Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Blank Realm

OBN III’s – Let The Music (Stream)

obn iii's

No matter how many times 2015 seems like it’s going to inevitably taper off in terms of outstanding new material, it confronts and defies that notion with an almost extravagant flair. The start of this week’s proved to be no different, making room for strong new full-length efforts from Blank Realm, Widowspeak, August West, Woolen Men, and Findlay Brown. So Young, Dave Monks, Gardens & Villa, Pookie & the Poodlez, Air Waves, and Sharkmuffin injected life into the music video format while a variety of acts unveiled powerful new songs, including Clearance, Frankie Broyles, Slight, Zulus, Wavves, The Garden, Christian Scott (ft. Elena Pinderhughes), and Siouxsie Sioux returned after an eight year absence alongside composer Brian Reitzell with a Bond-ian torch song for the jaw-dropping series finale of Hannibal, one of the most artistically inclined shows to ever air on television.

While it was tempting to throw caution to the wind and completely subvert this site’s established pattern to analyze (and wax ecstatic about) Hannibal and its legacy, the focus of today’s post instead falls to the fiery re-emergence of a band that’s earned praise on this site before: OBN III’s. Embracing a very evident Thin Lizzy influence this time around, full stop, they’ve delivered a rough-hewn reminder of their considerable power. Easily one of the band’s most accessible songs to date, “Let The Music” is seemingly a meta showcase that underlines the band’s own songwriting approach. Even this coy, though, the band finds a moment of deeply impassioned confrontation in the repeated line of “What about my voice?” At first, it’s a question in earnest, and then it’s a surprised echo before it finally becomes a rhetorical rallying cry before it gives way to a guitar breakdown that leads into a searing solo.

Everything packaged together comes off as a unique showcase for a band that’s already earned a devoted following thanks to some relentless touring and an incredible discography. All of the band’s best qualities are in place and the band’s zeroed in on those attributes, maximizing them to startling effect. Grimy, honest, tongue-in-cheek, and unabashedly rock n’ roll, “Let The Music” is the latest in a string of loud victories for OBN III’s and bodes extremely well for the band’s forthcoming full-length, Worth A Lot of Money. A small handful of fairly astonishing tracks from the album have been revealed and with the release date now just a few weeks away, September 14’s going to be a date to remember.

Listen to “Let The Music” below and pre-order Worth A Lot of Money from 12XU ahead of its September 14 release date here.

All Dogs – How Long (Stream)

All Dogs V

As was mentioned in the preceding post, this has been a characteristically enormous week for new music and music videos (at least as far as 2015’s concerned). It makes sense, then, that the most traditionally packed main category (single streams) would log the most outstanding entries. All of the songs that caught my ears or piqued my interest have been hyperlinked below this post’s featured song- All Dogs‘ stunning “How Long”. The third song to be officially released from the band’s forthcoming full-length, Kicking Every Day, “How Long” continues their drastic expansion of dynamic range.

As has been previously noted, the dynamic shift was sparked by two crucial elements: the addition of ex-NONA guitarist Nick Harris and the retooling of the actual songwriting process, allowing the band to collaborate on a much more extensive level. Leading the charge, as always, is Maryn Jones, an enviably gifted songwriter that’s perfected an unshakable blend of humility, honesty, and yearning that can be absolutely devastating. Jones and Harris’ guitar work across all of the tracks in Kicking Every Day‘s rollout campaign have been nothing short of miraculous. Understated, complementary, and intuitive, their instrumental work has managed to maintain a surprisingly emotional heft that only deepens the inherent sadness that permeates the bulk of Jones’ discography (something also exhibited in her work with Saintseneca– who also have a forthcoming record this year- and as Yowler, a project that released a full-length earlier in 2015).

Backed by the rhythm section of Amanda Bartley (bass) and Jesse Wither (drums), all of All Dogs’ songs gain an intimidating set of teeth. Bruised and bristling, the band dives headfirst into Jones’ damaged introspection with a commendable fearlessness, amplifying a deeply personal struggle of self-worth. Putting herself under the knife, Jones is merciless in her meticulous scrutiny of her own value. In Fader’s premiere of the song, Jones issued a statement about “How Long” was “an extended question about when [she] would stop hating [herself].” It takes bravery to acknowledge your own faults and even more to do so on an extremely public level but in a recent conversation I was fortunate enough to have with Jones after Saintseneca’s impressive performance at Baby’s All Right, she revealed that the process of writing and playing music has been deeply therapeutic.

