Heartbreaking Bravery

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Ben Seretan Group – Take 3 (Song Premiere)

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Over the course of the year, this site has done its best to pull Ben Seretan‘s work into focus. From an astounding self-titled effort to a melancholic short film, the material Seretan’s provided has been as fascinating as it has been compelling. Seretan’s had a knack for collaborations and the group he’s wrangled for this effort- a tape entitled Yellow Roses– (which is officially being released under the moniker Ben Seretan Group) is loaded with talent.

A month ago, Seretan gave the world a glimpse at Yellow Roses via a video of one of the extensive live sessions that went into its creation. Yellow Roses immediately stands out as one of 2015’s more niche releases, essentially a half an hour riff on deviations of the same song split into an A-side and a B-side for the cassette release. Coyly named “Take 2” and “Take 3”, the whole experience is easy to lose yourself in while it washes over everything.

Seretan’s shown a gift for tapping into music that manages to sustain a meditative sensibility before and the key phrase the release hinges on, “Yellow Roses”, once again feels like a do-or-die mantra. There’s a certain exhilarating desperation that the song evokes, providing it an intriguing sense of urgency on both sides, even as they approach 15-20 minutes in length. “Take 3”, the tape’s B-side, has a particularly tall order to film, registering as the back half of one larger connected experiment.

A song that could have easily been consumed by the weight manages to thrive by continuously subverting expectations, blooming into something that thrives on difficult circumstance. By continuously establishing new nuances, Seretan (and co.) have created something that’s both entirely unexpected and completely welcome. Hell, it may even prove to be unforgettable. Whatever it is, it’s certainly not worth missing. Just hit play and drift off to wherever your mind takes you.

Listen to the premiere of “Take 3” below and pre-order Yellow Roses from Death Rehearsal here.

Pleasure Leftists – You You (Stream)

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The second of two recaps this night, this one hinges on the success of another site favorite: Pleasure Leftists. Before diving into their latest single, though, it’s worth taking a beat to highlight some of the other incredible work to have seen release over the course of the day. Active Child’s spellbinding clip for “1999” and Titus Andronicus’ appropriately manic short film The Magic Morning offered up strong representation for the more cinematic-leaning releases.

Scott Bartenhagen’s Black Dane EP stuck out as one of the more enchanting full streams of recent memory and there were a handful of other single streams deserving of attention, including: Bully’s fiery Belle & Sebastian cover, La Luz’s “I Don’t Wanna Be Anywhere“, Gwilym Gold’s “Flex“, and Blank Realm’s “River of Longing“. Then, of course, there was Pleasure Leftists’ “You You”.

One of last year’s most unexpected highlights was catching Pleasure Leftists not once but twice playing shows during NXNE that weren’t affiliated with the festival. Now, following two extraordinary self-titled releases, the band’s started veering closer to the pop bent that’s informed a lot of their most exciting work. “You You”, the band’s lead-off single for their upcoming album The Woods of Heaven finds the band hitting a new career high.

As tense and bleak as anything in the band’s catalog, “You You” also finds Pleasure Leftists tapping into something that feels more vibrant and alive than their past work. It’s an inspired piece of work on what may very well be winding up stealthily cutting through 2015’s wealth of fine releases to wind up towards the front of the pack. Not only a brute reminder of the band’s strength but of their unassuming grace.

All of the Gothic post-punk touch points remain the predominant driving forces behind the band’s aesthetic and they’ve honed their skills to a fine point, that much is evident. Even with that being the case, it’s impossible to fake genuine inspiration, a trait that should be coursing through The Woods of Heaven‘s veins. In what promises to be a release worthy of high levels of anticipation and excitement, “You You” manages to be the perfect warning shot.

Listen to “You You” below and keep an eye on Deranged Records for pre-orders to go up in advance of The Woods of Heaven‘s August 28 release.

Trust Fund (ft. Alanna McArdle) – Dreams (Stream)

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Now that the site’s caught back up to the current release cycle it’s unlikely that there’ll be an overabundance of information being posted multiple times a day. Even with that being the case, today’s haul wound up producing a crop that proved to be strong to relegate to just one feature. There were standout releases in nearly every category that gets coverage here. On the visual side of things, Darkside’s concert film Psychic: Live and Izzy True’s “Absolute Troll” made sure the format was well represented. GUNK’s debut full-length proved to be an unexpected 2015 highlight and there were excellent new songs from Helado Negro, Luke Reed, and Philadelphia Collins (featuring Two Inch Astronaut‘s Sam Rosenberg).  

One of the days highlights came in the form of yet another collaboration between two site favorites: Trust Fund and Joanna Gruesome‘s ex-vocalist (and outstanding solo artist), Alanna McArdle. The pairing makes sense and the two central acts continue to play off each other with an easy finesse, tied up in a cyclical, complementary game. A hard-charging, twee-inflected burst of basement pop, “Dreams” is as good as anything in Trust Fund’s deeply impressive discography. McArdle retains the seemingly effortless wistfulness that permeated throughout Joanna Gruesome’s best work. In short: “Dreams” is unmissable and reaffirms the considerable talents of both parties.

Listen to “Dreams” below and keep an eye on this site for updates on music from both McArdle (who is continuing to make solo appearances following her departure from Joanna Gruesome) and Trust Fund.