into it a lot more, but a lot more people are getting comfortable with being raw these days. And this album takes you into the thick of the disruption disrupting, of catalytic topsy-turvy, grooveable tempo that finds its pocket in your unique rhythm and your individual expression. Man, I’m digging the talent that’s creating pockets of moments of allowing themselves to be discoverable in this day and this day age. Howard runs no risk of sounding like a broken record because it’s his story and the story of every man. WOW, Campus Flash Back.
“I just want people to hear it (whether they love or hate it) and draw some form of comfort or understanding from it and find a part of themselves in it if possible.” rolls off his tongue as a matter of fact.
And here’s where my inner psychologist unravels at the plethora between madness and insanity. And our talent to numb ourselves into oblivion. This isn’t your classical fairy tale. It’s not a blasphemy spewing of anger; it’s something that lives under the skin. Between the human and inhumane. The Soul and the Soulless. But if you don’t like tripping yourself over deep lyrical contortions, you’ll be glad to know it’s utterly funkable grooves that get those fingers drumming, and your body shape shifting without you even knowing it.
“Although these songs do speak for themselves, I would like to explain them briefly to be a little less cryptic. I wrote almost all of these in Copenhagen, Denmark when I was living there from 2013-2014. It was a challenging, beautiful, educational, terrifying and astonishing time in my life. I formed closer relationships with family and friends back home and also met some incredible people abroad. Each and every one of these people had a major part in helping me survive some crippling anxiety and depression, and thus, this album was born. A response. An echo. A reaction. A strong middle finger to the negative and an embrace to what gives me peace inside.”
A Philadelphia transplant by way of Pittsburgh, Howard Louis comes armed with powerful vocals and a piano. He fuses sounds of rock, alternative, pop, and even flavors of show tunes in his catalog of songs. Louis’s brutally honest lyrics are perceptive, biting, self-deprecating, and naked. All of these qualities are crafted over melodic soundscapes that are sometimes dark, sometimes quirky, and sometimes raw and beautiful.
Louis released his last full-length album, Cutting Cords, in July 2010. Special shows promoting the album were done in Philadelphia throughout the following year. 2012 introduced The Dark Hour, a 3-song EP released track by track throughout the year. At the end of 2012, Howard performed a tribute to the great Tom Waits in Philadelphia.
And then this happened:
The Album has a pretty interesting story in itself.
“It’s a play on the expression by a poet named Omar Khayyám:, “the moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on.” I liked the idea of seeing myself being hurt (or, stung) and then moving on. As it usually does. I was attracted to metaphors while writing this record.” he shares.
BOOM! I think you nailed that one Howard! Of course, he is referring to the album name which is Having Stung Moves On. He explains it as a social commentary of “conquering a pretty dark self-journey and gaining strength from it.”
After all, we all have that shadow that we can’t get away from. We could share cute videos of a girl trying to outrun her shadow, but there are lessons to be learned in the thick of things. Or as Kelly would say ” what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
What I appreciate about this is the gentleness with which he cups the darkness. Ever so delicately he unravels the layers only to take you as far as you are willing to go. It’s not hate, and wounding, it’s just giving voice to hey this is a real feeling …
And yes, it has it’s pretty light moments too.
“I grew up listening to musicians express themselves through their lyrics. I realized soon that I was supposed to be doing the same thing and that it was in my blood.” he admits.
And you can tell. One word is bubbling up. And that’s effortless. Like the songs just wrote themselves. And there’s something inescapable to be said about that.
Favorite tracks – are you going to do this to me? How is this for a first listening – every song gets a nod. A rare treat for an album. But maybe not so much for a story weaver. Yes, not a storyteller, a weaver. A weaver of cords.
And the other thing, the classic vibe of the dark side sounds heavy and full throttle. With a lot of screaming .This feels stripped down to just what’s needed, and then a treat. It’s not acoustic, but it feels like it.
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