Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Disgraceland

Watch This: Vol. 28

Getting Watch This back on pace, admittedly, has been a bit of a struggle. The reasons for this have been exhaustively detailed over the last few but it’s still gratifying to know that consistency is within reach. This will (hopefully) be the last delayed Watch This for quite some time, as it brings the series back to its normal rotation. The series wouldn’t be where it is without some astoundingly great live captures and performances, though, and this 28th installment is no exception. Ranging from old favorites to newcomers to an encore performance from the band that capped off Vol. 27 in a searing blaze, this entry just feels right. So, sit down, relax, take a bite of a vegan-friendly muffin, and Watch This.

1. Emilyn Brodsky – Someone Belongs Here (TCGS)

There are certain artists that can feel like a refreshing breeze rolling off some unnamed ocean and Emilyn Brodsky is one of them. Here, Brodsky takes her ukelele, considerable lyrical talents, and an enviably arresting voice to The Chris Gethard Show for a performance of “Someone Belongs Here”. Apart from not falling neatly into any genre, it’s a powerhouse performance that sees Brodsky adding emphatic exclamation points wherever possible. It’s a startling introduction to an artist that looks to be more than worth keeping up with.

2. Vertical Scratchers – Break the Truth (The Mug and Brush Sessions)

2014’s only half over but it’s already packed quite a few pleasant surprises. One of the most notable was the duo Vertical Scratchers, who had an insanely strong pedigree and debuted a record full of gnarled powerpop jams (Daughter of Everything) on Merge. Here, they take to The Mug and Brush Sessions studio to play through a praiseworthy rendition of “Break the Truth”. It’s a great reminder of an astonishingly good record and showcases the band’s admirable chops in their respective roles, more than earning it a rightful spot on this installment of Watch This.

3. The Orwells – Let It Burn (The Live Room)

Now that everyone’s had time to weigh in on Disgraceland, The Orwells’ latest full-length, the attention can be placed back on what they’re best at: performing. While there’s certainly an apathetic, lethargic, and almost nihilistic quality to the performance of “Let It Burn” here, it somehow feeds into the song and winds up making this whole thing almost terrifyingly bleak but utterly compelling. This is the best version of a paradox imaginable.

4. Wish – Nothing to Say (Exclaim!)

Wish have been a fairly difficult band to find great performance footage of but, recently, Exclaim! made that much easier. Here the band showcases their own brand of post-punk and shoegaze marriage with “Nothing to Say”. It’s a fairly gorgeous clip and the band confidently strides their way through the song leaving little doubt that they’re worthy of the acclaim that will no doubt be coming their way.

5. Big Ups (BreakThruRadioTV)

Yes, they get the 5 slot again. Why? Because these guys seriously aren’t fucking around.

Watch This: Vol. 23

Well, it’s certainly been a while since Watch This ran regular non-themed content. As such, there’s quite a bit of ground to cover for this volume, the series’ 23rd installment. This Watch This will feature both the familiar and the fresh; there are old standbys in terms of both bands and outlets and there are a few who have, somewhat inexplicably, never earned a mention on here before. It’s all worth watching and this collection, more than most, is a perfect summation of the type of music this place invests in most. So, sit back, stand up, kneel as if in prayer, assume literally any position- just make sure to Watch This.

1. Ovlov – Where’s My Dini (Elephant Room)

Ovlov’s 2013 record, am, was a nearly unclassifiable triumph. Since then, they’ve managed to grab a lot of people’s attention. This is in part thanks to a ferocious touring schedule that had them playing on stacked bills nearly every night. Through all of that, they’ve only managed to sharpen their craft, perfecting their cinematic shoegaze-heavy 90’s Midwestern-emo rambles. Here, they take to the Little Elephant to perform “Where’s My Dini”. If an introduction piece to the band was needed, it’d be close to impossible to improve on this video.

2. Parquet Courts – Black and White (WNYC)

While this doesn’t have Fred Armisen augmenting their guitar attack, Parquet Courts’ WNYC performance of “Black and White” is as fierce as anything the band’s done. It’s performances like this one that have Sunbathing Animal creeping up on an outside radar. Parquet Courts aren’t messing around. Straight, to the point, almost abrasive in its minimalism yet weirdly cathartic, this is worth a few watches.

3. Jeff Rosenstock – The Trash The Trash The Trash (TCGS)

What is there to be said? Jeff Rosenstock keeps doing things worth writing about. During this particular at-bat, he takes over Don Giovanni comedian Chris Gethard’s show to perform “The Trash The Trash The Trash” before it devolves into complete chant-a-long chaos. It’s a surreal spectacle that has an absolutely incendiary performance at its center. This is the best kind of weird.

4. Kal Marks (BreakThruRadioTV)

Exploding in Sound recently took over BreakThruRadio for a stretch, offering the label a perfect platform to showcase their incredible roster. They wasted no time in getting Boston trio Kal Marks a featured spot on a performance and interview series (in a similar vein to KEXP). It’s a good thing they did, too. Kal Marks is an incredible live act who put out one of 2013’s very best records with their punishing masterwork Life is Murder. Their Serious Business episode is one of the most packed BreakThruRadio has ever done and is well worth carving out some time for.

5. The Orwells – Let It Burn (KEXP)

It’s been a weird road for The Orwells following their infamous Letterman performance. In under five minutes, they became one of the most divisive young punk bands to court that much attention in who knows how long and then kept quiet for a while to let things play out. Now, with their sophomore effort, Disgraceland, nearing its release date, they’ve lined up a string of relatively high-profile stops and, as can be seen here, are making the most of it. If “Let It Burn” is an accurate indicator, they’ve got one hell of a record up their sleeves.