H.D. Harmsen – Papoose

posted in: CDs, Des Moines, Digital, H.D. Harmsen, New Stuff, Vinyl | 17

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Artist: H.D. Harmsen; Album: Papoose; Release #: MAR10Release Date: 04/30/2013
Formats: LP/CD/DL

There’s no one else like H.D. Harmsen. He stands over a precipitous divide, one foot balanced on the shoulders of the Gershwin brothers and another in the hands of Lou Reed, with Brian Wilson calmly whispering words of encouragement. Harmsen is one of the few songwriters bridging the gap of the classic American songbook with the ever-curious wave of progressivism rippling through this country’s underground scenes and splashing every couple weeks onto the music media’s radar. Harmsen proudly holds up the flag of New Sincerity, smiling with glee and embracing sentimentality. And these aren’t just words. The music stands behind him. With an album that features everything from strings-laden chamber pop to Tin Pan Alley to crunchy rock and roll and folk-punk love songs, Harmsen shows he’s sings what he means and he means what he sings. The debut record from H.D. Harmsen serves as a portrait of the artist as a mature musician, and a bedrock for the shape of Harmsen’s work to come.


Be sure to download the title track for free!





All his life, H.D. Harmsen has stood behind the scenes. Backstage, out of the light. In the studio, but not on the screen. With Papoose, he steps forward. H.D. Harmsen has already acquired an astute and accomplished reputation in the Iowa music scene as a supporting cast member of multiple outfits. After playing for years in a number of bands, Harmsen now finds himself contributing listful guitar lines to the piano and soul act Christopher the Conquered and providing the foundation as bassist for rock band Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires. He lurks in the shadows of pit orchestras and behind piles of notation tablets, having arranged strings for the much-awaited debut solo effort of The Poison Control Center‘s Patrick Tape Fleming, known as Gloom Balloon. Patrick has been a huge supporter of Harmsen’s, bringing the experience of playing hundreds of live shows, touring with the likes of The Apples In Stereo and even having Max Weinberg sit in on drums for a show. Patrick has also produced multiple Poison Control Center records, receiving rave reviews from Pitchfork and making it onto dozens of year-end best lists more than a handful of times. More recently, he produced the debut LP for Afternoon Records’ recording artist Dolfish, a record which has been praised by the likes of American Songwriter and Paste, and has garnered the attention of Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich.

Papoose was produced by another protege of Patrick’s, Chris Ford of Christopher the Conquered, whose work has been featured by MagnetConsequence of Sound, and others. Ford & Harmsen created a special bond in the century-old dilapidated schoolhouse where they recorded the album, in small-town Lovilia, Iowa, coalmining capital of a great state that’s known for a lot of things, coal typically not being one of them; perhaps soon, the sign outside of Lovilia will read “LOVILIA: BIRTH PLACE OF PAPOOSE”. We’re willing to bet on it.

We here at Maximum Ames Records really can’t get over the fact that we’re releasing H.D. Harmsen’s debut album, Papoose.

The collectible vinyl version of the album comes with a foldout photo collage and lyrics sheet. Each LP, produced on high quality virgin vinyl, also comes with a unique download code for a free digital version of the album. Why? Because we love you.

Both the LP and CD version of the album come in beautifully crafted packages, designed by Des Moines artist Avalan Wilson.

You can also order a digital copy if that’s the way you like it. A unique download code will be sent to your email address, giving you access to 3 downloads of the album.


“One minute [Harmsen is] singing something that sounds like an old American standard, the next he’s crushing guitar solos and singing with punk-like aggression. The dynamic shifts and genre switches make this album one of the most fun listening experiences of 2013 so far.” Josh Terzino, Music Defined

“With Papoose, H.D. Harmsen has made an incredibly assured debut album that’s as diverse as a world traveler, but still as uniquely Iowan as Templeton Rye…the ease with which Papoose slides into [different] genres is truly staggering.” A- Jeremy Hoffman,  The Milk Carton

“Somehow, through his persistence and charm, Harmsen manages to make a true multi-genre album that somehow succeeds in being all things to all people.” David Murphy, Des Moines Is Not Boring
“[Harmsen offers thoughts on love] in a way that treats the subject like the mediocre, but sensational and stimulating, multi-layered onion that we’ve come to understand very little and a whole lot about.” Sean Moeller, Daytrotter


#3 Top Album and #9 Top Track of 2013 – Des Moines Is Not Boring


Best of 2013 Picks – Iowa Public Radio


The record comes with a download card packaged in it! You’ll use this to access your digital version. Thank you!

17 Responses

  1. […] Head here to listen to some songs and make your decision. Tomorrow we release the title track’s music video. […]

  2. […] solo act. And while his album, “Papoose,” isn’t available until 4/30, pre-order it from Maximum Ames and take a look at this teaser video. If you need further convincing, Ford and […]

  3. […] Pre-order Papoose now and get a free Mumford’s/H.D. Harmsen split 7″! Check out Band Bombshell, who graciously debuted this video last week. […]

  4. […] about it! We are so honored to be releasing The Lonelyhearts’ Years in the Great Interiorand H.D. Harmsen’s Papoose in the coming month! They are both available for pre-order now – click on the album covers […]

  5. […] 1) You still have time to pre-order the record and get a free copy of H.D. Harmsen’s split 7″ with Mumford’s. Click here and get in on the action! […]

  6. […] is the day. H.D. Harmsen’s Papoose is finally here. Aren’t you glad? Buy your copy now, then be sure to check out this Daytrotter […]

  7. […] can pick up this record in all the familiar places-iTunes & Amazon, as well as Maximum Ames Records. I urge you to make your purchase as soon as humanly […]

  8. […] And seriously, if you haven’t purchased your copy yet, don’t you think it’s about time? […]

  9. […] other news, Magnet Magazine just debuted this brand new music video from H.D. Harmsen (order his debut LP here), directed by Leslie Hall. After that, keep scrollin’ for a legit new Christopher the […]

  10. […] Earlier this month, H.D. Harmsen performed a beautiful solo set on the Des Moines based television show Great Day on KCWI. Check out the video, which includes some mildly interesting banter and a most excellent performance of the title track off his new LP, Papoose. You can nab a copy of the record right here. […]

  11. […] (Gloom Balloon) produced a record in Des Moines featuring a number of musicians from Maximum Ames (H.D. Harmsen, Derek Lambert, Dylan Boyle, Christopher the Conquered), backing a dude named Dolfish. That record […]

  12. […] Harmsen’s Papoose makes a great gift, The Lonelyhearts may just win your heart, and The Wheelers‘ […]

  13. […] it out below. If you like the video/song, head over to Maximum Ames Records website and pick up a copy. If you want to hear more before you buy, Papoose is streaming on […]

  14. […] latest album Papoose. You can stream it on Spotify, or you can just buy yourself a copy here and check out the video for “Song For Judy” […]

  15. […] There’s also this new video for H.D. Harmsen‘s “I Still Believe In You”, from his 2013 debut LP Papoose. Music Defined premiered this last week. Grab the record here. […]

  16. Great

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