Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: EP of the Year candidate

don’t – forget it (EP Review)

dont

July’s continued to bring out quality full streams in full force and the last few days of this week were no exception, bringing about worthy titles from Pre Nup, Yeesh, and The Saxophones as well as a Disposable America mixtape that’s directing all of the proceeds it earns towards the Pulse Tragedy Community Fund. As always, all of those titles should be more fully explored than time here allows and stand as highly recommended listens. Joining them in that regard is this post’s intended feature, the outstanding debut release from don’t, the cheekily-titled forget it.

Both the pop-punk and bedroom pop genres have been at their absolute best when they’ve proven to be subversive, opting out of merely imitating their expected beats. forget it succeeds in bridging the two genres by virtue of that type of subversion and becomes an unlikely standout in the process. In four short tracks, don’t offer up a variety of familiar points and then sets about demolishing their construction.

Whether it’s the synth that erupts at the chorus of “ambiguous” that transports the song into unexpected territory after a standard pop-punk build or the intense, sharp left forget it takes for its closing ballad, “your head”, that unexpectedly turns over the vocal lead and dramatically altars the momentum of the EP before exploding into a sort of euphoria, the band refuses to cater to an easy or predictable route.

Throughout it all, forget it remains deeply compelling not only by the virtue of its choices but in large part to the purity of the music it offers. Nearly every track’s narrative is populated and defined by some type of longing and elevated by its instrumental explorations. There’s not a moment on forget it that feels anything less than overwhelmingly honest and it draws a considerable amount of power from its sincerity.

In approximately 11 minutes, don’t  go from being an unknown entity to one of 2016’s most exciting — and most promising — new acts. Don’t be surprised to see a quick succession of converts fiercely latching onto the band following this release or to hear their name come up in conversation a lot more readily. With a start this promising, it’s very easy to have a tremendous amount of hope for the future of music. Before that point hits, we should just be grateful to have been gifted such an incredible soundtrack for the ride.

Listen to forget it below and pick it up here.

Yankee Bluff – I (EP Review)

Dogs On Acid II

To close out last week, a variety of great songs got released from the likes of Jeff Rosenstock, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, The Channels, YJY, Morgan Delt, Color Tongue, Pill, Multicult, Alphabetic, dreambeaches, and DYAN. While all of those tracks were certainly worthy of a great deal of attention, this featured spot goes to the surprise debut from Yankee Bluff, a band that was born out of the ashes of site favorites Dogs On Acid (pictured above), who announced both this new project and their end in a recent Facebook post.

While losing Dogs On Acid is tough to swallow, the sudden appearance of Yankee Bluff helps smooth out the transition. Helping matters even further is the fact that their debut EP, I, easily ranks as one of the format’s finest entries of the year. Beginning with “Agessi”, demonstrates the songwriters’ increasing knack for nuanced basement pop and distances them even further from their emo roots.

Anchored by a compellingly battered production aesthetic, everything in comes across as surprisingly grounded without sacrificing some towering pop-leaning hooks. As the EP progresses, a folk undercurrent slowly emerges, recalling some of Tenement‘s more Americana-informed works. By the time hits its halfway point, Yankee Bluff have fully announced themselves as a democratic collective, allowing each member’s respective voice the opportunity to become distinctive, bringing their contemporaries in LVL UP to mind.

There aren’t any weak patches throughout the EP, with each song demonstrating a new angle that Yankee Bluff manages to successfully explore, a trait that will undoubtedly work to their advantage down the line. Whether they’re latched onto the near-anthems that Dogs On Acid cranked out a startling rate or the slow-burning acoustic act that defines the EP’s penultimate track, they also manage to cultivate a singular identity and establish themselves as a very serious force.

Ultimately, stands as an unlikely — and unexpected — triumph. In the wake of losing one of the best bands of the past few years, we’ve been gifted a band that’s very capable of taking up the mantle. is as good of a debut as anyone’s likely to hear this year and opens up the doors for even more impressive material in the coming years.

As Dogs On Acid recedes into the distance, it’ll be incredibly reassuring to have the privilege of watching their spiritual successor keep their flame alive and burning while forging an entirely new path. Even at the start of the party, there’s already an abundance of riches. Pick them up and hold them close, value them with the respect they deserve, and don’t make the mistake of letting them disappear without acknowledgement. After all, nothing lasts forever.

Listen to below and pick it up here.

Plush – Please (EP Review)

plush

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.

Not a long of bands have captured my attention this year as quickly as Plush. “Sheer Power” landed them in this site’s’ 50 Best Songs of 2016’s First Quarter list. Every piece of additional material that’s come out of the band’s camp since the release of that song has proven to be irrepressibly winsome. The quartet takes cues from the best of shoegaze, basement pop, surf, noise, post-punk, and dream-pop to conjure up music that has an inherently majestic sweep.

Each of the five songs that comprise Please, the band’s latest EP, are tinged with some of the characterizing qualities of epics, from the seemingly limitless scope to the penchant to sound as if their music is hopelessly reaching skyward, grasping at impossible boundaries. All five coalesce into a release that occasionally resembles a spiritual journey more than a traditional music release. By the time “Sheer Power”, the EP’s penultimate track, hits its apex, the band’s nearing the transcendent.

“Fixes” provides the EP’s smokey epilogue and ultimately cements its standing as one of 2016’s most extraordinary releases (so far), to the point where predicting Please will surface again in the year-end mentions doesn’t even feel like that bold of a prediction. Please is exceptional in just about every measurable sense and the band executes it flawlessly. Here’s hoping it gets the kind of glowing reception it deserves.   

Listen to Please below and pick up the tape from Father/Daughter here.