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HEAP Electronic Press Kit

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What is HEAP?

Bryan J. Howard has toured with the Violent Femmes as part of the Horns of Dilemma and played bass with Jim White, Sarah Lee Guthrie and is a full time member of Kevn Kinney's Sun Tangled Angel Revival. Several years ago, he was motivated to use his downtime to start an original project with multiple bass players.

The idea that became The HEAP was born out of discussions and informal rehearsals with fellow Athens bassist, Jeff Rieter (Baghouse, Bain Mattox, hey, Revolution!). The two embraced the idea of creating music that had soul at its core. The HEAP was gradually fleshed out with drummer Ian Werden (Slackdaddy, Vinyl Strangers , Dodd Ferrelle), a four piece reed and brass section (a.k.a The HEAP Horns) consisting of tenor player- Marc Gilley (who has worked with Dave Brubeck), trumpet-Jeff Crouch (Wadada Leo Smith), alto-Chris Costigan (Gunnison) and bari sax- Kate Mikulka (daughter of Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground) , as well as old school keys (organ/ electric piano) provided by Jack Stirling (Legendary JCs) , and the live percussion of Diego Catalan (Madeline, Don Chambers).

A 9 piece HEAP-ing helping of original indie-soul stew- The HEAP played its first show supporting Kevn Kinney in May 2007. Over the course of the two years that followed, The HEAP performed regionally and recorded their independent debut- Deluxe, co- produced by Matt Yelton (Pixies) and Bill Doss (Apples in Stereo, Sunshine Fix, Olivia Tremor Control). Presented "old school style", the recording features instrumental versions of all the tracks in addition to the primary vocal versions. In 2009, The HEAP was nominated for a Flagpole Music Award in the Funk/Jam category along with fellow Athenians- Widespread Panic. In late 2009, The HEAP re-entered the studio to begin recording a follow up to Deluxe for a Spring 2010 vinyl and digital release.

Despite borrowing from another decade's approach to recording and instrumentation, The HEAP's sound is something new, yet not altogether unfamiliar. Howard's baritone vocal delivery combined with tube- crunched out tenor bass, soulful organ and wurlitzer, The HEAP Horns' punctuated harmony and riffing, and laid back upright bass bass grooves underpinned by kinetic dance friendly drums and percussion yield a sound that distinctly recalls southern soul roots while never letting you forget that we are "in the future now!"

HEAP Audio/Video

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"I don't know where the phrase "something old, something new,something borrowed,something blue.....originally was coined...but i think it refers to the perfect artist....THE HEAP has really hit on something refreshing here, with a brass section, ala morphine arrangements, and the band led by front man Bryan J Howard, who is an amalgamation of Phil Lynott and Louis Armstrong on their way to a Blue Cheer concert..."horns and fuzz bass !!! are you freakin kiddin' me!! I'm having a psychedelic funk breakdown!! This is awesome"......Kevn Kinney

"HEAP funks like James Brown, slides like Dr. John, blows like Ornette Coleman and dances like an octopus. Entertaining music that has some substance. Remember, the bass is never too loud! " - Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes)

"When I heard HEAP's latest single I immediately knew that they had captured the influences of all the funk masters that had come before them. The vibe is original and funkier than anything I have heard in a long time. Long live HEAP!" - Dr. Fink (Prince and the Revolution)

"The Heap played a delicious set of groovy, horn-laden soul that entertained as much as it energized, and as the last song rang out, it was certain a funky good time was had by all." - Review by Charley Lee (Southeast Performer)

"If Sly & the Family Stone had taken a wrong turn on the way to San Francisco and found themselves immersed in Athens' indie-rock scene, they would probably come out sounding a lot like the Classic City's The Heap." - John Barrett (The Red and Black)

"Close your eyes and listen to the first track, "One of Those Days," from The HEAP's debut studio album, Deluxe. I can imagine bodies jammin' out at a gig on the festival circuit on a hot yet windy March afternoon, noodling to the funky beats of this eight-man stage party. A festival junky would definitely appreciate the groovy and jam-friendly rhythms of The HEAP." - Samantha Parvin (Atlanta Music Guide)

"If you can't dance to this, you may never dance at all, I'm afraid." - Tony Floyd (Flagpole Magazine)


For Booking, contact Bryan J. Howard -

To book the HEAP Horns for session work, please contact Bryan J. Howard.


Buy The HEAP's debut album, Deluxe
also available on The HEAP


Hi-res photos