Prior to recording this album, AL led the band Some Velvet Sidewalk, recorded solo under the names "Melting Igloo" and "Telepathic Youth", collaborated with the legendary Scottish avant garde pop group the Pastels (released as "Sandy Dirt") and co-produced and collaborated with the experimental hip hop combo Evil Tambourines.
The album was released on <label>propertyistheft.com</label> as a CD in 2005. Around this time AL played a number of west coast shows, either solo or as a duo (with drummer Don Blair). The album has never before been available (legitimately) as a download.
The Hardline is eleven songs. Eleven provocations. Eleven arguments that love is not dead, that the vibration between what is and what might be is still the most thrilling game in town. The Hardline is a rich sonic tapestry, all the more remarkable for having been recorded on a photocopy machine. Steve Fisk (producer of records for Low, Geraldine Fibbers, Wedding Present) played electric piano and added extra toner. Who else could coax those deep contrasts and fields of gray from a Xerox 2100? Press print and move the original. Scratch the glass. Many innovative techniques of focus and blur. Don Blair (yes, he was in Some Velvet Sidewalk) played a drum set that was traveling the world in 1935. Pounding and slapping, echoes of the past. The kick drum sounds big because it actually is. Reverberant as all get out. Al played mostly acoustic guitar, mic-ed close and strummed hard. This is rock as recorded by other rules. The Hardline is in debt to the proto-punk and post-punk iconoclasts of the '70s and '80s. For starters: the Red Krayola, Suicide, the Modern Lovers, Patti Smith Group, Tuxedomoon, Giorno Poetry Systems. A lot of borrowing, yes, but with an ear for transforming the familiar, for picking up the ignored threads in conversations and building them into songs."
released January 1, 2005
Al Larsen: voice and guitar
Don Blair: drums
Steve Fisk: electric piano, organ, production