Chicago-area record label Jetsam-Flotsam is adding the Minneapolis, MN’s “sludgegaze” band Another Heaven to its roster and has repressed the band’s 2021 out-of-print album “III: The Sorrowful Cries of Birds with Singed Feathers” on compact disc. The CD is now available.
“III: The Sorrowful Cries of Birds with Singed Feathers” is Another Heaven’s third release. A collection of songs that seeks to summarize the many pet obsessions that brought the band together in the first place — emotions of hopelessness, dread, existential horror and apathy; vivid descriptions of horrifying dreams; various strains of epic guitar rock — the release is, at turns, crushing and atmospheric; incredibly bleak and weirdly uplifting. Started as an exercise in collective songwriting after finishing another long-running project, this collection of songs tracks the dissolution of America in parallel to an intense year of personal introspection.
Musically, it pushes the band’s sludgegaze sound further in both directions to create incredibly heavy songs adorned with lush, multilayered guitar and vocal melodies that frequently dissolve into hushed atmospherics. Often eschewing the traditional shoegaze trappings in favor of a more direct approach, these songs transition from insanely heavy pummeling to cloudy atmospherics on a dime; pushing the hazy cloudbusting of shoegaze as far into the realm of Heavy music as possible.
Taking on a whole new resonance as the band recorded the album at their personal music space during the 2020 hellscape, these songs weigh the personal losses we endure against the massive cultural shifts that seem to Delete entire ways of existing from our collective consciousness. Started in the wake of the current political and social upheaval, the band draws parallels between the destruction of our natural environment from climate change, the rapid expansion of technology that defines our current era and the total collapse that we are currently experiencing as the Old World dies to make way for an uncertain future.
The album was written collectively, with everyone chipping in on vocals and guitar and basic songwriting handled by all members of the band. For the first time, the band trades off on lead and backup vocals – a practice which creates moments of stunning contrast such as Aaron’s spoken verses on “Your Shadow,” the lilting backups on “Recoil” or Cole’s shouted choruses on “Unfit” (songs that were also written by their respective vocalists).
The lyrics were similarly written by all members. Born of late-night conversations about the dire circumstances we find ourselves in and the quickly deteriorating situation that working Americans face everyday, the album eventually became a sweeping survey of mourning — starting with a personal loss, moving into a political one and ending with total ecological collapse — and the things we do to stay sane and alive when faced with such apocalyptic prospects. It’s a strange, conflicted set of thoughts on a complicated topic embodied best by the album’s ending — a shouted monologue that imagines a grisly, post-apocalyptic ending even as we strive to create something new.
Another Heaven has booked two shows over the next few months:
May 29 @ Palmer’s in Minneapolis, MN (Caterwaul Music Festival)
July 5 @ 7th St. Entry in Minneapolis, MN (w/ Rezn and Grivo)