New Artist: The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart's self-titled debut album, released earlier this year

By Haley Earl-Lynn

Music that gives you the chills, takes your breath away, or finds you with your jaw on the floor (despite how cliche that all sounds) is what I call eargasmic music. I don’t just throw the term eargasm around. Only some music deserves the label. Finding eargasmic music is one of my top priorities. If you think you would enjoy an eargasm as well, then I have a suggestion for you: The Head and the Heart.

With roots all over the United States, this band draws on a variety of influences to produce eargasm. Their sound is “a mashup of Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons”, says music lover and eargasm seeker (and USD Radio Editor in Chief) Sarah Jorgensen. The band themselves say that they have been inspired by the folk movement in Seattle, Washington, where they currently reside, but find even deeper inspiration in the music their parents loved.

Looking at the music of Paul Simon, Neil Young, and other greats who budded in their parents’ time, it makes sense that The Head and the Heart found influence. They sing songs about family, home, travels and love… of course love. They don’t try anything funky in either their songwriting or performing. What sets them apart is their sound. They are old school in comparison to many new bands who mix dubstep in to mask poor vocals or blasé lyrics.

While many bands sound good on their albums (hence the reason we purchase albums, right?) no eargasm has ever come from a recorded, remastered version. The true test of a band’s sound happens at their live performance.

I’ll give an example. The Black Eyed Peas were pretty high up on my list of favorites in middle school. I thought their track “Where is the Love?” spoke to me. I saw them in concert later in the year and realized I had been fooled by auto tone! Fergie sounded terrible live and I was very disappointed.

I am happy to report that The Head and the Heart did not let me down like the Black Eyed Peas did. In fact, I left an even bigger fan than before after catching them in KPRi’s Studio i last Friday. KPRi 102.1 FM is an independently owned radio station here in San Diego. I was lucky enough to film their live studio session, although I was so enamored by them I am afraid I may have cut their heads off with the video camera. I was a little busy taking in all the beauty of their sound. All of the symptoms of an eargasm hit me. I had chills during the first sound check.

While there are six members in the band, only three came into the studio: Jonathan Russel, Josiah Johnson, and Charity Rose Thielen. Jonathan and Josiah tackled the vocals while Charity played the violin. This can be deduced from their performance: Fergie has nothing on The Head and the Heart’s vocal capabilities. Check out the video on

If you haven’t heard of The Head and the Heart before, I would suggest “Lost In My Mind,” which is their most popular, well-known song. My favorite track is “Rivers and Roads” and after seeing it performed live, my love for it has been renewed. You can’t go wrong with any of The Head and the Heart’s tracks, especially if you are looking for an eargasm.