Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Black Eunnuch

Watch This: Vol. 86

It’s been an insane stretch of days, minimizing this site’s output and causing some scheduling neglect. Today will be dedicated to the compensation of that brief absence, beginning with a slightly delayed Watch This. All of the performance captures in the 86th installment of this series surfaced between last Monday and last Sunday, leaving the past few days’ clips eligible for volume 87. Only one of these bands has previously appeared in a Watch This installment, providing a definite change of pace from the past few entries, which have been dominated by site favorites. There are, as always, some genuine treasures to be found here along with a very reassuring sense that we’re living in a golden age of accessibility and forward thinking in multimedia. So, as always, sit back, focus up, adjust the volume, and Watch This.

1. The Muscadettes – Growing Pains (Exclaim!)

Bright and scrappy, when done well, can issue a very palpable sense of place. In the case of this strong performance of “Growing Pains”, The Muscadettes embrace the lo-fi nature of their surf-inflected basement pop and wind up with something that feels more lived-in than nostalgic, while still maintaining a throwback sensibility that suits them to perfection. It’s a perfect summer soundtrack delivered with a bite that’s rare in a genre that’s traditionally (and inherently) laid-back.

2. Flesh World (KEXP)

Flesh World’s The Wild Animals In My Life rattled the people invested invested in the post-punk genre to their core when it found release earlier this year, furthering the band’s standing among a very specific sect. The band recently swung by the KEXP studios where they filmed a session that looks, sounds, and feels appropriately grim. It’s a five-song performance that demonstrate the band’s strength and scope while also making yet another case for why they’re one of the more celebrated emerging acts in their genre.

3. Pree (BreakThruRadio)

Every once in a while a band comes along that defies genre conventions and plays some tantalizingly unconventional music with unbridled passion. Usually these bands err more towards noise freakouts and jarring prog-leaning excursions than anything else. Pree take that concept and subvert it into something that’s practically unrecognizable. Defiantly sunny and unabashedly pop, their performance(s) in this BreakThruRadio session are instantly memorable and effortlessly arresting. Don’t miss out.

4. Ronny – Why Do You Have Kids? (GemsOnVHS)

GemsOnVHS continues to deliver noteworthy performance captures in entirely unpredictable ways, turning to electro-damaged folk artist Ronny for their latest session. Unfailingly gorgeous and unexpectedly spellbinding, this performance of “Why Do You Have Kids?” is a curveball that subsists entirely on left-field grace notes. Intensely compressed and delivered with a startling amount of conviction, it’s a genuine stunner and a perfect introduction to a fascinating artist.

5. Algiers (KEXP)

Having already established themselves as site favorites and secured a few different spots on various Watch This installments, Algiers’ live prowess shouldn’t come as a surprise. The band’s self-titled album is one of 2015’s most breathtaking releases, deftly combining centuries worth of musical influence into something that doesn’t just feel bold but perfectly timed and possibly even necessary. Alternately haunted and haunting, unerringly soulful, and unbelievably gripping, their session for KEXP is one of the strongest the studio has seen in years.

Connor La Mue – Stargazer (Stream)

The Sleepwalkers II

I’ve come to regard a lot of my friends as family over the course of my time playing in bands, booking shows, and documenting as much of Wisconsin’s music scene as I possibly could. Two of the bands I made really early, meaningful connections with were The Sleepwalkers and recent Texas Is Funny signees The Midwestern Charm; two bands that have been intrinsically connected since their formations. Both acts have shared members for years, one of which being Connor La Mue (who fronts The Midwestern Charm and is The Sleepwalkers’ bassist), who has quietly been releasing solo demos under his own name. One of them, “Stargazer”, is among the best La Mue’s ever written. Before going too in-depth on that, though, it’s worth noting that yet again there’s been a lot of incredible music to appear over the past two months. Among those songs: Thee Oh Sees’ blissed-out psych-punk tune “The Ceiling“, Algiers’ punishing, soulful “Black Eunnuch“, Braid’s propulsive “Because I Am“, Damien Jurado’s magnetically weary “Oh The Land Blues“, and Ancient Sky’s massive, brooding “Garbage Brain“. Continuing to rack up the great songs count were Tracey Thorn’s gentle “Let Me In“, Michael Rault’s breezy psych-pop throwback “Lover’s Lie“, Ryn Weaver’s enchanting ambient pop piece “The Fool“, Blanck Mass’ unrelenting “Detritus“, and Tim Kasher’s sprawling folk-tinged Chris Farren cover “Half Full“. Now, with all of those accounted for, it’s time to refocus on the punchy, lo-fi micro-punk of “Stargazer”.

La Mue’s built himself a consistently impressive discography but hasn’t gone the full solo route since his formative years in music. Now, he’s grown restless, with the attention surrounding his work at an all-time high. That restlessness seeps its way into “Stargazer” which is, all at once, the shortest, most immediate, most bruising, and most freeing thing he’s committed to any sort of recording. Built around a drum track, La Mue fully indulges a 90’s influence that may owe a bigger debt to Guided By Voices than his work with either the Charm or The Sleepwalkers may have suggested. Raw, exhilarating, and bold, “Stargazer” hinges on the repeated mantra of “Do you ever wonder where we came from?” betraying its creators sense of wonderment to a fascinating degree. When the solo comes sweeping in to lead “Stargazer” to its rousing finish, it’s a genuinely stunning moment. Gritty and absurdly promising, “Stargazer” seems to point out, against all odds, that La Mue- after around 10 years of making and releasing music- is only just getting started.

Listen to “Stargazer” below and keep an eye on this site for more from La Mue’s other projects.