Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: basements

Technicolor Teeth – Can You Keep Me Out of Hell (Stream)

techteeth

Up until this point, there has only been one band to get me to break the self-identifier exclusion rule that Heartbreaking Bravery is normally held to- but when something as monumental as Technicolor Teeth‘s Can You Get Me Out of Hell tour-only tape comes along, it’s worth throwing caution to the wind. Another reason I’m allowing myself the small indulgences of first person narrative is that this is a band I’ve had the privilege of watching evolve since they formed (which was back when Harlequin Kid, a band that featured two Technicolor Teeth members, was still going strong). After one practice, the band had “Station Wagon” to their name and not much else- but that song was strong enough to put me on notice and ensured my attention.

At one of their first shows, guitarist Zacc Baehman blew a fuse while tuning and it took a good ten minutes for everything to get reset. It was one of those weirdly thrilling moments that preceded an even stranger set, with the volume pushed to punishing levels throughout. Back then, Colin Wilde (who appears on the covers of both Teenage Pagans and Can You Keep Me Out of Hell) was still drumming for the band after original drummer Dan Wolfe bowed out and their current drummer- Tenement‘s Amos Pitsch- was on tour. A few very strong 7″ records, a couple of official releases for Teenage Pagans through a few different labels, an inclusion on the incredible Beyond Inversion compilation, and a whole ton of shows later, the band’s now set to unleash the staggeringly brilliant Can You Keep Me Out of Hell cassette, which will only be available to purchase directly from the band on their March tour (track them down at SXSW and pick one up).

Can You Keep Me Out of Hell is a major step forward for the band in almost every way imaginable (an odd feat considering it’s ostensibly a compilation of past 7″ releases with new material tacked on); it’s the most fully-realized version of their shoegaze-meets-nightmare pop aesthetic, both the songwriting from bassist/vocalist Matt Stranger and in-house production are stronger than they’ve ever been, and the pacing is nothing short of extraordinary for this ultimately being a collection of new and previously-released tracks. There are moments of genuinely startling inventiveness littered all over Can You Keep Me Out of Hell as well, each one working as well as the last. It doesn’t just extend to a reliance on one instrument either, whether it’s the hauntingly minimal organ and echoing bells that provide “My Darkest Love” its foreboding atmosphere or the vocal manipulation that leads “Nocturnal Remission” in its descent to nightmarish chaos to provide that song its third quarter, Technicolor Teeth infused this release with almost everything they’ve got and as a result wound up surpassing even the loftiest expectations.

As for the already-released material, “Sage”, “Vaporous”, “Stolen Things and the Starving Man”, “Blood Pool”, and “Drips”, they all hold up as well as ever- only they’re given extra life surrounded by the new material. Everything here works as complement to everything that surrounds it, never once falling into staid territory. Baehman, Stranger, and Pitsch are all playing at the top of their respective games and seem to be pushing each other to greater heights with this project. Ultimately, Can You Keep Me Out of Hell sees the band clicking at the right time, in all the right ways. That’s likely one of the reasons they’ve caught the attention of the likes of Impose and Pitchfork, who have undoubtedly boosted the band’s profile in the past few weeks. Their continued ascension has been surprisingly rewarding to watch unfold and leaves me with this thought; it’s about damn time.

Listen to Can You Keep Me Out of Hell below and don’t lose track of this band- they’ve got a few tricks up their sleeve that should prove they’re far from done.

Watch This: Vol. 13

Again, sincerest apologies on the delay involving this 13th installment of Watch This. What would regularly run on Sunday was pushed back this week due to an obscene overabundance of material that needed some serious navigation. When the realization of the source of last week’s excess of material could be traced back to two events, things became a little more manageable. Now, at least for this week, there will be three standalone videos and the final two spots will be occupied by video playlists; one being the Marked Men weekend, the other being the Don Giovanni showcase. Brooklyn, you had a surreal wealth of incredible music this week, worthy of anyone’s envy. For all of those videos, as well as a few more, watch everything posted below.

1. Dog Day – Sandwich (exclaim!)

Kicking off the series this week is Dog Day, a quartet whose sound is steeped in shoegaze aesthetics without ever crossing the line into that genre. Instead, they offer up a very singular take on brooding post-punk that carries a lot of noise and no wave heft. As for the band’s performance, it’s detached to the point of being eerie, effectively elevating the sense of unease. A very strong, very curious, introduction to a band that has a decent shot of gaining a very faithful following.

2. Sandrider – Gorgon (KEXP)

HOLY FUCK.

3. Porches.  ft. Frankie Cosmos – Fog Dog (Live at Woodbury)

Porches. continue to impress every time the project surfaces. This fan-shot performance clip of “Fog Dog” may actually be the most arresting material to come from Porches. to date. It helps that Frankie Cosmos vocals lend the whole thing an almost unbearable lightness. A genuinely gorgeous piece of entertainment- and the ending? One of the most endearing things to have shown up in any kind of film this year.

