Heartbreaking Bravery

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Dark Blue – Delco Runts (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

John Sharkey III once led Puerto Rican Flowers, a band that earned an almost excessively devoted following thanks to a small string of incredible records. The band’s eventual demise was a crippling blow but opened up the floor for new opportunities, one of which was quickly seized and invested in until the project, Dark Blue, began accruing an impassioned following of its own. Last year, the band put out the monumental Pure Reality, which was highlighted by songs like the brilliant “Here On My Street” which incorporated a greater emphasis on Sharkey’s formidable pop sensibilities.

In January the band will be returning with Vicious Romance b/w Delco Runts, a 7″ that recently got off to an extremely promising start with the record’s driving B-side. “Delco Runts” sees the trio continuing to expand their more pop-leaning influences without ever sacrificing their post-punk roots. Damaged, romantic, and wide-eyed, “Delco Runts” is a bruiser with a backwards grin, dissecting moments of youth with all the panache of the best tragicomedies. Eventually, “Delco Runts” builds itself into a heartbreaking conclusion that feels lived-in and brutally honest before dropping into a mournful outro section that lends the song some additional emotional weight, ensuring the song a valued place in what’s shaping up to be a formidable discography.

Listen to “Delco Runts” below and pre-order Vicious Romance b/w Delco Runts here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Royal Brat – Shadethrower
Francis – Follow Me Home
Nathaniel Bellows – Oh, Now
Connie Constance – Answer
Cian Nugent – Things Don’t Change That Fast
Deleter – Seclusion
The Missendens – Rolling Start
Mount Moriah – Cardinal Collector
Crescendo – Repulsor
jj – Paranoid
Fews – The Zoo
Tangerine – Tender
Kiska – Long Divide
Butchers Blind – Black & White Dreams
Total Abuse – DNA Evidence
Bianca Casady – Poor Deal
Barren Womb – White Raven
High Highs – Cascades
The Secret Storm – The Dragon
Palm – Doggy Doctor
Val Hollie – Stepping Outside

bed. – The Rule (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

2015’s been a genuinely overwhelming year for music. From records that ranked as irrefutable masterpieces to the emergence of deeply promising new acts, there was a lot to digest. This site’s dedicated to the latter of those two categories and even in isolating that grouping, there are still- undoubtedly- countless pieces missing. Fortunately, bed. aren’t one of those missing pieces because their recent “The Rule” is as captivating as any song this year. By balancing dream-pop aesthetics with flashes of elements more comfortably rooted in post-punk, sludge, and basement punk, they’ve subverted a dichotomy that’s paid hugely successful dividends for the songs that this site’s featured in the past. “The Rule”, the band’s strongest work to date, suggests that in addition to establishing their footing, they’ve got a lot more to offer. All we need to do for now is listen while we wait to find out and, fortunately, “The Rule” makes that an easy task.

Listen to “The Rule” below and pre-order Klickitat here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Savages – T.I.W.Y.G.
Frankie Cosmos – Young
The Besnard Lakes – The Motorway
Jacob Metcalf – Ein Berliner
Museyroom – Ballad
Stoneholder – Air
Shirley Said – Crash
City & I – Geordie
They Might Be Giants – Out of a Tree
Mark McGuire – Sons of the Serpent
Walter Martin – Jobs I Had Before I Got Rich & Famous
Kamasi Washington – Theme from “Color Guard”
Basement – Promise Everything
Miranda Lee Richards – 7th Ray
Eliza Hardy Jones – Criminal
Half Waif – Nest
Golden Daze – Salt
Matt Kivel – Jamie’s
Thieves – Middle Man
Shy, Low – Algos
Headaches – VI

Two Inch Astronaut – Good Behavior (Stream)

Two Inch Astronaut I

[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

Two Inch Astronaut have been squarely in this site’s crosshairs since 2014’s inspired Foulbrood, which wound up ranking as one of that year’s finest albums. In February, the band will be following that up with Personal Life, a record that the band’s been road-testing to impressive amounts of applause over the past few months. Apart from the live preview, the band’s now graciously offering up the record’s barbed lead-off single “Good Behavior” as a tantalizing preview of what they’ve got up their sleeve. Once again, there’s a formidable marriage of post-punk, basement pop, and outside hardcore influences to create something that, incredibly, is as accessible as it is complex. Leftield chord voicings collide with an impassioned vocal performance to demonstrate that this band’s only getting better as they go. Hairpin turns, heady arrangements, and a new studio member (Grass Is Green‘s Andy Chervenak) establish this song (and likely this record) as a legitimate behemoth.

