Those nutty over ‘80s NYC noise-rock and its attendant loose categorization New Music have likely heard Karen Haglof, for she was a player in the guitar ensemble of Rhys Chatham and a member of the undersung Band of Susans. Haglof eventually redirected her energies into the medical profession as a hematologist/oncologist in affiliation with New York University Hospital, but of late she’s scratched a reignited creative itch and produced her debut solo effort, the very appealing blend of bluesy Americana and big city guitar pop Western Holiday.
Prior to moving to New York City Karen Haglof was a resident of Minneapolis and in fact that’s where she began playing music. Subsequent to a trip east she strapped on the six-string under the name Karen Indiana in the trio the Crackers with fellow Minneapolitans Jay Peck, later of the Figures and Let’s Active, and Steve Almaas, previously of the terrific Suicide Commandos (‘78’s Make a Record is a punk classic) and thereafter of Beat Rodeo.
By ’83 Haglof was in cahoots with Rhys Chatham, appearing on the composer’s Factor X, a now scarce LP issued by the German Moers Music label. Roughly three years later she was part of the side-long title composition on Chatham’s brilliant Die Donnergötter. Amongst her cohorts on the track was Robert Poss; together with future Helmet honcho Page Hamilton and drummer Ron Spitzer, Haglof comprised the second lineup of Poss and Susan Stenger’s Band of Susans, her axe a component on their strongest release, 89’s Love Agenda.
She then followed an admirable detour into a medical career. Losing tabs on the scene is not unusual in this circumstance (she’s described her occupational focus as workaholic), but along with conversations with her old (and recently departed) Minneapolis friend and guitar teacher Jeff Hill, catching a screening of the documentary It Might Get Loud helped to reignite Haglof’s creativity.