Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Bad Timing

Watch This: Six Weeks of Honorable Mentions

Six weeks is a long time to go without running a Watch This and the 50 selections that ran in the 150th installment (the preceding post) barely scratched the surface. To get deeper into the extraordinary wealth of material worth exploring, a sequel of sorts seemed necessary. There’s absolutely no way that a single person is going to watch everything listed below but each link is genuinely exceptional and deserved to be featured. Whether they were part of a series, a great capture, a great performance, or notable for another reason, they’re all linked for a reason. So, bookmark the page and explore at will. Stop waiting and Watch This.

Middle Kids, Big Thief (x2), Nada Surf, Weaves, Dude York (x2), Kodakrome, Okkervil River (x2, 3), Ariana Brophy, Tokyo Police Club, Kishi Bashi, The Peekaboos, Gauntly, Title Tracks, SuperGlu, Journalism, School Damage, Julia Jacklin (x2), Dinosaur Jr. (x2), Hype, Loney Dear, Free Cake For Every Creature, Lever,  Midnight Faces, Jackie Islands, Mr. Ma’am, The Shelters, Tara Terra (x2), The Lemon Twigs, Boxed In, James Vincent McMorrow, Diet Cig, Alright Panther, Slothrust (x2), Weyes Blood, Slow Down Molasses.

SuunsJFDR, Kuroma, Young In The City, Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, Post Child, Suburban Living, MOM, Big Jesus, The Thermals, Minor Victories, Tectonics, Adia Victoria (x2), Disorder Kid, Shadowhouse, Tobacco, Holly Lovell, Out the Car Window, Vaginaboys, Parquet Courts (x2), Fossette, Mount Kimbie, Keaton Henson & Lisa Hannigan, Loch Lomond, BADBADNOTGOOD, PLANEADOR, Dinowalrus, Spruce Trap, Golden Suits, Giorgieness, Golden Suits, Joe Bordenaro, Ages And Ages, Lucy Dacus.

Lina TullgrenPatsy’s Rats, Belle Mare, Julien Baker, Pipeline, Gymshorts, David Bazan, The Woolen Men, Moderat, Allah-Las, Mean Jeans, Smoking Popes, Baba Dochia, Bobby Rush, Honey Bucket, Blanket Party, Nassau, Moondle, Conor Oberst (x2, 3), Dulce Y Agraz, Annabel, Talune, RY X, Ira Wolf, Day Wave, Oxymorons, Ess See, Bigjoy, Racing Heart, Richard Maule, Joe Bel, Dirty Laundry, Purling Hiss, Cory Kilgannon, Menacerno, The Roalde Dahls, Huey P, Haathi, Bad Cop/Bad Cop (x2), Cold Mountain ChildSóley.

MidijoyfulBlack EyesAttacca Quartet, Sims (x2), Gates, Evan Opitz, Sea Inside, Josh Pyke, Lyerr, Nature & Madness, Alma Forrer, Warpaint, Corbu, Dr. Martino, Male Gaze, Jack Garratt, Eros and the Eschaton, Marin Patenaude, Andreas Mattsson, Whitney, Hiss Golden Messenger (v), Matthew McNeal, Margo Price, The Minders, Zebra, Absolutely Not, Henry Bateman, Zen Mother, Royal Canoe, Love, The Twains, Shannen Moser, Billie Marten, Scott Matthews, Andy Place and The CoolheadsSignal To Noise.

Leisure Club, B00tyJoe Chunk, Pearl Earl, Drift Mouth, The Britanys, Miossec, Lisa Prank (x2), The Secret Sisters, Lost Walks, Smokey Brights, TTNG, Yori Swart, Hartford/FochtJesca Hoop, Moon Hooch, Aaron Lee Tasjan (x2), Ryley WalkerEstá Vivo, Alejandro Escovedo (x2), Lisa Hannigan, Lobo Marino, The Lavender Flu, MRCH, Divers, Pale Tongue, Floating Points, Deathsticks, Prettiest Eyes, Bat For Lashes, The Stops, Campo-Formio, Jessica Martins, Berriloom, Them Dead Poets, Looms.

Down GownAndrew Leahey & The Homestead, Vice Device, The Growlers, Digable Planets, Jack Grelle, Abhi Tambe, Spazzare, SUSTO, Lilah Larson, Shlomo Franklin, Ivy Meissner (ft. Uncivilized), Sex Crime, Chris JamesThe War On Peace (x2), Mohit Mukhi, Sanguine and Shiny, Dirty Fences, Band of Horses, Merynn Jean, Tom Stephens, Red Dons, The Domestics, The Saturday Giant, Public Eye, Pantomime, The Minus 5, Violetta Zironi, EYE, Laura Sjin, Black Bear Rodeo, Nacho Picasso, Old Fashioned Lover Boy.

