These posts are written by: Nick Cusworth

Editors’ Picks: April 2017

Man, 2017, y’all. We realize that it’s kind of our m.o. to be proponents of the whole “Golden Age of Metal” narrative and be incredibly positive about the consistently great level of stuff that is being put out from pretty much every part of the musical spectrum, but it’s such an easy thing to do when we are so constantly bombarded with new material that utterly consumes our attention. Even in months where one of us might not have as many new albums that really impressed them, without doubt there will be another one who could barely keep up because of all the superb releases from genres they pay close attention to. This April has certainly been no different in that regard, and we have a whole slew of top-notch albums to recommend to you all.

Arms Of Tripoli – Daughters

Last we wrote about the LA post/math-rock enclave Arms of Tripoli was for their 2014 debut full-length Dream In Tongues, which came to us out of nowhere and quickly became a blog favorite among several of us for its mixture of bright and summery post-rock and shoegaze sounds with some knottier and more math-y elements thrown in to keep things more than interesting. As a brief personal pretext to this, Dream In Tongues was one of the first albums I reviewed for Heavy Blog, was the first album I had given a very positive review of, and it was also quite possibly the first album that myself and now editor-in-chief Eden Kupermintz (both of us were still just mere innocent and not yet completely jaded newbie writers at that point) bonded over, thus forging a friendship and partnership that is responsible for much of what you know of Heavy Blog as today.

PREMIERE: Jump Into the Deep End With Pray For Sound’s “Everywhere, Everywhere” Video

It’s been a while since we mentioned Boston instrumental post-rock group Pray For Sound here. Originally we told you to listen to their 2014 album Dreamer, which Eden complimented for its open, cinematic sounds calling to mind the likes of sleepmakeswaves, Explosions in the Sky, and plenty more. True to form, after telling you all to listen to that album over half a year after its release, we somehow managed to let these guys slip through our fingers again as they released their truly excellent follow-up Everything Is Beautiful last fall. Don’t ask us how it happened because we don’t have a good answer other than us being fools. Certainly don’t think it has anything to do with the quality of the album because Everything Is Beautiful is undoubtedly the most fully-realized and expansive record Pray For Sound have put out. It’s sweeping, cinematic post-rock at its finest that knows how and when to hit heavy and add plenty of interesting knots throughout while maintaining its general feel of open, pastoral beauty.

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.