Watch This: Vol. 53
by Steven Spoerl
Now, onto part two of today’s recap of the past week in great live footage. From one of the most exciting new acts to an intricately assembled performance clip from one of the most fearlessly creative bands in music, nothing on display here is worth missing. As the previous five videos should have already indicated, the past week for great live footage was absolutely massive. To top this run off, there’s a devastating performance that proves minimal trappings can provide maximum impact as well as delightful CMJ sets from two site favorites. If nothing else, let this serve as a reminder that it’s an incredible time for music operating within the DIY confines. So, as always, sit back, wind down, focus up, adjust the volume to properly excessive levels, and Watch This.
1. MOURN – Otitis (Captured Tracks)
The most recently acquired Captured Tracks artist, MOURN, have been the (very deserving) center of a lot of celebrations lately. A case of youth driven by an independently motivated spirit and gifted with enviable composition skills, they’re a welcome source of new blood. “Otitis” is a fierce example of the band’s craftsmanship and singular identity.
2. Girlpool (unARTigNYC)
Another band embodying a staunchly independent spirit at a young age is the fiercely beloved Girlpool. The duo took this year’s CMJ by storm and played as many sets as they possibly could and subsequently wound up on nearly every publication’s “Best Of: CMJ 2014” lists. Here, unARTigNYC lends a typically artful eye to a stunning, confident set from one of music’s best emerging hopes.
3. Liars – Mask Maker (La Blogotheque)
La Blogotheque has provided some of the most compelling live footage for the past several years; each session managed to produce a complementary merging of artistic aesthetics, suffusing it with their own identity while allowing the featured band to be portrayed as honestly as possible. For their Empty Space series, they’ve teamed up with Converse and the collaborative effort has allowed a much greater range of technical abilities. Liars are a band that’s been perfectly suited to the forward-thinking mode that the series embodies since before Empty Space even existed. Unsurprisingly, this take of Liars tearing into “Mask Maker” is defined by precision and uniquely unconventional fearlessness.
4. Gem Club – Twins (WNYC)
Gem Club’s Breakers was one of 2011’s most emotionally crippling records. Gentle, lush, and deeply felt, it became an unofficial soundtrack to that winter and every winter that followed. Everything was built around delicate vocals and two of the most well-suited instruments to producing a melancholic atmosphere: piano and cello. For many who heard it, Breakers felt like a once-in-a-career kind of record. Their recently WNYC session featured a few performances of songs from that record, with “Twins” casting a particularly mesmerizing spell.
5. Cayetana (NPR)
Bringing today’s abundance of treasures to a close is a memorable set from NPR’s CMJ showcase by site favorites- and authors of one of this year’s best songs– Cayetana. As is to be expected from a band with Cayetana’s reputation, they blaze through a 10 song set with a certain joie de vivre and leave absolutely no doubt that they’ve earned their current position. Expect to hear their name with increasing regularity over the next year- and don’t miss this performance.