SW RECOMMENDS: THIS HEAT
Who are they? Short-lived British trio whose often-political music occupies the lonely intersection between progressive rock and post-punk. Though largely overlooked at the time, their legend has continued to grow, and they’ve been quietly influential. Their catalogue has just been reissued by US label Light in the Attic.
What Should I Listen to? In between their two excellent studio albums, “This Heat” (1979) and “Deceit” (1981), the trio released the extraordinary single “Health and Efficiency.” The 8 minute song is a distillation of This Heat’s wild musical shifts, from ebullient surf pop and buzzsaw-guitar punk to grinding-cog industrial music and complex time signature laden art rock.
What Steven says: In the tradition of the German band Can, This Heat spent months jamming inside their Cold Storage studio unit and then manipulated their improvisations through tape editing and post-production. While they came out of the crucible of post-punk and there is a DIY primitivism to their angular, atonal, riff-based music, their music was also deceptively complex, and incorporated layers of Musique concrète and shifting time signatures. (Drummer Charles Hayward had been in Gong and Quiet Sun, Phil Manzanera’s progressive rock band outside Roxy Music.) Along with bands occupying a similar no man’s land such as Wire, XTC and Cardiacs, their truly original sound was perhaps too clever for the punk rockers and too angular for the progressive rock fans of the time.
You might like this if you like… Wire, XTC, Cardiacs, King Crimson, Brian Eno.