Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Buzz Records

Lonely Parade – Olive Green (Stream)

It’s been a while since anything went up on these pages and there are a lot of reasons behind yet another interim but, as ever, the work continues to be done behind the scenes. Five posts were scheduled to go up before that break and will be going live today. This is one of those posts.

One of 2018’s more exhilarating breakout acts, Lonely Parade have crafted an immensely enticing lead-in to The Pits, thanks to the strength of the record’s advance singles. “Olive Green” is the latest piece of evidence suggesting that The Pits is primed to be one of the year’s best records. Once again, Lonely Parade deliver a work that surges off the energy that comes with their territory (the intersection of basement pop and post-punk), offering up an incredibly catchy run of razor-sharp guitar work, an aggressive rhythm section, and a pointed vocal delivery that oscillates between confidently sardonic and meaningfully unhinged. In short: it’s brilliant.

Listen to “Olive Green” below and pre-order The Pits from Buzz here.

The Best Music Videos of June’s First Half

The first half of June came equipped with a lot of outstanding material but the strength of its best music videos were especially notable. There’s a strong chance that IDLES land themselves a repeat spot in the year-end best-of rundown, following their Music Video of the Year turn in 2017. There’s also a reasonable chance that at least one other clip from this list joins them in those rankings. As of now, that’s all still speculation but it’s worth noting for the sheer strength of impact. To find out a little more, scroll down, keep your eyes peeled, and keep your ears open.

IDLES – Danny Nedelko

Last year’s “Mother” was an absolute masterwork of a music video, going a ways in helping IDLES launch a burgeoning career. Easily one of the best protest songs of this current decade, “Mother” now has an equal in “Danny Nedelko.” As has been the case with virtually every IDLES clip, this one surges with purpose as its titular character takes a central role, dancing, smiling, and flashing an OK hand symbol that was co-opted by white supremacists in an act of joyful resistance. It’s remarkable, pointed, and adds an additional level of potency to an already formidable discography.

Lonely Parade – Night Cruise

One of the most recent additions to Buzz Record‘s already stacked roster, Lonely Parade have made no bones about establishing their stake in that field. Their most recent showing came by way of the music video for the unwieldy “Night Cruise.” Stylish, vivid, and executed with unnerving precision, “Night Cruise” comes off like a warning shot. A series of odd angles, clever pans, and sharp editing play into a digital film palette that make the band’s sense of identity a focal point. Smart, measured, and playful, “Night Cruise” is a promising look into Lonely Parade’s future.

Shy Boys – Take the Doggie

There are a few constant truths in our lives. Shy Boys took one of those truths and embraced it wholeheartedly, gifting us a playful, dog-driven music video that’s as open-hearted as it is endearing. Throw in a twee-leaning powerpop song, some lyrics running across the bottom of the screen, and a whole collection of clips cut together into a comprehensive whole and “Take the Doggie” reveals itself to be as winsome as its opening seconds suggest.

Deaf Wish – FFS

The second black-and-white clip on this list, Deaf Wish‘s “FFS” uses the formula as a means to strengthen its directness. Jensen Tjhung and Daniel Twomey take the directorial reigns and lean into the framing, creating stark imagery that pays tribute to some iconic shots from the rock photography canon. The editing heightens “FFS”, creating sync’d segments that play into the clip’s sense of augmented reality. Engaging and expertly crafted, “FFS” is a reminder of how classical styling can benefit from modern advancements.

Tomberlin – Self-Help

Saddle Creek‘s latest addition, Tomberlin, gave a mesmerizing introduction-at-large with the hushed, haunted “Self-Help”. Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the clip presents Tomberlin awash in a sea of sea creatures, suggesting a parallel to the narrative of “Self-Help”, searching for a place in a space that’s built for you but still feels removed. It’s that distance that “Self-Help” is imbued with that defines both the song and the clip, conjuring an eerie parable that’s hard to shake on either end. Thoughtfully crafted and tenderly delivered, it’s a captivating glance at an artist worthy of knowing.

