While the first part of this four-part series featuring the very best of the live videos to emerge over 2017’s first quarter primarily featured fast-paced, punk-leaning numbers (with a few notable exceptions), the second round’s focus is a little bit softer. Acoustic (or electric) solo takes, folk acts, and ballads are very well-represented in these selections as are many site favorites. As is always the case, each of these clips and each of these performances are deserving of more attention than they’ve already received. So, as always, sit up straight, focus, adjust the settings, and Watch This.
1. Fern Mayo – Pinesol (Deli Cat Records)
2. Mitski – I Bet On Losing Dogs (WFUV)
3. Meat Wave – Run You Out (Live! From the Rock Room)
4. Charly Bliss – Black Hole (Do512)
5. Middle Kids – Your Love (KCSN)
6. Darkwing – 201 Carousel (BreakThruRadio)
7. Dust From 1000 Yrs – Spring II + The Deepest Part (Boxfish Sessions)
8. Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me (WFUV)
9. Jack – A Kick / A Knife
10. Strand of Oaks – Goshen ’97 (The Current)
11. Woods – Suffering Season & Politics of Free (La Blogotheque)
12. Slow Caves – Rover (Open Air)
13. Kodakrome – Head Down (DZ Records)
14. Ben Seretan – I Like Your Size (Chiu Productions)
15. Teenage Halloween – 666 (Little Elephant)
16. Twiga – Ballad of Rainy Dave (Chiu Productions)
17. Johanna Warren (ft. Bella Blasko) – Glukupikron (Velvatone)
18. 4th Curtis – Chicken (The Current)
19. Smartini – Liquid Peace (BalconyTV)
20. Amanda Shires – You Are My Home (World Cafe)
21. David F. Bello – 1,000 Shiny Daves (Little Elephant)
22. Sonny Falls – Wealth to the City Man (DZ Records)
23. Dan Managan – Race to the Bottom (BreakThruRadio)
24. Steve Strong – Do Not Swallow (BalconyTV)
25. Let’s Eat Grandma – Deep Six Textbook (NPR)
In a three month span, an innumerable number of tour and press cycles can run their course. Fortunately, there are a handful of outlets in the world dedicated to capturing the live performances that power most of the cycles in the most artistic way possible. This post (and the following three) focuses on the best of the best in terms of live videos. Whether it’s a powerful piece of filmmaking (as is the case with the clip that kicks this off, which also doubles an an official music video), a great performance, or a combination of both, there’s quite a bit to admire about the selected videos. So, as always, lean back, relax, clear your mind, and Watch This.
1. Ron Gallo – Please Yourself
2. Meat Wave – To Be Swayed (Live! From the Rock Room)
3. Slothrust – Horseshoe Crab (Dangerbird)
4. Peaer – Pink Spit (Live! From the Rock Room)
5. Yucky Duster – Friend Zone + Gofer (The Special Without Brett Davis)
6. Cloud Nothings – Modern Act (KCSN)
7. Charly Bliss – Glitter (WFUV)
8. LVL UP – Hidden Driver (Do512)
9. Wetter – Do You Still Dance? (Radio K)
10. Forth Wanderers – Caramel Emotion (Allston Pudding)
11. Happyness – Through Windows (Do512)
12. Parlor Walls – Play Opposites (BreakThruRadio)
13. Weaves – One More (Audiotree)
14. Frankie Cosmos – Highways and Trees + O Dread C Town (La Blogotheque)
15. Ornament – Adapt or Leave (Boxfish Sessions)
16. IAN SWEET – 2soft2chew (Allston Pudding)
17. Kal Marks – Today I Walked Down to the Tree… (Boxfish Sessions)
18. Darkwing – Necropants (BreakThruRadio)
19. Gurr – Moby Dick (3voor12)
20. The Chinchees – Everyone Knows (Radio K)
21. Sløtface – Empire Records (3voor12)
22. Very Fresh – Schedule IV (BreakThruRadio)
23. Middle Kids – Edge of Town (The Current)
24. Emilyn Brodsky – Hands Off the Stove (BreakThruRadio)
25. Phoebe Bridgers – Smoke Signals (NPR)
As stated in the preceding post, a lot’s been happening in the world of Heartbreaking Bravery (both in its interior machinations and mitigating exterior factors). Its public upkeep has been largely neglected but behind the scenes, the work continues to be ceaseless. Watch This, the typically weekly series that celebrates the greatest live videos of the given week, has been on somewhat of a hiatus. To amend that, for this 15oth installment, this will extend far beyond the series’ usually confined scope.
In the previous 50 markers for Watch This, Heartbreaking Bravery’s original live videos have been featured. With matters of scheduling, it’s been impossible to keep that pace but bookmark the site’s YouTube channel for upcoming clips of acts like LVL UP, Alex G, Nobunny, The Hussy, and more (with a few long-archived clips finally making their way to air). So, instead of personally-generated footage, this will celebrate not five but 50 of the finest live clips to have appeared since the last Watch This ran at the end of October.
Single song performances, full sessions, individually-helmed efforts, and professionally-captured studio takes all appear. With this amount of material featured, it’d be a hyper-herculean task to take everything in all at once. The best route may simply be to bookmark the page, the clip, or fast-forward at will (though everything featured is more than worth the effort). So, as always, sit back, grab a drink, adjust the settings, focus, and Watch This.
The tracklist for Watch This: Vol. 150 can be found below the embed.
1. Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Driver/Killer Whales (Fallon) 2. Monica LaPlante – Hope You’re Alone (The Current) 3. Cymbals Eat Guitars (KEXP) 4. Casper Skulls – Love Brain (Exclaim!) 5. Um Are – Dark Entry (Boxfish Sessions) 6. LVL UP (KEXP) 7. Jack – Blue (I Like It Session) 8. Islands – Fear (Do512) 9. Jeff Rosenstock – Wave Goodnight To Me (Radio K) 10. Mercury Girls (WKNC) 11. The Peep Temple – Constable (3RRR) 12. Total Slacker – Don’t Ever Fade Away (BreakThruRadio) 13. And The Kids (WKNC) 14. Special Death – Perfume (DZ Records) 15. Spit – Days In Dreams (The Loft Sessions) 16. Drive-By Truckers (NPR) 17. Daisy Chains – Prove It (Radio K) 18. Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim (La Blogotheque) 19. Bellows (Audiotree) 20. The Just Luckies – Conventions (DZ Records) 21. Lady Lamb – Spat Out Spit (Buzzsession) 22. Fraternal Twin – Big Dipper (Allston Pudding) 23. Pinegrove (NPR) 24. John K. Samson – Reconstruction Site (ANTI- Records) 25. Small Houses – Telling It Wrong (Sofar Sounds) 26. Wilco – If Ever I Was A Child (La Blogotheque) 27. Sad13 (PressureDrop.tv) 28. Sidney Gish – Hexagons and Other Fun Materials (Boxfish Sessions) 29. Julien Baker – Rejoice (KVRX) 30. Snail Mail (Michael Andrade) 31. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Nobody Dies (NPR) 32. Swimsuit Addition – Uptick (DZ Records) 33. Frankie Cosmos – What If (Allston Pudding) 34. Cayetana (Audiotree) 35. Courtney – Going Out Tonight (DZ Records) 36. Bethlehem Steel – Figure It Out (I Like It Session) 37. Atlas Crash – V.O.L.E. (Sofar Sounds) 38. Kishi Bashi (KEXP) 39. Ben & The Saints – Gold Rush (Sofar Sounds) 40. Wrekmeister Harmonies (Audiotree) 41. MASZER (KEXP) 42. Field Mouse (Audiotree) 43. Mall Walk (PressureDrop.tv) 44. Hovvdy – Problem (KVRX) 45. Purling Hiss (PressureDrop.tv) 46. Fufanu (KEXP) 47. Bear Vs. Shark (Audiotree) 48. Okkervil River (KEXP) 49. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Magneto (Andrew Dominik) 50. Explosions in the Sky (NPR)
For nearly three years, the Watch This series has been focusing on the best live videos to emerge in that given, immediate week. The project’s nearing its 150th installment and during that entire run, it’s been rare that this site has given a standalone feature to a live clip. In many of the recent Watch This installments there have been Boxfish Sessions from the emergent Cuttlefish Collective.
The clips being shot, produced, and unveiled by that camp are unified by a sense of loving care; it’s abundantly clear they love the artists that they feature. It’s something that continues to be a heartening source of small inspiration for anyone with any interest in documenting live music. With all of that in mind, it’s both an honor and a privilege to be premiering their latest, which centers on Horse Jumper of Love‘s Dimitri Giannopoulos solo project, Slugger, and a new track entitled “hotel swimming pool”.
An achingly meditative piece, “hotel swimming pool” is performed and lensed with the moving tenderness that’s come to define the work of both parties. As the camera surveys Giannopoulos, the patterned backdrop, and the audience, the clip becomes impossibly immersive with “hotel swimming pool” serving as the siren call. “hotel swimming pool” and this session both tell acutely-realized stories to mesmerizing effect, leaving a lingering sense of anticipation for whatever comes next for both projects. Dive in and get lost in its magic.
Watch “hotel swimming pool” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on the project.
Typically Watch This installments run on Sunday but the 143rd installment was given a later slot for a specific reason. While the videos covered in this post will have been released, exclusively, in the time frame of last Monday to this past Sunday, this particular entry serves as somewhat of a gap-fill. The next post to run after this one will be the 1,000th that Heartbreaking Bravery has published and there will be a brief period of inactivity, only punctuated by the 143rd volume of Watch This.
1. Margaret Glaspy – Emotions and Math + Pins and Needles (World Cafe)
In the past few months Margaret Glaspy has managed to become a staple of this series thanks to both songwriting and the subdued but outsized personality that the songwriter exudes in every performance. Glaspy’s two-song set for World Cafe is particularly crisp, offering up two spellbinding runs through two of Emotions and Math‘s brightest moments: the quietly exhilarating title track and “Pins and Needles”. Don’t miss out on this one.
2. Long Neck – Rosy + 10,000 Year Old Woman (Boxfish Sessions)
For the past few years, Lily Mastridomos has been releasing mesmerizing music under the moniker Long Neck. Known primarily for Jawbreaker Reunion, Mastridomos’ solo project allows the emphasis to fall to uninhibited tales of heartache. In Mastridomos’ shattering entry to this site’s A Year’s Worth of Memories, there was a courageously open emphasis on personal depression, something that informs both “Rosy” and “10,000 Year Old Woman” to heartbreaking effect in one of the finest Boxfish Sessions to date.
3. PUP – Doubts (q on cbc)
A lot has been written on this site about PUP, from their galvanizing live show to their self-titled debut (which has the distinction of being the first album review to run on Heartbreaking Bravery) to this year’s extraordinary The Dream Is Over, a record that earned them a Polaris Prize nomination. Here, the band stops by the q on cbc studio and unleashing holy hell with a fiercely committed take on “Doubts” that underscores the band’s terrifying level of conviction as well as their sheer force of will. It’s a characteristically exceptional performance and an outstanding document of a band that’s intent on pushing themselves to the absolute limit.
4. Tuxis Giant – Almost Enough (Boxfish Sessions)
The second Boxfish Session to be featured finds the spotlight falling to Tuxis Grant, an emerging songwriter who has a penchant for bleary-eyed folk that comes with a twinge of a punk-informed sensibility. “Almost Enough”, the song performed here, is a breathtaking example of Tuxis Giant’s considerable songwriting gifts, never becoming anything less than incredibly memorable. “Even when it isn’t hungry, it eats” is a refrain that sticks, perfectly complementing a compellingly singular introspective lens. If “Almost Enough” is any indication, Tuxis Giant will be a name worth learning.
5. Japanese Breakfast (PressureDrop.tv)
2016 has been a breakout year for Japanese Breakfast, the project of Michelle Zauner. Little Big League, Zauner’s other band, had a handful of entries throughout the existence of this series. Japanese Breakfast seems set on continuing that tradition with a remarkable amount of poise. While all of the songs the band runs through for this PressureDrop.tv session are consistently impressive, “Everybody Wants to Love You” stands out as a particularly inspired highlight. It’s the start of an exclamation mark on the band’s coming out party, creating room for both celebration of what’s come before and wild anticipation for what comes next.
For decades, certain pockets of the music world have treated Teenage Fanclub with a reverence that’s typically reserved for deities. In the time that’s elapsed since they formed in 1989, the band’s amassed a devoted following but — as this performance for BBC’s Radio 6 definitively demonstrates — they haven’t lost a step. Still boasting all of the charm in the world, “Thin Air” is a reminder of their casual timelessness.
2. Weaves (KEXP)
Since the release of their incendiary self-titled debut earlier this year, Weaves have become a mainstay of the Watch This series. Tackling a quartet of songs here, the quartet brings their wild energy to the KEXP studios for one of the station’s best sessions of the year. As ever, the band’s a relentless force, attacking each of these songs with the conviction and tenacity that’s earned them a dedicated, steadily-increasing following.
3. gobbinjr – Firefly (Boxfish Sessions)
A few years into a promising career, Emma Witmer — who masterminds the gobbinjr project — has been releasing delicate pop songs that sound airy but boast a substantial amount of weight. “Firefly” is a prime example and its performance here, for Cuttlefish Collective’s Boxfish Sessions, is a thing of singular beauty. With only vocals, an omnichord, and a pre-programmed drum track, “Firefly” surpasses being simply mesmerizing and winds up at a place of transcendence.
4. Tuns – Mixed Messages + Mind Over Matter (Indie88Toronto)
Whether Tuns is a side project, a supergroup, or a curiosity is irrelevant, what’s important is that they’re writing great songs. Legendary pedigree aside, Tuns would’ve likely been turning heads. While the band’s members’ projects certainly hold a particular amount of influence over their sound (Sloan likely being the most notable of the bunch), there’s a spark here that should help the project establish their own identity. Either way, “Mixed Messages” and “Mind Over Matter” are worth celebrating.
5. PUP (CBC)
Earlier this year, PUP released their fiery sophomore effort, The Dream Is Over. Several strides forward from their explosive debut, the record opened up their already frantic live show and sent the band’s members careening to every corner of stages the world over with wild abandon. The band recently stopped by CBC’s studios to tear through several key songs from their Polaris-nominated record — including “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You, I Will” and “DVP”, two of the year’s finest songs — and the resulting document is an exhilarating portrait of a wild-eyed band that refuses to hit the brakes.