Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: aggressive

Mutts – Everyone is Everyone (Lyric Video)

mutts1

Noisy blues-punk trio Mutts have had a very peculiar career trajectory. Building up a healthy amount of support in their hometown of Chicago while winning over countless others on the back of a relentless tour schedule, they’ve become another reason to celebrate the Midwest. Releasing a full-length a year since 2011’s Pray for Rain, they’ve managed to sustain an astoundingly prolific pace without losing any of their impact or hindering a natural musical progression. As a result, their last effort- 2013’s Object Permanence– wound up being their strongest (and bravest) release to date. A lot of Mutts’ recent material has hinged on pianist/vocalist Mike Maimone’s decision to come out, rendering a lot of the band’s lyrics devastatingly intimate and intensely personal. While their upcoming Fuel Yer Delusion, Vol. 4 may shy away from the early Tom Waits lounge-stylings of Object Permanence, the lyrical (and musical) aggression of the band’s earlier works are given a fierce emphasis.

That retained fierceness is probably most evident on the ragged, confrontational “Everyone Is Everyone”, which features Maimone tearing into the politics of equality and derogatory terminology with everything in his arsenal. As always, the rhythm section of Bob Buckstaff and Chris Pagnani prove that they’re one of the more formidable tandems in music. While it’s not a surprise that “Everyone Is Everyone” is a monstrous slice of revved-up blues-indebted noise-punk, what is interesting to note is the psychedelic strain that courses through the song’s veins. It’s a particular influence that’s been ingrained into the Mutts’ DNA for some time but this is the first time that it’s been displayed so prominently. That psychedelic influence helps define Fuel Yer Delusion, Vol. 4 and is an incredibly natural fit for the band, who will be self-releasing that record on December 9- and they’ll be having a Gapers Block-presented party a few days beforehand to celebrate the release. Before all of that madness kicks in, though, it’s well worth taking a few moments to give some attention to the brilliantly designed lyric video for “Everyone Is Everyone”- a video that definitively showcases Mutts as a band unafraid to say what’s on their mind, in as powerful of a way as they possibly can.

Watch “Everyone Is Everyone” below and be sure to pre-order Fuel Yer Delusion, Vol. 4 from Mutts’ bandcamp.

Even Hand – Even Hand (Album Review, Stream)

eh

Over the years it’s become increasingly evident that their are some cassettes that it’s next to impossible to eject from a deck once they’ve completed their rotation- not because of technical difficulty but because of how good the record on the tape is. Stupid Bag Records have had a direct hand in quite a few of them (every Swearin’ tape, Acid Fast’s Rabid Moond, Dead Dog’s Precious Child, etc.) and recently, one of their releases possessing that insane amount of gravitational pull was given an LP release over at the always-outstanding Mandible Records: Even Hand’s self-titled full-length debut.

Even Hand boasts a sound that feels like it’d fit comfortably between both Sunny Day Real Estate and The Wrens at their respective peaks, without sacrificing an inch of their DIY punk roots, which is an impressive achievement, to say the least. In a small way, it makes them a sort of spiritual kin to Haunted Heads, even if Even Hand’s a little more wiry and more in line with the Steve Albini school of thought when it comes to presentation. That keen attention to detail is something that serves them well throughout the course of Even Hand and helps the record feel like an absolutely vital release.

Starting with a trio of songs that establishes both the band’s sound and the tone of the record, Even Hand wastes no time in commanding the listener’s attention. “Glacial Blue”, the record’s opening track, recalls a much more precise and mannered Parquet Courts without losing any of the nervy tension that dominates the kind of wry post-punk  both bands traffic in. “The More It Shows” reveals the band’s just as comfortable delivering charged-up bruisers as they are at displaying raw nerve. “Your Wall” rounds out the opening blitz with a lilting melody and a slow-burning sonic template that’s indebted to the very best of emo’s golden era without being completely defined by that genre.

From there, Even Hand manages to steadily build it’s momentum while carving out new niche areas of all the genres that factor into what make them such an engaging band on record. While the furiously paced”Down the Lighted Strip” may be the record’s most definitive moment, it’s Even Hand‘s quietest moment that manages to stand out most. “Leaning Home” is the track in question and it arrives at roughly the 3/4’s mark of the record, providing bandleader Mike Borth an arresting solo moment. Everything goes quiet for “Leaning Home” and Borth makes the most of it, providing Even Hand with some of his sharpest guitar work and a set of lyrics that cuts deep by confronting familial conflict in a manner that feels intensely personal. It’s the record’s longest song (though it doesn’t feel like it) and earns every last second of its runtime.

Appropriately, it’s followed by an ambient stretch before “All Tenses All Time” kicks things back into overdrive and showcases the natural ability of Even Hand’s rhythm section, with Dominic Armao lending the record no shortage of propulsive bass line and drummer Dan Edelman providing a deeply impressive set of chops at a pace that frequently borders the manic. Both Armao and Edelman give the record a lot of its heart while Borth shapes it with an enviable sense of personality. All three pull out a variety of stops for the closing track, “I’m Not Concerned”, giving listeners one final reminder of what each is capable of on their own- and what the band’s capable of as a collective. “I’m Not Concerned” winds up being an appropriate final highlight on a record littered with other ones- and when it’s over, all that’s really left to do is let it play itself over again. Even Hand is a record that deserves to be heard- as many times as possible.

Listen to Even Hand below and make sure to not live life without either owning the cassette or the LP.

Green Dreams – Bug Sex (Music Video)

Green Dreams is a name that’s been coming up in all of the right places. This isn’t a mistake. Their last LP, Sweats (artwork above), was a feverishly gnarled slab of the kind of punk that flirts with sludge as much as it does with basement pop. Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves has been pushing them in just about every interview she’s done lately and it looks like the appreciation is mutual- Green Dreams is currently prepping for an upcoming tour with Perfect Pussy and “noh-wave” weirdo-poppers Yamatanka // Sonic Titan. Green Dreams continues to make a considerable impression today, with the recent unveiling of the Mike Turzanski-directed music video for “Bug Sex”.

“Bug Sex”, as a song, features many of the band’s most prominent features: impassioned vocals, aggressive guitar work, power drumming, an ominous bassline, a fairly dark atmosphere, scattershot riffing, and hard-hitting breakdowns. As a video? It’s got one foot firmly planted in film noir, while the other navigates what’s ostensibly a procedural thriller With some subtle visual assistance from Dr. Hamburger, what really winds up pushing this video to the next level is some absolutely gorgeous cinematography work. Nearly everything’s shot in the shadows, with the final blanketed live performance shots being among both the year’s cleverest and outright best. Both the loose FBI detective murder-mystery story and the song’s propulsive forcefulness combine to make “Bug Sex” a very gripping and immediate experience. Watch it below and be on the lookout for the band’s upcoming RICH MAN/POOR MAN 7″.