Pioneering electro Darkwave band CellarHouse are leading an initiative encourage bands to give freely whilst the cost-of-living crisis cripples peoples disposable income.

They’ve just released their debut album Hard Times via free download on BandCamp, through their website, and YouTube (OK, so not strictly always free) and are urging all other young bands who can afford to, to do the same. Their argument is, 99% of music revenues go to less than the top 1% of artists – so, perhaps now is the time to stick it to the corporates and do without those meagre royalties. 

Lead singer PJ: “we’re really not bothered about the small change that the large music streamers throw our way. The corporate cartels are skimming bands in every direction. Check out the #brokenrecord thread on Twitter so see just how bad things have got for young bands.  So, it’s much more important to us, during these tough economic times, that we give everyone the best possible chance of listening to our tracks. So, go ahead and download our album for free and share it with our absolute blessing. In return, post a link, a review, or a track on social media – we’d appreciate that”

CellarHouse’s debut album builds on their success with the underground alternative-EDM scene (I’ve heard them a few Meta world festivals). They’re a four-piece band with members from all corners of the world: New York, Norwich (UK) Northern Spain and Brazil.  Their press release describes their sound as downtempo electro-chill with an undercurrent of menace, and if we were to honest, think Jakatta with overtones of darkest Depeche Mode with a 90’s kick-back on the EDM front. Hard Times delivers eleven down-tempo tracks that express themselves as tales of angst, love and twisted feelings.  Pretty apt for the jilted generation me thinks

The band have obviously gone against the grain, and for that we applaud them.  Make no mistake, the production, mix and songs sound distinctly different from what’s currently out there.  At times it’s uncomfortable, raw, with a louder than usual vocal mix – but this is all in the grand plan. PJ again: “We just felt it was important to allow for some dynamics, some spikey elements that, unlike some present-day chill, sends you to sleep with a warm mug of cocoa.  We loved the early chill of late 80’s early 90’ and wanted to recapture that ‘analogue’ vibe. But we also didn’t want to fall into the trap of having vocals that just ‘accompanied’ the music.  We all felt it was really important to actually hear the character of the voice, no auto-tune, leave the breaths in, no double tracking, just naked raw vocals – and I’m proud we went down that road.  Jezz, our Producer, worked hard to achieve a unique and accomplished sound with very limited financial backing”

I’m coming out loud and proud to say I have this album bookmarked and it’s on repeat play!  At times it’s heavy stuff, and a couple of tracks genuinely scare me (Dolls House! What the hell are they on about?) But after few repeat plays, you’re hooked.  I’m looking forward to see how they develop.  Mind you, it’s taken them three years to get to this point of their first album, so I expect to have retired by the time the next one comes along (I’m only 34 🙂

CellarHouse || Hard Times is out now (everywhere)

@cellarhouseuk (Twitter/Instagram)

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Martin Moseley

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