Listen to “Good Behavior” below and pre-order Personal Life here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

ARIGATO MASSAÏ (ft. Fannie Linneros) – We Love
Quilt – Eliot St.
Flowers – Ego Loss
Bandit – Flake
MONEY – I’ll be the Night
Pusha T (ft. The-Dream) – M.F.T.R.
Holy Esque – Silences
PWRHAUS – How I Feel About You
Timber Bones – Travelling Song
Sonya Kitchell – Mexico
Running – Reclaimed Would
Public Memory – Lunar
Eddi Front – Goldie
Atlantic Thrills – Vices
Prawn – Seas
Spring King – Who Are You
TV Baby – Half A Chance
Cassie Ramone – Run Run Rudolph
Eleanor Friedberger – He Didn’t Mention His Mother
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Aerobed
Mammatus – Ornia

Casket Girls – Deep Time (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

Stardeath and White Dwarfs have gained a lot of notoriety thanks to both their association with The Flaming Lips and a strong discography of their own. Hopefully, some of that recognition ties over to another band they’ve paired up with: Casket Girls. The acts recently teamed up for a limited-run split that’s highlighted by Casket Girls’ arresting “Deep Time”, a haunting meditation on mortality and what makes us human. A swirling layer of feedback, organ, battered guitars, and drones drive the instrumental as a ghostly vocal figure delivering a series of probing questions provide the song’s emotional wallop with a considerable emphasis. Easy to digest and difficult to shake, “Deep Time” taps into something transcendental, providing Casket Girls with an unlikely new career best. Don’t allow this one to pass by unnoticed.

Listen to “Deep Time” below and pick up What Keeps You Up At Nght here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

The Goon Sax – Boyfriend
Luke Rathborne – Losing It
Moss Lime – Comfy Cotton Shoes
Cold Sweats – Hater Failure
Emma Louise – Undeflow
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s – Francine
Kiran Leonard – Pink Fruit
The Goldhearts – Here’s the Thing
WALL – Fit the Part
Rare Monk – California
The Brainstems – Simple Joys
Liskka – Keep Me Awake
The Cave Singers – Christmas Night
Pete Astor – My Right Hand
The Shivas – Gun In My Pocket (Revisited)
Prickle – Tell Me Why
Saintseneca – New Coats
Ed Tullett – Ply
Pet Sun – Dark Planet

Birth (Defects) – Ascetic (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

One of the people that I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know since starting up this site has been Sean Gray, who- in addition to running Accidental Guest Recordings- has been an invaluable voice in contemporary criticism (especially as a leading figure in the accessibility movement). Easily one of the most knowledgeable figures in post-punk and hardcore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that his own project, Birth (Defects), absolutely rip. “Ascetic”, the band’s first official single, is a punishing piece of music that has no interest in frills and lands its succession of blows with terrifying precision. Dark, violent, and teetering on the verge of chaos, it’s a captivating first look at a project that already feels as important as it does necessary. High velocity translates to maximum impact and no one’s spared an onslaught that leaves the kind of mark that deserves to be cherished.

Listen to “Ascetic” below and pick up “Ascetic b/w Forged” here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Kevin Devine – No One Says You Have To
Our Girl – Sleeper
Sarah Neufeld – The Ridge
Wonky Tonk – Denmark
WALL – Cuban Cigars
Meercaz and The Visions – Kate… Actually
Past Life – Sever Your Love
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Clean Slate
Berwanger – Demonios
The Gonzo Show – Roxy’s Rage
Beverly – Crooked Cop
Heron Oblivion – Oriar
Joseph Sant – Nor’easter
CTM – Escorted/The Road
The Gromble – Real Sympathy
Eugene Quell – London Pollen
Le Rug – 1779
The Post – Easy Way Out
Eight Bells – Hating
The She’s – Cherry Red
The Brainstems – Red Line

