Harkive ’15

The only time I ever appear to revive this blog these days is for the yearly occurrence of Harkive, a day where I type endlessly about my musical listening habits alongside thousands of other people for interesting mysterious purposes, and today is once again that day, now in it’s third year thus, here goes something….

Kicking off proceedings, its midnight and I’m listening to The Cure‘s Greatest Hits via the magical gift of iTunes and a CD I ripped before it was illegal (pfft), it’s rare for me to not be flitting between artists and songs but it’s still all round perfect and I’m tired but equally one more song..This is only briefly interrupted to Youtube the new Spector single for the millionth time in the past day, it’s very good – and when looking for more diversity before sleeping, a snippet of a Desperate Journalist track and some assorted acoustic and new Mac DeMarco via my new favourite thing in streaming, Apple Music, via a quick check of a logic demo from earlier, with the killer ‘I’ve Been Waiting For Her’ to end the night for now.

Waking up before my alarm, a quick scroll on Facebook leads me to the Harkive segment on Radio 4 feat. musings and musical selections from Neil Codling and Laura SnapesBach, Dolly Parton & the likes – ensuring ‘9-5’ is now firmly placed into my head. This swiftly mutates into The Death Of Pop‘s ‘Whenever’ before seeing an article about newcomer scamps Pesky! puts their track ‘Keep Me’ in it’s place and on the theme of young musical talent Space Doubt by The Orielles creeps in to spin around my mind just in time for my alarm – the intro to Mac’s ‘I’ve Been Waiting For Her’ sounds roughly 5 times on snooze before I do anything about it and continue lying in bed scrolling social media with a strange mashup of a new Bleak House track and, after a message from them, another friend’s songwriting assignment I played bass on reeling through my head – by the 7th Mac intro I drag myself up, it’s 11.45am.

On the way to the shower with Twitter on my phone in hand and strawberry cheese-brownie-cake  for breakfast in the other (a real thing, yes), I get distracted by a tweet containing a link to Annie Mac‘s radio show from last night featuring yet another new Mac DeMarco track ‘No Other Heart’, though can’t help but fearing the entire album will be dropped somewhere before it’s release date with this being the fifth new one in the past week or so.

On the other side, ‘Stay High’ is back cruising around my head after a brief stint of Connan Mockasin‘s ‘Do I Make You Feel Shy?’, and though resisting the urge to listen to the former for an endless amount of times, the latter goes on via Youtube and a particularly corny video intro.

A check of my emails leads me to snippets of the new Girl Friend track ‘Poison’ on Soundcloud – it’s funky electro pop and pretty good, followed by ‘Same Wave’ from Hull indie poppers Breeze – also not shabby, and finally Everything Everything‘s latest album cut ‘Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread’, also quite good, and finally a track from a band that I’ll leave unknown claiming to be ‘tragically abrasive’ that in reality is just a bit irritating – nothing appears to be catching my ears today and I don’t seem to have any attention span left after 30 seconds so I give up on it for now.

I open iTunes in search of something, but having my entire library on the hard drive of the star of last week’s broken laptop disaster, I have to rely on my minimal collection of hearts on Apple Music to provide listening – launched at startlingly convenient time given the events and proving a lifesaver in the current situation I cancelled my Spotify subscription almost immediately and remain a dedicated convert to the platform about 2 weeks in – it leads me to The Cramps ‘Primitive’. I decide to stick on the rest of Psychedelic Jungle, but barely 30 seconds into first track ‘Greenfuz’, Facebook diverts me with LuvLuvLuv’s new poster boy SOCIETY‘s new track ‘Protocol’ on Soundcloud, an artist I keep meaning to listen to and one that proves to be a very good choice, I resist the urge to skip through the track in today’s musical restlessness and it ends up nothing like I expected, a tricky one to describe but musically impressive nonetheless.


Back on to the The Cramps, the album’s going down a treat already with ‘Goo Goo Muck’ providing a soundtrack to my extreme lack of productivity but making me eager to once again stall the track and pick up a guitar, impatience is proving to be a running theme already today as ever. ‘Rockin’ Bones’ conjures more than a hint of Elvis and I note the intensity of diversity in my music already today, it’s barely 1pm and when you’re conscious of everything you’re listening to, it all seems a bit frantic. It only gets to ‘Voodoo Idol’ before I decide I want to be in The Cramps again. ‘Primitive’ comes on again and I swiftly pause but in the process accidentally kickstart Spotify getting a quick unexpected burst of a live version of Chic‘s ‘I Want Your Love’ from last night’s Spotify listening, I open up Logic to do the morning after check on a new demo by the inventive current name of ‘Dreamy G Song’ in the interim, naturally I’ve done too much guitar with it so I’m still melody and lyricless for it and momentarily consider uploading it to Soundcloud as an instrumental for content, but decide against it, it’s all there and I head back to the album – ‘Cavemen’ sounds like The Fall and I yearn for a drum sound like it.

