When it comes to the Pacific Northwest music scene, few bands have made as big an impact as Heatmiser. Formed in Portland, Oregon in 1991, Heatmiser was comprised of talented musicians Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Sam Coomes, and Tony Lash. Although the band’s career was relatively short-lived, spanning from 1991 to 1996, they left a lasting legacy with their distinct blend of indie rock and punk influences. Today, we take a look at ten essential Heatmiser records that capture the essence of the band’s groundbreaking sound.
1. “Dead Air” (1993): Heatmiser’s debut album, “Dead Air,” showcases the band’s raw energy and introspective songwriting. From the melancholic “Stray” to the hard-hitting “Cannibal,” the album sets the stage for the band’s future recordings.
2. “Cop and Speeder” (1994): With its increased production values compared to its predecessor, “Cop and Speeder” reflects Heatmiser’s maturation as a band. The album features standout tracks like “Rest My Head Against the Wall” and “The Fix Is In,” providing a glimpse into the band’s evolving sound.
3. “Mic City Sons” (1996): Considered by many to be Heatmiser’s magnum opus, “Mic City Sons” demonstrates the band’s ability to deliver both catchy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. Tracks like “Something to Lose” and “See You Later” perfectly encapsulate the band’s signature sound.
4. “Dead Air Studios Session” (1993): This EP captures Heatmiser’s raw power in a live studio setting. The band delivers stripped-down versions of their songs, showcasing their exceptional musicianship and captivating stage presence.
5. “Yellow No. 5” (1994): Often overlooked due to its limited release, “Yellow No. 5” contains some of Heatmiser’s grittiest and most energetic tracks. Songs like “Still” and “Antonio Carlos Jobim” exemplify the band’s ability to create memorable hooks with an edge.
6. “The Music of Heatmiser: 1993-1996” (2002): Released as a compilation album, this record captures the best of Heatmiser’s discography. Serving as a retrospective piece, it provides an excellent introduction for those new to the band’s work.
7. “Stray Heat: The Best of Heatmiser” (2011): Another compilation album, “Stray Heat” delves into the band’s catalogue and includes some lesser-known gems alongside their more popular tracks. Essential for fans and newcomers alike, it showcases Heatmiser’s versatility.
8. “Scattergood/Antilles” (1993): A double single release, “Scattergood/Antilles” contains two tracks that explore Heatmiser’s evolution towards a more complex and introspective sound. The introspective lyrics combined with catchy melodies make this release a must-listen.
9. “Alternative Nation: The Best of 1992-1998” (1999): While not exclusively dedicated to Heatmiser, this compilation album features the band alongside other influential Pacific Northwest acts. The album serves as a time capsule of the region’s vibrant music scene of that era.
10. “Sawtooth” (2016): This posthumous release compiles previously unreleased tracks from the band’s early years. “Sawtooth” offers a glimpse into Heatmiser’s creative process, showcasing their growth and experimentation.
For fans of indie rock, punk, or simply lovers of great music, exploring Heatmiser’s discography is a must. These ten essential records provide an excellent starting point, allowing listeners to delve into the band’s unique sound while experiencing the magic of the Pacific Northwest music scene in the 90s. The legacy of Heatmiser lives on, forever etched in the annals of Pacific Northwest music history.