Endless Loop: Heavy 33

noalternativeHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Heavy 33” by The Verlaines

You know what was awesome?  The AIDS benefit compilation album No Alternative released in 1993.  That’s what was awesome.

Recorded and released at what was probably the cultural apex for the alt-rock music scene in the 90’s (though 1994 was pretty rad too), the album featured a whole slew of artists who pretty much defined the era.  Contributions from Bob Mould, Matthew Sweet, and Urge Overkill rank right up there with the best work those artists ever recorded, while standouts from Pavement, Mark Eitzel, and Uncle Tupelo make for an essential release.  And that’s not even mentioning Soundgarden or Beastie Boys or The Breeders or an uncredited Nirvana appearance.  Seriously, this album was a monster, and all for a good cause to boot.  And among all of these gems lays what is probably my favorite track on the compilation, the gloomy and propulsive “Heavy 33” from New Zealand band The Verlaines, an act that at the time I had never heard of, and to be honest, am still only remotely familiar with.

After falling for the band’s contribution to No Alternative, I spent some time trying to locate their past work of which is fairly plentiful considering the group’s been around since 1981, but was no easy feat to accomplish for a teenager living in a smallish city in west Texas in the pre-internet age.  It wasn’t until I was in college in Austin that I was able to procure some old albums from The Verlaines, scouring through used racks and dollar bins.  And while that output was great, nothing ever captured my heart the way “Heavy 33” did.  Dense and heavy lyrics atop angsty and slightly menacing music, tied together with a wonderful pleading and frustrated chorus.

This should have been an anthem.  And, for completely selfish reasons, I’m glad it wasn’t.  It kind of makes it mine.  But I’m ready for it to be yours now too.  Give it a listen.

“All the clouds keep hoarding, all their airborne oceans won’t fall.”


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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