Harvey Danger: Little by Little

I’m not really much of a Harvey Danger fan outside of my iPod favorite “Flagpole Sitta” which has the kind of power pop manic energy I love. Lyrics to refresh your memory:

I had visions, I was in them,
I was looking into the mirror
To see a little bit clearer
The rottenness and evil in me

Fingertips have memories,
Mine can’t forget the curves of your body
And when I feel a bit naughty
I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
(But no one ever does)

I’m not sick, but I’m not well
and I’m so hot ’cause I’m in hell

Been around the world and found
That only stupid people are breeding
The cretins cloning and feeding
And I don’t even own a TV

Put me in the hospital for nerves
And then they had to commit me
You told them all I was crazy
They cut off my legs now I’m an amputee, Goddamn you

I’m not sick, but I’m not well
And I’m so hot cause I’m in hell
I’m not sick, but I’m not well
And it’s a sin, to live so well

I wanna publish ‘zines
And rage against machines
I wanna pierce my tongue
It doesn’t hurt, it feels fine
The trivial sublime
I’d like to turn off time
And kill my mind
You kill my mind
Mind…

Paranoia, paranoia
Everybody’s comin’ to get me
Just say you never met me
I’m runnin’ underground with the moles
Diggin’ in holes
Hear the voices in my head
I swear to God it sounds like they’re snoring
But if you’re bored then you’re boring
The agony and the irony, they’re killing me, whoa!

I’m not sick, but I’m not well
And I’m so hot cause I’m in hell
I’m not sick, but I’m not well
And it’s a sin to live this well

(One, two, three, four!)

So I was kind of struck last year when the boys of Harvey Danger announced that not only were they self-releasing their third album, Little by Little, but they also be offering up free downloads of the entire, both directly through their site and via BitTorrent. Brilliant. I put the link on del.icio.us last year, but only downloaded the album this morning. Go here if you want a copy.

In their explanation for why they decided to go the free download route, they mention something extremely compelling for every band out there:

Whether or not people will buy something they can get for free is obviously a big question, and there are facts and figures to support both sides of the argument. We think it’s not only possible, but likely. The more fundamental challenge is ensuring people have access to your work to begin with. (emphasis mine)

The other really great thing about their distribution online is that the “package” you get includes all the songs (obviously), all the lyrics and some html pages that equal up to the actual CD packaging. Pretty cool and very thorough. I guess if you believe in your music (or art or product) then giving it away online only works if you give it all away. Cool.

None of the stuff on Little by Little is as energetic and frenetic as Flagpole Sitta, but it is really enjoyable. It reminds me a little bit of a Ben Folds Five CD of the new Matthew Sweet. Lots of piano, layering and fun but not quite as much bombast as that iconic single of 1998. My full review would likely steal a lot from PopMatters, if that helps. I’m thinking of buying it directly from their online store.

My two cents. Download it yourself and see what you think.

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