Mothers – Too Small For Eyes (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

Back in October, Mothers delivered a memorable CMJ set as part of BrooklynVegan’s Baby’s All Right showcase. As promising as the songs contained in that showcase were, nothing hinted at the band being capable of a song like the breathtaking “Too Small For Eyes”, which stands out as one of the most painfully gorgeous numbers of 2015. Aided by a remorseful piano figure and a lilting string section, Kristine Leschper’s aching vocals take on an impressive amount of life. Over the course of its nearly six-minute runtime there are no false moves, just a sustained series of grace notes that push the song towards sublimity. Masterful in both arrangement and execution, “Too Small For Eyes” astonishes as irrefutable evidence of the depth of Mothers’ potential. Elegant and genuinely extraordinary, this is a watershed moment for a band that’s more than ready to be thrust into the spotlight.

Listen to “Too Small For Eyes” below and keep an eye on Grand Jury Music, who will be running the pre-orders for When You Walk A Long Distance, You Are Tired in early 2016. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Kississippi – Greyhound
Low Cut High Tops – Good Day
Youth Lagoon – I’ve Seen
Takénobu – Curtain Call
Casanovas In Heat – Jaded
Stove – Lowt-Ide Fins
The Both – You’re A Gift
Burnt Palms – Fold
Lil BUB – New Gravity
SWMRS – Figuring It Out
Baroness – Shock Me
Franesca – Sanity
Parlor Walls – Birthday
The Body – Shelter Is Illusory
The Echo Field – Is He Gone
Garrett Klahn – Are We Alright?
Frameworks – Time Spent
Hinds – San Diego
Death Index – Dream Machine

Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

Sometimes a song comes along from an artist you’ve never heard of and lays you flat. “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” was one of those songs for me, a determined exploration of identity from Lucy Dacus that’s laced with a self-flagellating venom. Even in the midst of its own internal cruelty, though, its aspirations are commendable and showcase a startling drive. Singular, memorable, and incredibly endearing, “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” was one of the brightest musical moments of the past several months. If it’s any indication of what Dacus has in store, the songwriter may just emerge with one of 2016’s most celebrated collections.

Listen to “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” below and keep an eye on this site for more from Dacus in the future. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

The Weasel, Marten Fisher – Talkin’ Like You (Two Tall Mountains)
Thee Oh Sees – Fortress
Big Putts – Prism
Copperfox – War Horse
Slow Culture – Hoax
Ulrika Spacek – She’s A Cult
Sudakistan – You And Your Way
Washer – Figure Me Out
Littler – Not My Market
Stardeath and the White Dwarfs – What Keeps You Up At Night
Bryce Dessner – Imagining Buffalo
Mass Gothic – Nice Night
Sioux Falls – Soaked In Sleep
Johnny Gallagher – Two Fists Full
The Besnard Lakes – The Plain Moon
Florist – The Birds Outside Sang
The Starting Line – Anyways
Public Access TV – Here Come The Bells
Pinemen – That Certain Flavour

Bruising – Honey (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

One of the finest emerging bands of 2015 has been Bruising, an act whose origins can be traced back to a Perfect Pussy shirt. While they’re steadily building momentum to what promises to be one of the more anticipated debut full-length efforts in recent memory, the slow stream of songs they’ve been releasing have merited a great deal of excitement on their own. Earlier this year, the act unveiled “Emo Friends” the A-side of their latest single, which saw them refining the things that helped them stand out. In the time elapsed since this site last covered single streams, the band released the b-side to that single, the propulsive “Honey”.

Built around incendiary guitar work and another compelling vocal performance from Naomi Baguley, the song exemplifies the band’s impossibly charming aesthetic. There’s some menace buried in a shoegaze-informed basement pop track that feels improbably light. Nearly paradoxically, there’s also some real weight to be found in “Honey”, thanks to the scathing lyrical kiss-offs and the hard-charging instrumental section. In all, it’s another triumphant effort from a band that’s already established themselves as a site favorite only a few songs into their career.

