Rooted in Waynesboro, PA, Ethan Larsh’s music is an amalgamation of classic and contemporary influences, some parts Lennon/McCartney, other parts Wilco and White Stripes, and then even Flaming Lips – Larsh tales all these components and makes them something uniquely his own. His band includes thunderous drumming by Tim Weller, and rolling bass lines by Sam Silbert.
The Emperor, Larsh’s upcoming second album, was inspired after listening to Wilco’s Summerteeth on repeat, due to it being the only cd in the car during a two week tour. Wanting to write something as powerful as “A Shot in the Arm”, Larsh began writing grandiose rock tunes, with the grit of a young Jack White, and the melodic sense of his hero, Harry Nilsson.
Larsh released Ethan Larsh Breaks Hearts, an ode to 70s power pop, in 2017, and has since released EP’s Dreams (under Eve Larsh) in 2019, and Drug Ballads in 2020. His sophomore full-length will be released in November 2021.
With an album on the way, Larsh has made an exciting new power-pop and garage single (with an entertaining accompanying music video) entitled “The Fight,” and today we are excited to premiere it on Glide.The tune showcases his obvious songwriting mastery and well-worn indie rock status. Kicking off his album cycle for The Emperor, “The Fight” mixes 70’s anthemic pop (ala The Cars or Big Star) with superb and engaging production that keeps the listener’s ears perked, always on edge with a mix that works in an off-kilter, raw and live way.
Whether it’s sweeping delay strokes at the ends of vocal lines or the deep and dark fuzzed out guitar bridge, Larsh understands something pretty simple in 2021: that rock probably needs a good kick in the ass. Maybe indie rock has gotten stale or a bad rep after almost two decades of bands listing bands like The White Stripes as influences (Ethan does the very same), but this has an energy of authenticity that few have touched on since that era, probably the biggest influences being Ty Segall or the more accessible moments of The Flaming Lips recent discography. And simply put, Larsh knows it’s fun to be a little bad (that’s what makes garage rock appealing right?) so it’s fun to see the star of the video “Bad Ethan” win “The Fight”. It gives us hope that’ it’s cool to root for the anti hero again.
Watch the video and read our chat with Larsh below…
Do you produce all your own music? Some of the sonic choices are incredibly fresh for being well-worn garage rock troupes at times.
My good friend and bass player, Sam Silbert has been mixing and laying some overdubs throughout the record. We work really well together, and he’s a good one to bounce ideas off each other, and I feel like working with him is allowing me to make something really special. He’s about to put out his own album, it’s incredible.
How does “The Fight” fit into the larger context of your new album?
I’m primarily a keyboard player, but I found the songs I was writing were sounding similar, so I started writing on guitar and with my drummer, Tim Weller, and got more of a raw sound than the piano power pop hold I got into. “The Fight” is one I wrote on guitar, like the majority of the tracks on the record. It also fits into the “White Stripes meets Wilco” kind of vibe I wanted for this record- garage-rock based tunes mixed with psychedelic and experimental elements.
You’re from rural PA, but there seem to be more small and dedicated scenes, more opportunities, popping up in rural areas for indie rock in a way that isn’t accessible right now for bigger cities. What is your scene like, which bands do you connect with the most?
I feel like this area, probably like a lot of small towns, could be the next Asheville or Athens. There’s a lot of cover bands playing bars, but there’s a LOT of talented people making original music in my area. Sam Silbert is from this area – he lives in Philly now but the music he’s making is totally unique and exciting. There’s a friend of mine I like a lot named Jon Ingels, he reminds me of modern day Tom Petty – working man’s music. Jake Kimberley put out an excellent little shoegaze record recently – he plays some guitar on the album. And Pale Barn Ghosts are great, incredible lyrics with experimental folk rock behind it.