Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Flesh World

A Month’s Worth of Songs Worth Hearing

It’s been a long stretch since the last main update ran on this site. Part of the reason for its absence is a slow relocation from central Wisconsin to Madison and all of the accompanying transitional necessities. Part of it’s due to my own musical obligations (Heartbreaking Bravery remains a one-person operation). All of that said, the work and updates that keep this place afloat have continued in earnest. Below, there are over 200 songs that emerged over the past month (and a few additional weeks) that deserve to be heard. There will be a handful more that are touched on in the near future but for now, bookmark this page and explore the endless amount of reasons why the people who claim there’s no interesting music being made today have no idea what they’re talking about.

Patsy’s Rats, Fake Palms, Queen Moo, Swanning, Baby!, Lomelda, UV-TV, Jack Cooper, Gorgeous, Shannon Lay, Small Reactions (x2), Lina Tullgren, Atlas Wynd, Melina Mae, Jenny O., Terror Watts, Ephrata, Amy OBunny, Apollo Vermouth, Beachtape, Girl Ray, Speedy Ortiz, The Cribs, Cannery Terror, Arrows of Love (x2), Easy Love, Pardoner (x2), Walter Etc., Maneka, The Lovebirds, Birds, Becca Mancari, Holiday Ghosts, together PANGEA, Soft Fangs, Honey, Downtown Boys, The Districts, Club Night.

Monk Parker, Guided By Voices, Big Hush, Deerhoof, The Duke Spirit, Partner, Space Mountain, Surfer Rosie, The Mynabirds, Mini Dresses, Winter, Wieuca, Knifey, A. Savage, Katie Ellen, Guilt Mountain, EMA, Ayo River, Luke Sital-Singh, Black Beach, The Travelling Band, Curtis Harding, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Culture Abuse, Alvvays, The Sighs, Earth Girl Helen Brown, Holy Hum, Hypoluxo, The Fresh & Onlys, Dream Ritual, Guantanamo Baywatch, Brian Dewar, Warbly Jets, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Oh Sees.

Annie Hart (x2), Sløtface, Company of Thieves, Lushloss, Las Rosas, Boris, Shelley ShortCRITTÉ, Joey Sweeney & The Neon Grease, Lambchop, Dina Maccabee, Hiss Golden Messenger, Looming, Faith Healer, Jogging House, Filthy Friends, TV Sets, Goat Girl, No Friends, Hairpins, The Warp/The Weft, Body Origami, Broken Social Scene, Shagg, Omni, Ice Balloons (x2), Max Chillen and the Kerbside Collective, Anna Tosh, Carmen Villain, Dabble, Hayden Calnin, Hand Habits, WHIMM, Grizzly Bear, Turnover, Coast Modern.

Sparks, Ian Randall Thornton, Har-Di-Har, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs, The Shivers, Broncho, James Riotto, Naomi Punk, Tamino, Fassine, Shabazz Palaces, Jordan Klassen, Wet Dream, Offa Rex, Emily Reo, Kan Wakan, Night Talk, Cina Polada, Bombz, Cold Specks, Juiceboxxx, Pearl Earl, Zola Jesus, Absolutely NotNØMADS, Space Camp, Poppy Ackroyd, Oro Swimming Hour, Flesh WorldLød, Nassau, Living, The Anatomy of Frank, Quiet Hollers, Elle Mary & The Bad Men, Stone Irr, Lil Tits, Crooked Teeth.

King Borneo, Kazyak (x2), Swimming Tapes, Prism Tats (x2), Bloody Your Hands, Tom Hale, Fake Billy and the False Prophets, Electric Eye, Briana Marela, The Tambo Rays, Oly Sherman, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Everyone Is Dirty, Gladys Lazer, Fronds, Mappe Of (x2), Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Shout Out Louds, Heavenalive, Kabells, Flood Coats, Tempest le Mans, Spirit Award, Babygirl, Kinder, Weatherboy, Pawns, Memnon Sa, Mark Springer, Reese McHenry & Spider Bags, Triptides, Cadet Kelly.

The Weather Station, Will Hoge, A Valley Son, Shy, Low, Dent May, Parent, Jordan B. Wright, Kele OkerekeTed Leo, Blank Range, Tomo Nakayama, The Woggles, Whispertown, The Two Tens, Wild Honey, Sam ValdezSusanne Sundfør, Pill, Peakes, Muskets, THE VAN T’s, Ruby FrayRainer Maria, METZ, Lens Mozer, and Petite League.

Watch This: Vol. 161

Every week this year’s offered up an enticing host of live clips and the week that transpired the week before last proved no exception, keeping the flame not only alive but roaring. The Tablets, Fits, Robyn Hitchcock, Miss Molly Simms, Summer Twins, Perfume Genius, Strand of OaksBenoît Pioulard, Sean Rowe, Rahim AlHaj, Tenement, Flesh World, Bad History Month, Dinosaur Jr, Hi-Tec Emotions, The Paranoyds, Laura Marling, The New Pornographers, Slow Dancer, Lucy & La Mer, Imaginary Tricks, Double Grave, Queen Hilma, Violents & Monica Martin, Juliana Hatfield, Fast Romantics, Atlas Road Crew, Micah P. Henson, The Drive-By Truckers, Tamino, Lucille Furs, Leif Vollebek, Two Houses, Umm, S.H.I.T., and Electric Eye all found themselves at the center of excellent live captures. A group that strong goes a long way in indicating the formidable nature of the featured clips, which include several long-time site favorites. So, as always, sit up, straighten out, adjust the settings, draw the screen a little closer, and Watch This.

