Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Burgerama

Watch This: Vol. 29

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Another few days have come and gone since a feature-less Sunday. This time, for the first time in a while, technical issues weren’t the cause of the brief delay in posting; I’m currently going through an exhaustive- and exhausting- training that’s consuming most of my time. A lot of content has been organized during this brief interim and will be posted over the weekend.]

During the compilation of the 29th installment of Watch This it became clear that we currently live in an extraordinary time for music. Image is becoming less of an issue, creating on synthesizers, loops, decays, and manipulations are considered organic, and raw talent is being earnestly celebrated. It’s something that allows this feature, and this installment, to be diverse. Without that opportunity for diversity, anything can run the risk of being inclusive. While there is a definite focal point of music that gets emphasized here, this feature allows for a broader range than usual in terms of style just for the sake of showcasing incredible live music. It’s an open-door policy and was inspired by similar policies that help keep great art vital. So, read a book, watch a film, attend a showcase, or Watch This- but, above all else, do everything possible to ensure great art continues to get made.

1. Gap Dream – Shine Your Light (Jam in the Van)

There were a lot of memorable music videos released in 2013 and, even with that considered, “Shine Your Light” still manages to stand out. Whether it was the concept, how well the music and imagery played into each other, or something else entirely- is up for discussion. As much impact as that video had, it seems the same can be said of the song. Jam in the Van made their usual stop at Burgerama and had Gap Dream climb in to deliver a knockout performance of “Shine Your Light” and a few others that are worth watching.

2. Pink Mink – Campbell’s Soup Kids (Radio K)

Pink Mink has been making their gloriously weird powerpop-indebted lo-fi punk for a few years now and have only managed to grow fiercer because of it. Here, they take to the Radio K studios to unleash “Campbell’s Soup Kids” on anyone who’ll listen. It’s a great performance from one of Minneapolis’ longer-standing bands. While the space restriction does make everything come off as just a touch too stunted, make sure to see this band live whenever possible; they were one of the small font highlights of the one-and-done SoundTown Festival back in 201 and have become even sharper over the past three years.

3. The London Souls – The Sound (Jam in the Van)

Jam in the Van strikes again. This time, they’ve brought The London Souls along for the ride. That The London Souls were scooped up at the New Orleans Jazz Fest for this showcase shouldn’t come as a surprise; just listen to the drums. What does come as a surprise? How satisfying this band’s live performance winds up being by taking a slightly off-kilter approach to a genre mix that would usually just result in a reserve-for-fairs situation. Everyone’s on top of their game here, lending this performance an unusual amount of impact.

4. Mansions – If You’re Leaving (Little Elephant)

Little Elephant continues its exception streak of outstanding sessions. Only a few weeks after Ovlov monopolized this series, Mansions seem poised to do the same. All of the hallmarks from their Vol. 27 entry are still present; a gnarled-to-hell bass tone, a strong sense of dynamics, and a fascinating structure. Genres collide and everything just explodes forward. It’s astonishing. Don’t be surprised if they wind up making a few more appearances in this series as it goes on.

5. Kishi Bashi – Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! (WNYC)

Perfect Pussy. Tenement. Swearin’. Technicolor Teeth. These are the only artists I’ve ever broken the narrative rule of Heartbreaking Bravery for. Add Kishi Bashi to the list. Ever since seeing the nearly inhuman performances on KEXP and for the Cardinal Sessions, I’ve been certain of one thing: Kaoru Ishibashi, the man at the center of Kishi Bashi, is a genius. There’s really no other way to explain or phrase this. Easily one of the most commanding and obscenely talented solo performers I’ve ever encountered, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to feature him in this series. In this respect, WNYC has delivered emphatically. Unbelievably, since those jaw-dropping solo performances, Ishibashi has managed to wrangle a supporting cast around him that manages to complement his project perfectly while still managing to stand out on their own (take note of the stuttered, shuffling drums and the absolutely killer distorted banjo tone just past the bridge). We’re all lucky to be alive to witness this kind of artistry.

Watch This: Vol. 24

Technical difficulties have struck again, forcing another late entry into the Watch This series. While it’s sincerely doubtful anyone’s growing frustrated by the lack of the regular Sunday posts for this, the schedule should be resuming soon. This is partly in thanks to the astounding influx of great material that’s been happening lately. There were enough videos to have been released in the past week and a half to warrant a double-header of Watch This, which means that Vol. 25 will be coming soon after this goes live. This installment’s fairly heavy on bands that this place has a well-documented love for. From two of the bands to make the very first 5 to See at NXNE to the very first band to ever be covered here, it feels a little bit like a family affair. It’d be next to impossible to ask for better company. So, as always, sit back, eat a pizza to drive away any lingering hangovers, relax, and Watch This.

1. Audacity – Counting the Days (Jam in the Van)

As mentioned above, Audacity were the very first band to ever be written about here at Heartbreaking Bravery. They haven’t lost a step since that feature and their songs have only grown catchier with time. More good news? Jam in the Van is back at Burgerama which means there’ll be a handful of videos that are likely going to wind up being featured here. There’s something about that combination that just works- and this is a perfect example of that.

2. Greys – Guy Picciotto (Chart Attack)

At this point, over 100 videos have been covered in Watch This. None of them have featured a performance as fiery as the one Greys turned in at Toronto’s Sonic Boom Records of this song. There really isn’t a reason not to hit play on this one. Have at it.

3. Ovlov – Moth Rock (Little Elephant)

Yes, an Ovlov song from these same sessions was just featured in the last Watch This– but “Moth Rock” was only uploaded a few days ago. It’s also impressive enough to earn itself a spot on this list. “Moth Rock” sees Ovlov operating at the absolute top of both their songwriting and live talents, making this must-watch (and must-listen) material.

4. PS I Love You – Sentimental Dishes (Chart Attack)

Judging from this video and the Greys one occupying the two slot this week, it’s fair to be jealous of just about anyone that was lucky enough to spend their Record Store Day at Toronto’s Sonic Boom Records. For the rest of us, an eternal debt of gratitude is owed to Chart Attack for being on hand to capture some of it in extraordinarily high quality. This performance of “Sentimental Dishes” only reaffirms the fact that PS I Love You need to be mentioned way more often in the “best musical duos” conversation. This is some seriously inspired work; don’t let it go unnoticed.

5. The Men – Going Down (Radio K)

The Men’s discography is remarkably consistent for how frequently the band changes their sound. There are already several arguing their most recent effort, Tomorrow’s Hits, is their high water mark. There are also several that argue it’s impossible to judge the band from the studio alone and that the songs need to be put into a live context for a more accurate test. Occasionally, those arguments crossover. It’d be difficult to find someone from either party who was disappointed with this- and it’s also a perfect way to bring the 24th installment of Watch This to a close. Enjoy!