These posts are written by: Nick Cusworth

For Fans Of – Nova Collective

It’s been a while since we’ve written one of these columns, and that’s not because we dislike them. Past a certain point it starts to become more difficult to find important bands representing or making waves in a certain genre or sub-genre and finding a group of similar or tangentially-related bands to recommend. Up to this point though we haven’t really written one of these posts as essentially a response or plea to listeners. Sometimes bands who execute a certain style or sound garner a lot of critical and popular praise to the point of being credited with some sort of innovation or something radically different from anything else out there when the reality is far from that. It’s rarely the fault of the bands themselves though as they don’t give themselves that kind of credit, but once in a while it’s important for someone to politely correct consensus thinking and offer a little more context, and that is exactly what we’re going to do here and now with the debut album from metal/jazz fusion band Nova Collective.

Hey! Listen To Meatbodies!

Garage rock is one of those more amorphous genre tags that nevertheless has a very identifiable sound to it. You might not be able to describe what it is exactly beyond fuzzy guitars, generally lo-fi production, and punchy, catchy songs, but you know what it is when you hear it. It’s not a style I’m totally enamored with as oftentimes the stripped-down approach comes off as a bit too facile and simple, trying to make up for a lack of depth and with immediacy and charismatic energy. Hailing from Los Angeles, Meatbodies are proving to be an exception to the rule for me, though most of that stems from their evolving way beyond simple garage into something far more interesting and fun.

Grails – Chalice Hymnal

We’ve spoken a lot about the importance of atmosphere in post-rock, post-metal, and other instrumental rock music here on this site. Cinematic music that is more concerned about mood, texture, and sense of place than any particular riffs or technical prowess often gets a bad rap from many looking to be actively engaged and hooked in. There’s something to be said for music that possesses the transportive quality though. Songs and albums that are able to construct entire sonic worlds within the span of a few minutes, evoke the senses in strong ways, and create a full sense of immersion are difficult to pull off well, but when done right allow the listener to form bonds with the music in ways that few other sounds can.

Nielsen’s 2016 Music Industry Report: A Bullshit-Free Guide

It’s the beginning of the year, which means that people like ourselves who write about music and the music industry received a nicely-formatted press release from Nielsen’s PR firm touting their shiny new year-end report on the music industry from the past year. For those of us who find the sorts of things these reports deal with – namely the increasing prominence of digital streaming and its effects on all sectors of the industry – this report is like a second Christmas. And though the press release lays out all of the top-line findings of the report in neat little bullet points, it’s still a lot of information to take in with a lot of spin (or at least things left unsaid) to make everything sound as rosy as possible. So, as a public service to those who care, we present to you a brief, unfiltered guide to Nielsen’s 2016 music industry report.

The Metal Industry’s Top 30 Albums Of 2016

Last year I took it upon myself not only to organize and compile our own staff’s AOTY list, but to take things one insane step further and compile a bunch of lists from major metal or metal-covering publications and websites into one MEGA AOTY list to rule them all. Eden and I then analyzed the list and made some (mostly snarky) comments about the metal journalism industry and how they approach these sorts of things. Though I still 100% stand by what we wrote there and the conclusions we drew from it, I was really interested in seeing how well some of them would stand up to another year to use as a data point. Thankfully, this year I had a lot of help in all of our list-making efforts thanks to fellow editor Noyan, who put a ton of work into coming up with the method we ended up using to aggregate our lists (if you haven’t already, you should absolutely read his post delving into the nitty-gritty of that methodology) and then did the actual number-crunching.

Heavy Blog Guest List – Jesse Zuretti of Binary Code’s Top 10 Metal and Non-Metal Albums of 2016

Editor’s note: Welcome back to our Heavy Blog Guest List feature where we give some of the bands we covered (or just adored) in 2016 a chance to publish their own Top 10 Albums of 2016. Binary Code have had an eventful 2016, to say the least. After releasing their first full-length in 7 years, the impressive Moonsblood, the band hit the road across North America for much of the rest of the year with fellow prog-heads Leprous and Earthside. In spite of all of that though, Binary Code founder and guitarist Jesse Zuretti found plenty of time to stay on top of the goings-on in metal and elsewhere this year and eagerly wrote up his top ten metal and non-metal albums for us, which you can find after the jump!

Hey! Listen To VIRTA!

Though I dislike making sweeping musical generalizations here, I’m going to start off this post with a couple of them. If it can be said that many of the breakout acts in American jazz in recent years can be described as being heavily-indebted to hip-hop, r&b, and adjacent genres (think BADBADNOTGOOD, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, and more), then a lot of the more impactful jazz exports from Europe, particularly northern Europe, have seemingly been more indebted to influences from the electronic/IDM sphere, post-rock, and more. You have the likes of GoGo Penguin in England, who have certainly been pushing the definition of what jazz really is with their blend of acoustic jazz instrumentation and influences with more classical-style playing and heavy electronic influences. Norway’s Jaga Jazzist is, of course, the current reigning champion of blending jazz with electronic music (from IDM to synthwave and more), post-rock, krautrock, and far more. And to that list of great European bands finding new and interesting ways to explore the world of jazz fusion you can now add Finland’s VIRTA, whose sophomore album Hurmos is one of the more unexpected and brilliant albums I’ve heard this year.