Following up our premiere week, we got Heatmap who is back with their new single “Tower,” a song that fits the political and social climate of our days.
About the song, Michael comments:
“The tower has taken on new resonance in the Trump era. But I had Kafka’s ‘An Imperial Message’ in mind when I wrote the lyrics. Far from being a symbol of strength, tower-building evokes endless repetition, futile expansion, limitless need — very cheery stuff. You can feel it in the cyclical figure of the song.”
Heatmap is proof that post-post-punk’s not dead. And Pulses, the band’s debut EP, out November 17, is proof of that old post-punk axiom: You can take three middle-class kids out of the suburbs, but you can’t take the unearned suburban angst out of three middle-class kids.
Drummer Phil Sutton and guitarist Michael Friedrich, childhood friends from Long Island, were founding members of the forgotten Frenchkiss Records band Rahim. Bassist Eric Freda and Sutton, who met in college, later played together in the forgotten Philadelphia band Wigwams.
A decade surlier since Rahim’s final release—and now a Philadelphia fixture and homeowner—Sutton recruited Freda at a show and reunited with Friedrich by email to form Heatmap. “Repetition makes a life,” Friedrich sings in the EP’s opening track, “Erase,” and maybe it’s true.
Pillaging the minor vinyl of the Touch & Go and Dischord catalogues, Heatmap pieces together a fresh vision of stark melody and economy. Each song is a meditation on a simple theme. “Kind of a retro feel to it,” wrote Sutton’s mom, Pastor Ann, in a recent email message. “A long way since the days of grunge!” The middle school music teacher for both Friedrich and Sutton, Pastor Ann should know.
The trio documented the outcome of their first six months together in a weekend recording session with Philadelphia producer Jeff Zeigler. Friedrich came from New York and slept on Sutton’s sticky leather couch for the first time in years. “The idea,” says Sutton, “was to make circular songs with caveman beats you can feel. Not too many changes. Not too many cymbals.” From the vantage of post-young adulthood, Heatmap is confident in the power of repetition—in music as in life.
Pulses will be available November 17 digitally and on limited edition cassette from Dimension Arts.