Weaves – Shithole (Music Video)

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This series of posts reflects back on some of the best material to be released over the past few weeks. Each post with this heading is a part of this series. After this series has concluded regular coverage will resume. 

Not many bands had as much of a coming out party this as Weaves, who released one of 2016’s most extraordinary efforts in their self-titled full-length debut. One of the brightest moments of that release came via “Shithole“, a song that was originally released back in 2014. Director/editor Trevor Blumas gives the spiky, colorful basement pop number a video that keeps bandleader Jasmyn Burke in a tight one-shot, letting her face do the heavy lifting. It’s wild, it’s frenetic, it’s chaotic, it’s everything that makes Weaves tick, and it’s impossible to stop watching. Jump in and give in to its spell.

Watch “Shithole” below and pick up a copy of Weaves here.

Casper Skulls – Errands (Stream)

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Over this site’s run, Buzz Records has earned innumerable mentions and very quickly established itself as a site favorite. The label’s showing no signs of slowing down and are continuing to get stronger. The latest proof of this strength is the recent release of Casper Skulls’ excellent “Errands”. A seamless blend of post-punk, shoegaze, and vintage ’90s slacker punk, “Errands” wears its varied influences proudly on sleeve, recalling acts like Pavement and My Bloody Valentine while still managing to carve out an identity of its own.

For as much as “Errands” references — and is indebted to — the past, there’s something quintessentially modern about the ways its balanced. Boasting both a detached cool and a buried, but still-evident drive, the song becomes quietly exhilarating. It’s a deeply intriguing example of how music can gradually, subtly evolve over time and it paints Casper Skulls as a band worth a close watch. As unassuming as “Errands” seems at first glance, the structure, dynamics, and choices the band makes throughout the four-plus minute runtime reveal they’re keenly aware of their craft. It’s a trait that’ll serve them well going forward and could heavily benefit their forthcoming Lips & Skulls, which has a shot at securing the band a whole new row of converts. With as good as “Errands” is, why wait to join their ranks?

Listen to “Errands” below and pre-order Lips & Skulls here.

Fake Palms – Heavy Paranoia (EP Review)

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The first trio of days this week were comprised of a large handful of impressive full streams that came via Ghost Gum, Katie Ellen, Ganser, Sculpture Club, The Royal They, Joey Sprinkles, Idiot Genes, Tongues, Edgar Clinks, Jackson Boone, Kyle Morton, and Residuels. There was also an incredible compilation that came courtesy of a collaboration between Swell Tone and Z Tapes entitled Summer of Sad. While each of those releases deserves all of the investment they’ll undoubtedly receive and more, this post’s feature spot falls to the great Fake Palms and their outstanding forthcoming EP, Heavy Paranoia.

Back in 2015, Fake Palms grabbed another of this site’s feature spots for their dark, insistent “Sun Drips“. It’s astonishing how much the band’s grown in that time and Heavy Paranoia is concrete proof of their accelerated sense of artistry. From the onset, Heavy Paranoia ably demonstrates the band’s creative expanse with the towering “Collar Bone”. Riding the crest of a monstrous wave of hooks, sharp riffing, and a cold atmosphere that’s — somehow — conjured up by almost exclusively warm tones, “Collar Bone” immediately becomes distinctive and sets a ridiculously gripping precedent for the quartet of tracks to follow.

“Holiday” and “Frequencies” both hurtle along at a quick pace that still allows Fake Palms to establish a sense of expanse. Both tracks are perfect examples of the band’s acute awareness of dynamic structure, successfully playing several angles in one fell swoop. Whether it’s to create a sense of mild discord through committing to figures designed to emphasize ambient effect rather than melody or in shifting the tonal qualities of their tracks, every idea works beautifully. Importantly, the band also expertly navigates the pacing of Heavy Paranoia, lending it a feel of completion that few EP’s have managed to achieve.

