Today, Third Man Records releases The Music of Heatmiser, a new, 29-song compilation of previously unheard recordings by the legendary 90s indie rock group featuring Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, and Brandt Peterson. Issued digitally and on vinyl for the first time ever, this release presents a treasure trove of rarities for diehards and new fans alike. In that spirit, Heatmiser also shared a rare, never-before-seen live video of the Smith-led Dead Air track “Dirt” performed at a wedding reception in 1992 for their friends Jo and Jennifer. The tape was thought to be lost until Summer 2023 when Jo found his broken camera with a tape still stuck in it. He extracted it with tweezers and had it digitized, while Lash enhanced the audio. Despite the song’s punk intensity, the video sees the band in a joyous, relaxed environment, heightening a sense of the band’s nascent and bright camaraderie.
The legend of Heatmiser has only grown in the last several decades since the Portland rock greats released what would end up being their final album, 1996’s Mic City Sons. Now, The Music of Heatmiser provides a new and unique opportunity to hear the quartet at their most elemental: ferocious and passionate, with miles of melody and a shocking immediacy for a band that was still in the embryonic stages.
This compilation spans the group’s earliest years, including a tour-only demos cassette from 1992 (which also shares this compilation’s namesake), a previously lost-to-time session at Portland radio station KBOO, and a wealth of previously unreleased material that showcases Heatmiser’s true essence as a band — like the group’s previously unreleased cover of the Beatles’ “Revolution,” recorded for and rejected by an ad agency but fully restored here in revelatory fashion thanks to Lash’s work excavating and re-mixing the bulk of the music found here.“I’ve really enjoyed revisiting this music for the music. It’s great to remember the times that we worked together very well, and how that reflects in the music itself,” Peterson says. “When Elliott became Elliott Smith, Heatmiser immediately got eclipsed by that—so we all left it behind,” Gust adds, “...but when Tony started sending me these recordings, I remembered how fun this was, and how much we loved it. It’s loud and ferocious, and what we were doing back then is what I still look for in music today.” Longtime fans will doubtlessly be delighted by the treasure trove on display here—and newcomers now have the perfect entry point for discovering this cultishly beloved band’s catalog.