Heavy Blanket: Heavy Blanket

Tuba-smoking Mascis bulks out again.

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If you were disappointed that J Mascis was slowing down with the release of his acoustic solo offering Several Shades Of Why in 2011, you’ll be pleased to discover that the J Mascis of 2012 is returning to his roots.

Heavy Blanket has a rather questionable back story: allegedly all of the tracks on the album were written in 1984 by Mascis and two friends who were kicked out of the school band for smoking weed out of a tuba. Due to one suffering brain damage and the other doing a stint in prison, the band folded and these tracks were forgotten… until now.

The result is six lengthy instrumental songs that focus primarily on showing off Mascis’s undeniable ability to shred. Dirty stoner rock is key, focusing on weighty grooves, thick sludge and doomy distortion, with Mascis’s elaborate guitar solos taking centre stage. You can almost smell the weed when you crank it up.

There’s little structure in Heavy Blanket, just a mixing pot of gritty, fuzzy sounds that culminate in a blindingly heavy listening experience that can be somewhat overwhelming, but this is a must for Mascis obsessives.

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.