By the time Heavy Paranoia‘s closing track hits, Fake Palms have already secured the EP the distinction of being the best release of their career. Fortunately, that last track, “Snowblink”, only solidifies that distinction. As characteristically spare and relentless as the preceding songs on this miniature post-punk masterpiece, “Snowblink” does eventually hit an enormous, sprawling moment that serves as the climactic final sequence of both the song and the EP. Those final three minutes are the most exhilarating of a release that’s never anything less than arresting and ensure that Heavy Paranoia‘s a release worth remembering.

Listen to Heavy Paranoia below and pre-order the EP here.

Weaves – Tick (Music Video)

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Weaves were a focal part of most of this site’s coverage this week, so running yet another feature on the band may seem predictable but it’s entirely earned. Their latest music video, for the excellent album opener “Tick”, is a perfect representation of the exhilaration that Weaves so effortlessly generates. “Tick” was one of a handful of intriguing music videos to surface over the past 24 hours, a list that also boasts new material from The So So Glos, Melkbelly, Thrushes, Billie Marten, and Parakeet. Natural Child, The Hecks, CC Mose, Johanna Samuels, Adam Olenius, and The Saxophones all offered up strong new songs while DentistLake Ruth, Pink Mexico, Show Me The Body, and The Guests all unveiled explosive full streams. Additionally, there was a two-song preview of the Husband Stitch’s upcoming self-titled EP and an important compilation from SRB Productions entitled Forever Beautiful: A Collection of Love for Orlando with all proceeds going towards the victims of the tragic events that transpired at Pulse earlier this week.

Each of those endeavors are worth undertaking (and, again, that compilation is both deeply important and frustratingly necessary) but in terms of new releases, this week belonged to Weaves. The band’s been on an incendiary tear recently, highlighting their run with the reveal of their extraordinary full-length debut.  Now, they’re taking on the music video game with a clear-eyed ferocity and a surplus of focused determination. Opening with a tongue-in-cheek commentary on middle-aged malaise, “Tick” quickly ricochets into the artful weirdness that permeates throughout nearly every facet of Weaves’ outsize aesthetic.

“Tick” immediately kicks into full gear following the humorously droll introduction, with the song quite literally following the protagonist’s every move. Eye-grabbing visualizations propel the clip to absurd heights as it careens along, providing both absurdist tendencies and subtle, pointed commentary in spades. The whole thing is a massively entertaining thrill ride that recklessly careens along from start to finish, allowing its own substantial momentum to be its definitive trait. Most importantly, every aspect of “Tick” scans as truthful, imbuing the clip with a refreshing dose of unapologetic reality; people are weird, inherently lonely, and entirely capable of creating an environment that suits their most immediate emotional needs.

In the end, “Tick” stands as a testament to perseverance. Heartfelt, painfully honest, and equipped with a formidable bite, “Tick” also stands as a prime example of what can be achieved within the confines of the music video format. A beautiful accompaniment to one of the year’s most astonishing debuts, “Tick” finds the band continuing on an astounding level of near-perfection. Give it a watch (or several) and do something that feels necessary.

Watch “Tick” below and pick up a copy of Weaves here.

Weaves – Weaves (Album Review)

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2016 has been unbelievably kind in its production of legitimately great albums, EP’s, amd demos. Roughly halfway into the year and there are already well over two dozen legitimate Album of the Year contenders alone. Unsurprisingly, even more great full streams keep surfacing. While not all of these are quite at that year-end level, there were several deserving titles that were unveiled over the past 24 hours from the likes of G.L.O.S.S., Small Culture, Exam Season, and No Friends’ fourth Flexi compilation, while another curiosity arrived in the form of Marge’s three-track teaser for Bruise Easy. One of the day strongest standouts came from site favorites Weaves.

As was recently mentioned in the last Watch This entry, Weaves have been on an absolute tear since releasing the pointed, lived-in basement pop stomper “Shithole“. The band seemed to his a stretch of galvanization and poured a wealth of creative energy into their material, enhancing an already outsize persona with vigor and aplomb. After a few promising early releases, the band seemed to latch onto an identity and draw strength from their own discoveries. Emboldened by their own artistic growth, Weaves illustrates just how much fire the band has in its ribs.

