Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 5

Speedy Ortiz III

One thing that this site has strived to maintain is its own visual aesthetic. While it’d be impossible to find a photo in the archives for every given band that headlines a post, an original photo will be posted anytime the opportunity presents itself. Upgrading cameras halfway through the year provided a bevvy of new opportunities and the subsequent implementation of a more photo-centric presence. That’s not by mistake. Photography (especially event photography) has always been an important crux of multimedia journalism. It can be a way to implicitly (or explicitly) convey some of the more minute details of a singular moment to a reader- or it can simply act as an intriguing supplement.

Those were just a few of reasons that went into the decision behind a headfirst dive into photography investment (on both a personal and public level) and factored into why one camera or another was brought along to every show this site covered in the past year. Now, with 2015 just around the corner, seemed like as good a time as any to showcase a few photographs from the past 12 months that stood out as personal favorites. Since there are a few too many to go up all at once, they’ll be posted at random as part of installments that will run from now to the start of January. Most of these shots have been published on the site before (or on The Media), though there are a few that will be appearing for the first time.

Pt. 5 will be the final installment of this series and the preceding galleries can be accessed via the links directly below. Enjoy!

2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 1
2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 2
2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 3
2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 4

 

Mulligrub – Sprite Zero (Music Video)

mull

As the holiday season descends, the output of new music and videos decreases. That fact’s both a blessing and a curse. While it does provide some time to catch up on everything, it also limits the cathartic rush of new material. Fortunately, there are a few genuine gems that slip through the cracks. For example: Saintseneca’s wonderful (and wonderfully contained) stab at Holiday canon with the understated “Plastic Baby Jesus“. For those looking for a reprieve from the Christmas season, there was Swings’ kinetic and brooding “Heavy Manner“. Chill Mega Chill’s wonderful Tape Deck The Halls mixtape proved to be a perfect concoction for anyone looking to find a new batch of holiday tunes and The Le Sigh: Vol. II immediately threatened to achieve a status bordering the iconic.

Even with all of that madness going on, Mulligrub somehow managed to be responsible for the craziest item of the past few weeks: the stuffed animal-heavy music video for “Sprite Zero”. Back in July, the band released the outstanding Canadian Classic and are now expanding on its promise with a new song (and an insane new video to match). In “Sprite Zero”, a variety of stuffed animals meet up and have a party. The staggeringly brilliant editing provides the clip with an abundance of verve and humor. While the clip pits expectations against reality and achieves something unforgivingly dark, the song lends the whole affair a feeling of genuine vibrancy. Quick-cuts abound, a party gets out of hand, and Mulligrub ends up with one of the most delightful items of an increasingly promising career.

Watch “Sprite Zero” below and keep an eye on this site for any upcoming Mulligrub news.

Watch This: Vol. 64

Normally Watch This gets posted on Sunday, which is when Vol. 64 was intended to run. Persisting technical problems and a commitment to an upcoming week of year-end coverage delayed this post, though it’s still structured the same as a standard Watch This feature. The five clips below were some of the best to emerge from the week preceding the current one. A few site favorites, a living legend, and a new name all earned mention’s for standing out in last week’s particularly great haul. King Tuff, Generationals, The Soil & The Sun, and Jenny Lewis were all featured in great performance clips but were just edged by the efforts below (which, looking at that company, should say something). So, as always, sit back, turn the volume up, calm down, and Watch This.

1. King Khan and BBQ Show (KEXP)

King Khan and BBQ Show have been raising hell for years now, always stuck in an exhilarating acceleration. Here, the duo don their masks and take to KEXP’s studio to deliver a frantic four-song performance, trading vocal leads and exuding a sense of personal freedom. We Are The Champion is the band’s upcoming record and- as demonstrated by this performance- it’s going to be one worth owning.

2. Las Rosas (BreakThruRadio)

Much like King Khan and BBQ Show, Las Rosas excel in mining previous decades’ most popular rock n’ roll touch points and integrating them into something unflinchingly modern. They recently stopped by BreakThruRadio for a memorable run through a few of their best songs. Doo-wop, soul, and punk all factor prominently into their sound and that particular sound only gets better in a live setting.

3. Mumblr – Masturbation (Space Jam Sessions)

A few months back, Mumblr routed their tour up to Stevens Point, WI and took part in this site’s 1-year anniversary party. 2014’s had a lot of really memorable moments and the band’s set’s right up there with the very best. Unsurprisingly, the band’s delicate acoustic-driven take on “Masturbation” for Space Jam Sessions proved to be one of last week’s more arresting clips. Get to know this band and then go catch one of their shows; it’ll be memorable.

4. Screaming Females – Ripe (Don Giovanni)

Next year Screaming Females– one of the best live acts currently going- will release Rose Mountain, an album that already seems like it’s shaping up to be a career-best effort. One of the already-unveiled songs, “Ripe“, recently got a Lance Bangs-directed live clip as a welcoming accompaniment. Does anything else really need to be said?

5. Thurston Moore (KEXP)

With Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore became one of the most influential guitarists of the past 50 years. Even though that band’s split up, Moore’s live music continues to impress both on record and in the live department. KEXP recently hosted the band (which includes Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley) for a session that featured songs from Moore’s most recent effort, The Best Day. Every member of the band’s in fine form as they make their way through a set that demonstrates Moore hasn’t lost any of his magic.