Heartbreaking Bravery

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Puerto Rico Flowers – No Tomorrow (Song Premiere)

puerto-rico-flowers

While they may not be a household name, it’s impossible to deny the impact and legacy of Puerto Rico Flowers. They’ve been noted as an influence by numerous contemporary DIY punk luminaries and boast one of the genre’s more celebrated discographies in this early century. Now, on the verge of a heavily-anticipated reunion show and five years after the release of their final record, the project’s decided to unveil the triumphantly damaged “No Tomorrow” and it’s a legitimate honor to be hosting the premiere of the band’s final song, which will be appearing on 16, a forthcoming cassette compilation that contains all of the band’s recorded material and a live cover.

The solo project of John Sharkey III (Dark Blue, Clockcleaner), Puerto Rico Flowers went a long way in establishing the songwriter thanks to a deeply impressive body of work. “No Tomorrow” is indicative of the project’s overwhelming strength, a long-gestating castaway that never fit in on the band’s recorded efforts. Recorded by Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, Nothing, Purling Hiss) and and mastered by Jake Reid (Wildhoney, Roomrunner, Pleasure Leftists, Technicolor Teeth), “No Tomorrow” takes Puerto Rico Flowers out on the highest possible note.

Like most of Sharkey’s work, “No Tomorrow” — a song that took five years to surface — is a work that bridges the gap between being subdued and aggressive, drawing an inordinate amount of power from murky tones and an acutely-realized worldview that takes a darkly tinted look at the everyday life of the working class; a skinhead pop masterpiece. Utilizing a structure that divvies up a week into individual days and events (a sample stanza: On a Tuesday/all your tears will flood the streets/and wash your families away/On a Wednesday/you feel pain), “No Tomorrow” is unflinching in its calmly brutal outlook, which makes it all the more startling to learn what it’s truly about: American football.

In addition to that compelling detail, “No Tomorrow” also boasts what may be the most affecting chorus of Puerto Rico Flowers’ storied catalog:

Just say goodbye now
’cause there’s no tomorrow
but it’s okay because
there was no today
Don’t close your eyes now
there’s no tomorrow
but it’s okay
it’s okay
it’s okay
’cause there was no today

That chorus serves as an oddly exhilarating moment in a song teeming with them, from the Albini-esque drum blasts that open the track to the heavenward main riff that manages to mirror the song’s fractured sense of optimism. It’s a fitting end-cap for a project that consistently gravitated toward’s life’s bleakest moments in earnest. “No Tomorrow” also has the benefit of being one of Puerto Rico Flowers’ most pop-informed moments while keeping the project’s post-punk hallmarks firmly intact, sparking a contrast that renders the song a legitimately thrilling listen.

It’s not just a perfect swan or a song that encapsulates everything that made the project great, it’s one of the most transcendent songs in recent memory. At this point, rambling on any further would be doing the song a disservice so stop reading, hit play, and get lost in the bruising world of Puerto Rico Flowers one final time.

Listen to “No Tomorrow” below and keep an eye on this site (and on Accidental Guest, who’ll be handling the digital/cassette release) for more news on 16.

The Proper Ornaments – Memories (Stream)

the-proper-ornaments

Tuesday brought some outstanding streams from Split Single, Deerhoof, Leapling, Low Leaf, Doby Watson, Hellrazor, and Girl Tears. In addition to those titles, there were exceptional music videos that arrived via Shugo Tokumaro, Lisa Prank, Toy Cars, Quin Galavis, Safe To Say, and Johnny Foreigner while Pet Grief held down the fort for the full stream category. The Proper Ornaments snagged the day’s featured slot with the slow-burning “Memories”, extending the extraordinary winning streak that site favorites Slumberland Records have managed to string together this year.

James Hoare and Max Claps have quietly put together an incredibly impressive discography that’s never received quite as much attention as it so richly deserves. Hoare’s received a lot of attention for the work the songwriter’s put in with Veronica Falls (and occasionally Ultimate Painting) yet The Proper Ornaments have still managed to fly decidedly under the radar, despite Slumberland’s involvement and the project’s pedigree. “Memories” may be the song that provides that trend a welcome course-correction.

Keying in on the pyschedelic and pop influences of a bygone era, The Proper Ornaments have crafted a gently mesmerizing gem in “Memories”. It’s an approach that laces their material with tints of nostalgia, creating an infallible sense of warmth and comfort in the process. Virtually every second of the song’s 5:45 runtime is injected with genuine care and feeling. As a lead-off track for the rollout campaign of their forthcoming record, Foxhole, “Memories” is an incredibly tantalizing work. In demonstrating what The Proper Ornaments are capable of at their peak, it’s immensely assuring and propels the song to the ranks of 2016’s finest.

Listen to “Memories” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Foxhole.