Listen to “Honey” below and pick up “Emo Friends b/w Honey” here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Luxury Gbg – Strand
Bilge Rat – Jon Puked Last Night
Halfsour – Porch Sittin
Little Star – For Goth Easter
Living Hour – Seagull
Washer – Pet Rock vs. Healing Crystal
Soft Fangs – The Air
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Nobody Dies
La Sera – High Notes
The Dirty Nil – Zombie Eyed
Telepathic – Suit to Fit
Kal Marks – Dorothy
Pinkshinyultrablast – The Cherry Pit
Half Japanese – Hold On
The Foetals – The World Isn’t That Big
Way Out – Arrival
Acid Fast – Just Grin
Thom Fekete – Treason
The Castillians – Piggy in the Middle
Casket Girls – Western World
Massenger – Cristal Animal

Beliefs – Colour Of Your Name (Music Video)

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Now that the full streams are all caught up, it’s time to turn the attention back to music videos. A lot of great material’s surfaced in the interim including memorable clips from Looming, Sunflower BeanPuddle Splasher, The Goon Sax, Nicholas Krgovich, RAMLEH, Bent Denim, Yumi Zouma, Hailey Wojcik, Ratatat, J.E. Sunde, Hinds, Raury (ft. Key!), and S.M. Wolf. In addition to all of those, there was the inspired Darkest Before Dawn short film from Pusha T that ranks as one of the more ambitious undertakings of its kind in recent memory. While all those are well worth multiple looks, tonight’s featured video comes from the familiar faces of Beliefs.

Leaper, a late 2015 highlight saw Beliefs continuing to impress and they’ve taken that even further with this Alex Earl Grey-directed clip for the record’s title track. Ostensibly a subtle commentary on the the societal expectations that accompany a woman’s appearance, it’s a striking piece of minimalism that resonates because of its inherent truths. As that commentary plays out, “Colour Of Your Name” also touches on the process of transformation and hints at a secure sense of agency. Stripped down to its barest essentials, “Colour Of Your Name” becomes a startling piece of work that plays directly into the zeitgeist and, in the process, has a more than decent shot of securing a position as a timeless work.

Watch “Colour Of Your Name” below and pick up a copy of Leaper from site favorites Hand Drawn Dracula here.

Bad Wig – Bad Wig (EP Review, Stream, Live Video)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the album(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of records that deserve to be heard.]

Earlier this year Bad Wig were still flying underneath the banner of The Midwestern Charm. Just after signing to Texas Is Funny, member departures and an accompanying shift in style facilitated a name change and the band’s not showing any desire to look back. All of that tumultuous internal terrain’s somehow translated into propulsive momentum and Bad Wig‘s the proof. “Stargazer“, a song that predated the name change and merely existed as a demo for The Midwestern Charm’s principal songwriter, Connor La Mue.

Despite being unattached to any project at the time, “Stargazer” earned a mountain of praise from this site while foreshadowing what was to come. The band’s now a trio and La Mue and fellow Midwestern Charm member Ryan McCrary now share vocal duties, each bringing a fiercely engaging approach that suggests they’ve been spending a lot of time picking up cues from the neighbors in Midnight Reruns and (especially) Tenement. Lo-fi, battered, and gritty as hell, this demo EP- released as a limited-run cassette- is one of 2015’s finest releases.

Listen to Bad Wig below and pick it up here. Below the embed, explore some live videos of the band performing songs from the EP and a collection of some of the best full streams to surface over the past several months.

Pouty – Take Me To Honey Island
Vicky Speedboat – Two Years No Basement
☺- Boosegumps
Kississippi – We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed
Pool Holograph – Mortals
See Through Dresses – End of Days
Daddy Issues – Fuck Marry Kill
Adir L.C. – Oceanside Cities
Nigel Hall – Ladies & Gentleman…
Soldiers of Fortune – Early Risers
Crusher – Demo
Intertwine – Goraikoo
chipmunkson16speed – Sludgefest
dæphne – Full Circle
Daniel Menche & Mammifer – Crater
Penny Lame – Penny Lame
Busdriver – Thumbs
Go Deep – Influence
S.M. Wolf – Neon Debris
Keita Juma – Nights In Space A Short Film
KwolleM – Mellow
High Bloom – Haloed
Granny – Egg