These posts are written by: Scott Murphy

Planning for Burial, With “Whiskey and Wine”

There aren’t many labels that balance consistency and quality quite like The Flenser. Since launching in 2009, the San Francisco-based curator of “dark experimental” music has presented some of the best bands fitting of this classification. And though it was probably due to my own personal taste evolving more than anything else, 2014 seemed to be a particularly phenomenal year for The Flenser’s roster, complete with incredible releases from Botanist, Have a Nice Life, Kayo Dot, White Suns and Wreck and Reference. But of all these gems, perhaps the most lasting release from the bunch has been Planning for Burial’s Desideratum, Thom Wasluck’s captivating blend of shoegaze and ambient drone that feels like an organic, non-GMO version of Jesu’s poppy doom metal.

Heavy Blog Primer – Our Most Anticipated Albums of 2017

Though it may seem like we talked ad naseum about how fucking spectacular 2016 was in terms of new music, the fact remains that we saw more fantastic albums drop than we could seemingly keep up with. But just when we thought our palates were satiated, here comes 2017 with an excellent early roster of release announcements, some we’ve expected for a while and others that came out of nowhere. The following is a surely incomplete list of all the albums worth craving as we ring in the new year. Some of these albums have been fully announced with pre-order links and all that jazz, while others are merely probable assumptions based on various updates on social media. Regardless, these are all phenomenal projects worth looking for in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to comment with some albums you’re anticipating so we can share in your excitement.

Soundtracks for the Blind – David Toop // Entities Inertias Faint Beings

While it’s unfair to call the “electroacoustic” tag unhelpful, the meaning of it’s name is far more self-explanatory than the works it labels. For those unfamiliar with the genre, the underlying concept is relatively straight forward: electroacoustic music applies any number of digital effects to acoustic (or more accurately, non-electronic) recordings, whether it be instruments, found sounds or field recordings. This method creates a certain detached tangibility – a recognition of the deliberate, musical purpose of sounds which you often times can’t quite link to a specific source. Such an odd bricolage may cause some to question the musicality of these works, but to the contrary, it’s precisely this careful crafting of disparate sounds which established the genre as a unique art form all its own. The process experimental music veteran David Toop used to create Entities Inertias Faint Beings illuminates precisely why this is:

Heavy Buys – November/Black Friday Vinyl

Welcome back to Heavy Buys! We launched this feature a couple months ago to share some recent physical music purchases we’ve made, whether it’s a small-time purchase to round out one’s collection, or a debt-inducing splurge. Vinyl, CDs, and even cassettes are all possible topics here. As long as its physical media, it’s fair game. While Jimmy’s inaugural installment covered his autographed copy of John Zorn’s Hemophiliac, I’m starting a monthly column covering all of the vinyl I’ve purchased in the past 30 days (give or take). This stack of records comes from several hours spent in four separate stores, including trips during a weekend visit with friends in Maine, my go-to hometown shop in New Hampshire, and a Black Friday binge while down in Connecticut with my girlfriend for Thanksgiving with her family. After you’ve gone through all of my picks, be sure to comment with any of your own finds!

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 11/18/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To: Playlist Swap // 11/11/16

Even a cursory glance of our biweekly “What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To” posts (last week’s update here) will reveal that there is a great deal of variety among our staff’s musical tastes. Due to this, we brainstormed the idea of “Playlist Swap,” another biweekly segment that takes place between playlist updates. We randomly select two of the participants from each update, have them pick their favorite track from each of the nine albums in their grid and then send the list over to the other person to listen to and comment on. Within these commentaries occurs praise, criticism and discovery, and we hope that you experience a few instances of this last point as well. This week’s post has Nick and David going tête-à-tête with some things the two already share their admiration for and some unexpected surprises!

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 11/4/16

For those who missed our last installment, We post biweekly updates covering what the staff at Heavy Blog have been spinning. Given the amount of time we spend on the site telling you about music that does not fall neatly into the confines of conventional “metal,” it should come as no surprise that many of us on staff have pretty eclectic tastes that range far outside of metal and heavy things. We can’t post about all of them at length here, but we can at least let you know what we’re actually listening to. For those that would like to participate as well (and please do) can drop a 3X3 in the comments, which can be made with tapmusic.net through your last.fm account, or create it manually with topsters.net. Also, consider these posts open threads to talk about pretty much anything music-related. We love hearing all of your thoughts on this stuff and love being able to nerd out along with all of you.

The Living Earth Show – Dance Music

Given the modern understanding of “dance music,” listeners may expect The Living Earth Show’s sophomore album to toy with synth melodies and simple snare-kick patterns. And while this may be true to a small extent, guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson serve a reminder of the boundlessness of what can soundtrack dance and, inversely, how dance morphs as an art form depending on its sonic backdrop. All five tracks composed for Dance Music were written with dance in mind and ultimately conjure unique, off-kilter imagery ranging from club fare to interpretative dance. And though not every experiment is a success, the duo maintain intrigue at the very least.

Break Out Your Corpsepainted Hymnal with Zeal and Ardor

Back when I was an undergrad, I came across the term “bricolage” while reading Dick Hebdige’s Subculture: The Meaning of Style for one of my communication theory classes. Though he was specifically using the term to analyze punk fashion, the term has a broad meaning covering virtually all forms of art. The concept is simple – bricolage is created by the combination of autonomous objects or practices from disparate contexts to form something with new meaning and style. Creativity is at the core of bricolage, and in my view, musicians that take this approach often produce music that’s at the very least interesting and occasionally quite brilliant. All of this pseudo-intellectual rambling is a product of me discovering Zeal and Ardor’s phenomenal new album Devil is Fine, the project of producer Manuel Gagneux and an excellent example of what bricolage is and why it can produce fantastic results. Frankly, I don’t know what made Gagneux want to combine black metal and black spirituals, but I’m wicked fucking glad he did.

FULL ALBUM STREAM: Bless Your Ears With Lowlands’ Gloomy Post-Punk Debut, Lovers Blessings

Saying any particular genre is dead has to be one of the lazies things a (supposed) music fan can do. Punk bears the brunt of these types of claims, but I’ve seen virtually every genre from hip-hop to black metal to jazz receive some variation of this critique over the years. Saying this is an indication of laziness more than anything else; given the intersection of genre proliferation and the ease of music discovery, there’s really no excuse for missing the multitude of bands who either pay homage to or actively progress virtually every genre in existence. Post-punk is a solid example of this – so many people are content rocking their Unknown Pleasures shirts and remaining oblivious to the fact that the genre didn’t start and end with Joy Division. There are notable installments made in the genre each year, and with their debut album Lovers Blessings, NYC-based duo Lowlands makes a compelling case for why they’re the post-punk act of the year.