Tied Heart is the recording and live performance pseudonym of Pittsburgh musician Alex Hartle. Combining a dynamic mixture of driving guitars and drums, haunting synthesizers, and a powerful vocal delivery, Tied Heart’s music explores identity, mental health, and social issues through earnest and relatable lyrics. The result is a bold sound that draws from different bases of alternative, punk, indie, and electronic music and sees peers in acts such as Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, Radiohead, and The National.
Starting as a drummer at the age of 11, Hartle contributed to school bands’ songwriting through arrangement and rhythmic ideas, lyric writing, and vocal work. As a senior in high school, he refined these skills by teaching himself piano and creating electronic music. Throughout college he played drums in jazz, soul, and hip-hop bands before picking up the acoustic guitar that had sat neglected for nearly a decade. At that point, he fell in love with songwriting and its potential for self-expression and catharsis, laying the foundation for what would become Tied Heart.
Written over four years and recorded across six months, debut album An Hedon examines Hartle’s struggles with depression and his relation to the world around him. The title plays off the term “anhedonia,” referring to a state of joylessness and indifference associated with depression. The concept is a recurring theme throughout the album’s lyrics, and stands in contrast to the music’s energetic, dynamic sound. Featuring his cousin Andrew—who writes and performs separately as Chapel of Ghosts—on bass, the remainder of the album’s instrumentation and vocals were written, performed, and recorded by Hartle himself, largely at home in a spare bedroom. “An Hedon” is available now through Bandcamp and all major streaming and distribution services.