Heartbreaking Bravery

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Watch This: Vol. 36

While today’s Watch This marathon still won’t be over with this installment, it is drawing to a close. Several of the very best performance clips were reserved for both the 36th and 37th installments of the series. A lot of site favorites are included, giving performances that completely validate their status as such. Everything from Marissa Paternoster’s outstanding solo project to Lydia Loveless’ first spot to PUP delivering a blistering take on the song that drives the best music video of the year-so-far, it’s a lot to celebrate. So sit back, refocus, and Watch This.

1. Noun – I Don’t Love Anybody (Don Giovanni)

Marissa Paternoster’s experienced no shortage of success with her main project, Screaming Females, but her finest album to date may very well be the debut full-length for her solo project, Noun. While that record, Holy Hell, isn’t as revered as Screaming Females’ most popular works, it stands up right alongside them as a full-bodied work. Here Paternoster strips back and takes an all-acoustic attic run through “Make Me”, solidifying her status as one of the most magnetic performers out there today.

2. Beverly (BreakThruRadioTV)

Ex-Vivian Girls/Dum Dum Girls member Frankie Rose and Drew Citron teamed up earlier this year under the name Beverly and surprised just about everyone with one of the more definitive summer records, Careers. In this performance for BreakThruRadio, the pair have a full band backing them and prove to be much more than just a great studio act. Careers highlights “You Can’t Get It Right” and “Honey Do” (which also has a lovely music video) are featured here and sound as perfect as ever. 

3. Radical Dads – Know-It-All (TCGS)

Riff-happy trio Radical Dads were one of the last bands to earn a spot on The Chris Gethard Show and it’s easy to see how they wound up there; this is boldly aggressive and intriguing work along the lines of Sonic Youth while doing away with their particular strain of detached NYC cool. Bananas dance, rimshots ring out, guitars get thrashed on, and everyone gets into it- it’s just about impossible not to.

4. Lydia Loveless (NPR)

Lydia Loveless has been making quite a name for herself these past few years and has continuously lived up to the attention she’s been given. Possessed with a gift of a voice and genre sensibilities that rival and recall both Neko Case and Gillian Welch, the young songwriter’s well on her way to leaving behind a legendary discography of her own. Loveless and her band recently took over NPR’s Tiny Desk Session and, more than likely, converted a whole lot of people while doing so. 

5. PUP – Guilt Trip (KEXP)

“Guilt Trip” already stands out for having one of the most stunning music videos to come out of this decade but, as great as that video was, the song really comes to life in a live setting. While the rest of the band’s KEXP session was admittedly outstanding, “Guilt Trip” was just a few levels above the rest of the batch. This is one of the best performances the station’s seen since Cloud Nothings’ towering Attack On Memory session (which still stands as KEXP’s high-water mark) and, just like the video, deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.   

Watch This: Vol. 35

Today’s Watch This posting spree is far from over. Months worth of neglect need to- and will- be made up for. Luckily, this has been made relatively easy thanks to a goldmine of live videos that surfaced over the festival-induced hiatus. In this 35th installment, there are full sets, standout performances, and an even spread among the outlets featuring them. Once again, this will be left at that because the 36th and 37th installments, respectively, are just around the corner, waiting to be posted. It might run the risk of over-saturation but great music is great music and great performances always deserve to be recognized. So lean back, turn up the volume, and Watch This.

1. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires (KEXP)

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires have built themselves one hell of a reputation and they’ve mostly got their shit-kicking live shows to thank for that. Playing a Southern-fried variation of the rock n’ soul genre, the band injects their sets with as much frantic energy as they can muster, sweating through their clothes and leaving everything on the floor. Impossibly, they pour that amount of dedication into this in-studio KEXP performance without a large audience to feed off of, solidifying their spot in this series.


2. Field Mouse (BreakThruRadioTV)

Serious Business continues to be featured in Watch This thanks to their dedication to actively pursue exactly the type of band this site was built to celebrate. Additionally, their audio/visual presentation is among the best out there while the irreverent interviews offer some insight to the bands that they choose to feature. Their recent Field Mouse session encapsulates all of it, thanks in no small part to Field Mouse’s on-point performance of their excellent featured shoegaze-leaning post-punk song: “A Place You Return To When You Dream”.

