Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Far From Home

Seven Weeks, Seven Records

Saintseneca X

In a very short (and recent) stretch Freddy Beach, Spencer Tweedy, Chase Allen, Super Paradise, and Sallow have all unveiled strong records. Those records served as the tip of a mountain that had been building over the past two months. Below are seven of the absolute strongest records to have found release in the past seven weeks. Strong debuts, mesmerizing EP’s, and releases that reaffirm great bands’ solid reputations, there’s a little something for every corner.

Hellrazor – Satan Smile

Barbed basement pop will always be celebrated on Heartbreaking Bravery and it’s no mistake that Hellrazor is a name that’s been printed in these confines multiple times. That said, the Michael Falcone-led project has never sounded sharper than they do on Satan Smile, a blistering tour de force that fully commits to an overwhelmingly aggressive nature to spectacular effect. Dirtied up, deeply felt, and intelligently crafted, the 14 tracks that comprise Satan Smile never waver in their tenacity and elevate the record to one o the year’s best.

Phyllis Ophelia – Analemma I

For several years, Phyllis Ophelia has been releasing extraordinary, albeit relatively unassuming, material. 2016 saw Ophelia hit a new high with Catbus’ incredible “Fracas” and complements that career highlight to an exhilarating degree with the Analemma I EP. Each one of the four tracks  on Analemma I is a breathtaking highlight, marking Ophelia as one of today’s stronger emerging songwriters. It’s a relatively relaxed listen but it still packs several punches and provides just as many thrills. Make sure to give it the attention it deserves.

Holy Tunics – Hot to Trot

An upstart band with a serious pedigree (two of the members are perennial site favorite Davey Jones, the mastermind behind Lost Boy ?, and Ana Becker of Fruit & Flowers), Holy Tunics come charging out of the gate with Hot to Trot. One of 2016’s more peppy EP’s also proves to be one of its more memorable. Aided in part by the behind the boards work of Big Ups‘ seemingly tireless Amar Lal, Hot to Trot has a vibrancy that breathes an enormous amount of life into the proceedings. Alternately breezy and pointed, it’s a significant debut outing for a band who will be worth watching as they forge a path into the future.

Saintseneca – Mallwalker

Very few bands ever attain the kind of ridiculous consistency that’s been present in Saintseneca‘s work since their earliest outings. Every single one of the band’s releases has been a viable year-end contender and their surprise holiday-leaning compilation EP, Mallwalker, is no exception. The band’s take on Appalachian folk remains lively, innovative, and ridiculously compelling. Zac Little’s lyrics continue to surpass those of many of his peers and the band’s grasp on structure and composition catapult them into a class of their own. Mallwalker — a collection of the band’s Christmas-referencing songs and one mesmerizing new entry — is an absolute joy and earns its spot in the band’s discography, which is a compliment all on its own.

Chemtrails – Love In Toxic Wasteland

A surging burst of punk-inflected basement pop, Chemtrails’ Love In Toxic Wasteland confidently stands as one of this year’s most unexpected delights. Coming from seemingly out of nowhere, Chemtrails arrive fully-formed, with incredibly sharp hooks in tow. From the EP’s opening number, the explosive “Aeons”, it quickly becomes clear that this band doesn’t have time for petty trifles; this is the type of basement pop that goes straight for the jugular. Immediate and immediately memorable, Chemtrails have crafted something that’ll make people remember their name.

Hung Toys – Welcome to Repayment

Losing Geronimo! was a tough blow to endure but the band’s core songwriting duo has remained active — possibly even hyper-active — in the wake of the band’s departure. Geronimo!’s guitarist/vocalist Kelly Johnson, recently unleashed the seething behemoth that is Welcome to Repayment on the world, which features much of what made Geronimo! such a singular act, only with a renewed emphasis on hardcore underpinnings. 10 tracks of unrelenting post-punk (including a particularly spiky Blur cover), Welcome to Repayment acts not only as a great standalone record but a relieving assurance: Geronimo! may be dead but Johnson isn’t leaving anytime soon.

Horsecops – Annie

Once in a while, a band that’s received praise on here in the past will point me towards an act that’s been grabbing their attention and that recommendation will lead to an exhilarating discovery. In that respect, many thanks are due to Blue Smiley for providing a pathway to Horsecops and their jaw-dropping full-length debut, Annie. An eclectic mix of shoegaze, post-punk, basement punk, noise, powerpop, and just about every other genre or sub-genre that receives regular coverage here, Horsecops manage to evoke the best of like-minded contemporaries while finding a way to firmly establish their own identity. Annie is a remarkable release from a young band capable of crafting material that’s genuinely unforgettable.

Watch This: Vol. 18

Well, it’s finally happened. Watch This, after a few rough weeks of illnesses and technical difficulties, is back in its regularly-scheduled-programming mode and the offerings on display for the 18th installment all feel like vintage Watch This material. Yes, a lot of it ties back to SXSW but it’s going to be impossible to escape that for a while- consider it an opportunity for reflection for those lucky enough to go, and a peek inside for those who were pining to go. Now all that’s left to do is sit back, set aside the March Madness bracket for, and Watch This.


1. Cosmonauts – What Me Worry (Sailor Jerry)

Sailor Jerry continues to impress this week with a great presentation of Burger favorites Cosmonauts at SXSW. It’s hard to shake the feeling that this won’t be the last week a clip from SXSW 2014 gets posted, it’s also difficult to imagine this is the last appearance for a Sailor Jerry video as well. Cosmonauts, for their part, deliver a surprisingly absorbing performance of “What Me Worry”, a catalog highlight.

2. Nothing – Downward Years to Come (Live at Saint Vitus)

Speaking of things that are likely to continue making an appearance: yet another video from Saint Vitus/unARTigNYC. This time around, Nothing are the center of attention and give “Downward Years to Come” their all. Nothing were another band that reportedly had a very memorable SXSW run, generating a lot of conversation (particularly after what was said to be an incredibly fierce set on a pedestrian bridge) and making converts of seemingly anyone who crossed their path. After watching this video, it’s not difficult to imagine how that happened.

3. Nü Sensae – Eat Your Mind (Far From Home)

Nü Sensae seem like a band on a mission in the gorgeous video from the Far From Home series, sinking their teeth into “Eat Your Mind” for all of its worth. It’s an opportunity to showcase a great new(ish) band, one of their best songs, and a great new(er) video series; it’s everything Watch This is about. Watch it below and then maybe go take a shower- there’s enough dirt in the bass tone alone to make some kind of cleansing process a necessity.  

4. Perfect Pussy (NPR)

What? There was a high-quality professionally-shot-and-edited video of a Perfect Pussy set and it more than earned its spot on this list. It’s difficult to envision this lovefest between that band and this space ending anytime soon. For now, just reap the rewards that it offers up- like this video. Watch it. Watch it again. And then go listen to Say Yes to Love for the 50th time. It’ll be worth it. Promise. Watch it here.

5. LVL UP – *_* (Live at Seaside Lounge)

Despite having already been featured on this site (and listed in the 25 Best list for 2013), it’s worth stressing that this is a band to know. “*_*” barely eclipses a minute but it’s one of the greatest a-little-more-than-a-minute’s anyone could ever hope for. Watch it and then go buy some ice cream (and also some of their laudable merchandise).