The whole mentality and terminology of “underground music” seems a bit played out and antiquated nowadays with all the so much access we have in the internet and websites and message boards and whatnot. But every so often though, a band or even music scene, will slip through the cracks and still be truly unknown except via word of mouth or some band reppin’ a shirt or boasting about some band on an interview. Thanks to my friendship with Aaron Turner, I came to find out about Connecticut’s Have A Nice Life. He casually mentioned that he was a fan and has been listening to them a lot at the time. So I got curious. Checked them out and got hooked right from the get-go.
I’m not really in the mood tonight, drunken or even otherwise, to spill the background on this band. If you know who HANL are, then you know. If not, do a little digging and you will pleased at what you find. HANL are a band, properly a duo of musicians in Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga, who have been making music for some time now since meeting up in college. Their music straddles plenty of lines of post-whatever. But it’s lo-fi bedroom recordings that are still aggressive and thought-provoking and eye-opening. If you’ve heard their stuff, especially their 2008 debut LP Deathconsciousness, then you have not only been blown away, but also know. You know.
So here we are in 2014 and they have released a proper follow-up in The Unnatural World LP. A co-release between their own Enemies List Home Recordings label and The Flenser out of San Francisco, this new release finds the band treading some new ground production quality-wise but also retaining that same lo-fi style. It’s all haunting and heavy as fuck. Really.
The reason the usually insular and removed ELHR decided to partner up with Flenser for the release was simple. A better access to distro and handling of the release. Not saying that ELHR was a mess with releases. Just overwhelmed given the popularity that HANL and all related artists and music came to face as of years later and when you’re basically and one-man operation, you need some help. Flenser made sense in partnering up with.
The release of the new LP, The Unnatural World, went off not only without any hitch, but it’s also a fantastic LP itself. In the limited of 300 Clear with Ox Blood Haze color to the overall packaging, this thing is top-notch. Simple and elegant all around really.
Honestly, I can’t say enough great things about this release. I have listened to it multiple times enough that it’s ingrained in my psyche. That’s not just the fanboy speaking saying that it’s great. It simply is great. It’s everything and anything that a post-metal record should. But it goes further beyond than what the trappings of that category may have. It’s a piece of art. On the music site I write for I did a review of the release (read here) and I have to admit that it was a pain in the ass to write. Mostly because I felt that it’s such a great and perfect record in my jaded opinion and I wanted to do it justice. It was close to impossible to put into words how phenomenal The Unnatural World is.
As with most bands and music that we feel are close to the heart and want to keep to ourselves and not share with anyone else, Have A Nice Life are one of those band easily. I don’t want some joe-schmo hipster asshole catching wind of this band and their music. We all have those bands in our repertoire that we don’t to share with anyone else and keep them a secret. But with HANL, it’s going to be hard to hold on. They’re getting out there and being exposed. And it may be bittersweet, but they do deserve the recognition for creating great music and art. As much as my selfish heart will ache at knowing that.