E.W. Harris is a futuristic folk artist from Akron, OH (not Pittsburgh I know, but the dude’s got musical connections to the city, so we’re counting it) who recently released a single called “Bad Ghost.”
The track uses a series of impressionistic, forbidding images to tell the story of a ghastly late-night murder and subsequent haunting. Overtop acoustic strumming and martial snare drums, Harris sings of blood-red dresses, flooded drains, and “a shadow with a knife” (“I’d thought they’d use a gun” he adds, leaving it up to the listener to decide if it’s a morbid quip or a sly admission of some nefarious scheme), his voice every so often warped into a robotic croon that adds a touch of surrealism to the darkness. The track’s refrain sees Harris sigh, “Symbiont, I’ve been a bad host/I was a weak man/Now I’m a bad ghost,” and lament, “And now I’m so ashamed I dragged you along,” hinting at the concept of multiple spirits and past lives. Near the end of the song, the subdued instrumental explodes into a floor-filling climax, complete with disco rhythms, rock riffs, and bleeping Game Boy arpeggios. Things eventually quiet down, the music dwindling into nothingness like a wraith fading out under a flickering streetlight.