Scott Carney & Heavy Friends
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Scott Carney & Heavy Friends

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Scott Carney & Heavy Friends @ GOOSKI'S

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, USA

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania, USA

Scott Carney & Heavy Friends @ UNCLE PLEASANT'S



Scott Carney & Heavy Friends @ UNCLE PLEASANT'S



This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


Album Review

'Black & Endless Night'

Scott Carney's wide-ranging work shines brightly

Jeffrey Lee Puckett
Courier-Journal Critic

The math is probably off by a year or two, but it seems impossible that Scott Carney wasn't conceived while David Bowie's "Station to Station" was deconstructing pop music in the next room, or maybe "Always Crashing in the Same Car."

It also seems impossible that Carney is able to recapture that thrilling combination of post-glam rock and white-plastic technology that Bowie and partner Brian Eno did during their groundbreaking run in the late 1970s. They made pop music that seemed to fold in upon itself, challenging you to listen in new ways while still connecting to the past.

Carney's "Black & Endless Night" does the same thing. While ultimately more accessible than its most obvious influences, it shares a gift for hooks that come with serrated edges and lyrical images that vacillate between vaguely disturbing and strangely sentimental.

"Over the Night Is Before," for example, seems to acknowledge that most nights are filled with things worth forgetting while also endorsing a communal celebration (of survival?) even as Carney observes that "the night it never ends." Seems kind of hopeless — until the rhythm section is ignited by a wall of guitars that builds to a frenzy of hyper surf licks and whistle blasts. The celebration is in the music.

Carney's facility with a wide range of guitar sounds and styles gives "Black & Endless Night" a rock 'n' roll heart (the breakdown in "Bi Polar Bear" is pure "Born to Run"), but you never know when he'll yank the steering wheel toward oncoming traffic (the breakdown in "Sweet Bloody Murder" is pure squonk chaotic).

Just close your eyes and hope you don't hit anything head-on; trading paint, however, is highly recommended, as is this record.

Carney is no longer Louisville music's best-kept secret
By Joshua Hammann

`Black & Endless Night,' Scott Carney

Nothing frustrates a music lover more than the inability to describe a wonderful new discovery to friends. You want to toss out a litany of bands that could be seen as similar to this new record that is consuming you, but endless lists of like-minded artists always seem woefully inefficient.

And if it would make you comfortable, then there is no end to the artists who compare favorably to Louisville's Scott Carney on his stunning debut, "Black & Endless Night." Brilliant at borrowing a shade from all around him while still bending those influences to his will, Carney evokes touches of Neutral Milk Hotel, David Bowie, Evergreen and, on "Lights Out!", even a little Slint and Billy Joel.

But those are just secondary flavors that rise up in Carney's own manic recipe of post-punk delicacies. His voice bends and howls like Bowie, but as likely as his guitar is to soar into a trembling solo, it is also capable of picking out compact, catchy pop riffs. In the case of the devouring "Sweet Bloody Murder," you get a little bit of both.

Those who know Carney also know that many of these songs, on which he played just about every instrument, have been brewing in his head for years. This has been a brilliant record for a long time. Only now is everyone else having the privilege of hearing it.

It’s ‘Black’ and ‘Endless’ till Carney moves out of his parents’ basement

In spite of mathematical or scientific theories of probability, there are a fixed number of devastating things that can happen during the recording of an album to kill things like spirit and inspiration. Although inscrutable to outsiders, such realities as those are required for making art. Anyone who’s created more than a ham sandwich in a lifetime will agree.

Scott Carney suffered through The Suck while making Black and Endless Night, a strikingly original bag of seven tunes in utero since 2001. He played drums, bass, guitar and piano and sang on every song. He recorded and produced it. Only the trumpet on the song “Bipolar Bear” did he not play.

It’s the bedroom approach that he’s particularly accustomed to, and it makes his newest venture — an actual band — that much harder.
First there was the matter of making the record.

“I was living in Pittsburgh, and my parents were moving out, they were selling their house, and so I convinced them to let me live in their old house until it sold, thinking I was going to get six months free rent and not have to work a day job, and with the money I’d saved up make a record or whatever,” Carney said in an interview last week.
He moved back as November of last year ended, and got started recording later than planned. Some of the recording equipment he’d bought was functioning improperly and needed to be returned. Such things cause trouble with focus.

Carney finally got some footing by mid-January, put down basic drum tracks, then bass and some guitars. Then this:

“(My parents) were about to put (the house) up on the market when my dad happened to stop in some place and mentioned to an acquaintance that they were selling the house,” he explained. “He came over and looked at it that day, and bought it. So the rest of my free time living there was spent scrambling to find a place to live, looking for work, trying to get money, all that kind of stuff. From there it just turned into this big, frustrating thing, trying to finish it.”

He moved the recording equipment into the basement of his parents’ new house, which — predictably — didn’t really work either. Interfering with their lives proved to be quite the interference with his recording process.