From the sudden squall that opens “Tick”, Weaves‘ volatile opening track, the band never really eases off the gas pedal. This is, unmistakably, one of 2016’s wildest, boldest, and most invigorating releases. Teeming with an outsize persona and a frightening excess of energy, the band imbues the 11 tracks up for offer on Weaves with an abundance of genuine feeling. No punches are pulled and each blow lands with the force of an anvil. Bolstered by frenetic guitar work, the compelling narratives and vocal fireworks of Jasmyn Burke, and an almost frighteningly intuitive togetherness, Weaves‘ first section threatens to derail the entire affair.

Fortunately, Weaves have been perfecting just about everything in their arsenal, from production tricks to pacing, and the results aren’t just showing, they’re flashing two more rows of sharpened teeth; this is a record that runs deep. When “Shithole” — one of last year’s finest songs — finally hits, the song nearly becomes a reprieve. Scaling back the tempo, Burke’s honesty gains even more impact as the band conjures up the kind of reassuring bed of noise that elevates every word. “Eagle” follows suit, allowing Weaves to coast on the momentum they generated with the opening run of tracks while still expanding the record’s intrigue.

Weaves start waving their freak flag higher and more proudly in the record’s back half, though the prominence of that act never quite hits the exhilarating peaks produced by the brilliant back-to-back pairing of “Two Oceans” and “Human”. Following a sequence that staggering would seem nearly impossible for just about any other band but it ultimately opens up what Weaves can do with the record’s closing third, an opportunity they seize with a gleeful relish. Two 2016 highlights — “Coo Coo” and “One More” — enliven the home stretch but don’t necessarily establish themselves as the section’s definitive numbers.

It’s in that final sequence where Weaves cement that their self-titled effort was concocted as a well-thought whole; Weaves is a classic example of a genuine album. In a few years, Weaves may also genuinely come to be considered a classic album. The final piece to the puzzle that should help ensure its legacy is the placement of the record’s most explosive moment (“One More”, a no-brainer selection for one of the 50 Best Songs of 2016’s First Quarter compilation) with its most beautiful piece.

“Stress”, Weaves‘ finale, is nothing short of breathtaking. Tranquil, oddly moving, and quietly propulsive, “Stress” fully demonstrates just how far Weaves have come since their modest beginnings. Gentle melodies, well-placed stabs of feedback, and the kind of contemplative calm that descends after a vicious storm are underscored for the duration of “Stress”, allowing the band to seamlessly merge the sensibilities that frequently accompany both finale and epilogue. It’s a haunting number that provides Weaves with an unforgettable finish, solidifying its status as one of the stronger records this decade.

It’s not just that no one does what Weaves are doing as well as they do, it’s that no one else is even making an attempt. Should Weaves inspire some attempts at this particular eclectic blend of songwriting styles, genres, and cornerstones, this record will retain — and most likely remain in — a position as the gold standard. Grab onto something close and hold on tightly because Weaves is an unpredictable, exhilarating, and ultimately deeply satisfying thrill ride that knows no borders or boundaries. Greet it with an anxious smile and give in to its myriad charms.

Listen to Weaves below and pick it up from Kanine here.

Twist – Soaked (Stream)

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Editor’s Note: There’s been a month-long gap in coverage, thanks to near-incessant travel and other extenuating circumstances. The following run of posts that contain this note will be posts that should have appeared sometime within the past several weeks. Use these posts as an opportunity to catch up to the present release cycle or to simply discover some new music. Either way, enjoy.

Buzz Records’ newest signee, Twist, came charging out of the gate just a few days ago with the surging “Soaked”. The surf-tinged basement pop number comes packed with plenty of punk bite and spells out in plain letters exactly why Buzz took interest in the first place; “Soaked” is of an exceptionally high standard and marries a twinge of noisy dissonance with a formidable, melodic core. Where it sets itself apart is in its retro-leaning pop sensibilities.

Taking an impressive amount of cues from the pop music of the 50’s and 60’s, “Soaked” finds intriguing ways to update those influences into something more identifiably modern. Utilizing subtle touches like the bell arrangements and a quasi-industrial percussion section to carve out its own place among a very crowded field, “Soaked” succeeds effortlessly as a welcoming introductory piece to a new artist that should, hopefully, be receiving a considerable amount of attention.

