Harlem is the combined efforts of two songwriters, Coomers and Curtis, who grew up together in Tucson, Arizona. After spending some time playing in various punk bands Coomers relocated to San Francisco, and Curtis kicked around for a bit in Nashville. Aimless. And bored. Coomers soon re-joined his friend in Tennessee, and the two formed a band of their own. They performed their first show as Harlem in a basement in Chattanooga that had a bunch of dogs in it. Trying out a few more locales before landing on a home base, the duo spent some time in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Portland sampling the sublets and shitty jobs made available to them as they hopped from place to place until, one ill-fated day, Curtis fell into a clearly marked construction site ditch and broke his arm, which led them to seek out permanent lodgings in beautiful Austin, Texas.
Through no fault of their own, Harlem became sort of popular. The band released their debut full-length, Hippies, on Matador in 2010 and Pitchfork awarded the album an 8.1 along with the praise “[Harlem] opt out of messing with fuzz pedals and wear their grime on their sleeve instead.” Following the release and fan-fare of Hippies, Coomers and Curtis went on to explore other side projects. Curtis busied himself with a band called Grape St. And Coomers released solo albums, back in Los Angeles for a stint, under the name Lace Curtains. In 2017 they came back together to play a few shows and released a cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Cola.” So much enjoyment was found during their reunion that they decided to back off from their respective careers as line cook and community college student to make a new record. Oh Boy, the follow-up to 2010’s Hippies, will be released on Female Fantasy Records in February 2019.