Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Carousel

The Best Records of November 2018

November had a lot of records competing for attention, covering the various different ends of the spectrum. This post is a look back at some of that month’s best offerings, which seems like a worthy venture even with a new year only a few days out. Whether they were compilations or collections of entirely new material, these are records worth hearing. From local artists to retrospectives from genre legends, there’s a lot to digest. As always, each and every one of these titles are titles worth owning. Dive in below.

1. Wooing – The Clouds

A band that’s making some noticeable moves over the back half of the year finally got a chance to truly show off and seized the opportunity with a stylish fervor. Wooing‘s The Clouds is one of the best post-punk-meets-basement-pop 7″ releases of the year. Both sides come laced with a sense of nervous tension that’s embedded into the band’s icy atmospheric sensibility. Quietly thrilling and uniquely enthralling, The Clouds marks a true arrival for a band that’s living up to their potential.

2. The Weasel, Marten Fisher – Real Deal Therapeutic Bullshit

Over the past decade, Colin Bares has released an astonishing wealth of incredible songs through various projects. Good Grief, The Coral Riffs, Mr. Martin & The Sensitive Guys, The Cost of Living, and The Weasel, Marten Fisher have all earned coverage from this site, each tethered in some way to Bares’ unique songwriting sensibilities. Real Deal Therapeutic Bullshit is a compilation of tracks that have been uploaded to soundcloud over the past two years (with a few extra thrown in for good measure) and ably demonstrate Bares’ uncanny ability to acutely plumb the depths of what it is to be human. Whether it’s the melody, composition, lyrics, or vocal delivery, this is music that stays with anyone who has the fortune of listening and definitively stakes a case for Bares as one of the best songwriters operating today.

3. The Marked Men – On the Other Side

There’s a case to be made for The Marked Men as the golden standard for the basement pop genre and that case would only be strengthened by On the Other Side, a compilation of odds and ends that span the band’s career. Even the quartet’s outtakes would put most of the bands molded in their shape to shame. A raucous, jittery, adrenaline-fueled burst of energy, On the Other Side isn’t just a reminder of band’s strength but a statement; The Marked Men’s legacy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

4. Fog Lake – carousel

Shortly after releasing one of this year’s best records, Fog Lake returned with the carousel EP. A fascinating curio that flaunts an incredibly unexpected but entirely welcome ’50s pop influence. As is the case with the best Fog Lake works, carousel is playful, compelling, and haunting in equal measure. Where carousel becomes a singular work is in the commitment, presenting a complex vision that operates as if it’s an artifact that’s out of time. Transfixing and lovely, carousel puts a bow on a breakout year for a worthy artist.

5. Rick Rude – Verb For Dreaming

Rick Rude are a band that’s never received the recognition for their work that its strength warrants. Even with that being the case, the band’s giving that untapped audience every chance to latch on, having released a great record a year since 2016, each of them topping the last. Verb For Dreaming is the band’s new career high, an 11-song explosion of inventive, knotty basement punk. A tremendous effort from an incredible band.

6. Washer / Bethlehem Steel – Split

Exploding In Sound has been an inspiring source of consistency for many, many years and hasn’t showed any signs of wear. A split release between two of the roster’s finest acts, Washer and Bethlehem Steel only reinforces the label’s status. Washer‘s “Super Pop” kicks things off and rank’s among the duo’s best tracks, while Bethlehem Steel contributes a powerhouse from their end with “Fake Sweater”. Each band takes a turn covering each other, making this an indispensable capsule for any fan of the label or either band.

7. The Magic Lantern – To The Islands

Last year, “Holding Hands” provided one of the most breathtaking listening experiences of that time. Devastatingly tender and abundantly warm, the track served as an introduction-at-large to The Magic Lantern. “Holding Hands” acts as the album opener on the project’s newest record, the beautiful To The Islands. A spellbinding run through memorable melodies and narratives, To The Islands is the fullest realization of Jamie Doe’s artistic vision to date. A sublime work from start to finish, To The Islands is a record that’s easy to take in but impossible to shake.

8. Hutch Harris – Only Water

The Thermals announced their departure earlier this year but it only took the band’s guitarist/vocalist Hutch Harris a few months after the announcement to release a new record as a solo act. Only Water isn’t as brazen or as confrontational as any of The Thermals’ work but does allow Harris to explore from a more overtly introspective angle. Only Water operates at a slower tempo but Harris’ knack for intuitive narrative structures holds strong, making Only Water an essential record for anyone still heartbroken over the departure of Harris’ old flagship act.

9. Ellis – The Fuzz

Ellis has making semi-frequent appearances in this site’s coverage leading up to The Fuzz and now that the record’s finally here, that attention feels justified. A confident, mesmeric presentation of wintry atmospherics, bruising, introspective narratives, and startling dynamic, The Fuzz posits Ellis as a major voice. From dream-pop-tinted opener “The Drain” onward, The Fuzz sees Ellis in a loosely experimental mode that leads to the songwriter’s most memorable work, frequently yielding moments of unassuming brilliance. The Fuzz is a bold statement from an artist that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Heavy Pockets – (Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys (Stream)

heavy pockets

This week got off to a strong start with impressive new tracks from Communist Daughter, Lost Boy ?, Emma Ruth Rundle, Boy Scouts, Goon, Lee Fields & the Expressions, The Royal They, Mono, Cyrus Gengras, and Itasca. On top of that haul, there were also memorable music videos from the likes of Furnsss (who nearly grabbed this post’s featured spot), Ultimate Painting, Berwanger, WL, No One Mind, Cold Cave, and Kissing Is A Crime. Full streams from Ceres and Chook Races as well as summer snacks, an incredible compilation from Deli Cat Records topped everything off with effortless panache.

Today’s feature falls to the emergent Heavy Pockets, who just provided a glimpse at their forthcoming Mopeless with the extraordinary “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys”. In less than twenty seconds, the band manages to assert a considerable amount of power and echo the very best of the enviable Salinas roster (Swearin’, Radiator Hospital, All Dogs, etc.) while establishing their own identity.

Immediate, accessible, and a perfect example of how basement pop and punk leanings can elevate each other, “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” is a surging tide of adrenaline that’s hell-bent on washing over everything in its path. It’s dynamic and there’s a plethora of memorable hooks, which can typically be easy outs and lead to a lack of substance. That’s not the case here, as “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” is anchored by an unflinchingly personal narrative that takes exception to infuriatingly pointless societal pressures.In just under three minutes, Heavy Pockets conjure up something that manages to be both outwardly aggressive and surprisingly intimate, making use of its cleverness in the process.

Leading the rollout campaign for the band’s forthcoming Mopeless, “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” stands as an extremely promising look at the creative space Heavy Pockets are currently occupying. From start to finish, “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” is a joy. Should the rest of Mopeless measure up to the track that’s leading the charge, Heavy Pockets may have a sleeper hit on their hands. All that’s left at this point is to hope that’s the case, wait patiently for the outcome, and keep hitting repeat on one of this summer’s loveliest offerings.

Listen to “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Mopeless.