Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: brooding

Dark Blue – Here on My Street (Stream)

Dark Blue

The members of Dark Blue could all likely be seen as institution of the Philadelphia scene at this point. Among them, Clockcleaner, Purling Hiss, Strand of Oaks, and Ceremony are all represented- but, most importantly, all of them used to play in the rightfully revered Puerto Rico Flowers, whose 7 is one of this decades better releases. However, during their time spent in Puerto Rico Flowers, it was still clearly spearheaded by John Sharkey III, whereas Dark Blue is a much more collaborative project which is rightfully being considered a band. Recently, they unveiled the brooding “Here On My Street”, evoking a very particular sound- one that many bands have tried their hand at but failed to get completely right, as Dark Blue do here.

“Here On My Street” is the first look at Dark Blue’s upcoming full-length, Pure Reality, which will be released on October 7 via Jade Tree. As mentioned, their are some striking similarities (which is unsurprising, given the circumstances) to Puerto Rico Flowers, though they only run so deep. There’s a greater emphasis on tension, restraint, and atmosphere than there was the last time these three shared a project that results in a sound not too dissimilar from Terry Malts at their most laid-back. Guitars surge through an ostensibly bleak soundscape and occasionally stray more towards the celebratory than defeatism, straddling the line between no-wave and new wave with terrifying precision. It’s a fairly foreboding piece overall but it yields spectacular results, pushing Pure Reality up several levels on the anticipation meter.

Listen to “Here On My Street” below and make sure to pick up Pure Reality as soon as possible.

The Ar-Kaics – Be My Baby (Stream)

ar-kaics

Last week Richmond’s The Ar-Kaics released one of the better punk records of 2014 on the always-reliable Windian Records, who have celebrated the achievement by offering next to the whole thing for streaming on their soundcloud. Even though all of the band’s self-titled full-length is worth spending a serious amount of time with, there are a few songs that have established themselves as early highlights, including the brooding stomper that is “Be My Baby”. Channeling the underlying tension and sense of subtle dread that informs the majority of The Ar-Kaics into an eerie tour de force, it demonstrates the band’s complete and total understanding of what makes their music so memorable.

More than just about any song on the just-released full-length, “Be My Baby” possesses an innate and unshakable purpose, which will likely lend itself to an unlikely longevity. The Ar-Kaics are generally at their best when they try to play up their influences and on “Be My Baby”, 60’s pop and creeping 70’s pysch are given even footing, allowing the song to find life as an arresting bit of nightmare pop. It’s all over in under two and a half minutes but it all sticks, thanks to a niche aesthetic that suits the band extraordinarily well. There’s a feeling of unease that sticks around long after the song winds down, ensuring it a spot among the year’s more fascinating works.

Listen to “Be My Baby” below and order The Ar-Kaics from Windian Records here.

Ex-Breathers – Pocket (Stream)

exbre

Hardcore’s been making a small resurgence in terms of national attention over the past few years, thanks to bands like OFF! and acts that have openly embraced the genre like Fucked UpPerfect Pussy, Priests, and White Lung. Ex-Breathers are gearing up to make a run at attaining the same kind of heavyweight status on the bruising strength of their upcoming 7″, Exbx. Clocking in at just under 12 minutes, the 12 tracks contained on that small slab of wax all hit as forcefully as the first song to be offered up from the future Texas Is Funny release, “Pocket”.

As is the case with all of the best hardcore, “Pocket” boasts a palpable sense of frustration that’s expressed as directly as possible. “Pocket” doesn’t even hit the :45 mark before it’s over but it does hit a vast array of pleasure points; a grizzled bass line, frantic guitarwork, a seemingly untapped resource of anger, and a drummer capable of tearing a hole through the skins at any minute. There’s a sense of sonic abandon that invites a sense of dread that feels perfectly in tune with the band’s work and, as a result, it helps “Pocket” stand out as one of Exbx‘s finest moments.

Listen to “Pocket” below” and don’t hesitate in picking up the 7″ as soon as it becomes available.

Savages – Fuckers (Music Video)

Savages came out of an ominous mist last year and took everyone by surprise with a firm stranglehold on all the tastemaking sites for quite some time. Fortunately, for everyone, their stock hadn’t skyrocketed due to cheap PR ploys or novelty gimmicks; they earned their still-expanding level of admiration through sheer talent. It’s been exactly one year since Matador released Silence Yourself and the band’s deciding to celebrate with the release of the 12″ single “Fuckers” b/w a cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” (available via Matador/Pop Noire). The former of which now has an accompanying video built off and around stunning live footage. The band’s live sets have always been noted for being visually striking and the Giorgio Testi-directed clip plays that aspect for all its worth. “Fuckers”, on its own, is another triumph for the band- a cold-blooded 1o minute run that grows darker and more menacing as it goes along. For such a cold exterior, the lyrics are fairly warm and cautiously guide rather than berate. It offers a nice contrast that plays into the band’s aesthetic strengths. Put that together with the cinematic flourishes of the videos and it stands as a memorable piece of art.

Watch “Fuckers” below and give into its atmospheric magic.