Heavy Rotation: Vol 8

Wrapping up 2023 with a closing Heavy Rotation. I’m not going to go the route of doing a year in music round-up, even though that would be easy. I’ll save that for some other year. But, it has been a great year for music with many new discoveries and hours of listening enjoyment.

I’ve been pulling down a lot of listening hours since getting a duo subscription with Erin on Spotify. From October until about the second week of December I clocked 15,951 minutes of music listening, with my top genre being Noise Rock. I came across a couple of artists I hadn’t heard before both on Spotify and Bandcamp. Today’s selections contain a few I revisited in a major way, as well as some of those new discoveries since the last volume.


According to Spotify, Swans was my top artist of the year. Well, I’ve only been on Spotify for about 3 months, but in that 3 months, the Swans has definitely been on heavy rotation. Like, constantly. I knew Swans existed, a fellow co-worker suggesting them to me a few years back. I listened to an album and thought it was pretty good, but didn’t linger over them for long. Then Spotify’s algorithm served them up to me a couple months ago as a recommendation. I started listening and was hooked.

It’s always a joy to discover a band with a huge back catalog, getting to spend hours pouring over the albums, discovering all of the changes and evolution's of their music. And what better band then Swans? They’ve gone through so many line-up changes and evolution's of their sound since the early 80’s, it presents one with a smorgasbord of musical styles and concepts to fill oneself up with.

How would I describe their music to someone who has never listened to them? Dark, contemplative, jarring, noisy, repetitive, hypnotic, theatrical, grandiose, loud, fuzzy, avant-garde. Some favorite selections below.


Back in the early 90s my friends and I would regularly purchase cassettes at the local Record Swap, picking up albums we thought looked cool, or taking a recommendation from someone at school, or seeking out something we may have caught on MTV. One day you’re all listening to the same stuff, the next day a friend surprises you with dropping a whole new band into the boom box. I remember my friend Jim popping The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste into the player one day and how it instantly grabbed me. This was a whole new sound, a whole new musical experience, and it seemed to make such instinctive sense. I loved that album – the speed, the tone, the sound bites and mechanical bits interwoven between the charging choruses and political messages.

Many years have passed since I left off with Ministry after the Jesus Built My Hotrod area. I actually kind of forgot about them as my musical journey took me elsewhere. About a year ago I ventured back to them, picking up The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste and Psalm 69, instantly transported to the 90s and their singular sound. Now having access to their whole discography, I caught up on what has been happening with them since those long ago days when I left off. I spent a good two weeks listening to the albums and savoring the choice bits. There has been quite a bit to pour over, some great, some good, some bad.

For the uninitiated: metal, industrial metal, industrial rock, speed metal, psychobilly.

Some selections below.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

With 21 albums and counting, BJM are yet another band for anyone who loves large discographies. BJM has been in rotation for a few years now, seemingly always finding a place within my listening. Yet after the last two releases I had the longest break from them in awhile, lasting months, if not half the year. The last two albums (Fire Doesn’t Grown on Trees [2022] and The Future is Your Past [2023]) did not connect with me, and to be honest, I thought it would be a real feat if they could follow up with something topping the magnificent self-titled release, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, from 2019.

Nevertheless, BJM has been back in heavy rotation of late. I recently compiled a play list of favorites which spans the full breadth of their discography. You can check that out here, enjoy some selections below, or both.

For the uninitiated: metal, industrial metal, industrial rock, speed metal, psychobilly.

Genre: rock, psych rock, shoegaze, dream pop, retro-futuristic, electronic

Some selections below.

Gregory Alan Isakov

Gregory Alan Isakov released a new album in August. Breaking new ground? No, but he doesn’t need to. Once again, he delivers a solid album of great songs. This is a talented musician and great lyricist, bringing home so beautiful and sweet tunes. Some selections from the latest and previous albums.

Some selections below.


I don’t know how you describe Big|Brave’s music. Bandcamp tags may be helpful in pointing in some direction: ambient metal, post-metal, Montréal Rock, experimental. While those alude to the sound and genre, it often is theatrical sounding to me – perfect, dark, movie music. I came across Big|Brave when reading an interview of The Armed, and the lead singer recommended them. His description piqued my interest and soon I had their albums on repeat. Some selections below.


I believe I was cycling through Ministry’s catalog when the Spotify algorithm served up 3TEETH as an option. This has some great energy and is reminiscent and influenced by so many different bands. Think industrial metal, and Nine Inch Nails, and then throw in some Korn, Lincoln Park, Joy Division, techno, Static-X, and...I’m likely forgetting other influences I heard in their music. It’s a cool amalgamation with great energy. When you’re in the mood for it. Some selections below.

Author: Jason Jacobs

Jason Jacobs is an artist, project manager, and frontend web designer living and working in Boise, Idaho. Beyond work he spends his time with family, as well as reading, writing articles for Uhmm, and working on his art. All words and opinions, etc., are his and do not reflect the positions or beliefs of anyone other than himself.