Boy Harsher

Literate US darkwave excursions

Photo: Una Blue

Who They?

Boy/girl darkwave synth duo Boy Harsher are Jae Matthews and Augustus Miller, who are currently based in Northampton, Massachusetts. Their beats and synths linger sweetly somewhere between the propulsive hypnotic abstraction of Factory Floor and the output of some of Minimal Wave’s early European synthpop re-releases such as the luscious Deux.

Why Boy Harsher?

Jae Matthews half sings/half speaks her way through reverb-swamped vignettes which, while difficult to interpret with guaranteed accuracy thanks to her often slurred and murmured delivery, are clear enough in their general mood to communicate a dark but seductive emotional state. ‘Motion’, the lead track from their new ‘Country Girl’ EP, is a case in point. A woman walks the streets of New York City at night, her jet black hair and leather jacket signifiers of that other NYC poet of the night, Patti Smith. She ends up in a karaoke booth, pouring her heart out. You have no idea what’s going on, but like the music, the imagery creates a compelling atmosphere with very little.

Tell Us More…

Boy Harsher emerged from a previous incarnation as Teen Dreamz, a literature/music project that saw Matthews read her short stories as they were “live scored” by Miller. They’re both ex-art students with, it says here, a background in film. This background gives Boy Harsher’s glum demeanour a depth of creative intent that lifts it above the more ordinary bands you can find mining the same seam. Check out last year’s ‘Yr Body Is Nothing’ album for a more DIY iteration of the full-bodied material you’ll find on the ‘Country Girl’ EP.

‘Country Girl’ EP is released by Ascetic House

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