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Heavy Blanket

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Depending on what you care to believe, Heavy Blanket was either a new project launched by Dinosaur Jr. guitarist J Mascis in 2012, or a band from his teenage years who, thanks to a byzantine series of misadventures, were unable to record their first album until a quarter-century after they began writing material. According to Heavy Blanket's official biography, in 1984 Mascis was 19 years old and becoming disenchanted with hardcore punk as his band Deep Wound was winding down. Eager to play heavier and more adventurous music, Mascis teamed up with two high school buddies, drummer Pete Cougar and bassist Jonny Pancake, a pair of unrepentant stoners who'd been expelled from school for using a tuba to smoke weed. Playing music informed by Jimi Hendrix, Blue Cheer, and obscure psychedelia, the trio was named Heavy Blanket and began making plans to record an album after writing six extended, guitar-heavy songs. However, Pancake suffered a serious head injury while swimming in an abandoned quarry and dropped out of music, moving into his grandmother's basement as he recovered. Pancake's accident put Heavy Blanket on hiatus, and when Cougar ended up in prison after repeatedly passing counterfeit money at a convenience store, Mascis gave up on the group and moved on to other musical pursuits. While on vacation in 2011, Mascis discovered that Pancake was working at a ski resort after finally making a full recovery (though he had come to believe his accident happened because the future members of Pearl Jam were plotting against him). Mascis and Pancake set out to find Cougar and learned he was living in a half-way house in Ohio after finally being released from prison. Cougar also had a cassette of one of Heavy Blanket's rehearsals, and the trio reunited to finally record the album they'd intended to make in 1984. Given the improbable nature of Heavy Blanket's story, some writers speculated that Mascis might have fabricated their story, especially since no photos of Heavy Blanket were released. Also, the style of the bass and drum work on the album bears a strong similarity to Mascis' occasional efforts as his own rhythm section on several Dinosaur Jr. recordings, as well as his drumming with the groups Sweet Apple, Witch, and Upsidedown Cross. ~ Mark Deming

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