3. Nothing (unARTigNYC)

Nothing’s Guilty of Everything was one of 2014’s more formidable-sounding records, dark and dense in exactly the right way. Live, the band takes those two qualities to new extremes, as proven by this excellent full set from the band’s recent performance at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Turn up the volume then hold on to something- and hold onto it tightly. This is massive.


4. Modern Hut – Moving On (TCGS)

Don Giovanni Records have built their success around making the right decisions- and their dedication to Modern Hut was one of them. Here, the band delivers a typically strong, wistful performance of “Moving On” during their recent appearance on the show of comedian Chris Gethard (also signed to Don Giovanni). It’s weird, it’s wonderful, and it’s more than a little worth watching.


5. Young Man – Fate (Audiotree)

Colin Caulfield’s project Young Man released a criminally under-appreciated record in 2012 called Vol. 1 and the recent Audiotree videos that surfaced of a session to support that record only reaffirm that fact. It was one of the better pop records of the decade, heavily nuanced and delicately ornate, while being somewhat unassuming. Here, Caulfield & co. breeze through that record’s first single “Fate” with an easy confidence- finally giving people another chance to recognize a great record.

Watch This: Vol. 34

The Watch This spree continues with the 34th installment of the series, which borrows heavily from BreakThruRadioTV who went on a fairly extraordinary run over the past month, even for their exceptionally high standards. Courtney Barnett gets featured yet again as well, thanks to a dazzling performance for KEXP, while Deleted Scenes pick up the only other non-BTRTV feature thanks to an engaging performance for the always-reliable Audiotree. It’s a lot to take in and it’s more variety than usual but all of the videos featured more than earned their respective spots. So sit back, unwind, and Watch This.

1. Deleted Scenes – Mortal Sin (Audiotree)

Deleted Scenes have quietly been making some of the more fascinating music of the past few years and have received very little fanfare for it. As usual, Audiotree was one of the few outlets to notice and brought them in for a feature spot, which included this rousing take on the brooding “Mortal Sin”.

2. PT Walkley (BreakThruRadioTV)

A new name to this site, PT Walkley has found a comfortable spot somewhere between the camps of the Old 97’s and Reigning Sound. Well-informed American music played with a staggering amount of finesse and confidence isn’t something to overlook and the two performances given here more than establish Walkley as a talent to watch.


3. Elaphant – Stacking Cards (BreakThruRadioTV)

Another new name to the site, Elaphant seem to excel in crafting acoustic songs that drift towards haunting. “Stacking Cards”, in particular, is an outstanding example of the band’s sensibility- and the performance they give for BTR’s Hear There is nothing short of entrancing. This is music to get lost in.


4. Future Death (BreakThruRadioTV)

Rounding out the trio of BreakThruRadio entries in this installment of Watch This is a return to their Live Studio series for a fiery performance from Future Death. Armed with enough blast beats for a powerviolence song, guitar work worthy of the best turn-of-the-century post-hardcore records, and enough frantic energy to win over a host of skeptics, Future Death take their opportunity to make an impression and make the absolute most of it.


5. Courtney Barnett – History Eraser (KEXP)

Courtney Barnett continues an impressive run of even more impressive appearances with this run through “History Eraser” for KEXP as part of their VIP Club concert series. It’s one of those instances where, at some point, the actions (and music) speak louder than words- and it’s best to just let the video do the talking.

Watch This: Vol. 33

Today’s marathon of Watch This continues with the 33rd installment of the series, a unique spread that features full performances, solo acoustic takes outdoors, and one last video from NXNE. There’ll be several more of these features to run after this one’s posted so please forgive what will mostly likely be atypically brief introductions. There’s a lot of ground to cover and even more material to get to. So, for now, lean back, enjoy the ride, and Watch This.

1. Army Girls – Quarantine State (Chart Attack)

Army Girls’ appearance at Sonic Boom during NXNE was a very welcome surprise and, paired with Courtney Barnett, wound up being one of the best (and most under-attended) 1-2 punches of the festival. Chart Attack, who hosted the showcase, were also on hand to film the band run through an excellent new song called “Quarantine State”.

