Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: EZTV

Rebecca Ryskalczyk – We’re Brothers (Demo Stream)

rebecca

A lot’s happened over the past few days; some coverage has been delayed due to a duo of outstanding live shows. One of those shows (Jason Isbell’s incredible, moving set at Prospect Park earlier tonight) won’t receive a mention on this site beyond what was just written. The other, an intimate all-acoustic rooftop affair spearheaded by site favorite Johanna Warren, will surface in a visual spread sometime in the very near future. With both of those now in the past, it’s time to bring the site back up to the current release cycle.

In the interest of time, the artists that had interesting releases throughout the three main formats (single stream, full stream, and music video) will simply be listed without explanation as to what’s attached to their name. The vast majority of these were released two days ago and all of them are worth the click. Life’s surprising sometimes, so why not embrace the opportunity to provide a low-level risk and high-level payoff? There were the artists responsible for those treasures: Infinity Girl, HSY, O, Rrest, Futurebirds, Slonk Donkerson, Say Hi, Chelsea Wolfe, Steep Leans (x2), Cold Specks, Here We Go Magic, and EZTV.

Today’s feature piece actually comes from a few weeks back but hasn’t really shown up anywhere outside of its own release. It comes from the solo project of Bethlehem Steel‘s driving voice, Rebecca Ryskalcyzk. While the emerging songwriter’s still playing shows with her own vehicle, she’s also generously offering two new songs under her own name. Released under the title We’re Brothers, the pair of songs are arresting bare-bones guitar/vocal demos that have something inherently special happening at their core.

While it’s difficult to describe what exactly that is, it’s painfully obvious when the songs are in motion. “Brain Drugs” starts the small collection off and immediately sets the tone for what’s to follow; haunted, lo-fi, folk-leaning tapestries that seem to be settling in with their own demons rather than pushing for an escape. As mesmerizing as it is downtrodden, “Brain Drugs”- the opening track- is an intensely arresting piece of work that sets up the latter number perfectly (while also recalling, both in style and tone, one of the year’s best covers).

“Other Otters” follows, maintaining the deeply bruised feeling that lent its predecessor an acute sense of devastation. It’s a jarring sequence that drives a knife home in a powerful couplet towards the end: “the less I try/the more I’m terrified”- a perfect summation of a potentially damaging penchant for indecision. Ryskalyczk riddles both songs with a series of gut-punches that seem to be rooted in life’s minutiae while still managing to keep an eye on the big picture. It’s an impressive feat and an even more impressive collection.

Towards the bottom of Ryskalczyk’s bandcamp page that hosts this release, there’s a disclaimer that these songs will be “re-recorded for something more” and when that release rolls around, it’ll likely be worth a slew of purchases. Until they do surface, though, these demos carry more than enough weight to approach an unlikely perfection.

Listen to We’re Brothers below and pick it up over on bandcamp. Keep an eye on this site for more updates on both Ryskalyczk and Bethlehem Steel.

Noun – I’m Afraid of What I’ll Do (Stream)

screamales

The first post today will be dedicated to a slew of yesterday’s outstanding releases and the focus will fall on one that evaded scrutiny by virtue of a very quiet release. Before diving too far into that song, though, it’s worth taking a beat to highlight a few other great pieces of media. Free Cake For Every Creature’s lo-fi visual presentation of “Take On Me” and Jane Weaver’s mesmerizing, animated clip for “Mission Desire” both constituted strong examples of retro-leaning music videos. The full streams colored in a very broad range of punk and punk influence, containing forthcoming releases from the following: Negative Scanner, EZTV, and American Culture.

As usual, the majority of releases where very strong single streams. Knife Pleats brought out a very strong duo of tracks with both “One Step Too Far” and “Terrible”, Dark Palms unleashed the nightmarishly bruising, post-punk ripper “Dead Horse“, and Sleepy indulged their brightest pop sensibilities and blistering aggression simultaneously on the hard-charging “The Ride Up“. Worriers unloaded another brilliant politi-punk anthem with “Yes All Cops“, further suggesting that their upcoming full-length will rank among the year’s very finest releases. Shelf Life’s gently lilting (and gorgeous) “The Curse“, You Beauty.’s driving “ILLYWHACKA“, and DIV I DED’s pop-heavy shoegaze number “Electric Age” rounded the day’s releases out.

Highlighting that batch of new music was an unlikely release, quietly uploaded to bandcamp and announced via Facebook: Noun’s devastatingly beautiful acoustic ballad, “I’m Afraid of What I’ll Do”. At this point, it’s safe to assume a lot more people are familiar with guitarist/vocalist Marissa Paternoster’s work in Screaming Females than they are with either her excellent solo project, Noun, or her (relatively) new ventures in the deliriously spastic Bad Canoes. Throw in Paternoster’s elevating name recognition (and career) as an artist and it’s not surprising that a thing or two loses

The continued success of Screaming Females and the emergence of Bad Canoes seemingly relegated Paternoster’s Noun project to the back-burner but its flame was kept at a stubborn flicker during that time, with hints of a potential future release being unveiled as of late (including both “Far From Me” and “Glass Diamond“). While the live sets are still fairly infrequent, that’s made up for with the strength- and grace- of “I’m Afraid of What I’ll Do”.

Parernoster’s had a tradition of being vulnerable in her prose but it’s rarely been laid as bare or presented as intimately as it is here. A gentle bass hums underneath “I’m Afraid of What I’ll Do” as Paternoster wearily pleads for companionship in a time of desperation. Riveting, haunting, and- ultimately- heartbreaking, “I’m Afraid of What I’ll Do” presents a very strong case for Paternoster as one of this generation’s strongest voices. It’s always worth listening to what that voice has to say.

Listen to “I’m Afraid of What I’ll Do” below and keep an eye on this page for more updates on Noun.

The Hussy – Turning On You (Stream)

the hussy

The Hussy, a Wisconsin mainstay, were part of the very first live review to ever be published on this site. Even before then, the duo held a connection to the site’s archives: one of the first live sets to ever be uploaded to YouTube was one of their very first shows (at the dearly-missed Appleton house venue that was run by members of Tenement, The BFG). Since then, the band’s become a celebrated force in DIY punk and found friends in the likes of Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees, who have championed the band on more than one occasion.

For the past several years, the duo- made up of Bobby Hussy and Heather Sawyer- have managed to sustain a schedule that sees them releasing nearly one full-length for every year, continuously upping their levels of ambition. The band’s upcoming full-length, Galore, was recently unveiled as part of Impose’s excellent Week in Pop series and sees an extension of that pattern. Before the project was revealed in full, the pair offered up their scorched-earth single “Turning On You”.

As manic and urgent as anything in the band’s discography, it immediately showcases the band’s innate charisma and sets about doing its best to destroy everything in its path. As bruising as it is exhilarating, it proves that The Hussy haven’t lost their touch and goes an even longer way in justifying their insanely prolific release schedule. Turn it up or get out of the way; all that’s left in its wake is smoldering wreckage. 

Listen to “Turning On You” below and pick up Galore from Southpaw here.

Veruca Salt – Empty Bottle
Nostalgist – Pull of the Plow
Heaters – Kamikaze
Hurula – Betongbarn
Bilal (ft. Kendrick Lamar) – Money Over Love
Jacob Banks – Grace
EZTV – Soft Tension
Owen Pallett – The Phone Call
Doubting Thomas Cruise Control – Lillehammer
Tearjerker – Perfect