Watch This: Vol. 61

by Steven Spoerl

[Please refer to Vol. 59 for the introductory paragraph.]

1. LVL UP – If I Leave (WDBM)

Hoodwink’d was easily one of 2014’s most brilliant records. LVL UP managed to conjure up a stunning combination of unfiltered personality, natural charisma, an obscene level of synergy, and a thrilling collection of individual songs that worked as well as a whole as they did on their own. All of it resulting in a career-best effort that turned more than a few heads. WDBM recently had them in studio and produced a beautiful, low-key live clip for Hoodwink’d‘s penultimate track, “If I Stay”.

2. Girlpool – Cut Your Bangs (NME)

Two things this site hasn’t shied away from expressing serious amounts of love for: Girlpool and Radiator Hospital’s “Cut Your Bangs“. So, when Girlpool stepped up and unveiled an arresting reworking of “Cut Your Bangs”- which was lensed gorgeously by NME- it’s appearance on a Watch This was a foregone conclusion. An endearingly sweet moment was made even sweeter when Radiator Hospital’s Sam Cook-Parrott responded in kind and turned this into one of the year’s most heartening exchanges.

3. The Dirty Nil – Cinnamon (Exclaim!)

Canadian punk stalwarts The Dirty Nil have been kicking away ferociously for as long as they’ve existed and now, after the band took off at full sprint, the rest of the world’s finally starting to catch up. Exclaim! caught them absolutely ripping through a very impassioned take on “Cinnamon” at The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. It’s a fierce performance that subtly demonstrates the band’s hunger for bigger and better things.

4. Mitski – Townie (Don Giovanni Records)

At this point, it’s hard to know where to start when discussing Mitski. The young songwriter’s sudden emergence? Age? One of 2014’s most stunning albums? Innate and immeasurable talent? The absolute perfection of “Townie“? It really doesn’t matter; pick a point of reference and it kickstarts an avalanche of jaw-dropping material and one of music’s most promising talents. Full band or solo, Mitski is an absolute force of nature. Here, Don Giovanni captures Mitski giving a characteristically powerful (and candlelit) performance of one of the best songs to have come out of the past few years.

5. La Sera – Running Wild (Last Call With Carson Daly)

Over the course of the shows past few seasons Last Call With Carson Daly has started to emerge as the network television late-night show most attuned to this site’s most frequently covered genres. Even just scrolling through some of the shows most recent performances and featured artists, it’s hard not to gape a little: Shannon & the Clams, Meatbodies, Dum Dum Girls, King Tuff, Bleached, and The So So Glos all make appearances. Even in such formidable company, the session the show hosted with La Sera wound up being one of their most memorable moments in recent memory. It’s precisely why this will be the first of three Watch This installments to feature a song from that showcase. Up first: a particularly fiery take on “Running Wild”.

[Due to some technical issues, this video can only currently be seen here.]