If you've followed Heavy Blog over the last few years, you've likely noticed how much we adore the output of Art As Catharsis. This year alone, we've seen phenomenal albums ranging from the nu-jazz-fusion of CO... Read More...
We've covered a fair bit of ground with our Starter Kit series, where we select a handful of key records that highlight a niche musical style or penetrate the prolific status of a staple genre. Unfortunately, this format doesn't lend itself to covering proto-genres—microcosms of musical history comprised of a specific set of albums released in a fixed period of time. But these movements are crucial to the evolution of our favorite genres, particularly when it comes to the trajectory of sludge metal. What's become a multifaceted and often refined style was once a disparate lineage of bands from different genres who all applied the "sludge factor" in different measures. While you won't find a dedicated section for proto-sludge at your preferred music store, the following albums an artists laid the framework for the modern sludge landscape. So whether your sludge purveyors of choice come from the atmospheric, blackened or progressive sects of he genre, they're all indebted to the groundbreaking statements these albums made.
We’ve covered a lot of ground with Heavy Vanguard, from improvisation to sound art, and nearly ever genre someone has ever played around with, but you might notice there isn’t a whole lot of diversity in terms of nationality. Most of the acts we’ve gone over have been American or European. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course—good art is simply good art, and we shouldn’t put so much emphasis on the person creating the music as opposed to the music itself—but music knows no borders or boundaries, and this counts exponentially so for the avant-garde. There are free jazz scenes all over the world, and radical music being created in every country. This is why we finally decided to cover one of the countries best known for their experimental music, Japan, with one of the country’s best experimental rock bands ever, Boredoms.
Mary Bell describe themselves as “Bikini Kill meets Dischord Records” as well as name checking Bratmobile and Sonic Youth. Though more obscure, the band could be best described as the Red Aunts plus 20 years. The big difference with Mary Bell is that while records from Bikini Kill and any number of Dischord acts practically ooze politics, Mary Bell dials up the attitude without being overtly feminist (or otherwise activist) in the way that Bikini Kill epitomized third wave feminism. There is an argument that the sheer act of being an all-female band is political unto itself, but over two decades removed from the riot grrrl movement, let’s hope the world is a better place and not do that anymore. Can we hope it no longer needs to be a “thing?” If you bring the rock, you bring the rock.
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.