Lithics, Hunt Hunt Hunt Camp, Robert Ellis, Wizard Rifle, Holy SonsAkın Sevgör, Ofelia Ofelia, Animal Spirit, Daniela Andrade, Rae Spoon, Dead Snow Monster, Magnetic Ghost, Zimmerman, Murder By Death, Steve Gunn, First Pet, The Malady of Sevendials, Liset Alea, VLNY, Oracle Room, Sky Village, Riley Pinkerton, Ricky Roosevelt, Sahil Bahl, Tall Juan, Alexandra Savior, Lisa Crawley, Youthpool, Gia Margaret, Battleme, Oathbreaker, SOBI, Eric Burton, Arkells, SALESSarah De Warren and Drive-By Truckers.

Meredith Graves – Took the Ghost to the Movies (Stream, Photos)

Meredith Graves XXII

One of the things I’ve been looking forward to about 2015 is the gradual unveiling of Meredith Graves‘ solo project. It’s something the tirelessly creative artist has had in the cards for more than a year. Now, after a near-torturous developmental stage marked by immovable deadlines and increasingly heightened expectations, the first look towards what that solo project might wind up sounding similar to has arrived. “Took the Ghost to the Movies” is Graves’ side of Kevin Devine’s  Devinyl split 7″ series. As an evolutionary step in Graves’ solo career, it’s full of intrigue. Bridging elements of her past projects- the damaged romanticim of the lo-fi folk outfit Mouse and the Love & Light Orkestra and the feral intensity of the wall-of-noise acolytes Shoppers, to create something that’s extremely representative of the trials Graves has faced throughout her personal life and her professional career.

I make that last claim with the benefit of knowing Meredith, who has consistently remained one of this site’s most avid supporters since the outset of the project, and her empathetic ideals. “Took the Ghost to the Movies”, more than anything else she’s done, has reminded me of specific moments that I’ve been fortunate enough to have with Graves. Whether it be letting an interview devolve into a Skype hangout session, letting our brains melt into nothingness on a small hammock in the middle of Pitchfork last year, the way she greeted me at NXNE when I showed up (relatively) unannounced in another country, NXNE’s tensest moment, staying up forever on Jes Skolnik’s couch waiting for food to be delivered, spending a summer lost in a cavalcade of exchanged calls and messages, or trading solo demos of new songs in an effort of encouragement to lessen the burden of the near-herculean task she was faced with while coming up with songs for her solo project.

All of those moments are present once again when I play through “Took the Ghost to the Movies” (something I’ve done more than 10 times at this point) but the one that sticks out most is the demo exchange. One of those demos stands out clearest. Having never heard any of Graves’ rawer material it was almost startling to hear a song coming from her stripped back to its barest essentials (nothing but acoustic guitar and vocals). The song itself was a serene ambient folk number with multitracked vocals that was devastating in its tranquility. It was a song I took with me; listening to it in secret through headphones on road trips or out in places where bodies of water met land and rock(s). Several storms were soundtracked by that small, humble recording throughout the summer and listening to it always felt like a warm embrace from a friend.

That song would become “Took the Ghost to the Movies”.

In its original stage, “Took the Ghost to the Movies” was entirely unexpected and inexplicably gorgeous. Over the past year, the song’s morphed into a sprawling beast of a song, finding its identity in a heavy shoegaze bent that was only hinted at in Shoppers. Opening with a gentle misdirect, “Took the Ghost to the Movies” suddenly unloads a series of brutal snare hits that sound like a slow-motion machine gun while a sprawling, dense, ambient guitar creates an atmosphere that’s both impossibly ominous and completely reassuring. In the SPIN feature where the track premiered, Graves brings up her appreciation for My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Nothing, and the dichotomies that earned each of those bands their vaunted reputations (and, in My Bloody Valentine’s case, legendary stature) are reflected to some degree in Graves’ first outing bearing only her name.

Graves has endured a vile resistance that’s still (infuriatingly) the common norm when a powerful non-male voice emerges and is willing to fight for things that matter (just look at any of BrooklynVegan’s comment threads on literally any post involving Perfect Pussy or Graves for further proof). With that fight and those experiences come burdens. Regret, self-doubt, sadness, anger, frustration, and a whole host of other inherently difficult barricades to happiness. Fortunately, Graves’ skin is thick and she’s been able to find contentment, happiness, and- more often than not- vindication. It’s something that Graves’ troubled past has prepared her for and it factors into why she resists the things she finds harmful. It’s also how she can create things that sound as formidable (and as damaged) as “Took the Ghost to the Movies”.

