Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: bonus track

PWR BTTM – New Hampshire (Stream, Live Video)

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For a while now, Benjamin Hopkins has found strength and empowerment through naked vulnerability, a trait that’s on full display with PWR BTTM‘s breathtaking “New Hampshire”. Penned when Hopkins was experiencing a sense of displacement, the track’s gone through various mutations for a few years and has (finally) arrived fully-formed for the UK deluxe edition of Ugly Cherries alongside the astonishing “Projection“.

Easily one of the duo’s gentlest songs — and in small bursts, one of their most gnarled — “New Hampshire” is an intimate look into a fractured psyche. From the onset, Hopkins is grappling with questions of mortality, greeting death with open arms. It’s a brave moment and that bravery doesn’t waver throughout the course of “New Hampshire” as it plunges into the depths of bleak certainty, finding ways to inject it with small grasps at hope.

That “New Hampshire” seems to paint death as a release provides the song with the bruising devastation that’s unified PWR BTTM’s strongest work, allowing some insight to the daily struggles the duo are forced to face in their everyday lives. By being so open about their preferences both Hopkins and Liv Bruce have been walking a double-edged sword as queer ambassadors, receiving celebration and (unfortunately) displaced derision in the process.

It’s a position that’s led the band to become increasingly accustomed to applying their openness and sincerity to a grander scale, which has also inflated the opportunity for confrontation. All of those experiences have been imbuing the band’s recent works and leading to some genuinely beautiful moments after being paired with the duo’s innate musical ability. Even in the smallest touches, like the bell runs or vocal rounds in the second half of “New Hampshire”, the emotive scope is evident.

“New Hampshire” is three and a half minutes of slowly lowering any remaining guards, stepping out into the open, and accepting an ephemeral fate. Tacit and direct in turns, PWR BTTM once again find a way to navigate uncomfortable corners with an unfathomable amount of grace and feeling. It’s an absolutely gorgeous song, even at its most barbed, and effectively demonstrates PWR BTTM’s growing range as artists. Far more than just a bonus track, the song’s both one of PWR BTTM’s strongest moments and one of 2016’s most essential offerings. Wounded, firm, and lovely, “New Hampshire” is unforgettable.

Listen to “New Hampshire” below and watch a video of the band performing the song earlier this year beneath the soundcloud embed. Order Ugly Cherries here.

Sonic Avenues – Bored With Love (Stream)

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Sonic Avenues released a masterwork back in 2010 with their debut full-length, which is why it went out of print- which, in turn, is why Dead Broke Rekerds is reissuing it with two bonus tracks. One of these tracks is “Bored With Love”, a song originally intended for a split with Steve Adamyk Band (the bands share members). It would have been the title of that split but, due to unnamed complications, the release never saw the light of day. Sonic Avenues and Dead Broke are now amending this by offering it as one of two bonus tracks on the reissue.

“Bored With Love” is a gem of a song, highlighting seemingly all of the band’s best qualities through it’s manic, near-perfect two minutes and 39 seconds. Not unlike their fellow Canadians in Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs, Sonic Avenues excelled at meshing the best elements across a variety of genres- most notably outsider pop and basement punk- into something distinctly unique and outrageously fun. All of that’s exemplified by “Bored With Love” which is probably worth the price of the reissue on its own. With songs as good as this one, it’s a wonder it took four years for this LP to go back to press but it did go back to press and is currently available as a pre-order. Don’t let it disappear without grabbing a copy, who knows when it’ll be available again.

Listen to “Bored With Love” below, pre-order the record from Dead Broke, and read more about the song over at New Noise Magazine.