Watch This: Vol. 98
by Steven Spoerl
The recent swell of outstanding live clips should be evident by now, with the overflowing packets of honorable mention selections that characterized the last two entries of this series. It’s not a trend that tapered off pushing forward, either, as the 98th installment of Watch This was a similarly contested battle. While the five clips featured below are well worth featuring, there were also deserving clips from Funeral Advantage, J Fernandez, DMA’s, Afterpartees, Gary Clark Jr., Glen Hansard, Noveller, Greg Holden, Teen Men, Watkins Family Hour, Galgo, Grave Babies, and Wire. One of the more eclectic volumes of this series, the 98th entry includes a third consecutive appearance from a site favorite and the Watch This debut for a band comprised of some artists whose work influenced more than half of the bands that get written about on this site. So, as always, sit back, adjust the volume, wind down, focus up, and Watch This.
1. Cayetana – Madame B (Little Elephant)
The second Cayetana clip to be featured from their Little Elephant session finds the trio digging into “Madame B”– one of the best songs in their discography– and laying into it with an abundance of feeling. Throughout the clip, it’s easy to see each individual member get completely lost in the song at various points throughout, each seemingly succumbing to some sort of trance without ever losing any of the determination that characterizes their music.
2. Deerhoof (MOWNO)
Deerhoof is an insane band that’s always veered away from conventionality and their live show underlines both of those defining aspects. MOWNO was on hand to film some of their performance at the Teriaki festival in Le Mans and the results are incredibly engaging. Impassioned, off-kilter, and wild-eyed, not a second of this clip is worth missing. As inventive as it is fierce, this is the perfect presentation of Deerhoof’s current era.
3. Meat Wave – Too Much (Audiotree)
Returning once again to Meat Wave‘s Audiotree session, this particular performance finds the band reaching back to their shockingly under-discussed self-titled debut (which remains one of my favorite records of all time). Venomous, grim, and surprisingly atmospheric, it shows the band firing on all cylinders, showcasing an impressive dynamic sensibility in the process. Brooding and much darker than usual, “Too Much” is the sound of a band establishing its identity.
4. Lady Lamb – Millions of Eyes (OnAirstreaming)
“Billions of Eyes” was one of last year’s most charming songs and marked Aly Spaltro’s arrival at large. Since the release of that song, Spaltro’s Lady Lamb project severed “The Beekeeper” from its title, released a very well-received record (After) on Mom+Pop and set about touring on the release. Here, OnAirstreaming catches Spaltro delivering a rare solo performance of the song and clearly exhibits an endearing affection between the songwriter and the work. It’s strangely uplifting and immensely enjoyable.
5. Big Star’s Third – Blue Moon (The Current)
It’d be a maddening exercise in futility to try to cover the artists who have had their careers directly impacted by Big Star’s work. The powerpop icons have been continuously cited as an inspiration by all varieties of punk and pop bands since their emergence in the early ’70s. Everyone from The Replacements to Elliott Smith to Cheap Trick has written songs about the band or covered them directly. Members of the band recently toured with a collective of friends to perform Big Star’s seminal Third and, accordingly, provided the project with Big Star’s Third as a moniker. The Current recently hosted the project where they performed a gentle, honest version of “Blue Moon” and the end result is lovely beyond reason.