Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Braid

Princess Reason – Your Divorce (Stream)

princessreason

Today will be dedicated to two posts: the first (the one you’re reading now), will cover a large handful of yesterday’s notable releases while the ensuing entry will bring everything up to speed. While there wasn’t an intimidating excess of new material on Wednesday, like there has been in the past, it still managed to unearth some very strong pieces. Ms. John Soda had their tantalizingly light new single “Hero Whales“, Camper Van Beethoven’s willfully ridiculous Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!¬†song “Long Way To Go“, Doubting Thomas Cruise Control offered another compelling new look at their forthcoming record via “Soft Focus“, Blake Schwarzenbach provided a glimpse at his upcoming solo material with the quietly pulsating “Sanity Is Waiting“, and Donovan Wolfington maintained both their searing aggression and surprisingly light pop touch via “Solo Cup“.

For music videos, there was the menacing grit of Memory Pills’ “Beauty of the City“, Matthew E. White’s moving “Vision (No Skin Version)“, Jenny Hval’s dream-laden “Sabbath“, and Gem Club’s strangely harrowing “Braid“. The full streams wound up with incredibly strong representation from an individual release: Antarctigo Vespucci’s s debut full-length effort, the incredibly strong¬†Leavin’ La Vida Loca. Today’s featured item circles back to the single song streams and strings together lackadaisical basement pop with punk attitude as well as anything else to have found release this year.

With the light drawl that hearkens back to the slacker pop of the 90’s there’s an obvious Pavement comparison to be made here, especially with the off-the-cuff lyrical delivery fully ingrained in Princess Reason‘s DNA but those comparisons can only stretch so far; Princess Reason deserve to be judged on their own merit, not be held to the gold standard of a genre iconoclast. “Your Divorce” is a smartly-crafted burst of outsider pop, making room for some entirely unexpected moments that elevate the song from being good to being genuinely memorable. It’s a rambling, ramshackle number that headlines a forthcoming 7″ with the kind of confidence and finesse that suggest this band’s in the midst of something that should secure them quite a bit of attention going forward. An unlikely, biting summer anthem for the romantically down-and-out “Your Divorce” may have a lot of roots in the past but it still manages to come across as a breath of fresh air.

Listen to “Your Divorce” below and pre-order the 7″ from Nebraskan Coast here.

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.