Heartbreaking Bravery

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Adrian Teacher and The Subs – Pop Medicine (Stream)

Continuing on with the recap of the past week, it feels important to touch on some excellent songs from the likes of Gladie, Von K, Spiritual Cramp, Language, LUMPAccüDude York, William Carlos Whitten, Richard Nuclear, and Jon Hassell before getting to this post’s featured event: Adrian Teacher and The Subs’ inspired “Pop Medicine”, a career highlight for a band that’s thrived in the shadows.

Clocking in at under 100 seconds, “Pop Medicine” is one of Adrian Teacher and The Subs’ shorter songs but it seems destined to linger in listener’s memories for much, much longer. Opening with a riff that immediately brings to mind Joanna Gruesome‘s “Secret Surprise“, “Pop Medicine” goes on to reveal another distinct similarity with that song in that it might strike some as saccharine at first blush before revealing a much darker identity.

In this case, the narrative of the song — which is as bright and energetic as anything in the Adrian Teacher and The Subs’ discography — takes an absolutely heartbreaking dive into the narrator’s struggle with watching the progression of a friend’s descent into cancer before realizing that they may have to accept a tragic inevitability. Tracing the process from getting high, establishing a carefree outset, to a devastating confrontation with an incredibly painful reality in the song’s final verse, “Pop Medicine” packs an emotional gut-punch that’s enough to leave anyone reeling.

It’s the addictive sugar-rush nature of the music that makes “Pop Medicine” both bleaker and more understandable, acting as a counterweight that outlines the protagonist’s strides towards resiliency in the face of the unthinkable. A tragedy in multiple parts, “Pop Medicine”, asides from being an incredible (and highly addictive) composition, is a potent reminder that even when things are at their absolute bleakest, there is still life that surrounds us and wills us forward. Not a lot of songs can live up to a testament as lofty as that one but “Pop Medicine” does it with an empathetic smile.

Listen to “Pop Medicine” below and pick up Anxious Love here.

Haley Heynderickx – No Face (Music Video)

A week’s a lot of time for exceptional clips to surface and this past one didn’t disappoint, ushering in new music videos from: Alice Boman, Hit Bargain, S.M. Wolf, Forth Wanderers, Sleepy Zuhoski, LICE, Little Junior, The Ophelias, Common Holly, Jess Williamson, Hot Tang, The Beths, Delta Sleep, Dusted, Denitia, Wye Oak, and Cornelia Murr. All of those are worth multiple views but the spotlight (and silhouette) here belongs to one of the week’s simplest clips: Haley Heynderickx’s “No Face”.

“No Face” was directed by Evan James Atwood and consists of nothing more than a gorgeously framed shot of Heynderickx running through “No Face” using stop motion techniques and the assistance Atwood’s fingers to convey something that strikes deep, tapping into something near the transcendental. As a narrative, it suggests complications and simplicity simultaneously, hinting at the distances of the relationships we form around our identity and how those relationships shape our existence.

At every turn, “No Face” is mesmerizing, pulling the viewer in until their eyes are practically pressed against the screen. It’s another beautiful example of how minimalist trappings can lead to maximized results, as the clip finds a way of climbing from the world of curiosities into the realms of the unforgettable. One of the most distinctively compelling clips of the first half of 2018, it’s hard to fathom the imprint it leaves behind fading anytime soon.

Watch “No Face” below and pick up I Need to Start A Gardehere.

Ex​-​Vöid – Ex​-​Vöid (EP Review, Stream)

Over the past 7 days, there have been full streams that found release with names like Yours Are The Only Ears, Adrian Teacher and The Suits, Boys, Liminal, Fennesz, Ivy Lab, Gutterbawl, The Body, Utah, Samara Lubelski, and Neighbor Lady attached. The recently-featured Ex​-​Vöid also got to unveil their new EP (which isn’t a single, a seemingly prevalent misconception), a self-titled three song burst of addictive post-punk shot through with confetti.

Fresh off the release of  Ex​-​Vöid‘s effortlessly charming lead-off track “Boyfriend”, the trio wasted no time in ushering out a concise EP. All of the sensibilities that Alanna McArdle and Owen Williams showcased as (now ex-) members of Joanna Gruesome are back on full display in Ex​-​Vöid. Gorgeous harmonies, a pitch-perfect balancing act of harsh noise and pristine tones, and a sense of playfulness embedded into relentless aggression, Ex​-​Vöid are more than winsome at first blush but reveal a surprising amount of layering, as does their first release.

Both “Anyone (Other Than U)” and “(Angry At You) Baby” are assured pieces of basement pop injected with enough punk bite to satisfy the genre’s die-hard loyalists. McArdle and Williams play off of each other to perfection, their voices working in tandem to strengthen each other. It’s the dichotomies, scales, and unity that defines Ex​-​Vöid, which presents the band as fully-formed, incredibly assured, and ready to conquer whatever comes their way. Easily one of the year’s strongest EP’s and unquestionably one of our best new bands.

Listen to Ex​-​Vöid below and pick it up from the band here.

The Beths – Future Me Hates Me (Stream)

This past week was brimming with quality material, a small sampling of its worth shining through via songs from Rosie Carney, Vacation, Carriers (x2), Numb.er, Deeper, Petal, blushh, Ryley Walker, Many Voices Speak, Eyesore & the Jinx, Thyla, and Lawn. All of those tracks, as always, are worth hearing, but this post’s focus belongs squarely to The Beths irresistible and wildly clever “Future Me Hates Me”.

Melodic, bitter, bright, and tongue-in-cheek, “Future Me Hates Me” showcases The Beths at their absolute best. Raising hell and denouncing anyone that gets in their way but sparing the worst of their jabs for themselves, “Future Me Hates Me” is a masterclass in self-deprecation. Subverting a cavalcade of pop-punk tropes and leaning on acts like the Pixies for cues as much as the best powerpop records, The Beths have crafted an anthem for the painfully self-aware.

Gaining steam as it strives forward, hopeful for more but resigned to the knowledge that a lifetime of perpetual disappointment might cultivate an unbreakable pattern, “Future She Hates Me” is a memorable run of pragmatic hopelessness packaged as a gift to the people who know exactly what that means. Turn it up and drown out any persistent negativity by celebrating that there are always measures (and means) of personal control that can be easily managed.

Listen to “Future Me Hates Me” below and pre-order the record here.