Returning to guitar for the first time since Shoppers seems to have reinvigorated Graves’ quieter aggression. In Perfect Pussy, she’s allowed to be uninhibited in her presentation of that aggression thanks to unrestricted motion and an emphasis on, well, emphasis. For “Took the Ghost to the Movies”, the reintroduction of guitar has allowed her to tap into something otherworldly that enhances the atmosphere rather than punctuating the reasons it exists. It’s a subtle change of pace but it suits the song incredibly well, even as the drums threaten to destroy everything (and, in turn, create a slow-burn tension that propels the song into stunning territories). While Graves’ vocals are still buried, so is some of the pain that they illustrate. Not everyone that’s faced the things Graves has faced has made it out to tell those stories; it’s only natural that some of it’s a little more hidden than expected.

Triumphant, defiant, and inescapable, “Took the Ghost to the Movies” is as boldly confident as anything Graves (always and forever this site’s patron saint) has done, and it provides no shortage of hope for the songwriter’s future endeavors. Uncompromising and defined by slivers of hope in the midst of a surprisingly bleak landscape, the song gives Kevin Devine a lot to compete with for his side of the split.

Pre-order Devinyl Splits No. 2 from Bad Timing here and listen to the final cut of “Took the Ghost to the Movies” below. Underneath the embed, revisit a collection of photographs of Graves that have previously run on this site in conjunction with this site’s coverage of Perfect Pussy. Enjoy (and don’t hesitate on that pre-order).

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Warning (Music Video)

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With another traditionally huge Monday just about in the books, it’s time to recap a large portion of the great material that was released. NPR’s First Listen series was typically stocked and contained Bedhead‘s discography as well as the upcoming records from Big K.R.I.T. and Hookworms. There was also the aggressively bleary noise-psych of Energy Slime’s debut 7″, New Dimensional. Stereogum played host to a slew of impressive song premieres: Lemuria‘s sprightly “Froggy Smoke“, Chief Scout’s kinetic basement pop stunner “Oh Shit“, Whirr‘s newest heavy-hitter “Ease“, and Cloakroom‘s Matt Talbott-assisted “Dream Warden“. In other reaches of the internet, The Sidekicks announced a new record and signing with Epitaph with the typically excellent “Deer” and Diarrhea Planet continued to up the anticipation for their upcoming EP, Aliens in the Outfield, with the absolutely stunning closer- and very likely their career-best- “Peg Daddy“. Empty Apartments’ punchy lo-fi treasure “Lefty (Cardboard Box)“, Terrorista’s jumpy basement punk brawler “Darren vs Bag“, and The Coathangers‘ savage Gun Club cover all also found their way into the world.

To round things out there were also outstanding new music videos that included a tantalizing introduction to what will be a multi-part series from Kevin Devine via “She Can See Me“, an intense visual stimuli overload in the form of Naomi Punk‘s “Television Man” video, Desert Sharks’ revenge fantasy in “crazycrazy“, and Elbow’s artful ode to motorcross in the artfully composed “New York Morning“. There was also The Twilight Sad‘s gorgeous black-and-white clip for “Last January“, Yesway’s hauntingly minimalistic “Let Go“, and Appomattox‘s celebratory career-ending exclamation point in the skate-heavy video for “Yr Soul“. While all of those operated on various levels of unique excellence, it’s tough to outmaneuver that towering scope of one of the year’s most powerful albums- especially when the music video for one of its best songs feels so perfectly assembled.

LOSE is a record that carries the burden of the heavy emotions that come with the loss of a close friend. “Warning” is one of its few moments of total exhilaration; a release of the pent up frustration, angst, despair, and complete helplessness in the face of death. It’s a staggeringly powerful moment on the record and hits stratospheric heights when paired with- and accompanied by- the record’s implicit narratives. In the brilliantly directed music video, Cymbals Eat Guitars are reverted back to youth via teenage stand-ins who deliver some commendably impassioned (and entirely convincing) performances as they mimic the song. A sense of well-placed nostalgia is subtly added in through quick cuts revealing some classic posters and albums that likely served as influences for the band (and for Benjamin High, whose early departure was the event that inspired much of LOSE). “Warning” is lovingly edited and gorgeously lensed, it’s a video that manages to evoke a deeply-felt well of emotions. It’s a surprisingly moving complement to a song- and record- that deserved nothing less.

Watch “Warning” below and buy LOSE directly from Barsuk here.