At this point, it must seem like we’re long past beating a dead horse when it comes to using this space atop our Editors’ Picks column to reiterate the mantra of “there’s just too much music!” But as we’re sure many of you have noticed, the amount of new music we face on a weekly basis far outpaces the time needed to digest it all, something we were reminded of yet again when it came to facing the onslaught that was September. Not only did the month have five Friday release days instead of the usual four, each of those official marker points for new music seemed to attract an enormous quantity and quality of releases from all corners of the music landscape. When we (The Editors) finally pared down our playlists and picked our personal recommendations for the month, we found ourselves with perhaps the longest list of album suggestions we’ve ever presented to our fine readers. Among these are albums from artists both old and new that hail from nearly every genre we all listen to on regular basis. This being the case, let’s not waste any more time and instead get to digging through the gold pile that was September.
These posts are written by: Heavy Blog
August! What a hellhole of a month; for those of us on the more tropical leaning parts of the world,…
Each month, we always seem to come to the same conclusion when it comes to our Editors’ Picks column: Friday release days open the floodgates and unleash a seemingly endless stream of quality new music. But while some of our Editors and Contributors sit down gleefully each week to dive into this newly stocked treasure trove, others find themselves drawing a blank at the end of the month due to the breakneck pace needed to keep up to date with what’s been released. Which brings us to this Heavy Blog PSA: a weekly roundup of new albums which pares down the the week’s releases to only our highest recommendations. Here you’ll find full album/single streams, pre-order links and, most importantly, a collection of albums that could very well earn a spot on your year end list. Enjoy!
Welcome back to Kvlt Kolvmn! Another month, another insane amount of premium black metal. For the second month in a row, Scott is back in the saddle, churning out sterling recommendation after sterling recommendation. Hell is most pleased with his offerings, and all is again right in the black metal world. In a similar fashion to death metal releases in July, I was skeptical regarding how many quality albums we would hear this month. Let’s be real: July is relatively awful for new releases across all genres of music, but can be especially brutal for metal. On most fronts, July 2017 proved me wrong by unleashing upon us some excellent black metal records that are not only worthy of a solid listen, but are some of the most accomplished to be released this year. Scott and I are happy to share these records with you, and hope you enjoy them as much as we did. So, without further adieu, into the ninth circle we go.
Welcome to our latest edition of Death’s Door. Wipe your feet on the mat, etc. There’s a lot to discuss this month, though frankly, I had my doubts at certain points about whether or not there would be. You see, July tends to be a musical doldrums for yours truly, with lots of leftover releases that didn’t make it into the prime Spring and early Summer release calendar clogging streaming services with mundane/barely serviceable drivel. Obviously, this makes for some not-so-great listening experiences. Thankfully, July pulled through regardless, delivering unto us another fantastic batch of death metal releases that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of 2017. So much so, in fact, that we are foregoing our new tracks section to focus exclusively on the great records released this month. So prepare yourself for some good stuff and thank your lucky stars, because hell hath no fury like a month without good death metal.
Summer! Putting my personal biases aside, there’s plenty of things to love about it. However, it also has its disadvantages (many of them, if you ask me) and it’s a complicated time for the music industry. Releasing material early in the year has the virtue of being fresh and standing alone. Releasing music later in the year has the virtue of being fresh in the reviewer’s ear when it’s time for end of year lists and fresh in the consumer’s ear when the holiday season comes along. But summer? Summer is caught in the middle, creating a desert of sorts; music releases slow down, people take vacations, podcasts go AWOL (I need my Night Vale fix, damn it) and there’s a sort of lethargy which takes hold of the community at large. But, of course, we at Heavy Blog must soldier on, toiling under the blistering heat to pick some great albums to recommend to you fine people! What an arduous task. In all seriousness, it can be daunting, as the constant barrage of releases we are usually faced with slows down to a more manageable battering. This, however, is when smaller bands can get their moment to shine and new music can often be discovered. Take a look at the list below for proof; except for a few entries, most of the music on this is by bands we haven’t really covered before. Thus, summer offers its own opportunities and, even if it doesn’t, we still have the internet. Can any period really be a quiet one when we have the internet? So, take a deep breath and peruse this list while we button down our hatches in preparation for September (seriously, do a little Googling of release dates to get prepared for September. Everything is being released). It has some excellent stuff from established bands but more importantly, some truly brilliant additions from bands that you might not be familiar with. Happy August. Stay cool.
The following article is a collaboration between editors Jonathan Adams and Scott Murphy. Before we dive in, let’s make one…
We’re back with more fantastic jazz from the second quarter of 2017! Unfortunately with the departure of staff writer and our friend Jimmy Mullett from Heavy Blog, it’s left a hole in our Jazz Club trifecta. Thankfully we were able to fill that void quickly with our buddy Dave Tremblay of Can This Even Be Called Music? Dave is constantly finding interesting and original stuff in the way of jazz and elsewhere, and we’re excited to have him join and help us recommend jazz of all stripes that demands your attention.
I’ve been meditating on why we even started Editors’ Picks; the concept itself seems odd. It’s a remnant of old journalistic structure, where the editor in a publication was this authoritative and prestigious figure, cloaked in years of experience and insight. That’s hardly the case anymore, in Heavy Blog and outside of it, as Internet structures break down the gates between individuals and editorial privileges. And that’s why it’s a good thing we have this column; it enables the unique voices which have broken through to the editorial body of the blog to speak outside of consensus.
2017. As metal in the Internet Age continues to proliferate, its identity is in constant shift. Ideas about which genres mean what, the role of politics on music, the very fabric of the financial institutions which create the scene, all come into question as the barriers between fan, musician and business man collapse. And yet, despite of what alarmists might say to the contrary, great music is still being made across a wide variety of genres, inside and outside of the metal strata. That’s why these mid year lists are important; they allow us to more carefully consider the lighthouse releases thus far released during the year and the trends which they signify. When making this list, we attempted to consider truly stand out albums, which have something interesting to say about their respective genres, the artists themselves and the interplay therein. Thus, your mileage may vary. The idea of this list is not to be definitive or exhaustive. Indeed, such an effort would be inherently doomed to fail. Instead, this list attempts to present a facet into the trends running through our community as they manifest inside the Heavy Blog staff’s “collective taste”. As you read it, consider your own relationship to the insane amount of music and the ways in which you filter it. Perhaps we can offer our own alternative viewpoint.