2. Laura Stevenson – Journey to the Center of the Earth (Don Giovanni)

There are very few things more arresting than a great solo performance, which just happens to be one of Laura Stevenson’s specialties. Here, the mastermind behind Wheel (one of last year’s finest releases) is captured with unfaltering honesty by her label, Don Giovanni. It’s a quiet, mesmerizing performance by the side of the road- and it feels perfect.

3. Listener – There Are Wrecking Balls Inside Us (Audiotree)

“There Are Wrecking Balls Inside Us” proved to be a fascinating anomaly that shed light on a gray area; this is a video that recently resurfaced on a channel that promoted it as a new release, despite dating back to mid-2012. This caused some debate over whether or not it’d warrant inclusion but the performance itself spoke too strongly. Listener’s always been an engaging, unique presence and this is one of the most fully-realized examples of their intriguing eccentricity and immediately arresting manic delivery and, ultimately, it proved impossible to ignore.

4. Lemuria – Oahu, Hawaii (TCGS)

Lemuria’s “Oahu, Hawaii” was given an entrancing and serene music video earlier this year that paid testament to The Distance Is So Big‘s longevity. That record’s lost very little of its staying power and their performances, as proven by this example from The Chris Gethard Show, continue to impress. Don’t miss them whenever they come around.

5. White Lung (unARTigNYC)

At this point, White Lung have more than proven themselves to be a serious force in music. There have been very few records that felt as impassioned, or as necessary, as their rightfully-acclaimed Deep Fantasy. Fortunately, unARTigNYC was on hand to film the band’s set to celebrate the release of that record at Brooklyn’s famed St. Vitus, where the band delivered one hell of a performance that does more than a little justice to what’s easily one of this year’s strongest records. It won’t be long before this band’s even more widely recognized as an impressively intimidating powerhouse.

Watch This: Vol. 32

Well, festival coverage has officially ceased. This site will now be resuming its regular features. One of the few recurring segments, Watch This, was largely overlooked and sorely missed in the pursuit of getting as much NXNE and Pitchfork Festival material up as possible. That all changes today. This will be the first of several Watch This installments to go up in the very near future. With more than a month’s worth of material to look back on, there was a treasure trove of videos that couldn’t be whittled down to a definitive five. So, while some videos from outside forces that were connected to NXNE and Pitchfork will earn a few spots, the emphasis will be on the videos that left the deepest impression in this features absence. Now that all that’s been said, sit back, prepare for the best, and Watch This.

1. Cloud Nothings – Pattern Walks (Pitchfork)

Cloud Nothings’ set at the Pitchfork Festival was one of a staggering number of highlights. One of a very small number of bands that thrive on aggression to be featured in the lineup wound up working to their advantage and the crowd paid them back in full. It was a triumphant showcase for a band that continues to get better as a live act. Missing them whenever their close would be a major disservice.

2. Courtney Barnett – Scotty Says (Chart Attack)

There were very few lower-key sets that stood out more than Courtney Barnett’s Sonic Boom appearance during NXNE and, thankfully, Chart Attack was on hand to capture a great performance of “Scotty Says” that’s intercut with a delightful mini-interview. The whole thing’s worth watching and can be chalked up to another emphatic mark in the win column for the emerging Australian songwriter.

3. Flagland (BreakThruRadioTV)

Another strong entry in BreakThruRadioTV’s Serious Business series is this entry for New York City’s Flagland. Mixing performances with some raw live footage that culminated with a great performance of “Awesome Song Kerry Yawn”. From that alone, it’s easy to see why both Nirvana and Weezer are name-dropped in their introductory paragraph.

4. Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene (unARTigNYC)

There’s not a lot to say about Dinosaur Jr. that hasn’t been said already. The trio’s one of the more influential bands of the past several decades and responsible for a handful of classic albums and singles. Among them is “Freak Scene”, which sounds as vital now as it did when it was first released.

5. White Mystery  – Good Girl / Smoke (Audiotree)

Chicago duo White Mystery has been flying just under the radar for what feels like years, despite appearances on late night talk shows and a healthy amount of critical acclaim. Over that amount of time, their reputation’s steadily grown and the band’s sharpened their live act considerably. Audiotree was wise enough to not overlook all of this and bring the band in for a feature performance. It’s hard to imagine anyone was disappointed.