Random Shit, Great Northwest Edition: The Posies, Heatmiser, ...and Hall Aflame?!


For as much interest as folks have in anything Elliot Smith ever did, this writer continues to be actively stymied by the complete lack of attention paid to Smith's Heatmiser work, or am I just missing it?



I ask only because I happened to pull out Mic City Sons and once again walked away with my ears delightfully burning, thinking that this one's the true gem in Smith's entire catalog and yet you ask most Elliot Smith fans what band he was in and they just look at you like you might have a concussion. Come on music supervisors, start burning through that Heatmiser catalog.



First thing I loved about The Posies, you ask? The fact that they used the word "nomenclature" in the song "Apology" on their second album Dear 23. I mean, sure, it's only a word, but it's not exactly the kind of word you expect Ted Nugent to bust out in a game of Scrabble. If anybody has actually played Scrabble with the Motor City Madman and wishes to refute the above claim, by all means, feel free to reach out. So, yeah, I like bands who use big words, so there. Pfft.

How many die-hard Metal Church fans do we have in the audience?

**crickets**

Trust me, I'm right there with ya. I wouldn't recognize a Metal Church song on the radio if they actually played one.

So when the promo copy of Hall Aflame's Guaranteed Forever showed up on my doorstep in '91, I took one glance at the bio ("featuring Metal Church guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof") and almost chucked it in the "Shit to Sell at Dr. Wax" bin...until I saw that beloved I.R.S. Records logo.

Yep, if not for the sight of that trusty I.R.S. secret agent man, I would have never even bothered opening the album, much less playing it, but when I did, I'll be the first to say, I almost went out and bought a Metal Church album.


I say "almost" because I knew enough from reading the rest of the bio to know a "rebound relationship" when I saw one. Even so, to my ears, it felt like a labor of love.

Good thing because it certainly wasn't going to make him rich. The album got zero promotion and, until the internet came along, you'd have been hard-pressed to prove the band or album existed at all.

Even YouTube, which has turned up some truly amazing footage of bands far more obscure than this, has scant few actual videos of the band. The handful that exist were uploaded by the band's singer Ron Lowd from a 1992 gig that sees the band playing, uh, only one song from the album.

Somewhere, there's a manager tearing out his toupee, saying "Promote the record!", but these guys were having none of it. What the fans got instead was all songs from a second album that never came.



Now that I've seen this footage of the band in-concert, I'm convinced that they were even more ahead of their time than ever. Imagine this band rolling up to Riot Fest '17: their rootsy metal-country schtick and Lowd's over-the-top persona would probably be the hit of the whole damn festival, but, as it stands, they appeared to be somewhat of an oddity outside their home region,

By the way, those interested in hearing what that second record would have sounded like can hear it at singer Ron Lowd's ReverbNation page.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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