There is a long-running joke at the publication that I have called home for the past few years, Arctic Drones, that revolves around senile “Gramps” (at age 37, I am currently by far the oldest writer on our staff) consistently forgetting what he has previously written and declaring that every album he reviews is a “potential album of the year.” It has become so well-documented that, out of the desire to be as professional a writer as possible and avoid repetitious phrasings, I have made a very conscious effort to shy from such wording over the past year. Why lead with this potentially perplexing anecdote? Because Holy Fawn has finally released their first full-length record, Death Spells, and it is without hesitation and with full clarity of mind that I declare that it as, to this point, my choice for the best album of 2018.
In case you missed it, we announced a couple of months ago that Heavy Blog will be sponsoring Post. Festival, the US’s only (and thus also premier) major post-rock/metal/whatever festival on October 19th and 20th at Indiana City Brewery Co. in Indianapolis, IN. The festival is shaping up to be an incredible event, featuring the likes of The Appleseed Cast, Outrun the Sunlight, Heron, This Patch of Sky, and far more. I wanted to talk to the festival organizers about what fans can expect from the weekend, about what makes holding a post-rock festival in the US a more daunting challenge than in Europe, and about why they believe the genre of post-rock is as strong as it’s ever been and only getting stronger.
God, I’m such a sucker for hopefully named post-rock tracks. The genre, with its over the top crescendos and stark contrast, already makes me introspective and filled with wonder so the track names are like the cherry on top, a final twist of the emotional knife. It also helps when the music itself is brilliant, as is the case here. ISLES, based in California’s Bay Area, have been around for a while now but have yet to garner widespread attention in the post-rock genre. Perhaps now, with the resurgence of amazing music being made in the post-rock spaces that are mostly centered in the US, they can get the attention they deserve. Their groove filled sound certainly draws from the same wellsprings as band like Man Mountain, This Patch of Sky or set and setting do.
For those willing to rummage through the fecund fields of modern post-rock, there’s plenty to appreciate in this new life, springing to action for a decade now. A good example is Talons, whose experimental take on the genre and unique timbre makes a resplendent return and rebirth on their latest album, We All Know. The first half of the album is a more condensed version of that sound, leaning heavily on noise rock and other, chunkier genres for its punch and impact. Thus, tracks like “On Levels” and “Movements on Seven”, channel a more urgent, industrial sound that reminds us at times of Stateless by way of early Long Distance Calling, a kind of urgent post-rock that’s more abrasive and compact for that urgency, even when it builds up and releases slowly.
Premiering new music from familiar faces is one of our favorite things to do. Not only does it give us the chance to highlight more incredible songs and albums, but it gives our readers another opportunity to discover an artist they may have missed the first time around. Which brings…
Hello, I have returned! All the thanks to my brother from across the world, Eden, for taking ownership of this place for the past couple of months while I experienced multiple large life events (honeymoon, moving to a new state/metro area, getting a new job). I am back though to deliver you all the best in all things post-rock and metal. And I am doing so at an excellent time because I come bearing an awesome announcement!
Perhaps no one musician has contributed to the cello’s prominence and presence in the field of experimental music as Randall Holt but the name might not even be familiar to you unless you’re well versed in the Austin musical scene, the post rock landscape or other experimental/jazz circles. But the fact remains that he totes one of the finest pedigrees in the market. He collaborates or has collaborated with the likes of Thor Harris (drummer for Swans), Jonathan Horne (another of Austin’s elite of hardworking musicians, also the guitarist for The Young Mothers), Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, and Adam Rudolph, one of the most important jazz composers and percussionists in the world. In 2016, Holt was ready to foray out into the world by himself with a haunting and beautiful album titled “Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness” and boy is it a ride. We’re proud to stream the full album here today to celebrate the album’s physical release, on cassette and CD, so head on over below for a taste and we’ll talk more after.
As anyone following the blog might by now know, I have a special place in my heart for the marriage between electronic music and post rock. Something about the lush textures of synths, expansive guitars and the “bright melancholy” of post rock just works incredibly well. A fine example of that is Aesthesys, a Russian band with a host of releases behind them who are now gearing up for their sophomore full length, Achromata. They blend strings, a sense of wonder and post rock sensibilities into one energetic whole, drawing obvious but necessary comparisons to 65daysofstatic but also This Patch of Sky and world’s end girlfriend. Head on down below to hear the opening track from the upcoming release, “Grauer Wald”!
Noyan is away, so Eden hosts fellow blog editor, Nick Cusworth! This gives the two opportunity to talk about stuff that usually doesn’t come up on the cast which they use to shine a light on Jim Grey from Caligula’s Horse releasing a video for the A Capela segment on their latest album, Plini releasing a new track, and a deep dive on the changes undergoing the post rock scene, recommended bands that make post rock or metal and the close knit networks that make these scenes happen! Along the way, they mention bands like Man Mountain, This Patch of Sky, Town Portal, VASA, Rumour Cubes, The Physics House Band, Alpha Male Tea Party, Mountain, Below a Silent Sky, Flora, Soldat Hans and more!
Then, it’s time for the bad news. They start off with surprising opinions revolving around gun control, first from Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike and then from Taylor Swift. They then move on to the click-bait article published on The Washington Post which claims that physical sales exceeded digital ones in 2017. While that’s technically true, the two analyze why that happened and get pretty personal on vinyl and CDs! Lastly, there’s a trio of terrible politics from the metal community. The first is the ridicule in the wake of The Faceless breaking up again, and what that says about the community’s terrible perspectives on addiction. Then, there’s another statement from Decapitated who totally by accident (allegedly) misinterpret and represent the facts of their trial again. Finally, there’s the awful news of Inquisition’s Dagon involvement with child pornography and, surprise, the community’s desire to protect him.
Cool people time includes The Witcher 3, CW’s Black Lightning and Ninefox Gambit!
Oh boy, that title really sucks, doesn’t it? Luckily, the music will more than make up for it. You might have noticed recently that we are really, really into what’s happening in the New England post rock scene. Both the result of many bands suddenly releasing music (like This Patch of Sky and upcoming titles by bands like Wess Meets West) and last year’s US edition of Dunk! Festival, that scene has had a huge spotlight pointed its way. That’s an exceptional thing, since it really has been making incredible post rock, for almost a decade now. And new names are constantly being added, like Man Mountain, of whom we are here to talk about. They’re getting ready to release their third album, Infinity Mirror, this Friday and you absolutely have to go this new track “No Man Needs Nothing” a listen. See you afterwards.