Watch This: Vol. 88
by Steven Spoerl
87 entries in and still going strong, Watch This- the weekly series dedicated to celebrating some of the week’s finest performance clips- has become one of this site’s definitive markers. Great performances are given every day, all over the world, and a few of them have the good fortune of being caught on film- a handful of those are presented in startlingly beautiful ways. Every week, five of those artists’ performance get featured here, while a handful of impressive efforts get highlights as well. This week, those highlights included performances from Jeff Rosenstock, Calexico, Paul Weller, Tedo Stone, Dead Stars, toyGuitar, and Laser Background. Nearly every artist in this 88th installment has been featured on Watch This before, which continues a nearly unprecedented run of inclusions for both Courtney Barnett and Girlpool. Diet Cig officially cements their spot as a staple of the series and KEXP houses another impressive full session. It’s a lot to take in, so, as always, sit up, adjust the volume, lean in, and Watch This.
1.Built to Spill (KEXP)
Doug Martsch and his band of ragtag misfits crafted one of this year’s more unexpectedly stunning records in Untethered Moon, Built To Spill’s strongest collection of songs in over a decade. KEXP recently brought the band in for a session that emphasized the singular energy that helped make Untethered Moon so compelling. Long regarded as one of the best live acts on the circuit, the band proves they’ve earner their status over an impressive four song set. It’s a strong reminder of the talent of a band that seems content to keep pushing themselves for as long as they possibly can.
2. Diet Cig – Pool Boyz + Scene Sick (Out of Town Films)
Ever since Over Easy came out towards the start of the year, Diet Cig has been making regular appearances on Watch This thanks in part to not only that collection’s strength but to the uninhibited joy the duo exude when they perform. As great as those clips have been, Out of Town Films adds a visual panache that elevates this particular session to one Diet Cig’s brightest moments. There’s a manic energy, guitarist/vocalist’s Alex Luciano’s mischievous smile, jumping bean antics, and Noah Bowman’s committed energy. The fact that the whole thing is capped off with a high-five feels beyond perfect. Carefree, irreverent, and ridiculously entertaining, this is a definitive presentation of a site favorite.
3. Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian at Best + Elevator Operator (Pitchfork)
At this point, it’s entirely possible that no one has made as many Watch This lists as Courtney Barnett. Still riding high on the wave of acclaim that Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit has built, combined with relentless touring, has landed Barnett in a coveted position that’s secured the songwriter a murderer’s row of outlets that create great live clips. Of course, it helps that Barnett’s a preternaturally gifted performer. Barnett recently delivered a characteristically blistering performance at Pitchfork and the site’s uploaded two performances, “Pedestrian At Best” and “Elevator Operator”, in kind.
4. Parquet Courts – Uncast Shadow of A Southern Myth + Content Nausea (Pitchfork)
Back when some of Parquet Courts were in Teenage Cool Kids, they’d frequently show up for shows in Milwaukee basements and deliver the kind of shambolic performances that’d eventually earn Parquet Courts no shortage of celebratory praise. Since those days, it’s an approach that’s been honed, refined over time, and brought dangerously close to perfection. In yet another strong pairing of fiery performances from Pitchfork, the band ambles through “Uncast Shadow of a Southern Myth” (which was originally a Teenage Cool Kids song) and “Content Nausea” with a wiry, deadpan verve.
5. Girlpool – Crowded Stranger (Sofar Sounds)
If Courtney Barnett’s leading the number of Watch This inclusions, Girlpool likely isn’t too far behind. Having just seen the duo deliver arresting performances at both Baby’s All Right and as a secret headliner at DBTS (a gallery of which will be going up soon), the way the duo commands attention on film is maximized in person- but the best clips come close to capturing that prevailing sense of awe that so often accompanies the live experience. Here, the duo performs “Crowded Stanger”- one of 2015’s more chill-inducing songs- in front of Sofar Sounds’ lenses to a hushed crowd in a London room. It’s a breathtaking rendition that reaffirms the songwriters’ inherent charisma and innate ability, providing another layer of definitive proof that Girlpool are one of today’s most formidable acts.
