Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Connie Constance

Dark Blue – Delco Runts (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

John Sharkey III once led Puerto Rican Flowers, a band that earned an almost excessively devoted following thanks to a small string of incredible records. The band’s eventual demise was a crippling blow but opened up the floor for new opportunities, one of which was quickly seized and invested in until the project, Dark Blue, began accruing an impassioned following of its own. Last year, the band put out the monumental Pure Reality, which was highlighted by songs like the brilliant “Here On My Street” which incorporated a greater emphasis on Sharkey’s formidable pop sensibilities.

In January the band will be returning with Vicious Romance b/w Delco Runts, a 7″ that recently got off to an extremely promising start with the record’s driving B-side. “Delco Runts” sees the trio continuing to expand their more pop-leaning influences without ever sacrificing their post-punk roots. Damaged, romantic, and wide-eyed, “Delco Runts” is a bruiser with a backwards grin, dissecting moments of youth with all the panache of the best tragicomedies. Eventually, “Delco Runts” builds itself into a heartbreaking conclusion that feels lived-in and brutally honest before dropping into a mournful outro section that lends the song some additional emotional weight, ensuring the song a valued place in what’s shaping up to be a formidable discography.

Listen to “Delco Runts” below and pre-order Vicious Romance b/w Delco Runts here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Royal Brat – Shadethrower
Francis – Follow Me Home
Nathaniel Bellows – Oh, Now
Connie Constance – Answer
Cian Nugent – Things Don’t Change That Fast
Deleter – Seclusion
The Missendens – Rolling Start
Mount Moriah – Cardinal Collector
Crescendo – Repulsor
jj – Paranoid
Fews – The Zoo
Tangerine – Tender
Kiska – Long Divide
Butchers Blind – Black & White Dreams
Total Abuse – DNA Evidence
Bianca Casady – Poor Deal
Barren Womb – White Raven
High Highs – Cascades
The Secret Storm – The Dragon
Palm – Doggy Doctor
Val Hollie – Stepping Outside

Saintseneca – Sleeper Hold (Stream, Live Video)

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Now that we’re nearing the final quarter of the year, the already-stacked release schedules are starting to get even more dense as a lot of bands and labels make power play bids for album of the year consideration. One of the titles slated for that wave of new material is Saintseneca‘s just-announced Such Things, an announcement which came with an accompanying single: “Sleeper Hold”. Before getting around to that song, though, it’s worth taking a step back to cover a handful of other notable releases that are well worth your attention.

For single streams, there was Dogs On Acid‘s shape-shifting “Ideal Decanter“, Atlantic Thrills’ surf-indebted (and retro-leaning) basement pop highlight “Bed Bugs“, Connie Constance’s glitchy, slow-burning “Euphoric“, Orchid Mantis’ tantalizing “It Was Gone“, and Century Thief’s slowly unfurling “Pillar“. Additionally, there were outstanding new songs from the likes of Swings, Funeral Advantage, Promised Land Sound, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and Sea Lion. Full streams, while not even close to matching the numbers of the single streams, unearthed one of the year’s best albums in Pleasure LeftistsThe Woods of Heaven and another beautiful full-length in Totally Mild’s Down Time. Sleepy’s extraordinary self-titled EP (another potential year-end contender) rounded the category out with style. Two music videos- Ali Barter’s “Hypercolour” and Valley Maker’s “Only Friend“- made sure that the visual format was very well represented.

Back to the feature: Saintseneca’s latest, “Sleeper Hold”, an even punchier take on the band’s Appalachian folk than anything found on their last record, the exemplary Dark Arc. Having just seen the band take apart Baby’s All Right a little over a week ago, the new material that was played live has been resonating for a short while. “Sleeper Hold”, the lead-off single to the band’s forthcoming Such Things, capitalizes on that resonance by virtue of strength and polish. Immediately employing the under-utilized and extremely effective dynamic of a back-and-forth vocal lead between the band’s two primary voices (those of Zac Little and Maryn Jones), “Sleeper Hold” strikes a refreshingly bold look for the band.

All of the hallmarks that made their previous work so compelling are still firmly in tact, from the smart compositions to Little’s twisted, hyper-literary wordplay. Some of the surprising amount of weight to be found on “Sleeper Hold” is due to the conceptual design of Such Things, which largely grapples with the purposefulness of existence. “Sleeper Hold”, in particular, is about the designs of perception and consciousness. For such heavy material, the music itself is impossibly light, buoyant, and deceptively carefree. Every element of “Sleeper Hold” works incredibly well and reaffirms Saintseneca’s status as one of today’s finest acts. Propulsive, smart, and irresistible, “Sleeper Hold” is the perfectly crafted warning shot of what promises to be one of this year’s finest albums.    

Listen to “Sleeper Hold” below and pre-order Such Things from ANTI- ahead of its release date here. Underneath the player, watch a recent video of the band performing the song at Baby’s All Right.