Fortunately, Jones’ self-loathing is given a celebratory tint with a positive angle when framed in the greater context of All Dogs’ work and there’s a very palpable love for their craft that’s continuously evidenced by their breathtaking live show(s). Every now and then, that euphoric swell comes through in their most climactic moments and “How Long” boasts a few particularly great examples. As Jones stretches out and reaches for an answer in those explosive choruses, it’s almost as if the answer’s intangible and not an actual destination- rather, it’s something gleaned by the journey. While it may ultimately be a bittersweet path, at least it’s one shared in the company of genuinely supportive friends. It’s this particular dynamic that makes All Dogs a viable candidate for today’s best band; a willingness to fully explore life’s darkest corners but always retaliate against them while rallying around their central figure with unbridled force, grace, and determination. It’s also what makes “How Long” this week’s finest track.

Listen to “How Long” below and pre-order Kicking Every Day from Salinas here. Underneath the player, browse through a list of the week’s best songs. Enjoy.

PWR BTTM – Dairy Queen
Grape St. – Sharp Dressed Man
Helen – Violet
Big Air – Stay the Night
Alex G – Bug
Jacuzzi Boys – Sun
Wavves – Heavy Metal Detox
Majical Cloudz – Silver Car Crash
Blank Realm – Palace of Love
Timmy’s Organism – Get Up, Get Out
Destroyer – Times Square
Dialect – Chewing Springs/Quietly in the House
Fern Mayo – Going Somewhere
Amy Bezunartea – Oh The Things A Girl Must Do
Kindling – Hate the Police
Scully – Don’t Want That
Tempers – Undoing
Lucero – Can’t You Hear Them Howl
Aneurysm – Stop This Ride
Chance the Rapper & Noname Gypsy – Israel (Sparring)
Ausmuteants – Mates Rates
Numero Group – Spirit Darts
Tideland – All I Know
Thee AHs – John
Palm – Crank
together PANGEA – If You’re Scared
Doe – No Wonder
Gracie – Jesse
Frankie Broyles – Capturer
Marineros – Secretos
Century Palm – Valley Cyan
Threading – Never
Infinity Girl – Young
Last Good Tooth – Our Little Machine
Lost Film – Try
Thayer Sarrano – Touch My Face
Aircraft – Stick
The High Learys – Letter to Alice
Wild Moth – You Found Out
Surf Rock Is Dead – Anymore
Modern Merchant – Be That As It May

Pleasure Leftists – You You (Stream)

Pleasure Leftists XX

The second of two recaps this night, this one hinges on the success of another site favorite: Pleasure Leftists. Before diving into their latest single, though, it’s worth taking a beat to highlight some of the other incredible work to have seen release over the course of the day. Active Child’s spellbinding clip for “1999” and Titus Andronicus’ appropriately manic short film The Magic Morning offered up strong representation for the more cinematic-leaning releases.

Scott Bartenhagen’s Black Dane EP stuck out as one of the more enchanting full streams of recent memory and there were a handful of other single streams deserving of attention, including: Bully’s fiery Belle & Sebastian cover, La Luz’s “I Don’t Wanna Be Anywhere“, Gwilym Gold’s “Flex“, and Blank Realm’s “River of Longing“. Then, of course, there was Pleasure Leftists’ “You You”.

One of last year’s most unexpected highlights was catching Pleasure Leftists not once but twice playing shows during NXNE that weren’t affiliated with the festival. Now, following two extraordinary self-titled releases, the band’s started veering closer to the pop bent that’s informed a lot of their most exciting work. “You You”, the band’s lead-off single for their upcoming album The Woods of Heaven finds the band hitting a new career high.

As tense and bleak as anything in the band’s catalog, “You You” also finds Pleasure Leftists tapping into something that feels more vibrant and alive than their past work. It’s an inspired piece of work on what may very well be winding up stealthily cutting through 2015’s wealth of fine releases to wind up towards the front of the pack. Not only a brute reminder of the band’s strength but of their unassuming grace.

All of the Gothic post-punk touch points remain the predominant driving forces behind the band’s aesthetic and they’ve honed their skills to a fine point, that much is evident. Even with that being the case, it’s impossible to fake genuine inspiration, a trait that should be coursing through The Woods of Heaven‘s veins. In what promises to be a release worthy of high levels of anticipation and excitement, “You You” manages to be the perfect warning shot.

Listen to “You You” below and keep an eye on Deranged Records for pre-orders to go up in advance of The Woods of Heaven‘s August 28 release.