Watch This: Vol. 16

by Steven Spoerl

Well, the stars didn’t quite align and this is, once again, a few days past-due. That’s the bad news. The good news? A bout with poor health (while admittedly not producing much content) did prompt a few brainstorming sessions. As a compromise for this edition’s lateness, it’ll be another spotlight piece (in the way of Vol. 9). Except this time, instead of BNTYK, the attention’s been turned to the Pink Couch Sessions series ([PCS] for short). While this site’s already praised IYMI for a myriad of reasons, and included a few [PCS] pieces here and there, giving them their own Watch This just felt necessary. While there were a few pretty extraordinary videos that were left out, Saintseneca, Big EyesHop Along, and Waxahatchee, have all been covered recently- or covered enough- that it felt justifiable to spread the focus elsewhere. After all, Heartbreaking Bravery would be nothing if it wasn’t constantly looking for new music to showcase. All that’s left is to find a drink, sit back, and watch this.

1. P.S. Eliot – We’d Never Agree

Before Katie Crutchfield started Waxahatchee and Allison Crutchfield was at the center of Swearin’, they were both in P.S. Eliot. This version of “We’d Never Agree” served as an introduction to the band for a fair few people and was a very early indicator of the extent of their respective talents. Katie’s front and center here, as arresting as she’s ever been.

2. Teenage Cool Kids – Landlocked State

Making their second straight appearance in a Watch This features edition, Teenage Cool Kids run though “Landlocked State”. The acoustic format allows the emphasis to be placed on the band’s extraordinary lyrical ability, always one of their strongest elements. They’ve rarely sounded better.

3. Sundials – Crosby Sucks

Midwestern winters can exacerbate already considerable levels of discontentment. There are four things that help pass the time when this happens: music, friends, drinking, and hockey. “Crosby Sucks”, in addition to being a showcase for Sundials’ great left-field basement pop, is a perfect distillation of all four.

4. The Sidekicks – 1940’s Fighter Jet

Steve Clolek has been making quite a name for himself lately. As a member of Saintseneca, his profile’s rising- and as a residual effect of that, The Sidekicks are also getting a fair amount of attention. They deserve it, too. Awkward Breeds was one of 2012’s best records and “1940’s Fighter Jet” was one of its most stunning moments.  Clolek delivers an even more powerful solo version here.

5. Busman’s Holiday – Mr. Spaceman

There are few things that would’ve been more appropriate for a [PCS] grand finale than this rousing take on “Mr. Spaceman” courtesy of Busman’s Holiday. Hitting all the sweet spots of a variety of genres spanning from chamber pop to twee to folk-punk, this is the kind of performance that can make a convert out of just about anyone. The melody, the strings, and the snare work all come together to create something magical.