Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Adam Kolodny

Mannequin Pussy – Drunk II (Music Video)

Adam Kolodny (of House of Nod) can’t seem to stop shooting extremely memorable visuals. The imagery in Better Oblivion Community Center‘s clip for “Dylan Thomas” borders on the iconic, the palette used in Charly Bliss‘ “Capacity” video has a strong shot at being a definitive landmark for that era of the band, and yet the DP may have bested both of those efforts with an unforgettable showing for Mannequin Pussy’s latest, “Drunk II”.

Mannequin Pussy‘s guitarist/vocalist (and the director of “Drunk II”), Marisa Dabice, was reported to have set one goal for the clip: to make it “look like the saddest dream.” In an open casting call, there was a need for “people comfortable making out on camera” and the arc of the direction, the song’s own narrative, and the stylistic flourishes throughout “Drunk II” tie together into what’s easily one of 2019’s best videos to date. Everything from the soft lighting to the marquee archway to the repeated returns to central framing with blurred edges (ostensibly playing into the narrator’s state of being) combine to create something indelible. In short, it’s a masterpiece delivered in a minor key. Hit repeat when it’s done.

Watch “Drunk II” below and pre-order Patience here.

Japanese Breakfast – Jane Cum (Music Video)

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Pinegrove, Emily Jane White, Casket Girls, Tiergarten, The Veils, Porches, Christopher Tignor, The Stargazer Lilies, All People, Yusek, case/lang/veirs, The Two Tens, clipping., American Monoxide, Johnny Foreigner, Creepoid, and Sigur Rós all released strong music videos over the course of the past two weeks. Earning their keep in a whole slew of specific categories, each and every clip is worthy of a heavy amount of investment. That said, only one clip can wind up being the focal point of this piece and that distinction belongs to yet another offering from the inimitable House of Nod Productions, Japanese Breakfast’s “Jane Cum”.

Psychopomp, one of this year’s most pleasant surprises, put Japanese Breakfast — a project spearheaded by Little Big League‘s Michelle Zauner — on the map. The record was partially born from a tragedy that Zauner wrote eloquently about in the very first entry for the A Year’s Worth of Memories series. “Jane Cum”, another in a string of impressive videos from the record, continues to perfectly match Japanese Breakfast’s most cinematic sensibilities with House of Nod’s very specific vision, anchored once again by the deft directorial touch of Adam Kolodny.

Kolodny imbues “Jane Cum” with a B-grade slasher flick aesthetic, centering in on a narrative that involves a mysterious coven, ambiguous motivation, and unerring commitment. As always, it’s a beautifully lensed clip, elevating a continuously progressing tension to heights that near the unbearable. Appropriately, the clip never once loses a sense of mystery, even in its ultimate reveal a host of questions remain. All of the actors involved (including photographer Stephanie Griffin and Cadet Kelly’s Gabriela June Tully Claymore) give nuanced performances.

Beautifully paced, undeniably driven, and spectacularly composed, “Jane Cum” manages to easily climb the scope from notable to genuinely memorable. It’s a startling clip full of vivid imagery that owes debts to not just horror sub-genres but to classic film noir as well. At the center of it all is Zauner, injecting the affair with a sense of eerie calm that winds up being the clip’s definitive trait. Deeply compelling from start to finish, it’s a music video that provides a fine example of what can be achieved within the format under the right circumstances (and with the right collaborative partners). Take a deep breath and let its spell take you under.

Watch “Jane Cum” below and pick up Pyschopomp from Yellow K here.

DBTS: BS2 (Compilation Premiere)

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The first building I stepped foot inside of after moving to Brooklyn in June was David Blaine’s The Steakhouse (DBTS for short). Montana and the Marvelles were wrapping up a practice and it took less than a minute for things to start coming across as familial. It was a sense that continuously expanded as time passed, making it incredibly clear that it was a venue that helped foster a tight-knit community of like-minded people. It’s in that spirit that the DBTS: BS compilation series was created.

DBTS: BS1, the first entry into the series, was a collection of demos, outcasts from a variety of notable projects all connected to the DBTS family in one way or another. It was an intriguing project that helped kick off would what prove to be a remarkably successful year for the residents of DBTS and their wide-reaching network of ridiculously talented friends.

Now, just ten months after the debut compilation, they’re issuing a sequel, DBTS: BS2. All of these songs are either sourced from idling projects, covers, castoffs that would otherwise be bound for homelessness, or early stage demos. Members of LVL UP, Downies, Slight, Porches., Painted Zeros, Glueboy, Bethlehem Steel, and Big Ups all contribute material through either their main vehicle, a side project, or as a solo or collaborative effort.

It’s an impressive effort from a collective that keeps spreading outward and gaining momentum without ever losing sight of a steadfast commitment to a DIY ethos. So, with all of that in mind, it’s with honor and admiration that I present the premiere of DBTS: BS2, the latest step forward for the makeshift family that’s given me a place that’s easy to consider as a home.

Initially, this was going to be a name-your-price ordeal for a limited time with all proceeds going towards funds to their neighbors at The Silent Barn, who are still running repairs after the venue caught fire several weeks ago. However, the presence of covers on the compilation prompted justified concerns over legal matters. Even with that being the case, The Silent Barn could still use as much help as they get, so if this is a compilation you find yourself enjoying, please consider showing your appreciation in the form of a donation to aid their recovery.

Stream DBTS: BS2 below and watch a collection of live footage from DBTS shot over the summer beneath the embed.