Enter Kevin Ratterman. Now the drummer in Carney’s backing band Heavy Friends (a new name is in the works, as it’s become more an all-in band approach than the name Scott Carney & Heavy Friends implies), it was Ratterman to whom Carney turned to finish the album.
Well known in Louisville for producing high-quality recordings at particularly reasonable prices (he’s also got good scene points, as it were, for his involvement in the defining band Elliott), Ratterman was a logical choice for a number of reasons aside from his recording chops. His thunderous drumming style, a la Zep’s John Bonham, is sparse like Carney’s, though live his pounding provides a powerful dynamic not as potent on the album. Jake Huestis would later join on bass, after leaving his previous band Cabin.

Over the next few months the album gelled, with Carney content spending the majority of his time working on songwriting. Most of the recording legwork went to Ratterman.

The results are terrifyingly good. The record is disorienting in that it feels like it comes from the ether, a floating sort of majesty immediately endearing to the ear yet largely indefinable in the space-time continuum.

That’s said, here’s my take: Carney’s operatic voice and range hearken to early David Bowie, while his unique and unconventional song structures call to mind more contemporary influences like Fugazi. The songs are fresh and weird, pop but somehow not at all, as a righteous mix of distinctive voice and guitar playing allows him to wade and wander through subgenres without losing the listener in the brush behind. He’s not afraid of a good guitar solo, “classic” though it may be, which is a refreshing attitude for a songwriter whose records would sit in the same racks as those who most famously disdain such noodling.

“I feel really fortunate that I’m able to do what I’m able to do,” he said. “Of course, it’s nothing that just happened one day. Writing songs, you just get so caught up in doing it, it’s difficult to be objective. Having been writing songs for 12, 13 years now, only recently have I really been able to be more objective about it and step back and be like, ‘OK, this is a three-minute pop song, but I don’t want it to be a three-minute pop song, I want something else to happen in a certain place so it doesn’t sound like radio trash or whatever.”

A limited run of 100 CDs — $10 a pop — will be available at the show.




'DEMO-LITION' self released 4 song demo CD (MARCH 2005)
'BLACK & ENDLESS NIGHT' self released CD (DECEMBER 2005)


Feeling a bit camera shy



By Jeffrey Lee Puckett
The Courier-Journal

When Scott Carney showed up last year with a handful of sparkling songs, a Danelectro guitar that he frequently beat into submission and a strong, evocative voice, the near universal reaction was: Scott who?

Although a Louisville native, Carney, 26, seemed to come out of nowhere with a fully realized sound unlike anything else being heard in town. That was the clincher, and it got people talking. Who was this guy who combined glam-rock, pop and surf riffs with the dreamy ambience of vintage Brian Eno and David Bowie?

"I guess I did kind of come out of the blue there," Carney said, "but it's just that I was gone for a long time."

Turns out, Carney isn't that big of a mystery. He's just like you and me, but with better songs.

Carney's debut album, "Black & Endless Night," is one of the strongest released locally in years. His all-star band, Scott Carney & Heavy Friends, features drummer Kevin Ratterman and bassist Jake Heustis, who, in live performances, take the record's warm precision and blow it apart in all the right ways.

Both band and record end a run of creative frustration for Carney, who has seen many of his projects cut short.

While growing up in Hikes Point, Carney spent three years in a punk rock band that played only five gigs, most of them in someone's basement. When he left town in 1998 for the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Institute, he had a plan to combine his love of music and movies.

Carney got off to a good start. He started another band with a couple of friends from Louisville who had also moved to Pittsburgh and began work on a series of short films that were designed to expand upon the idea of music videos.

"I'd always been into both film and music and hoped, as an ambitious youth, to somehow do both," he said. "I quickly learned that films are phenomenally more expensive to make than music."

Carney finished only three films before running out money, and the band broke up, but Pittsburgh eventually proved invaluable. Carney dedicated himself to solitary songwriting, buying crates of used LPs and studying them in an attempt to find his own style while living in a town that was, he said, a stylistic vacuum. He bought an eight-track recorder.

"I started writing a lot of material that was an amalgamation of a lot of styles," he said. "I started to shape what I'm doing now."

By the time Carney moved home last year, he had enough songs to record "Black & Endless Night." He also had everything going for him: His parents let him live rent-free in a house they were selling, he didn't need to work, and he had a stack of new recording equipment.

Frustration again took over. Equipment failure set him back weeks, and then, with only a few days recording left, someone bought the house. Carney finished the instrumental tracks at his parents' house, but right before doing the vocals, he fractured two ribs and couldn't sing.

"I was incredibly frustrated and burnt out and really almost over it," he said. "I came close to saying forget it."

Carney's patience was finally rewarded when a mixing session at Ratterman's studio led to Ratterman's joining the band. Carney then called his buddy Heustis and began taking out his frustrations on stage.

"The thing I like about the Heavy Friends ... is being able to take these songs that are studio-friendly and translating them into live versions, adding an energy that isn't necessarily on the record."