“What happened to Audrey Horne?” It was a question that permeated much of last year’s Twin Peaks revival, and one which lingers long after its close. Yet, while the cult TV series’ timely return has brought such bygone contemplation to the forefront of contemporary pop culture, that very same question has been pressing upon my mind with regard to the musical sphere for some time now. Having peaked with their eponymous third album in 2010, this once lively group of Norwegians (who take their name from a prominent character in David Lynch and Mark Frost’s cult television series, in case that introduction made absolutely no sense to you) seemed to degenerate—much like Twin Peaks itself—from underappreciated semi-cult act to middling pastiche with their two subsequent records. However—again, much like the origin of their namesake—Blackout sees this bunch of retro-rock worshiping ragtags return with their strongest offering in years.
There’s a lot happening in the music world, and we here at Heavy Blog try our very best to keep up with it! Like the vast majority of heavy music fans, our tastes are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each square. While we have occasionally covered non-metal topics in past blog posts, we decided that a dedicated column was once again warranted in order to more completely recommend all of the music that we have been listening to. Unmetal Monday is a weekly column which covers noteworthy news, tracks and albums from outside the metal universe, and we encourage you all to share your favorite non-metal picks from the week in the comments. This week, we’ll be highlighting several albums that struck our fancy over the past few weeks. Head past the jump to dial down the distortion:
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.
Foo Fighters aren’t the type of band you associate with breaking boundaries, but their career has seen them unleash eight studio albums that most of us will agree are pretty solid, with a couple that ascends to levels of greatness. Also, as far as modern rock acts go, they don’t come much bigger. Their prolific career has seen them rise to meteoric heights through the release of popular singles, hilarious music videos and a reputation for being some of the nicest dudes in the biz. We don’t just want to support these guys because they know how to appeal to our stadium-sized sensibilities with almighty, but easily digestible, melodic rock, but they’re genuinely likable and good poster boys for music in general. It’s also a testament to their talent that they were able to break out of the shadow of Nirvana and establish themselves as a huge deal in their own right, and at this point in time, you could argue that their legacy is just as magnificent.
When bands return from 10 years away from the recorded word it’s logical for fans to expect *something* that sounds familiar. We want those echoes. The nostalgic pull at our heart strings for days of yore when we listened to “Band – Last Album” with such glee and aplomb that it would leave us wanting more, so much so that a decade later we will line up to ingest their latest offering. But realistically speaking, the question has to be asked how can we expect anything to be even remotely the same as it was after a prolonged period away from itself like that? Oxbow swaggers into the room to forcefully ask the audience this question on Thin Black Duke, their newest album coming hot on the heels of 2007’s The Narcotic Story (if Antarctica seems like terrific beachfront property to you).
Back in the middle of February, Chicago-based doom band Flesh of the Stars put out their third LP, Anhilla. It’s a phenomenal record that fuses elements of classic progressive rock, doom metal, and a lot of movie score influences into a very moody, atmospheric sound. Since I live in Chicago, we got in…
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.
It’s January, which means we get to finally put all of the music from the previous year behind us and focus strictly on new and exciting music again. It also means that we get to celebrate an anniversary of sorts, as we have officially been running this column for one…
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.
It strikes me as somehow appropriate in a year that’s killed off Prince and David Bowie, given us marriage equality, bathroom laws in North Carolina, and ultimately a Trump Presidency that we have someone to look to in the musical world as a relatively unfiltered voice of rage. Not at the machine. At everything. That voice belongs to Laura Jane Grace.