Watch This: Vol. 12

by Steven Spoerl

Another week, another Watch This. In this 12th installment, there are full sets, acoustic takes, and studio performances. From the Albini-indebted strains of Into It. Over It. to the irrepressible manic glee of Los Campesinos! there’s plenty of range in this week’s edition. Enough with the introductions, onto the music. Watch it all below. 

1. Cumulus – Middle (KEXP)

Cumulus recently stopped by Seattle’s most legendary radio station to deliver a set full of sugary shoegaze pop. “Middle” is all kinds of accessible, offering the clearest signal yet of the extent of shoegaze’s resurgence. A dirtied up bass line and swirling guitar lines wash over an undeniably pop vocal, while the song itself is packed full of hooks. All of the sudden, the future of pop music doesn’t look as bleak as it once did. There’s serious potential for a major crossover here. For now, take a step back and marvel at how effortlessly graceful this performance of “Middle” really is.

2. Los Campesinos! – Cemetery Gaits/What Death Leaves Behind (Brooklyn Vegan)

Los Campesinos! have been an anomaly for a long while now. Their brand of twee-punk, even as it evolved into something more aggressive and cynical, was always leaning too far twee for the punk kids and too far punk for the twee kids. A few on the outer rings of both circles had trouble accepting them because they were either too accessible or not accessible enough.  That unwillingness  to commit to the easily classifiable has always made them interesting and the band thrive on it. Their high-energy live performances have always been reliably endearing as well. This BV Studio Session is no exception.

3. Into It. Over It. –  Where Your Nights Often End (Audiotree)

Into It. Over It. are a band that’s becoming similarly hard to pin down. Very frequently grouped into the emo-revival discussion, the band’s resisted embracing and denying that classification in equal measure. Frequently appearing on bills alongside the likes of LVL UP and Ovlov, their live set has also sparked a fair bit of admiration. They’re one of the bands that evokes the Albini studio aesthetic most readily. For proof of this, watch the exquisitely filmed Audiotree video of “Where Your Nights Often End” below, which features Kate from Kittyhawk on backing vocals.

4. Cassavettes – Full Set

Cassavettes recently played Philadelphia and youtuber Will McAndrew was on hand to shoot the whole thing as it happened at the reliably excellent house venue The Great Indoors. Noisey recently posited that Philly has the best punk scene in the country and fondly extols the virtues of its bands but doesn’t speak much on how supportive that scene is to the bands that pass through. With more and more full sets like this hard-hitter from Boston-based basement punks Cassavettes (think The State Lottery with a little less gruff), it’s hard to argue Noisey on that one.

5. Hot New Mexicans – Damned Distractions (Pink Couch Sessions)

This week’s Watch This band to know is unique in a certain distinction; it’s no longer a band. That said, Hot New Mexicans are a band that people deserve to be hearing about for a very long time. After a promising debut, the band released a string of classics with their self-titled sophomore effort (a legitimate best-of-decade contender) and a pair of seriously incredible 7″ releases. In a way, the closest band to Hot New Mexicans was the “band to know” from the very first Watch This, PURPLE 7 (they share a pivotal member). In this clip, Patrick Jennings (the aforementioned PURPLE 7 member) plays an acoustic version of Hot New Mexicans standout “Damned Distractions” for IYMI’s Pink Couch Sessions series (who will be featured on Watch This soon). Enjoy- and order/buy Hot New Mexicans material wherever it can be found. It’s a collection necessity.