Harvesting #2: Bands and releases your friends didn’t tell you about!

Now I’m back with another topic that can be categorized by the name of Harvest. Sometimes your friends recommend music to you, but often you don’t get to expand your own vision and tastes. They often recommend something that many people already have heard. In general, people aren’t that interested in music. So if you have friends that like to recommend music to you, or like to plague you with distasteful genres and certain artists, show this list to them. Hopefully they’ll convert into someone that appreciates music for what it is and tries to venture out in cyberspace, finding new music and developing their senses for what music is and should be. After all, music can be art and that’s what I’m going to show you in this edition of Harvesting. Good friends don’t let friends listen to shitty music, good friends develop on their own and take you under their wings.

So let’s begin with the basics, this will be a brief history or introduction to the music at hand and a fitting description is going to be plastered on like a label.

Civil Civic – Rules

They’re from the United Kingdom and are loosely based around the concept of combining post-punk, post-rock and noise into an all-out instrumental en devour. Yes, that means that they ain’t got no use for vocals. First songs “Airspace” combines the sweetness of what almost sounds like a non-electronic version of drum’n’bass, when it comes to both the fast-paced drums in the background and the sound-scape overall, the baseline sounds like one of em’ speedy electronic baselines that are included in that genre. Even though it might’ve not been my cup of tea, the next song “Run Overdrive” surely fits the more calm and dreamy, yet bigger sound-scape that’s been prevalent in the first song. I like it, because it reminds me of a lot of other bands that use the same formula, but they’ve got their own edge with the extremely distorted baseline and serene synth. But the fact that it isn’t built completely on the breeding ground of noise, makes it much more enjoyable. Essentially, they’ve got a pretty commercial sound when you boil it down to the different parts that it’s made up of. I think their sound has a potential when it comes to that, because it’s not entirely mainstream, even though it sounds like it at times. They’ve balanced it out very well in between the sections of the song, and it’s pretty straight-forward even though they utilize some unconventional elements.

So, should you be interested in this? Yes, you should, because it’s damn catchy and full of life. If you’re interested in it, you should head over to their bandcamp and order this album. Here you’ll get a link. Twelve pounds is pretty expensive, but I really like their music. And they haven’t gone with the standard jewel-casing, which is a good thing and brings you a lot of value for your money. The digipak is designed by themselves and hold ten great songs. I think it’s got a great quality when it comes to the variation on the songs in general, even though it’s over a year old, it still holds the test of time. So you’ll have to wait ten more years to figure out if this kind of music still has that edge in it when you pick it up then. I’d suggest you do pick it up and fund them, because it sounds like they’ve done a huge amount of work on this album. Do also check out their other stuff, like the newest song “NEW!” which was released in June of 2012. Giddy up, set sail and dock your ship in their harbor.

Haul – The Hidden Spy / New Sewn Pocket

Are you a musical connoisseur when it comes to musical taste? Do you regularly test your ears by listening to the most magnificent music out there? So, you like when the music is a little bit darker? You’re right, so do I. Therefore I should introduce you to Haul, which is an experimental post-punk project engineered by the Swedish owners of Yta Recordings, which in turn are Pehr Herb and Hampus Mörk. On this 7¨ of theirs, they have two recorded songs that sound like the old-school sound of post-punk. But I like their experimental approach to it and the fact that they combine the post-punk aspect and the drone one. The first song “The Hidden Spy” makes me feel like I’m in a film noir movie of some sort, or maybe a thriller. It feels dirty, but has some kind of smug look on its musical face. I wouldn’t want to listen to this while I’m going through a dark alley, it feels as if something is about to happen, it feels like things are gradually heading for the worse. I’d say its got some kind of dystopian touch to it, a depressing and melancholic wandering through the world we live in today. Fittingly enough, it could describe everything that’s bad about this world. It wouldn’t surprise me if this song could be used in a soundtrack in the future, it’s very beautiful and also displays the angst that we have to put up with. Darkness, decay and feasting leeches suck us dry of life.

Second song, titled “New Sewn Pocket” isn’t as slow-paced as the first song. Like a more alarming song, with cold-wave influences. Switching from down-tempo to more adrenaline-pumping uptempo music. The strongest instruments in this mix is definitely the continuous baseline and the screeching noises that are being made in the background. As if you’d record someone scratching a surface, very slowly, producing an almost instantaneously and annoying sound.

If you like this, you should venture to their bandcamp. The link is in this sentence. You get two well-produced songs for 2,5 euros each, with a hand-made packaging. Since it’s also limited edition, you should grab one of the 200 copies that have been made. It’s, without a doubt, something you should have in your record collection. Since it’s also cheap and handmade, I believe it’s worth every euro you spend on it. Head over there and be the happiest man or woman on earth, or maybe boy or girl? I don’t know. Just get over there and purchase it.

Crops – Ana

What could be better than emotional synth-pop, with cold-wave influences and dark-wave undertones? Nothing! It’s actually three of the genres I like the most, but it’s also some of the hardest genres to master, in my opinion. With carefully laden and synchronized sound-scapes, the first song “Ana” made my synapses work harder than ever. Even though the vocalist is pretty good, sometimes he puts me off with his all too familiar wailing, but that’s just a side note when it comes to this great record. The funk within the song also displays itself amongst the rhythmic sections and interesting melodies, the melancholic vibe in this song is tremendous. I must say that the lyrical content is pretty good as well, it may not be the best around, but it’s catchy and very easy to get into your head. I found myself humming: “Ana… ana… ana”. Everything with a girl’s name in it, will turn out good, at least when it doesn’t turn out with boring and bland structures within the song.

The next song, “Awaken”, takes me into familiar territory. Almost as if they tried to get some minimal wave with the synth-pop, minimalistic melodies and dark rhythms accompanied by our good vocalist. He doesn’t try to be something he isn’t vocally, which is a relief. I absolutely despise those vocalists that wail without a reason. There’s also a fight between the elements of light and dark in this song, transgressing into an almost avant-garde use of a creamy synth-pop song I’ve ever heard. The rest of the album is really amazing too, but I guess these songs were on my mind since they’re so catchy and are easy to remember. Even though it’s hard to pick a favorite, since almost every song is on the same wave-length of quality music.

Check it out, follow this link. You can actually download the whole album for free. I hope this encourages our mysterious characters and make them create more music. It’s sad when you see that they’ve released an album two years ago but then faded into the dark as quick as they released their album. Hopefully they’ll return this year, preferably in December, to celebrate how much of an awesome album Ana actually was. If they don’t, then shame on them. I hope this post generates many downloads for this album, and I’ll also give you a direct-link to where you can download it. Just so you don’t need to click on one link and put your cursor over the “Free Download” button.

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