Bath, England's the Heavy draw influence from funk, soul, hip-hop, and the gritty garage rock of the Sonics. Guitarist Dan Taylor and vocalist Kelvin Swaby became friends in the 1990s, bonding over a shared appreciation for vintage R&B and Jim Jarmusch films. Joined by bassist Spencer Page, drummer Chris Ellul, and keyboardist Hannah Collins, the two launched their own act -- the Heavy -- combining Taylor's distorted guitars with lo-fi samples, horn riffs, stomping percussion, and soulful, Prince-styled vocals. The photogenic band made its studio debut in 2007, releasing several singles on Counter -- a sublabel of London-based Ninja Tune -- before issuing the full-length Great Vengeance & Furious Fire that fall.
An American release followed in early 2008 on the newly minted +1 Records. The Heavy returned minus Collins with their second album, The House That Dirt Built, in 2009. Its most significant inclusion was easily the Dyke & the Blazers-sampling "How You Like Me Now?," featuring the Dap-Kings Horns; it was licensed for films and television ads, and subsequently achieved certified gold status from the RIAA. Three years later, they delivered the self-produced The Glorious Dead. Recorded in Columbus, Georgia, it deepened their connection to Southern soul. The band continued to tour extensively and benefited from media licensing of several other songs. In 2016, the Heavy returned with their fourth studio album, Hurt & the Merciless. A self-produced effort recorded in their hometown of Bath, the album found the band attempting to capture the raw energy of its live shows and earliest demos. Included on the album was the lead single "Since You Been Gone." After successful tours of Europe and the U.S. in support of the release, the group returned to the studio in 2018 to once again capture the magic of their live shows. The resulting fifth album, Sons, was issued at the beginning of 2019. ~ Andrew Leahey