Sunny, battered, and tenacious in its determination, “Soaked” winds up coming across as something resembling a mission statement for Twist. If the project lives up to this glimpse at the future, then this entry will be far from the last time a Twist song appears in a featured slot on this site.  

Listen to “Soaked” below and pick up the digital single from Buzz here.

Greys – Outer Heaven (Album Review)

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Editor’s Note: There’s been a month-long gap in coverage, thanks to near-incessant travel and other extenuating circumstances. The following run of posts that contain this note will be posts that should have appeared sometime within the past several weeks. Use these posts as an opportunity to catch up to the present release cycle or to simply discover some new music. Either way, enjoy.

Ever since their emergence, Greys have held a spot as a site favorite. Whether it was their incendiary live performances, thought-provoking music videos, or their intelligent-but-immediate approach to noise-punk, the quartet always found a way to make a lasting impression. Last month, they unveiled the next extraordinary step of their ongoing evolution: their latest full-length, Outer Heaven.

In past interviews, guitarist/vocalist and principal songwriter Shehzaad Jiwani has stated that Greys attempt to subvert the populist approach to noise-punk by placing the majority of the melodic emphasis on the instrumental portions and the majority of the dissonance in the vocal melodies. While that holds true for much of Outer Heaven, it’s easy to hear the two beginning to be pulled towards a more neutral marriage that ultimately propels the songs to even greater heights.

After a string of deliriously frantic singles, EP’s, and records, the band’s also more fully embracing a brave experimentation that sees them pushing their own tendencies in fascinating new directions. Whether it’s via simple production tricks like the vocal warping in “No Star” or the gentle, almost ballad-like qualities that they sporadically imbue into tracks like the psych-influenced “Erosion”.

By the time Outer Heaven‘s most jarring 1-2 punch hits (the frighteningly explosive “Sorcerer” and the record’s hazy final track, “My Life As A Cloud”), Greys have made it abundantly clear that this is a landmark release. Easily one of the year’s most fascinating releases to date, Outer Heaven is an important piece for Greys’ own progression and a listen that dares to be challenging. A singular listen from an unexpected source, this is a sharp record that fully rewards investment.

Listen to Outer Heaven below and pick it up from Carpark here.

2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Amanda Dissinger)

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Photograph by Dean Stafford

I don’t actually remember how I first met Amanda Dissinger but I’ve become increasingly grateful for that moment. Ever since that initial introduction, she’s been ceaselessly supportive of just about everything I’ve decided to do and has been a constant voice of reason. It’s why whenever I travel, I take the gorgeous collection of poetry she released last year, This Is How I Will Tell You I Love You, with me as a road companion. We call each other “the best” in an eternal loop with no trace of irony. If she sends me a promotional email for one of the several artists she does publicity for at Terrorbird Media, there’s a decent chance it’ll just devolve into a long string of short email blasts about what’s happening in our lives. For a very brief time, we shared door duties at Baby’s All Right and allowed ourselves to be inspired by the surroundings it offered. Not just one of my favorite authors but one of my absolute favorite people, it’s an honor to be hosting her writing on this site. Below, she tackles a night with Dilly Dally and Julien Baker that rekindled her love for the city where she resides. Read it below and then find a reason to celebrate your own surroundings.

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2015 was a weird year for me. I wrote a book, fell in love, moved to a new apartment, recovered from a weird mysterious muscle illness, and got to work with many rad bands in my full time job. I made new friends, I lost friends, I traveled all over the country, etc. etc. Though it may sound cliché, music is mostly what got me through it all. This year, I got to see some of my very favorite acts in the whole world- from my high school loves Death Cab for Cutie, new favorites like Weaves, and dozens of amazing bands that I do press for from Heaters to Total Makeover to Keeps, and friends’ bands like Big Ups and Charly Bliss.

