[Please refer to Vol. 59 for the introductory paragraph.]
1. White Reaper (BreakThruRadio)
BreakThruRadio has a wonderful habit of hosting bands that just can’t help but lose their minds a little when they play. White Reaper look like they’re practically jumping out of their skin here, with everyone seemingly set to their most vicious attack mode. It’s difficult to tell what’s more electrified; their guitars (and synth) or the people controlling them. A few brief-but-entertaining interview segments are included and they accentuate just how ridiculously energetic White Reaper are when they perform. All of the evidence is below.
2. Day Creeper – Turning Into A Man (The Mug and Brush Sessions)
The Columbus-based Day Creeper already appeared once on this series previously and made a pretty deep impression. They’re back now, with a casual vengeance and just as much grit. “Turning Into A Man” emphasizes their more creative tendencies while also allowing a more unobstructed view of some surprisingly strong lyricism. While this was said once already, it deserves repeating: Day Creeper are a band worth watching.
3. Big Ups – Not Today (BreakThruRadio)
Big Ups are making a dangerous push towards being the most featured band on Watch This, which- considering their typically blistering performances- isn’t all that surprising. Eighteen Hours of Static was one of 2014’s first truly great albums and the band’s only been building momentum since its release. They’re building up a head of steam as they charge headfirst towards the new year, pity anyone who gets in their way. In yet another monster performance for BreakThruRadio, they flick back and forth between detached empathy and boiled-over frustration with a terrifying precision, casually teasing their fast-clip tension/explosion dynamic. At this point, it doesn’t seem like there’s all that much out of their reach- and that’s partially in thanks to performances like this one.
4. Allo Darlin’ (KEXP)
It’s always a pleasure to hear something as downright winsome as We Come From the Same Place. Allo Darlin’ have created something that feels timeless and sounds ridiculously lovely. There’s a certain soft romanticism (often marginally damaged) that plays a central figure to the best indie pop and that holds true for We Come From the Same Place– a record that could (arguably) wind up standing as a genre classic. In the interview segments, the band’s personable. In the performance set pieces, they’re nearly transcendent.
5. La Sera – Losing to the Dark (Last Call With Carson Daly)
Rounding out La Sera’s triumphant Watch This trifecta is a wild-eyed run through one of 2014’s most unexpectedly ferocious lead-off singles, the errant firework that is “Losing to the Dark“. As rabid as the song sounds on record, Katy Goodman and her band kick it up a few levels live- to the point where it almost seems like the entire band is trying to outrun themselves for fear of being trampled by their own creation. All manic adrenaline and seething resentment, it transforms itself into both a shot in the arm and a knife to the jugular. Vicious guitar riffs make the incisions and by the end of it all, the band’s already laughing everyone out of the room- and, somehow, the only viable option is to beg for seconds.
[Due to some technical issues, this video can only currently be seen here.]