There’s hard heavy blues that’s jam-based, with dark and murky exploration into psychedelia, and then there’s tight, fast-paced blues. We got both of them today. One is like Led Zeppelin 1, the other is like “In Through the Out Door.” And I love ’em both, for different reasons.
Let’s start with the more accessible of the two. Heavy Glow‘s latest collection of three-to-five minute singles (and every song on the album could be a single) features blues hooks, great vocals, raw production, and choruses like: “You want all my money/I want all my money/And I got no reason to give.” Do you need to know more than that? I don’t think so. But in case you do, I’ll tell you that the song “Collide” completely kicks ass. No, it runs over your ass like a train. Then it backs up and runs over it again.
On the other side of this coin is the “epic,” far-reaching Arbouretum album, “The Gathering,” on which no song clocks in at less than 4 minutes and several stretch past seven. Most of the time, if you tell me a song is more than five minutes long I’ll ask whether it’s Roger Waters or Iron Butterfly. Some people need that much time to say what they need to say, but most don’t.
Arbouretum make the most of every second. It’s heavy, somber rock in the tradition of Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull (no flute, though), and all those heavy-1960s thinkers. Is it “jam” music? Yes, but only in the way that Black Mountain make jam music. It’s not long or noodle-y, it’s just full of muscular passion. It may scare you woman, but it’s mighty great.