They’re once again briefly interrupted by Facebook with Future Punx announcing a couple of free London gigs via Bad Vibrations with a video for ‘Spike Train’, another band I keep meaning to listen to that don’t disappoint, and the track is on a split record with Parquet Courts, so it’s hardly surprising, the gigs look promising. Pinkshinyultrablast too announce a tour via Facebook with a new single featuring the ace name of ‘Kiddy Pool Dreams’, I put them on my later listening list in small bitterness that there’s no London date.

I load up Soundcloud via NME via Twitter in preparation to listen to Big Talk‘s (aka Ronnie Vannucci of Killers’ fame) second album stream after putting it off all day yesterday, the debut was pretty solid and it’s hyped up as a Glam Punk Odyssey and with a name like ‘Straight In, No Kissin”, my expectations are high. I’m hungry and growing weary of the same sound so I skip through the end of The Cramps record and head straight for it after lunch.

I’m back with the top healthy provisions of macaroni cheese and Lidl orangeade and the album’s on, starting with the man’s own name and a storming riff with ‘Hold That Line’, I’m already sold. It’s out via PledgeMusic at the end of the week, and very good.

It strikes me that Harkive always appears to fall on a day where I’m at home doing absolutely nothing which makes my blog posts light years long, it’s 2pm and I’m at 1248 words and can only apologise for this, my life isn’t that interesting past music when I’m not out doing something exciting.

I decide to do something and finish writing, for this I stick on an Apple Music playlist in my suggested under the name of ‘Late Night Alternative’, it’s 2am but it starts of with ‘High’ by The Cure and has a picture of Beck on it, so it looks promising. We slide through The Cranberries, aformentioned Beck, Mazzy Star and The Flaming Lips, it’s all too acoustic and melancholic to hit the spot so I go off in search of more and am quickly distracted by the quietly amusing title of one playlist concept:

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However, I end back up at an obscurer option with tracks ‘Inspired by Electric era Miles Davis‘ playlist, kicking off with Talking Heads‘The Great Curve’ and Herbie Hancock before yet again it becomes to frantic to even concentrate on typing anything and I flit to something new with the basic and sure to be good ‘Indie Hits: 1990’ playlist, Sonic Youth‘s ‘Kool Thing’ begins, at last. Bad Religion, The Cure and Pixies all chimed in before iCloud decides to stop working and leave me with nothing. Begrudgingly I resort to Spotify with a shuffle of my endless Starred playlist, kicking off with The Garden‘s ‘The Rocket’.

Menswear‘s Crash’, Suede‘s ‘The 2 Of Us’, ‘Elephant Man’ and The Fall‘s cover of ‘White Lightning’ all follow suit before I remember PINS have a new track ‘Live And Let Go’ and a quick twitter search leads me to it on Bella Union via Soundcloud, it’s moody and beautiful. Back on Spotify we have The Dandy Warhols Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth’, Slaves She Grew Old’, Joywave‘s Tongues’, The Brian Jonestown Massacre‘s Anemone’ and Suede‘s ‘Still Life’ before a listen to several demos on Soundcloud trying to work out what to do with them.

After a quick reminder and in honour of it being 2 years since I last saw Gabriel Bruce (i.e. far too long), I stick on ‘Sleep Paralysis’, it’s still incredible.

After a brief injection of TV and cooking throwing up advert jingles and irritating theme tunes, its 20 past 8 and upon hearing they’re a last minute addition to the weekend’s Tramlines adventures, I’m listening to Hot Vestry‘s ‘A Public Execution’ on iTunes, followed by an Apple Music radio station generated by Gary Numan‘s ‘The Fall’ providing Fields Of The Nephilim, Killing Joke and others with a bit more bite – featuring an insane live version of ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’ from The Skin Mechanic LP, only briefly interrupted to catch Hurts‘ latest ‘S.O.S.’ via Tumblr, disappointingly not a Rihanna cover and a bit too sombre and irritating to get along with right now.

It doesn’t last as I switch over to some Ringo Deathstarr, a band I keep meaning to listen to more of on pun quality alone, that naturally leads me onto Tamaryn and Whirr the latter who I stick with a bit before getting distracted yet again by No Joy. I decide to check my email again that leaves me at Astrobrite after reading the PR for Pinkshinyultrablast’s tour and the new WIRE video for ‘High’ who still sound impressive after gone 30 yearsvs. Drawing on the theme, I finally get round to listening to ‘m b v’ in full properly via the Youtube stream, it’s as good as it is in parts and ‘wonder 2’ sounds like endless plane collapses and almost as good as the new Flying Saucer Attack album – a great thing, only interrupted once by the video for Pesky!‘s ‘Keep Me’, another reminder they’re startlingly young.

After this and a break from the music, it’s just gone 11 and back to the classic iTunes/Apple Music amalgamation shuffle, with heavy guesting from my latest favourite band in the world Flyying Colours, Slowdive and some Anton Newcombe/Tess Parks before ending the day on Erol Alkan‘s rework of Connan Mockasin‘s ‘Forever Dolphin Love’.

Though this year is probably my least interesting Harkive day of the three, with an abundance of nothing to do and a sheer lack of new music hitting my eardrums, it always hits me how much I listen to and the amount of platforms I use to do so when this happens every year, and someone out there might’ve enjoyed reading this, if not it’s all in the name of clever data science anyway so all is well. Until next year….