[…] HB500: Casting A Glance (Video Mixtape) HB501: Mutual Benefit – Not For Nothing (Stream) HB502: Hammock – My Mind Was A Fog… My Heart Became A Bomb + In the Middle of Nowhere (Music Video) HB503: The Fjords – All In (Music Video) HB504: Fraser A. Gorman – Shiny Gun (Music Video) HB505: Tenement – Curtains Closed (Stream) HB506: Lady Bones – Botch (Stream) HB507: So Stressed – Apple Hill (Stream) HB508: Watch This: Vol. 72 HB509: Girlpool – Before The World Was Big (Music Video) HB510: Ice Melting in the Back of a Pickup Truck (Short Film Premiere) HB511: Worriers – They/Them/Theirs (Stream) HB512: Westkust – Dishwasher (Stream) HB513: Total Babes – Heydays (Music Video) HB514; Weed – Thousand Pounds (Music Video) HB515; La Lenguas – Love You All the Time (Stream) HB516: MOURN – Gertrudis, Get Through This! (Stream) HB517: Institute – Cheerlessness (Stream) HB518: Blue Smiley – OK (Album Stream) HB519: Molly – People (Music Video) HB520: Diamond Youth – Thought I Had It Right (Music Video) HB521: Heather Woods Broderick – Wyoming (Music Video) HB522: Wactch This: Vol. 73 HB523: Lady Bones – 24 Hour Party Girl (Stream) HB524: Radioactivity – I Know (Stream) HB525: Splitting at the Break: A Visual Retrospective of 2015’s First Half (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB526: Johanna Warren – True Colors (Music Video) (NSFW) HB527: Royal Headache – High (Stream) HB528: Hey Hallways – Anything At All (Music Video) HB529: Watch This: Vol. 74 HB530: Watch This: Vol. 75 HB531: Watch This: Vol. 76 HB532: Watch This: Vol. 77 HB533: Watch This: Vol. 78 HB534: Watch This: Vol. 79 HB535: Watch This: Vol. 80 HB536: Sulky Boy – Things Betwixt (Stream) HB537: Girls Names – Reticence (Stream) HB538: Happy Diving – So Bunted (Stream) HB539: Father/Daughter Northside Showcase 2015 (Pictorial Review, Live Videos) HB540: Introducing: Montana and the Marvelles HB541: Miscreant Records Northside Showcase 2015 (Pictorial Review, Live Videos) HB542: Bully – Live at Rough Trade – 6/15/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB543: Exploding in Sound Northside Showcase 2015 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB544: Painted Zeros – Live at Alphaville – 6/17/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB545: Tenement – Predatory Headlights (Album Review, Stream) HB546: Dogs On Acid – Live at DBTS – 6/19/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB547: Watch This: Vol. 81 HB548: Watch This: Vol. 82 HB549: Lost Boy ? – Live at Shea Stadium – 6/20/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB550: 2015: Halfway Home (Mixtape) HB551: Bully – Trying (Music Video) HB552: Toys That Kill – Live at The Acheron – 6/23/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB553: Tenement – Live at The Acheron – 6/25/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Videos) HB554: Watch This: Vol. 83 HB555: Sweet John Bloom – Weird Prayer (Album Review, Stream) HB556: Raury – Devil’s Whisper (Music Video) HB557: Fakers – $600 (Stream) HB558: Cherry Glazerr – Sip O’ Poison (Stream) HB559: Coaster – Paralyzed (Stream) HB560: Nervoasas – Parallels (Stream) HB561; Big Huge – Late At Nite (Stream) HB562: The Hussy – Turning On You (Stream) HB563: Gurr – I Don’t Like You (Stream) HB564: Vacation – Like Snow (Stream, Live Video) HB565: Big Air – Barking Dog (Music Video Premiere) HB566: Trust Fund (ft. Alanna McArdle) – Dreams (Stream) HB567: Pleasure Leftists – You You (Stream) HB568: Ben Seretan – Take 3 (Song Premiere) HB569: White Reaper – Last 4th of July (Stream) HB570: Watch This: Vol. 84 HB571: Swirlies – Live at The Silent Barn – 7/4/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB572: Noun – I’m Afraid of What I’ll Do (Stream) HB573: Meat Wave – Delusion Moon (Stream) HB574: PWR BTTM – Ugly Cherries (Stream) HB575: Diet Cig – Sleep Talk (Stream) HB576: Watch This: Vol. 85 HB577: Slothrust – Live at Suburbia – 7/10/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB578: All Dogs – That Kind of Girl (Stream, Live Video) HB579: Dilly Dally – Desire (Stream) HB580: LVL UP – Three Songs (7″ Stream) HB581: PUP – Dark Days (Music Video) HB582: Royal Headache – Another World (Music Video) HB583: Mitski – Live at Palisades – 7/17/15 HB584: Watch This: Vol. 86 HB585: Radioactivity – Intro/Battered/Slipped Away (Music Video) HB586: Princess Reason – Your Divorce (Stream) HB587: Rebecca Ryskalczyk – We’re Brothers (Demo Stream) HB588: Phylums – Go Home (Stream) HB589: Watch This: Vol. 87 HB590: Meat Wave – Delusion Moon (Music Video) HB591: A Short Stretch (Pitctorial Review) HB592: Dogs On Acid – Make It Easy (Stream) HB593: SPORTS – The Washing Machine (Stream) HB594: A Short Stretch (Video Review) HB595: All Dogs – Skin (Stream) HB596: Girlpool – Live at Baby’s All Right – 7/29/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video) HB597: Heat – This Life (Music Video) HB598: The Foetals – Malted (Stream) HB599: Watch This: Vol. 88 […]