Though Swans has had several sonic reincarnations, The Great Annihilator is one of the most important phoenixes in the flock. After five perverse, punishing records, Michael Gira and crew began to slowly drift up from the gutters into some puzzling territory. The band followed up Children of God (1987) with an unexpected absolution and released The Burning World (1989), a collection of gothic-tinged neofolk album which was easily the most pleasant offering they’d composed up until that point. Then came sister albums White Light From the Mouth of Infinity (1991) and Love of Life (1992), which strayed slightly from their predecessor but took the general framework along with them. Swaying between dismal post punk, morbid folk and unidentifiable bliss, these albums flirted with a sound that Gira and crew would perfect on The Great Annihilator (1995), one of the greatest achievements of Swans initial life as a band.
There are some punk bands that still manage to subvert the grand cliches, both musical and stylistic, that overtook punk. One of those bands is Canadian hardcore/punk/experimental heroes Fucked Up, a band who has never shied away from pushing punk to its very furthest limits, effectively achieving the goals punk initially set out to accomplish. Recently I was lucky enough to talk to their drummer Jonah Falco about exactly what inspires Fucked Up to constantly push the boundaries of punk music, as well as their most recent release, Year of the Snake.
Scottish post-rock denizens Mogwai are a band who thrive in chaos and unpredictability – much like the little furry creatures from Joe Dante’s Gremlins they’re named after. Boundary-pushers since their inception, their feats of trailblazing subsequently launched post-rock into the mainstream stratosphere without ever having to compromise their artistic vision. Mogwai’s success is well earned and proof that, sometimes, crafting consistently great and innovative music can get you far. To traverse their discography is to explore vast oceans and limitless skies of both welcome familiarity and unexpected delights. Whether unleashing earth-shattering audio assaults or elegiac passages of soothing soundscapes, their music is profoundly human and capable of eliciting an emotional response through instrumentals alone.
The Glowing Man caps off a four album musical victory lap from a reinvigorated Gira, who convened a group of new and old collaborators at the turn of the decade to culminate Swans' mission statement. A moderate re-introduction arrived with My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky (2010), an admittedly great album that struggled with its reliance on ideas from Gira side-project Angels of Light. Yet, any early detractors scurried away once Swans unleashed The Seer (2012), easily one of the greatest albums of the decade and century thus far. Gira and crew's experimental capabilities and limitless mindset led to a magnanimous statement of mood, sound and anti-structure that leveraged every aspect of Swans' three-decade career in the most effective way possible. The Seer seemed inimitable, and To Be Kind (2014) proved that point correct - by demolishing Swans' already desolate structure and rebuilding it in an adjacent, bastardized fashion.
Like the grand majority of modern metal fans, our tastes here at Heavy Blog are incredibly vast, with our 3X3s in each Playlist Update typically covering numerous genres and sometimes a different style in each ... Read More...
Collectively, we didn't feel as though we had enough noteworthy "unmetal" content to fit into our typical biweekly column. I'm not one to step off the soapbox so easily, though, especially considering how many times I've spun the latest single from Cali experimentalists Xiu Xiu. For those of you who don't follow my personal best-of-lists religiously, I listed Xiu Xiu's latest album Angle Guts: Red Classroom as one of my top albums of 2014, and for good reason; everything about the project took what I love about art rock and experimental music and elevated the genres' eccentricities to the point of sheer discomfort. It's because of this that the band's decision to interpret Angelo Badalamenti's music from cult classic show Twin Peaks for Record Store Day doesn't surprise me in the least. To the contrary, it stoked my excitement quite a bit, especially after the band posted a reworking of the band's iconic main theme under the name "Falling." Head past the jump to share in my chilling excitement: