Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Boyfriend

Ex-Vöid – Boyfriend (Music Video)

Last week there were exceptional songs from Bing & Ruth, LIFE, Drahla, Active Bird Community, Remember Sports, Oddnesse, Animal House, Therese Lithner, Lilith, Natalie Prass, Proud Parents, The Goon Sax, RVG, Beach Skulls, Winston Vista,  and Co Sonn. There was also the re-introduction of two former members of site favorites Joanna Gruesome, one of which — Alanna McArdle — being the vocalist that played a pivotal role in their rise to prominence.

That reintroduction comes with the arrival of Ex-Vöid, a power trio that falls neatly in line with where McArdle and Owen Williams left off with their old project, bringing the exact same kind of kinetic energy back to the table. Twee indie pop sensibilities once again infiltrating a noisy post-punk lens in “Boyfriend”, the band’s irresistible new single. Taking cues from a perfectly curated list of sources, from Sarah Records to Flying Nun, Ex-Vöid rekindle a spark that was seemingly extinguished when they departed Joanna Gruesome.

“Boyfriend” is short but it’s sharp, sinking its hooks in deep enough to leave the kind of marks that lead to fondly-recognized scars. The into is a cavalcade of noise but that disintegrates into sunny melodies in an instant, the band launching into that familiar but distinct sound, bridging their influences to their own singular identity. It’s a thrilling listen that offers up a few more surprises as it goes, offering up enough grace notes to portend a bright future for a voice that we should all be glad has rejoined the table.

Listen to “Boyfriend” below and pre-0rder Ex-Vöid from Don Giovanni.

Watch This: Vol. 131

Over the course of the past two full weeks, there has been a brief reprieve from the Watch This series, which normally runs in weekly installments. Part of the reasoning behind its recent absence has been explained in previous posts (it was mostly a matter of scheduling) but returns now in a two-part installment to cover those complete weeks. The week that’s currently in session will be accounted for on Sunday and unaffected by these installments. Laura Stevenson, NUEXTango Alpha Tango and the Malady of Sevendials, The Dirty Nil, Charles Bradley, Bruiser Queen, Spooky Ghosts, The Goon Sax, Weakened Friends, Bombay, Money, Beach Slang, Adia Victoria, Protomartyr, and Maritime were the featured artists that comprised roughly half of the honorable mentions in the covered time frame, fully illustrating the strength of the featured cuts. So, as always, sit up, adjust the settings, focus, and Watch This.

1. Summer Cannibals (PressureDrop.tv)

PressureDrop.tv has been responsible for a lot of the more memorable full sessions of recent memory but the series recently topped themselves with this no-holds-barred session from site favorites Summer Cannibals. None of the other performers on the series’ enviable roster of guests have matched the sheer velocity of Summer Cannibals’ energy here and the visuals match that propulsion. Nearly every second of the performance feels perfectly complementary and suggests that PressureDrop.tv just might be realizing their full potential.

2. free cake for every creature – All You Gotta Be When You’re 23 Is Yourself (BreakThruRadio)

free cake for every creature have appeared on this site numerous times but with each successive link, they’ve bettered themselves and hit yet another apex with this BreakThruRadio performance of “All You Gotta Be When You’re 23 Is Yourself”, a standout from their most recent release. Conjuring up a spell of subdued magic, the band effortlessly breezes through the track and closes it out with a soft smile.

3. Clearance – You’ve Been Pre-Approved (Constellation Chicago) 

One of last year’s more overlooked releases came in the form of Clearance‘s excellent Rapid Rewards [full disclosure: my photography is used for the back art] and the record’s allure has actually grown since its release. A large part of that is thanks to Mike Bellis’ knowledgeable songwriting, which is front and center in this recent solo take of one of that record’s many highlights, “You’ve Been Pre-Approved”.

4. Tancred (Little Elephant)

Something is happening in these Tancred videos for Little Elephant that both suggests they’re unfinished and creates a curious pull that’s not entirely dissimilar from quicksand. The performance from the band, as ever, is sharp as hell but the audio sounds canned, as if only an overhead mic was picking the band up. That effect winds up working in tandem with the band’s influences astonishingly well, creating a damaged VHS sound quality that transforms this session into a surprisingly gratifying Easter egg.

5. Julien Baker (Exclaim!)

If a pro-shot Julien Baker session emerges over the course of any given week, it’s probably safe to assume that it’ll find representation in this series. Baker’s an innately talented performer and a mesmerizing lyricist that’s already managed to carve out a space next to Elliott Smith as one of the most effective and intimate narrators of tragedy that the music world’s had in quite some time. All of those qualities infuse this recent two-song performance for Exclaim! with a hypnotic sadness that manages to be both reassuring and heartrending all at once.

Casket Girls – Deep Time (Stream)

stardeath

[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

Stardeath and White Dwarfs have gained a lot of notoriety thanks to both their association with The Flaming Lips and a strong discography of their own. Hopefully, some of that recognition ties over to another band they’ve paired up with: Casket Girls. The acts recently teamed up for a limited-run split that’s highlighted by Casket Girls’ arresting “Deep Time”, a haunting meditation on mortality and what makes us human. A swirling layer of feedback, organ, battered guitars, and drones drive the instrumental as a ghostly vocal figure delivering a series of probing questions provide the song’s emotional wallop with a considerable emphasis. Easy to digest and difficult to shake, “Deep Time” taps into something transcendental, providing Casket Girls with an unlikely new career best. Don’t allow this one to pass by unnoticed.

Listen to “Deep Time” below and pick up What Keeps You Up At Nght here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

The Goon Sax – Boyfriend
Luke Rathborne – Losing It
Moss Lime – Comfy Cotton Shoes
Cold Sweats – Hater Failure
Emma Louise – Undeflow
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s – Francine
Kiran Leonard – Pink Fruit
The Goldhearts – Here’s the Thing
WALL – Fit the Part
Rare Monk – California
The Brainstems – Simple Joys
Liskka – Keep Me Awake
The Cave Singers – Christmas Night
Pete Astor – My Right Hand
The Shivas – Gun In My Pocket (Revisited)
Prickle – Tell Me Why
Saintseneca – New Coats
Ed Tullett – Ply
Pet Sun – Dark Planet

Beliefs – Colour Of Your Name (Music Video)

beliefs

Now that the full streams are all caught up, it’s time to turn the attention back to music videos. A lot of great material’s surfaced in the interim including memorable clips from Looming, Sunflower BeanPuddle Splasher, The Goon Sax, Nicholas Krgovich, RAMLEH, Bent Denim, Yumi Zouma, Hailey Wojcik, Ratatat, J.E. Sunde, Hinds, Raury (ft. Key!), and S.M. Wolf. In addition to all of those, there was the inspired Darkest Before Dawn short film from Pusha T that ranks as one of the more ambitious undertakings of its kind in recent memory. While all those are well worth multiple looks, tonight’s featured video comes from the familiar faces of Beliefs.

Leaper, a late 2015 highlight saw Beliefs continuing to impress and they’ve taken that even further with this Alex Earl Grey-directed clip for the record’s title track. Ostensibly a subtle commentary on the the societal expectations that accompany a woman’s appearance, it’s a striking piece of minimalism that resonates because of its inherent truths. As that commentary plays out, “Colour Of Your Name” also touches on the process of transformation and hints at a secure sense of agency. Stripped down to its barest essentials, “Colour Of Your Name” becomes a startling piece of work that plays directly into the zeitgeist and, in the process, has a more than decent shot of securing a position as a timeless work.

Watch “Colour Of Your Name” below and pick up a copy of Leaper from site favorites Hand Drawn Dracula here.

Mean Creek – My Madeline (Music Video)

Well, after a night of catch-up via writing about some of the best music videos to have come out in the past few weeks, what’s one more? Before getting into that, though, it’d be a missed opportunity if light wasn’t shed on some other notable music videos from the likes of Curtis Harding, Screaming Females, Thee Oh Sees, OFF!, Cloud Nothings, Popstrangers, Vertical Scratchers, Pure X, Sweet Apple, Nothing, Yuck, Tacocat, The Antlers, Courtney Barnett, Parquet Courts, and Owls (as well as a deeply unsettling short film from The Body). While all of those are well worth taking multiple looks at (that short film, especially), the video earning the feature spot is for recent Watch This act Mean Creek.

To celebrate the release of the band’s recent Local Losers, they released a somewhat haunted clip for Local Losers standout “My Madeline”, directed by Richard TK Hawke and James Lindsay. In the video, guitarist and vocalist Chris Keene stalks an apartment that’s either full of tripped-out scenes from the aftermath of an afterparty or projected memories on a wistful tour-through. All the other members of Mean Creek make appearances in various guises as the video glides along, retaining a sense of subtlety that emphasizes the song’s finer points. It’s an immensely impressive works on all accounts and solidifies their status as a band to know.

Watch the hazy video for “My Madeline” below and pick up Local Losers from Old Flame Records or any record shop that carries it.