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Hailing from Doylestown, Philadelphia, USA, Circa Survive are a rock band that formed in 2004. They became cult sensations thanks to their eclectic mix of post-hardcore with progressive rock, and to this day are one of the most fascinating bands in the American rock scene.
More often than not, bands formed by people who’ve left another group on the verge of success are never good news. I mean, good for them if they want to indulge in their desire to make spoken word post-dubstep-zydeco-punk but after they realize that no-one else is aching to hear their “uncompromising genius” the best possible scenario is that there old band will take them back. Circa Survive are what occurs when that doesn’t happen. When people actually like the music that a guy makes when he leaves his up and coming rock band, and the results are pretty amazing in and of themselves.
The man in question is lead singer Anthony Green, who used to front Newport, California screamo band Saosin. By February 2004, the band had managed to build a cult following so large that they were on the cusp of signing a major label record deal. However, while he was flying from his home state of Pennsylvania to Saosin’s base of California, he realized that signing to a major label wasn’t what he wanted to do in that band. Not to mention that he was sick of flying across the country and leaving his family behind every time he needed to work with the band. For his own safety and security, he left Saosin, and immediately began recording with guitarist Colin Frangicetto, who he’d been jamming with during his time away from Saosin.
With the help of Albany, New York based indie label Equal Vision Records, Frangicetto and Green put together a full line up for their new project, consisting of them alongside Brendan Ekstrom on lead guitar, Nick Beard on the Bass and Steve Clifford on the drums. By March 2005 their first E.P “The Inuit Sessions” was released, but their debut album was released a couple of months afterwards, and “Juturna” is one of the more unlikely things to ever chart on the Billboard 200. A slow burning, jazz inflected record informed by King Crimson, shoegaze and jazz, it was what few people were expecting from Green’s new project but it was succesful enough to warrant a second record.
This second record came in May 2007, and at that point, the band had enough of a following to sell over fifty thousand copies of the record in two months. Since then, the band have been one of the true trailblazers of the post-hardcore scene, massively influential on the likes of Touché Amoré and La Dispute through their sheer unwillingness to compromise and their need to make the kind of music that comes naturally to them. We need as many bands like them as possible around, and hopefully many more will be influenced by them in the near future. Highly recommended.