Watch This: Vol. 70
by Steven Spoerl
Another week gone by, five more incredible live clips to feature. Now that the series is back in its normally-paced swing, it’s been easier to keep tabs on the incoming flux of footage but it makes it more difficult to narrow down the selections. With 2015 already bursting at the seams with great studio material it seems only appropriate that the live videos should be following suit. With strong videos coming from the likes of Close Up, Littlefoot, Gay, Darlingside (ft. Tall Heights), and Ultimate Painting, it would have been easy to double up on the series. Fortunately, to lessen the sting of limiting it to just one, the five clips included in this 70th installment are all among the year’s best. Only two of the band’s included in today’s collection have ever had their names published on this site (incidentally, both bands share a member in Noah Bowman), leaving the majority to new acts. Running the gamut from fiery high-energy punk subsets to devastating low-key folk outings, there’s a lot to appreciate. So, as always, lean in, adjust the screen contrast and lightness to your preferred settings, crank the volume, and Watch This.
1. Panther Ray – Get To You (The Current)
One nice things about emergent trends in DIY music as of late has been an acute focus (and subsequent celebration) of shoegaze inflections in bands with strong basement pop sensibilities. Panther Ray are one of those bands and their turn-in of “Get To You” for The Current is a particularly inspired piece of work from the band. Mixing shades of twee and post-punk into the mix, “Get To You” becomes as irresistible as the performance.
2. Earl Boykins – Judy Carrot (bandwidth.fm)
Scrappy basement pop gets featured more on this site than any other genre of music so it’s unsurprising that Earl Boykins‘ name has appeared here a few times throughout the site’s existence. While it may have taken 70 installments for them to wind up in Watch This but they’re finally here. The band recently swung through the bandwidth.fm studios to tear their way through “Judy Carrot” and it’s clear from the outset that they’re having fun- something that translates over in an extraordinarily satisfying clip.
3. July Talk – Paper Girl (Audiotree)
Shot in crisp black-and-white for the consistently strong Audiotree at their SXSW showcase, July Talk quickly sets about making a statement. Combining the fire-and-brimstone approach of Lucero at their most impassioned and the spiky irreverence of Be Your Own PET is a compelling combination even on paper but the band somehow finds a way to make it exhilarating in execution. Dual vocals, contrasting styles, and through-and-through showmanship make July Talk one of the most exciting live prospects possibly imaginable. “Paper Girl” is one of the group’s best songs and here the band lays it to absolute waste. Simply put, this is unmissable.
4. Footings (Jenn Harrington)
For all the glossy, high-quality footage that makes its way into this series, this is still Heartbreaking Bravery, which means that when a lo-fi video from an artist with little name recognition surfaces, it will be featured. Especially when it’s as stunning as the clip Jenn Harrington captured of Footings playing a gorgeous new song to a spellbound audience. Recalling the emotional devastation of Eels at their most confessional, it’s lent a subtle emphasis through the faded visual representation. Click play and fall in love.
5. Diet Cig – Harvard (bandwidth.fm)
Oh, Diet Cig, what words are left? All it took was one brilliant five-song collection to catapult them into “site favorites” status and ever since then, the band’s done nothing but reinforce those levels of adoration. One of the year’s most refreshingly warm music videos (which will undoubtedly come back up in conversation when December rolls around) and now, this: an extremely impassioned performance of Overeasy highlight “Harvard”. There are few bands out there right now that provide as clear of a reminder that one music’s most exhilarating aspects is the sheer fun of it all. There’s an uninhibited grin that creeps onto guitarist/vocalist’s Alex Luciano’s face multiple times throughout this performance that is the perfect symbolic image for what made me fall in love with this band, this genre, and this community (and the people who remain so actively inspired and involved). So, you know, watch it. And then go ride a goddamn log flume.