Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Cops Don’t Care Pt. II

Fraser A. Gorman – Shiny Gun (Music Video)

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After two consecutive clips dealing with extremely heavy subject matter, switching focus to much lighter fare almost seems necessary. Before getting into the carefree fun-fest that is Fraser A. Gorman’s latest clip for “Shiny Gun”, there will be one last video round-up to get the coverage of the format caught back up to the present release cycle. Heartless Bastards unveiled their confrontational “Gates of Dawn“, Angelic Milk went the irreverent effects route for “IDK How“, Fred Thomas indulged in some light masochism for “Cops Don’t Care, Pt. II“, Leon Bridges furthered his throwback aesthetic with “Better Man“, Elisa Ambrogio tapped into a deeply moving wistfulness through “Arkansas“, Vince Staples flexed some serious artistic muscle with the arresting “Señorita“, and Glockabelle’s immensely lovable 8-bit lunacy intensified with “Wolf BBQ“. All seven clips deserve a few run-throughs and quite a bit of attention. Of course, so does Fraser A. Gorman’s “Shiny Gun”, which is why it wound up as this post’s headline selection.

After some humorous text-only exposition- over some tongue-in-cheek broadcast music- about news anchors getting fired for unprofessional behavior (and then starting a band), “Shiny Gun” takes us back to that final, fateful day in the studio. What follows is an absurd collection of non-responses after a bevvy of failed studio re-direct attempts, with a cast of misfit anchors (including site favorite Courtney Barnett) doing an abysmal job at their actual job, completely ignoring everything and looking miserable in the process. That sense of downtrodden misery carries throughout the black-and-white broadcast, that is, until someone shows up with some guitars. After the first hand-off results in a twangy solo (cue Gorman’s enthused “Deep!”), the whole thing switches back over to technicolor as the studio side anchors get to shed their shackles cut loose as Gorman’s “Shiny Gun” (which is the closest thing I’ve heard to someone accurately emulating The Band in ages) takes them home. It’s one of the more joyous, deadpan clips to emerge from this year and it certainly bodes well for Gorman’s upcoming Slow Gum (which is being released on Courtney Barnett’s own Milk! Records label), which is sounding more promising by the minute. If you were looking for something enjoyably simplistic and carefree to unwind with tonight, you’ve just struck gold.

Watch “Shiny Gun” below and pre-order Slow Gum, which will be available via Milk! in Australia, House Anxiety/Marathon Artists in the UK,  here.

Watch This: 2015, Vol. 3

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Over the past few days, this site’s been running a campaign to get one of its most important cornerstones back. When the Watch This series was first brought into existence, it was done out of admiration- but also frustration. For whatever reason, great live footage never quite gets its due. Outside of rare exceptions (Scorsese’s The Last Waltz comes to mind), it’s an overlooked format. Reduced to miniature, it has an almost non-existent footprint. Yet, the very best of these clips hinge on the abilities of both filmmaker(s) and the central subject and are treasured fiercely by the people invested in either side. There’s a common ground between film and music that these clips manage to accentuate and exploit when they’re operating at their highest level, they represent multimedia formatting at its finest. Watch This was designed to amend the medium’s inexplicable reduction, Every Sunday, the installment would feature five of the strongest live clips of the week in some small effort to amend the egregious exclusion of a central focus for live footage.

Since 2015 started, like everything else, I’ve been amassing a list of some of the strongest entries in this category and this post marks the last of the trilogy making up the 15 or so weeks that made up 2015’s first quarter. There’s a heavy emphasis on interview-heavy clips and full sets, with healthy numbers for KEXP, BreakThruRadio, and Pitchfork. DIY culture is mostly fully embedded in Pupppy’s set at the endearingly named Dong Island and the whole playlist is bookended by two of the finest live videos of the year. Each of those two clips comes courtesy of NPR, with a full Sleater-Kinney set providing an exhilarating opening and a devastating Torres lullaby clip bringing the proceedings to a hushed, haunting close. Regular Watch This will resume on Sunday and continue weekly. Now, the video player below contains hours worth of material so it’s not something that’s probably going to be watched start-to-finish- but it can certainly be bookmarked and all of it is worth seeing (and, just as importantly, hearing). So, with all that mind, sit back, crank the volume, take a drink, settle in, and Watch This.