4. The Marked Men Weekend (Live at St. Vitus)

So, the other weekend an enormous wealth of material consumed Brooklyn and lit the NYC punk community on fire three times over. A large, large, part of this was the three sets that reclusive basement punk icons The Marked Men graced the city with, bringing along an assortment of their friends to share the moment. All three of The Marked Men’s sets were captured in full by the always-reliable unARTigNYC, who also filmed single clips of the support acts; Tenement, Radiator Hospital, Worriers, Kim Phuc, Iron Chic, Future Punx, and Shellshag. Those clips appear in that order and are all worth watching (especially Tenement, who will get an emphasis on here whenever there’s an appropriate excuse, and Radiator Hospital, whose Something Wild was one of 2013’s very best).

5. The Don Giovanni Showcase

While The Marked Men weekend was happening over at St. Vitus, the Don Giovanni showcase was going strong just a stones throw away. There were a few bands that made appearances at both (Tenement, Worriers, and Shellshag) and made sure the wealth was lovingly spread across the city. Now, Don Giovanni’s a record label that’s earned a lot of mentions here by virtue of their roster, one of the strongest in DIY music. While not being able to attend was painful, it’s easy to tell that it was an incredible time from the videos that were presented by Don Giovanni themselves. Curiously, sets/songs from the explosive combination of Screaming Females and Tenement  were left out (though a performance of “Doom 84” in Cleveland has been tacked onto the playlist- along with the previously-mentioned Shellshag medley– because as long as this video playlist cheating is taking place, why not cheat a little more?) along with a few others but there’s still a lot to love here.

Contained in the playlist are the following: Nude Beach (who absolutely lit Quarters Rock N Roll Palace up in Milwaukee last July with Midnight Reruns and Tenement), Black Wine, Groucho Marxists, Priests (especially Priests, who, as one of the most original and exciting bands in music, are going to be given a lot more words here in the very near future), Vacation (a few members of which have found growing success in their other incredible band, Tweens), Worriers, Nuclear Santa Claust, California X, and, as mentioned, both Screaming Females and Shellshag. Watch it all below and buy a goddamn guitar already.

Saintseneca – Happy Alone (Music Video)

Between the streaming of Terrestrials the behemoth of a collaborative album between Sunn O))) and Ulver, the announcement of a Bad Banana reunion show, John Dwyer releasing his first material post-Oh Sees hiatus, Big Air publicly unveiling their excellent debut tape, Buds, Fear of Men releasing a very promising sneak peek of their upcoming debut full-length Loom, a surprisingly punchy new track entitled “Any Wonder” from Yellow Ostrich, Mary Timony’s newest project, Ex Hex, offering up a hard-charging sample of their upcoming Merge debut, the cleverly constructed first music video to come out of the pairing of Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws and Julianna Hatfield for their Minor Alps project, an NPR Tiny Desk Session from The Pixies, the energetic black-and-white music video premiere of The Orwells’ “The Righteous One“, a live performance video of an all-acoustic run through of upcoming Drive-By Truckers track “Made Up English Oceans“, and Angel Olsen‘s absolutely stunning smoky, seductively noir-ish music video for upcoming Burn Your Fire for No Witness track “Hi-Five“, it’s been one hell of a Monday. Then, to top it all off, there’s the video that managed to edge out all of this to become today’s focus piece; Saintseneca‘s extraordinary clip for upcoming Dark Arc track “Happy Alone”.

Dark Arc, at this point easily one of the year’s most anticipated albums, should officially herald the arrival of Saintseneca, a band that was previously best known for being a conglomeration of two excellent Ohio basement punk bands; All Dogs and The Sidekicks. They’ve been maintaining an entrancing (and incredibly effective) rollout campaign for Dark Arc, their Anti- records debut, and seem poised to continue rewarding the investment of anyone who’s paying attention. “Happy Alone” has officially elevated their art form even further. The Christopher Good clip is clearly indebted to a vast array of arthouse influences and features stunning handheld cinematography, a gorgeous (magic hour-infused) color palette, inspired editing, yet another great song from the band, and band member Zac Little’s head in a giant bubble as he makes his way through everyday tasks.

It’s borderline dadaism and dips in and out of some Warhol-level pop art as it goes along to the most weirdly entrancing effect. It works as a surface level piece and as a light commentary on the nature of loneliness. There’s really absolutely no reason for any of it to add up to the inexplicably powerful whole that it is but it manages to do that and a little more. On its own, “Happy Alone” is definitive enough to act as a perfect introductory piece to the uninitiated while being singular enough to plausibly rank as one of the bands most important moments in their continuing evolution during this much-deserved groundswell of success. Above all else, though, it’s just a beautiful piece of art. That’s something that will always be worth rewarding. Watch it below.