This is the download of the week. The late, great Havalina have released a 26-song retrospective that spans the last decade of their music. Titled We Remember Anarchy, the collection touches on every phase of the band’s career, from those early songs that unfairly got them labelled a “swing” band to the spiritual reflection of Russian Lullabies, from the country and genre-spanning America to the “What The…???” of their “bullfighters in space” phase.
And the best part of all… the entire thing can be downloaded for free. Which means you really have no excuse to not check out some of the most original, and unappreciated music, you’ll likely hear all month.
Unfortunately, the band has decided to call it quits. And to be perfectly honest, I’m kind of surprised they made it this long, what with all of the constant lineup changes, label woes, van breakdowns, and whatnot. Bandleader Matt Wignall explains the break-up:
After 10 years of moderate success and nasty breakdowns, it becomes harder and harder to [lose] time and money to what you love. We all committed to getting the record done and we did do that, and then one day Orlando [the group’s bassist] called a meeting. He didn’t say what it was about but that moment it hit me, I’ve written the best songs of my life on this record, I’ve become a serious engineer and I’ve put months of my life into this record, and if this meeting is about him leaving the band, I’m going to find a way to not be broadsided and to move on with the record that I wrote, played, recorded and mixed…
The meeting came and it was as I thought. Orlando Greenhill needed to leave the band for various undisclosed reasons. Me and Dave sat and listened, Erick was in his existential haze somewhere else in Long Beach unaware and unaffected like always. Orlando left to continued friendship and the possibility of some future work together. Dave and I dove into the new band. We have recorded new songs together and they are everything that I think Pacific should be and should have been in the first place. Havalina had escalated over the years into somewhat of and acrobatic freak show. While this was as good and entertaining and punk as anything has ever been, at the end of the day we like to make good music and we will continue to do so. The spring of 2006 should see the arrival of Matt Death and the New Intellectuals, Death on Pacific.
So while Havalina has broken up, the band’s last album, Pacific, will still see the light of day. However, it will be titled Death on Pacific and it will be released by Matt Death And The New Intellectuals, which will consist of several of Havalina’s members… but not all of them.
I have to say, part of me is very sad at Orlando’s departure. While Wignall was undoubtedly the band’s frontman and leader, Orlando often felt like Havalina’s soul, his erratic and charming antics a perfect parallel to Havalina’s erratic and charming music.
Best wishes to all of the Havalina fellows in their future endeavors, and thanks for so many great memories (their Cornerstone shows will always be the stuff of legend in my book).
More info on Havalina and their various recordings can be found at this Wikipedia entry.