1. Sleater-Kinney (NPR)
2. Bully – Trying (Pitchfork)
3. Mike Pace and the Child Actors (TCGS)
4. Fred Thomas (BreakThruRadio)
5. Swervedriver – Autodidact (KEXP)
6. Menace Beach (3voor12)
7. Waxahatchee – Coast to Coast (Pitchfork)
8. Literature (BreakThruRadio)
9. Fat Supper – Mind Your Head #14 (MOWNO)
10. Francisco The Man (KEXP)
11. Nots (BreakThruRadio)
12. Title Fight – Mrahc (Pitchfork)
13. White Reaper – The Cut (BreakThruRadio)
14. GRMLN – Night Racer (Amoeba)
15. Girl Band (KEXP)
16. METZ – Nervous System (Pitchfork)
17. Popstrangers (BreakThruRadio)
18. Laura Stevenson – Bells And Whistles (Space Jam Sessions)
19. Jenny Lewis – Just One of the Guys (Jimmy Kimmel Live)
20. Strand of Oaks – For Me (Amoeba)
21. Pupppy (Dong Island)
22. Krill – Foot (WKNC)
23. Museum Mouth (WKNC)
24. La Luz – Call Me In The Day (KEXP)
25. Torres – A Proper Polish Welcome (NPR)

Fred Thomas – Every Song Sung To A Dog (Stream)

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Impending; explicit; implicit. These are the three levels of loss that this run’s designed to cover. Two nights ago, we bid adieu to Geronimo!, a band that meant a great deal to this site. It was a difficult goodbye but one that the band had earned- they’d done all they could during their time. This post centers more directly on the subject of death by way of former Saturday Looks Good to Me vocalist Fred Thomas‘ devastating eulogy to Kuma, a dog that Thomas had loved and taken care of in years prior. Eschewing any semblance of esoteric language or sideways glances to deliver a profoundly direct statement on the harsh nature of mortality, Thomas lands one punishing lyrical blow after another, before finally twisting the knife with a question as simple as “Is this it?”.

All of Thomas’ incisive lyrical work is propelled by the bed it dances on; a manic, melancholic tapestry of instruments intent on battling each other into a comfortable coexistence. A line on keys sets the driving melody, which is doubled by the bruising hook of “even with all this ridiculous talking”, while treble-heavy guitars lend the song a gently sorrowful atmosphere. A brass section elevates the song’s mournful qualities further still, even as it threatens to topple itself over; an instrumental mirror of the confusion, sadness, anger, and frustration so present in Thomas’ lyrics. When Thomas finally arrives at the song’s voyeuristic title, it’s tough not to break: the pain in those moments is so direct and real it’s next to impossible to come back to the real world without taking a moment to gather some composure.

As of now, the record that “Every Song Sung To A Dog” is taken from- All Are Saved (due out via Polyvinyl on April 7)- seems to be shaping up into a full-fledged contender for Album of the Year. While “Every Song Sung To A Dog” can easily be added to the greatest animal-driven narrative moments in contemporary pop culture, it’s also easily added into the conversation circling the best songs of the decade. In stripping away all forms of pretense and confronting the death of a loved one by diving into it headfirst, Thomas has created something bravely vulnerable and powerfully moving; this is music to honor by reciprocating its inherent virtues: celebration, respect, and love. Simply put, “Every Song Sung To A Dog” is unforgettable.

Listen to “Every Song Sung To A Dog” below and pre-order All Are Saved from Polyvinyl here.