Eskimeaux – Broken Necks (Music Video)

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I don’t know how this site has gone 650 posts without ever giving a headline slot to Eskimeaux, whose phenomenal 2015 effort– the coyly titled O.K. has been in near-constant rotation over the course of the past few months.  Gabrielle Smith’s Epoch project has appeared on this site a handful of times and even led off the recently published fall mix. Sooner or later something was bound to crack the feature-less streak and today it arrived in the form of a casually brilliant music video. While the medium did have a fairly strong week, it was the clip for “Broken Necks” that wound up here for reasons that skewed both objective and subjective.

Objectively, it’s a work of technical brilliance from House of Nod, who continue to impress while operating on an exceptionally high tier. Crisp editing (the stop motion is particularly enjoyable), gorgeous visuals, measured pacing, & committed performances all heighten an intentionally loose narrative that capitalizes on the song’s curious exuberance while still carving out space for its inherent bleakness (something that’s punctuated by Smith’s surprisingly capable deadpan moments). Accentuating that whimsicality are the several mini-sequences that play out like gifs, a move that could have proven too twee had it not been effectively balanced out by some astoundingly graceful long shots.

On the subjective side of things, this is a video that illustrates several of the things I love about the place I’ve come to call home for a little over a season. As run-down as it can seem, New York City (and especially Brooklyn) readily facilitates art. It’s evident in everything from the structural layout of the buildings to the graffiti that adorns their walls. For the lack of a better term, there is a strange sort of magic that the area carries, something that’s been heightened by its residents. A lot of the locations that were used in this video have come to have very significant meaning to me and I consider myself fortunate to know a handful of the people involved in the project on both sides of the lens. In that sense, not only does it succeed on its basic functions but it also operates as a living document of a specific place in time.

With all of the reasons listed above infused into one 207-second presentation, “Broken Necks” can’t help but feel (almost excessively) vibrant. It’s the perfect companion piece for O.K.‘s dueling emotional modes and a strong showcase for both Eskimeaux and House of Nod. By virtue of being so thrillingly alive and refreshingly original, “Broken Necks” surpasses merely being notable and draws closer to being unforgettable. A charming and remarkably endearing showcase of wit, composition, and genuine talent, it deserves as many views as possible.

Watch “Broken Necks” below and pick up a copy of O.K. from site favorites Double Double Whammy here. Beneath the music video watch a live performance of the song. Underneath both clips, explore a list of other great music videos to find release this week.

Puppy Problems – Daisy
Hethers – Guiding Light
J Fernandez – Between the Channels
Tuff Sunshine – Dreamin
Magnet School – British Monuments
Dogs In Ecstasy – Do Me Ronnie
Beliefs – 1992
Bully – Too Tough
No Joy – Judith
Ricked Wicky – Poor Substitute
Moby & The Void Pacific Choir – The Light Is Clear In My Eyes
Sarah Bethe Nelson – Fast Moving Clouds
Other Lives – Easy Way Out
Algiers – And When You Fall
Samson the Truest – Afterall
Mal Blum – Robert Frost
Math the Band the Band – Didn’t Have Time to Think
Destruction Unit – Salvation
Idles – The Idles Chant

Slight – Run (EP Review, Stream)

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Part 3 of tonight’s ongoing series of coverage for the great little bits and pieces of entertainment to have surfaced in the past two days operates like its precedents: four items worth looking into and one feature spot. That there is a feature spot to be granted shouldn’t demerit anything that gets mentioned in this space, though. Everything that earns a link on this site is put there for a reason; if it’s linked, don’t make the mistake of missing out on what it leads to- because it would be a massive mistake. Things like Bugs in the Dark‘s visceral gut-punch of a record, Cross My Heart Little Death, don’t come around often and neither do songs like The Chemistry Experiment’s delicate “Channel Light Vessel“, which pulls in aspects of several genres to create a soft-edged psych-pop tapestry. A pair of music videos worth several looks also fought their way out into the world; Medicine‘s aggressively warped kaleidoscopic head trip for “Move Along – Down the Road” and the breezy charms of Quilt’s clips video for “Mary Mountain“. Then, to complete everything, there was the sophomore effort of Brooklyn’s ragtag crew in Slight (for those keeping score at home, that’d be Painted Zeros and Trace Mountains member Jim Hill, LVL UP‘s Greg Rutkin, and Catalonia’s Alberto Casadevall).

Run, which follows the band’s excellent townie490, may take the the track total from five down to two but it certainly doesn’t skimp on the band’s key elements: hooks, melody, fuzz, crunch, personality, and left field basement pop. The title track kicks things off at a full sprint, with promises of remaining level-headed enveloped in the adrenaline rush of the music. Rutkin proves to be a force behind the kit, urging everything forward while Hill’s guitar and synth work seems intent on trying to outstrip everyone, leaving Casadevall to keep everything in check with workmanlike bass lines. There’s a clear 90’s influence culled from the band’s powerpop pull and slacker punk aesthetics but they’re supplied with a modern worldview and a sense of history that supports the contrast that always exists between brave modernity and the tried-and-true.

While “Run” may skew towards a weird, contained combination of Lost Boy ? and Superchunk, the track that follows it- “The News”-  veers more towards Sloan with Slight’s fuzz-is-bliss identity starting to punch holes through their influences before too long. Synths serve as a warm bed for a track that darts, cuts, and charges just as fiercely as “Run”, only at a slightly slower clip. After everything clicks and sends it rocketing upward, it fades out in a bout of feedback (and one tastefully subtle synth interjection) leaving nothing but a trail of smoke in Slight’s wake. If the band’s next release is even half as good as this pair of tracks, Slight could be the next in line to break out and make a serious name for themselves.

Listen to Run below and snag the band’s young discography from their bandcamp.