Download: Heaven’s Abrasive, Yet Melodic “Once The Heartache”


Heaven is a Brooklyn dream syndicate planted firmly between the 1985 crossroads of Paisley Underground shamble and noisepop blast. These three New York veterans have no shortage of experience with things that swirl and gaze and lilt along hazily: Their collective résumés boast time in atmospheric rock bands like Snowden, Ambulance LTD, The Big Sleep, and Fan-Tan; and guitarist Matt Sumrow has been backing Galaxie 500’s Dean Wareham for years. But Heaven has a noisier streak, a bitter taste of psychocandy ready to snap and snarl into the blown-out new world of Death By Audio power-gushers. They’ve got an album’s worth of material currently awaiting the right record label and their first official release, the “Mountains Move” 7-inch (Goodnight Records), will be ready this summer. “Once The Heartache” is an abrasive blast of sheet-metal feedback doing its noble best to hide some spectral, Spectoral harmonies.

Download: [audio-1]

Q&A: Heaven guitarist Matt Sumrow on “Once The Heartache”

What is “Once The Heartache” about?

Well, “Once the Heartache,” like most of Heaven’s material, is a love song. This tune is about being in love with someone, but at the same time trying to express the confusion surrounding the fact that you know it just isn’t going to work out… The lyrics are purposely written to be kinda cryptic and schizophrenic. They jump back and forth, professing ultimate love for this person, but on the other side saying I’m not going to change, or can’t change the way I feel even if I wanted to. Lofty, sentimental ideals, I know… but we like it that way.

What inspired it musically?

Originally it was written on an acoustic guitar as a Gram Parsons-style country song, and it existed like that for a long time. Mikey Jones (Heaven drummer extraordinaire) and I decided to feedback and fuzz it out, play the guitars with all downstrokes and generally make it sound more like a Ronettes song.

How did you make the feedback at the beginning of this song?

Well, the feedback track was originally recorded at an earlier session at Stratosphere Studios that Mikey and I started but didn’t finish, a year before Heaven was conceived. It was one super long track of guitar feedback cut up and layered on top of each other. I went into the isolation booth with my Fender Jaguar Baritone, lots of pedals, and two amps and created chaos for what seemed like an hour.

What’s the most memorable show you’ve placed in NYC?

The first Heaven show was one to remember. We played a late-night free show at Mercury Lounge to a packed room of friends and family. Unexpectedly our light rig caught fire five minutes before we were on. Thank God it was luckily put out and fixed without too much of an incident. We like to think this was an omen of some sort, blessing our first night on stage.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?

Hmm, so many places to choose from…. Some friends of mine from North Carolina recently opened a place called Van Horn Sandwich Shop in Cobble Hill. It’s at the top of my list for getting my southern food fix taken care of: pulled pork, fried catfish, hush puppies and sweet tea.

Heaven plays Shea Stadium on July 3 with Ringo Deathstarr and the Vandelles