Watch This: Vol. 14
by Steven Spoerl
Once again, apologies are in order. Live content was suspended as there was, unfortunately, no possible way to get anything up since the last posting. Regular content resumes with this round of catching-up. Sunday will see the return of the regularly-scheduled Watch This programming. Now that everything’s been brought up to speed, this 14th installment of the series features several of the program’s most trusted resources (KEXP, Jam in the Van, etc) and spans quite a few genres. Read, watch, and listen to everything below.
1. Capsula (KEXP Session)
This week’s kicking off with something a little unorthodox- an Argentinian band based in Spain that primarily plays covers. The distinction? They’re some seriously fucking great covers. This isn’t the stereotypical classic-rock-by-the-numbers cash-grab, there are moments of serious passion and inventiveness here. All of these songs are reworked in sly ways that play to the band’s frantic energy. Bonus points for the best “Moonage Daydream” cover since The White Stripes’ version was being passed around as a live bootleg.
2. Tara Fox – Morning Light (Jam in the Van)
Oh, Jam in the Van, will you ever tire of bands that wear hats when they play? As long as they’re as winsome as Tara Fox, it honestly won’t matter (it doesn’t really matter now, it’s just a strange recurring trend). Tara Fox, for their part, conjure up Americana that’s infused with both Burger-friendly surf aesthetics and a few hints of 60’s pop tendencies. It all works impossibly well in the van setting and feels perfect for the open road.
3. Cate Le Bon (NPR Tiny Desk Session)
NPR once again mines a great singer/songwriter record for a stunning session. While Cate Le Bon’s 2012 triumph Mug Museum may not have been released as recently as Burn Your Fire For No Witness, the two do share some similar qualities. They’re also the records that are responsible for 2013’s two best Tiny Desk concerts to date. Le Bon reveals herself to be not only a capable performer but a tantalizing one.
4. Deafheaven – Sunbather (Live at 285 Kent)
Very few bands managed to anger as many people as Deafheaven did last year. Their crime? Making an outstanding record that had serious crossover potential. Black metal elitists were up in arms, shoegaze enthusiasts were full of cynical trepidation, and no one wanted to claim them as part of their genre. Only Perfect Pussy have matched their ratio of critical acclaim to critical vitriol since the release of Sunbather. While it can still be difficult to fully embrace the style of vocals Deafheaven rely on, their actual music is undeniable and their live performances have been well-documented as being one of the more captivating prospects out there. Pitchfork’s ongoing series of the RIP 285 Kent videos has likely come to a conclusion with this absolutely immense performance of Sunbather‘s title track. Major credit is also due to the audio engineer on this one as it sounds absolutely phenomenal. A very fulfilling 10 and a half minutes.
5. Four Eyes – SOS (Live)
Four Eyes are an incredibly hard band to find information on beyond basic facts. Whether this band still exist is anyone who’s not in the know’s best guess. They don’t appear to have any official page of any sort and they only have two 7″ records to their name. Both Four Eyes and Towards the End of Cosmic Loneliness are fucking incredible records full of riff-heavy basement punk. There are shades of early 90’s SST all over both of them and “SOS” is among the group’s very best. Here’s hoping that the band hasn’t hung it up. This is incredible music that deserves to be heard.