Watch This: Vol. 6
by Steven Spoerl
Another year comes to a close and offers up a luxury; a chance to go back for looks at videos this site never got to cover because it came into existence far too late. In this week’s addition of Watch This, all of the videos featured are standout takes from earlier on in the year that deserved a spotlight they weren’t able to receive the first time around. So, take a break between football games this Sunday and give these a watch; they’re all worth it. Regularly-scheduled time-sensitive posts will resume on Watch This next Sunday. Until then, enjoy some of the best live videos that 2013’s first stretch had to offer.
1. Savages – Husbands (KEXP Session)
Savages landed in the US with a considerable amount of fanfare, a lot of which can be attributed to stunning live performances like this take on Silence Yourself standout “Husbands” for KEXP. The decision to release the clip in black-and-white only furthered the band’s sense of mystery (and aggression). There may not have been a better KEXP session all year.
2. The Frankl Project – Dissatisfaction at its Finest (Blue Recipe Radio Session)
One of the year’s most pleasant surprises came from a small Cincinatti power trio that were once considered to be more ska than anything else. The Frankl Project’s Standards is a testament to DIY ethics and self-reliance. Additionally, it happens to be one of the better records of 2013 and possibly the best the pop-punk genre had to offer. This Blue Recipe Radio Session included two other standouts (“My Hands” and “Alive on the Road”), so be sure to give all three a watch- it’s passionate, exhilarating material.
3. Amanda Shires – Bulletproof (Rhythm N’ Blooms)
A wildcard among this deck, Amanda Shires’ “Bulletproof” earns its spot on the strength of the second verse alone. What starts off as an ostensibly twee tune about a good-luck charm suddenly turns dark and examines humanities darkest tendencies; a desire for exploitation, violence, and empowerment. When Shires (now officially Amanda Isbell) hits the line “bring out the switchblades”, after a brief pause, it’s delivered with such a frightening amount of verve that it’s hard not to be completely taken. Definitely a talent to watch.
4. Mozes and the Firstborn – Time’s A Headache (Live at Biscuit Studios)
There may not have been a better live video that Heartbreaking Bravery encountered all year. It’s not much more than the band playing a standout cut from their self-titled debut effort in a basement but holy hell, do they ever play that song. The young Antwerp hell-raisers lay into “Time’s A Headache” with everything they’ve got to the delight of the crowd gathered around them in the basement where this was shot. There were a myriad of discoveries to make in 2013 but Mozes and the Firstborn (and this video) were among the very best of the “hidden gems” category.
5. Midnight Reruns – Grand Slam / Basement Guy (TCD’s Take One Session)
This marks the third time Midnight Reruns have appeared on a Watch This and it’s very unlikely it’ll be the last. This band simply isn’t getting the recognition it deserves and anything this site can do to further their exposure, it will do. ThirdCoastDigest started a video series earlier on this year called Take One where local area WI bands play an acoustic version of a song or two for their cameras; despite outstanding efforts from the likes of Midwestern Charm and Vic & Gab, the most intoxicating session belong to Milwaukee’s Midnight Reruns. “Basement Guy” and “Grand Slam” both take on noticeably different forms from their LP versions and are just as strong, if not stronger, for it. Get a jump on the inevitable and stop sleeping on these guys- they’re a band worthy talking about as early as possible.