Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Watch This: Vol. 46

Part two of this week’s recap (there really was an absurd amount of great material to go through), this installment of Watch This features videos that emerged during the past few days. Between a handful of full sets, a few videos from places that have become series staples, and, above all else, great performances. Everything on display here is worth taking some time to enjoy and a handful of them will likely warrant return visits. All in all, this set seems like a very fitting way to cap off what’s been one of the strongest weeks for new content that we’ve had this year. So, sit back, open the blinds, turn the volume all the way up, focus, and Watch This.

1. The Midwest Beat – Vortex Hole (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Vortex Hole” was recently featured here as a stream in support of The Midwest Beat’s excellent new full-length, Free of Being. In the video below, the Milwaukee-via-Madison band gets invited to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel studio to tear through the live version. They tear through it with an enviable amount of verve and a peculiar madcap glee that somehow transforms the performance into something endlessly fascinating. It’s one hell of a rendition.

[Due to a temporary embed issue, this video can currently only be seen here]

2. Cloakroom – Asymmetrical (unARTigNYC)

“Asymmetrical” is a characteristically slow-burning song from Cloakroom, who seem to be exploring the middle ground between shoegaze and post-hardcore with a frightening amount of precision and clarity. Easily one of the most fascinating bands to have begun a steady emergence over the past handful of months, Cloakroom still retains a sense of mystery- something that factors directly into their music. This is an astonishing performance from a band that’s worth getting to know.

3. The New Pornographers (NPR)

It’d be easy to argue that, at this point, The New Pornographers are an institution. Between their own releases and their various members solo releases, they’ve put out some of the most highly acclaimed music of this young century. It’s a formidable body of work and  the fact that their most recent effort, Brill Bruisers, both lives up to and earns its spot among their long list of triumphs is fairly astonishing. This full, lovingly shot, NPR performance spans their discography and showcases one arguably indisputable fact: they deserve their acclaim and status.

4. Beverly – Not Ours (BreakThruRadio)

Beverly, the duo made up of Frankie Rose and Drew Citron, released one of the definitive records of the summer with Careers. Ever since that release, footage of the band’s tight-knit live show’s been popping up with an alarming frequency. While Rose is taking some time off to focus on her own solo project, there are still old sessions coming out of the woodwork. Here’s a lighthearted stunner from the always-excellent BreakThruRadio.

5. Cloud Nothings (Pitchfork)

There aren’t many moments in life that are better than watching a great band with extraordinary people on a perfect day. Cloud Nothings were an easy highlight of Pitchfork’s second day and now their whole set can be relived in full. Culling mostly from their 2014 highlight Here and Nowhere Else, their set went a long way in re-establishing the fact that they’re now a power trio (a term that they fully live up to). Not a lot of bands can lose a member and immediately re-define themselves without losing their personality but it’s evident that Cloud Nothings haven’t lost a step.

Watch This: Vol. 45

As mentioned in the previous post, this has been a tremendous week for new music- and the same can be said for new live footage as well. When Watch This started, Heartbreaking Bravery was already in its third week of operation. To help create a greater consistency, today will feature two installments of Watch This instead of the usual standalone entry. Everything in Volume 45 surfaced during the earliest part of the week but have more than held up to repeat viewings. From site favorites to living legends to new discoveries, this installment covers a spread that encompasses next to everything that this series was designed to celebrate. So, sit back, switch off the lights, warm up, wind down, and Watch This.

1. Tweens – Bored In the City (Faits Divers)

That Tweens wound up being as great as it was shouldn’t have surprised anyone familiar with the band’s early demos or tapes. What was somewhat unexpected was how readily they were embraced by the public. They’re a band that built a lot of their reputation by having consistently impressive live shows so it’s a joy to finally be able to feature one here. Faits Divers recently took them in for a session while the band was touring Europe and “Bored In the City” wound up being an easy highlight.

2. The Rocketboys – Time Is A Devil (Audiotree)

As far as first introductions go, it’s hard to beat something like The Rocketboys’ Audiotree session for “Time Is A Devil”. While there are an abundance of polished pop/rock elements that are fighting their way to the forefront, the whole song’s underpinned by a brooding anxiety that’s completely antagonistic for most stadium-ready bands. If music like this winds up being the future of the radio, we’ll likely all be better off for it.

3. The Dream Syndicate (KEXP)

It’s a little disheartening that The Dream Syndicate’s comeback didn’t get as much press as it deserved. The seminal 80’s band has been massively influential for a number of great bands that emerged since the band’s initial departure in 1989. After reforming in 2012, the band’s never paused to look back. Here, they tear through an assortment of classics for KEXP at the Bumbershoot Music Lounge, sounding as vital as ever.

4. Alice Boman – Lead Me (Allston Pudding)

On rare occasion there are extraordinarily intimate performances that wind up earning features on here by virtue of their impact. Swedish songwriter Alice Boman falls into this category with ease. Performing “Lead Me” for Allston Pudding, Boman carries a stunning solo performance with an easy grace, undoubtedly rendering it an unforgettable moment for anyone that was fortunate enough to be in attendance. All Boman needs is a keyboard and her voice to create something completely ethereal.

5. Little Big League – Year of the Sunhouse (Little Elephant)

There haven’t been very many bands on Little Elephant that have been as easy to fall in love with as Little Big League. “Year of the Sunhouse” is punk-leaning outsider pop at its absolute finest. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been running with the Exploding in Sound family (“Year of the Sunhouse” originally appeared on a split with Ovlov) and making some waves as a result. Of course, that never would have happened if they hadn’t been conjuring up some of the most likable music being released today. Watch their Little Elephant session below and get converted (or have everything reaffirmed).