I got to travel to Toronto for NXNE (by myself) and become immersed in the awesome scene there that’s spearheaded by the amazing Buzz Records and bands like Odonis Odonis, Greys, and Dilly Dally (more on them later). I went with coworkers to Raleigh, NC for Hopscotch Festival and while I had no expectations going in about the town, I became enamored with it, and with its diverse venues and friendly natives. I fell head over heels for Austin, TX and the lively music scene there, encouraged by my boyfriend, a wonderful musician, and the venues he frequents- Cheer Up Charlies, The Mohawk, and Barbarella (for dancing to ’80s music only).

However, this year in music can be best summed up by one cold night in November, when I got to see two of my favorite new artists perform in a back-to-back marathon concert night. In 2015, all of my favorite albums were released by females or female-fronted bands. I loved Carly Rae Jepsen’s whimsical Emotion, the ass-kicking albums by Bully, All Dogs, and Hop Along, and the catchy-as-hell releases from Bad Bad Hats and Laura Stevenson. Above all though, two albums that represented the polarity of my feelings — and the two that I loved the most — were Julien Baker’s Sprained Ankle (representing my vulnerable, emotional and nostalgic self) and Dilly Dally’s blistering, raucous Sore, showcasing the assertive, in-your-face person that I aspire to be.

Miraculously, I got to see four of the artists that made my favorite albums in one week in November in a way that only New York sometimes operates- Tuesday: Bad Bad Hats at Baby’s All Right, Wednesday: Carly Rae Jepsen at Irving Plaza, and Saturday: Dilly Dally at Baby’s, followed by Julien Baker at Mercury Lounge. Though I was recovering from a gnarly cold that week, I still absolutely 100% needed to run around like a chicken with my head cut off and see both of these artists responsible for music that touched me so deeply.

Before that night, I had seen Dilly Dally about three times since 2013. My friends in Toronto who run the aforementioned Buzz Records release constantly hypnotizing and brave music from incredible bands (like all the ones I mentioned above- Weaves, Greys, Odonis and Odonis, as well as bands like The Beverleys, HSY, and so many more). They are all smart, incredibly nice and wonderful people. They’re also my favorite label and everything they touch turns to gold.

By now most people have heard the thrilling ’90s tinged Sore, and I’ve probably listened to it about 1000 times since its release in October. I was thrilled to see a headlining set from them after the album release, especially since I only caught a bit of them at CMJ at like 1am at Santos Party House. At Baby’s, they were at their best, impressing the really large and enthralled crowd who packed the small, sweaty room to hear melodic yet hard-edged tracks like “Green” (one of my favorites since their 7” of it), the pulsating “Desire”, and “Purple Rage”.

I caught most of their set and hopped over on the train with a few people I ran into at the show to see Julien Baker, whose album absolutely devastated me like nothing else I can remember, both on first listen and the many subsequent listens. Singing about addiction, heartbreak, and loneliness, Sprained Ankle stops you in your tracks- after I heard the whole thing in mid-October, I couldn’t listen to anything else.

Once Baker started her set at Mercury Lounge that night, the crowd went so silent that you could hear a feather drop in the room. Her songs were filled with lust and love and memories and I stopped breathing, I’m sure. Her songs are meandering and honest and fearless. In one of my favorites, “Everybody Does”, she sings “you’re gonna run/it’s alright everybody does/you’re gonna run when you find out who I am.” Though her set was too short, I was already 100% certain that everyone I know needed to see her live and hear her album and I am 100% certain that her performance broke my heart.

While it’s a bit sappy, the night reminded me of the reason why I moved to New York. Though I’m still relatively young, I recently lost interest in going out as much as I did when I was 19 or 20 and hopping to two or three shows a night. I felt alienated from the crowd and from the people around me, people who I used to be friends with and see all the time. Before that night, I would go out, stay at a show for an hour or so and immediately go home, lonely and disinterested.

That night in November reminded me of why New York can be so magical, and it gave me something I really needed. It made me realize that sometimes cool things don’t have to be terrible, and sometimes things can change, and the music, the people, and you can all be better than ever.

-Amanda Dissinger