Watch This: Vol. 86
by Steven Spoerl
It’s been an insane stretch of days, minimizing this site’s output and causing some scheduling neglect. Today will be dedicated to the compensation of that brief absence, beginning with a slightly delayed Watch This. All of the performance captures in the 86th installment of this series surfaced between last Monday and last Sunday, leaving the past few days’ clips eligible for volume 87. Only one of these bands has previously appeared in a Watch This installment, providing a definite change of pace from the past few entries, which have been dominated by site favorites. There are, as always, some genuine treasures to be found here along with a very reassuring sense that we’re living in a golden age of accessibility and forward thinking in multimedia. So, as always, sit back, focus up, adjust the volume, and Watch This.
1. The Muscadettes – Growing Pains (Exclaim!)
Bright and scrappy, when done well, can issue a very palpable sense of place. In the case of this strong performance of “Growing Pains”, The Muscadettes embrace the lo-fi nature of their surf-inflected basement pop and wind up with something that feels more lived-in than nostalgic, while still maintaining a throwback sensibility that suits them to perfection. It’s a perfect summer soundtrack delivered with a bite that’s rare in a genre that’s traditionally (and inherently) laid-back.
2. Flesh World (KEXP)
Flesh World’s The Wild Animals In My Life rattled the people invested invested in the post-punk genre to their core when it found release earlier this year, furthering the band’s standing among a very specific sect. The band recently swung by the KEXP studios where they filmed a session that looks, sounds, and feels appropriately grim. It’s a five-song performance that demonstrate the band’s strength and scope while also making yet another case for why they’re one of the more celebrated emerging acts in their genre.
3. Pree (BreakThruRadio)
Every once in a while a band comes along that defies genre conventions and plays some tantalizingly unconventional music with unbridled passion. Usually these bands err more towards noise freakouts and jarring prog-leaning excursions than anything else. Pree take that concept and subvert it into something that’s practically unrecognizable. Defiantly sunny and unabashedly pop, their performance(s) in this BreakThruRadio session are instantly memorable and effortlessly arresting. Don’t miss out.
4. Ronny – Why Do You Have Kids? (GemsOnVHS)
GemsOnVHS continues to deliver noteworthy performance captures in entirely unpredictable ways, turning to electro-damaged folk artist Ronny for their latest session. Unfailingly gorgeous and unexpectedly spellbinding, this performance of “Why Do You Have Kids?” is a curveball that subsists entirely on left-field grace notes. Intensely compressed and delivered with a startling amount of conviction, it’s a genuine stunner and a perfect introduction to a fascinating artist.
5. Algiers (KEXP)
Having already established themselves as site favorites and secured a few different spots on various Watch This installments, Algiers’ live prowess shouldn’t come as a surprise. The band’s self-titled album is one of 2015’s most breathtaking releases, deftly combining centuries worth of musical influence into something that doesn’t just feel bold but perfectly timed and possibly even necessary. Alternately haunted and haunting, unerringly soulful, and unbelievably gripping, their session for KEXP is one of the strongest the studio has seen in years.