Heartbreaking Bravery

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Happy Diving – So Bunted (Stream)

happy diving

Once more, with feeling: I’ve been caught up in travel arrangements over the past week and a half but I haven’t let new music escape me during that time. I’ve kept a detailed record of everything that’s caught my attention and, unsurprisingly, the bulk of those materials were single tracks. As was the case in the previous two posts, a list of 15 of the strongest highlights to emerge throughout that time frame have been included below the embed of the song earning the feature spot. In this case, that song’s a blistering reminder of the myriad strengths of site favorites Happy Diving.

The band’s exhilarating debut for Father/Daughter Records (another site favorite), Big World, established the band’s identity as well as their reputation for crafting feedback-heavy downer pop. Taking just as many cues from 90’s alt. as shoegaze, the band have conjured up yet another sharp blast of reverb-laden melancholy with “So Bunted”, the title track from a forthcoming 7″ that also marks their first release for the increasingly impressive Topshelf Records (Happy Diving’s signing follows a series of impressive moves from the label and the acquisition of Happy Diving rates as one of their strongest). Effortlessly pairing melancholy with urgency has always been one of the band’s strongest draws and “So Bunted” is a masterclass in that particular dynamic, creating a compelling whirlwind of soaring guitars and bleak emotions. Not a single moment of the track’s 134 seconds are wasted and if this is indicative of what Happy Diving has in store for Topshelf, then we’re all in for one hell of a ride.

Listen to “So Bunted” below and pre-order the 7″ from Topshelf directly here. Beneath the embed are 15 more songs that deserve paragraphs worth of praise and to be added to just about any collection.

Broen – Iris
Jessie Jones – Sugar Coated
FFS – Call Girl
Creepoid – Shaking
Weaves – Tick
Cyberbully Mom Club – No-Fun
Oscar – Stay
HEALTH – Stonefist
Ducktails – Surreal Exposure
Hibou – Dissolve
The Armed – Paradise Day
theweaselmartenfisher – Draw Back Your Bow
The Rashita Joneses – My Finger
Operation Simon – Innervation
Blacklisters – Cash Cow

Girls Names – Reticence (Stream)


Girls Names

A Brief recap at the top: over the past week and a half I’ve been preparing for a move from Wisconsin to New York, collecting songs as they appeared. Fifteen of the finest from that stretch will appear beneath the embed of the featured song; Girls Names’ “Reticence”. A wiry post-punk number that takes a hairpin turn into something a lot more full-bodied than the opening guitar figure would suggest.

What follows is a brutally unforgiving run through a desolate atmosphere before veering into a sharp left and tapping into outsider pop that leans heavily towards a new wave tendencies. As that section blooms into something otherworldly it refuses to stop unfurling, laying itself out in a tantalizing sprawl before getting cut off at the head. With next to no warning, the track reverts back to the bleak, foreboding section that dominated its first half. As an exercise in dynamics, it’s stunning. As a teaser for the band’s upcoming Arms Around A Vision, it’s enough to elevate the anticipation into the stratosphere. As a standalone song? It’s damn near miraculous.

Listen to “Reticence” below and pre-order Arms Around A Vision from Tough Love ahead of its October 2 release here. Beneath the embed, explore a list of 15 other highlights from the past week and a half.

Dan Svizeny – Dreams Came True
Lee Bannon – Disneµ Girls
Django Django – Slow West
Failure – Mulholland Drive
The Fall – Auto Chip 2014-2016
Jaill – Getaway
Glint – While You Sleep
Beirut – No No No
Ludvig Moon – Swim Dream
Camera Shy – Colors Radiate
White Reaper – Sheila
Albert Hammond Jr – Losing Touch
Grass House – Learning to Less Feel
Bad Bad Habits – Psychic Reader
Jordan Lane Price – Sponge

Sulky Boy – Things Betwixt (Stream)

sulky boy

Over the course of the past week, I’ve been collecting music as it comes while also preparing for a move halfway across the country. A lot of things have caught my attention in that time and tonight I’ll be highlighting three tracks, each coming equipped with a list of 15 highlights that- if time wasn’t an issue- would all have been expanded on a lot further than just a link. Unfortunately, time can be a severe limitation and- all things considered- forces this brief reformatting of the site’s usual design. On the upside, the three songs that do get featured are three of the strongest in recent memory, starting with “Things Betwixt”, an extremely limited lathe cut from Dan Taylor’s Sulky Boy project.

Like seemingly everything else coming out of Art Is Hard these days, “Things Betwixt” is scrappy, winsome, and effortlessly charming. Weathered, familiar, and presented with a vision that feels singular, it’s the kind of song that has the potential to build a career. With Sulky Boy well on its way to achieving a much greater visibility. Rambling along at a mid-tempo pace, it feels almost as if the whole thing is a stream-of-consciousness outpouring that manages to convey the lengths of Taylor’s considerable charisma. Ostensibly a song about loss, it’s grounded in Taylor’s weary vocal delivery, rendering it an unflinching look at what it means to be human. Presented as part of Art Is Hard’s The Hard Cut Record Club series- and complete with an inspired art design- it’s one of 2015’s more stunning niche releases.

Listen to “Things Betwixt” below and keep an eye on Art Is Hard’s store for more releases (the limited run of “Things Betwixt” is already sold out). Beneath the embed, enjoy a list of 15 songs to emerge from the past week and a half that deserve hearing.

Less Win – Bayonet
The Boys – Us
Ampline – It Will Evaporate
Negative Scanner – Would You Rather
Jawbreaker Reunion – Your X
Beach Moon/Peach Moon – Philosophy At 23 At 24
Nervosas – Night Room
The Fresh & Only’s – Sunglasses
It Looks Sad. – Creature
Edward R. – Wolves and the Water
Jade The Moon – 5 6 7 8
Gnarwhal – Have Fun Tomorrow From Ozzy/Stella
Heaven’s Gate – Amanda Berry
Future Death – Cerebral Scuzz
Phil Cook – Great Tide