Post Rock Post – Years of Rice & Salt

There are musical moments in your life which change it immediately; you’re thunderstruck as an album which you just know will accompany you for years plays for the first time. This happened to me this week when a good friend recommended what he called “one of the most well kept secrets of post rock”. Now, I’m a simple man: if I see a title based on a science fiction book (The Years of Rice and Salt is an alternate history novel written by science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson), I click. And goddamn, am I happy I did. Years of Rice & Salt haven’t released a lot of music but what’s there is simply masterful and none is more masterful than “Nothing Of Cities”, their 2011 release. It’s a moving piece of cinematic post rock which, somehow, manages to be small, moving, grandiose and epic at the same time. It’s crescendo based post rock that still has a heart and direction. It’s simply wonderful.

This Patch of Sky – These Small Spaces

This Patch of Sky is definitely of the third wave of post rock and this comes across strongly in both the music itself (replete as it is with buildups and crescendos) and the aesthetic chocies around track names and album art. As the band plunge deeper into their career (this is their sixth release), they seem to be harnessing their unique sound towards even more poignant and cutting evocations of the idea of longing, a wayward journey and then, finally, maybe, perhaps, a distant return. These Small Spaces is an exercise in the slow unravelling of these emotions, the contemplation of their often despondent tendancies and, perhaps, finally, maybe, a rejection of that despondence in favor of a mettled hope, a bedraggled optimism.

Post Rock Post – Open Language Part II, Side B

Hello! A little over a week ago, I informed you that good guys A Thousand Arms are back with yet another incredible compilation. Side A of Open Language Vol. II, with which the last post was mainly concerned, focused on post rock and metal bands from the good ol’ USA. We dug deep into the release finding plenty of gems hidden without it. Now, I’m back as promised to take a close look at Side B, which collects post rock and metal bands from all over the world. This side caught me a bit unawares; it suffered from a slightly lackluster opening half. However, there are some bands almost hidden as a reward for the careful listener near the end of the volume that more than make this side a must listen as well. Let’s dig in!

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 6/9/17

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.

Editors’ Picks – May 2017

This year charges on and doesn’t appear to show any signs of slowing down. As we near the six month mark (and our own Top 25 of 2017 So Far), it’s becoming apparent that 2017 hits on broader fronts than 2016 did. While the previous year was an amazing year for some very specific genres, there were others that suffered less than stellar performance. With 2017, there’s very little that’s left untouched, with great releases coming from left and right. The list below is a great example of this; it contains post rock, grindcore, jazz, psychedelic electronics, death metal, stoner and oh so much more. Each of these sub-genres have been producing great releases this year, giving 2017 the illusion of a siege. From us, the nominal besieged, a measure of elasticity is required; we must keep our ears open and listen to new places, places we might have abandoned up until now.

EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE: Onj. Are “Alone”

I’ve spoken a lot about the different flavors of post rock. The genre has much of hope, wonder, and color but it’s hard to deny that its base, post rock is melancholic. Even the more “positive” emotions (if such a neuro-typical spectrum is even worth repeating) displayed within the genre are tinged with longing and a forlorn sense of distance. Thus, every so often, it’s refreshing to hear a post rock band simply tap into that difficult and burdensome place of sadness and bring forth a type of post rock awash in the early influences of the genre. Which is exactly what onj. are all about. Head down below to hear “Alone”. Bring tissues.

What Heavy Blog Is Really Listening To – 1/6/17

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.

Heavy Blog Staff’s Top Ten Albums of 2016

With our general list for 2016 out of the way, we can now shift the focus from our aggregate opinion to individual ones. Both outlooks have their own merit; the former provides us with an overview of our year in music. However, the latter shines a light on something we’re extremely proud of and that’s the varied and eclectic nature of our staff these days. We used to have a very certain type of music associated with Heavy Blog and while we still have a long way to go, we feel like we’ve done a good job at expanding our palettes and the representation of different kinds of music and metal in our staff. The lists below reflect that; you’ll find black metal, avant-garde, technical thrash metal, hip hop, rap, noise, ambiance, post metal and rock, melodic death metal and much more throughout these lists.

Heavy Blog’s Top 50 Albums Of 2016

We wrote a pretty big check to ourselves when we closed off 2015. Publishing not only a list which proclaimed the triumph of 2015 but also a whole editorial dedicated to the idea of “The Golden Age of Metal”, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Like the rest of the music establishment which, in numerous places implicit and explicit, was apparently ready to join in the social lynching of 2016, we were well positioned to find it a sobering, dreadful, faith shattering year for music in general and metal specifically. Except it was nothing of the sort and we cannot stress our amazement at metal/music journalism’s reaction so far. 2016 was an absolutely fantastic year, building on the trend of solid and often groundbreaking releases from established acts and simply astounding, out of left field releases from virtually nameless bands. Sure, it had its disappointments for us from huge bands we had expected more from (although signs of their demise were certainly forthcoming) but, overall, it was a year which will surely be remembered in our circles as one of the best years for music in general.