1. Waxahatchee – No Curse (Weathervane)

Katie Crutchfield’s no stranger to this site, seemingly all of the songwriter’s projects having been covered in some capacity. Waxahatchee has become Crutchfield’s calling card in recent years and remains the most singularly focused of the musician’s artistic output. Here, Crutchfield and company rip through an enticing new song entitled “No Curse” for Weathervane’s outstanding Shaking Through series. It’s a potent reminder of the inherent power of one of this generation’s finest artists.

2. Hurray for the Riff Raff – Living in the City (The Current)

A handful of releases into an increasingly notable career, Hurray for the Riff Raff continue an impressively upward trajectory. Each consecutive record and performance seems to constitute a new career high for the project, which has never been anything less than commendable. “Living in the City” is just the latest upward rung on a never-ending ladder that seems poised to reach stratospheric heights. Looking down from where the act is now, it’s more than enough to induce a serious amount of vertigo.

3. Vundabar (Audiotree)

One of the more intriguingly frenetic punk bands of recent times, Vundabar have carved out a reputation for themselves by meticulously crafting unpredictable music. Recently, the band swung through Audiotree’s studio to record a session perfectly showcasing the tension and urgency the band’s so adept at creating. Every song in this session is eye-opening and executed to perfection without anyone in the band sacrificing even an ounce of conviction.

4. Nothing (Amoeba)

Watch This veterans, Nothing keep finding new ways to impress. In this Green Room session for Amoeba, the band sacrifices their signature onslaught of volume for something far more intimate and contained. In passing up one of their most noted trademarks, the band also ably demonstrates how good the songs lurking underneath have been since the beginning. Utterly transfixing and devastatingly sincere, this acoustic session stands as an entirely unlikely but wholly welcome new high for the band.

5. Allison Crutchfield (KEXP)

While Katie Crutchfield may have taken the opening slot on the features list in this volume of Watch This, Crutchfield’s twin sister is the one to close it out. As another musician whose projects have been well-documented on this site throughout a lengthy career, Allison Crutchfield seems poised to spearhead a sterling solo career. A lot of supporting evidence can be found to back that claim up, including this abbreviated set for KEXP, which finds the band (which includes Radiator Hospital‘s Sam Cook-Parrott) running through an impressive array of new songs with a sense of unified purpose.

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 4

Car Seat Headrest

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

 

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 2

Girlpool I

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 1

Radioactivity

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

Radioactivity – Live at Baby’s All Right – 7/30/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video)

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At the end of July, just a day after the great Girlpool show, Baby’s All Right once again played host to a band I’ve loved for more than a year. This time around, the headlining slot fell to Radioactivity (whose self-titled effort was reviewed in one of this site’s first 10 posts)With two strong openers in tow, the night quickly turned into a frenzy of hard-hitting punk from a variety of corners. Honey Radar kicked things off with a relentlessly shambolic set of incredibly scrappy punk songs that constantly bled into each other and managed to frequently fall short of the 60 second mark. Played with vigor and an odd sense of somewhat detached joy, their set managed to be the perfect set-up for the evening’s remainder.

Flesh World followed with their own distinct brand of punishing post-punk, not bothering to give the audience much of a reprieve with a volume and intensity level that far exceeded the preceding set. The quartet followed their darkest, noisiest impulses and seemed to temporarily lose themselves in their performance, one that was greatly aided by Baby’s iconic backdrop setup, which managed to match Flesh World’s steeliest sensibilities to a frightening perfection. All the pieces fell in place and the band’s set came across as oddly triumphant before ceding the spotlight to the night’s headlining act.

After a brief tuning session- and with literally no warning- Radioactivity took a sudden headfirst dive into a marathon set that wound up equaling (and possibly exceeding) both Honey Radar’s recklessness and Flesh World’s intensity. Utilizing a myriad of seamless transitions and incorporating the strongest tracks from their latest effort, Silent Kill, the band brought just about everything they had to the stage. Old songs bled seamlessly into new songs (and vice versa), there was an astonishing determination on display, and a dynamic that saw both band and audience feeding off each other’s careening levels or energy.

By the end of the set, the bulk of the band’s still-building discography had been covered and everyone in the building looked deliriously happy and entirely exhausted. Impressively sharp and extremely high-impact, it was the exact kind of set that guarantees return visits, just as it was the exact kind of set that functions as the perfect reminder that Radioactivity’s earned- and fully deserves- their status as one of the best bands in punk.

Click over to the full photo gallery of the show here and watch some of the evening’s performances in the video below.

SPORTS – The Washing Machine (Stream)

SPORTS

As the week picks up, so too does the new release schedule. Great new songs saw first light today, featuring material from the following artists: OBN III’s, Minden, Grass House, Wolf Prize, OBNOX, and Places To Hide. Music videos fared just as well with some tantalizing clips that included Fake Palms’ oneiric “Sparkles“, BEAK >’s arresting “The Broken Window“, Flesh World’s tranced-out “Just To Tear Me Down“, Rocky Votolato’s deeply impressive “Hospital Handshakes“, and Communions’ striking “Forget It’s A Dream“. Rounding things out were the full streams, which featured fantastic entries from The Glow (a band led by LVL UP‘s Michael Caridi), Sloth, Adult Mom, Reservations, and Soviet X-Ray Record Club. Even in that slew of genuinely outstanding material, today’s featured item- SPORTS’ “The Washing Machine”- managed to stand out.

For a few years now, SPORTS have been kicking out the kind of scrappy punk-infused basement pop that dominates Salinas’ impressive roster (Swearin’, Radiator Hospital, All Dogs, Purple 7, etc.). The band recently signed with Father/Daughter Records (who have earned themselves a wealth of love from this site) for the release of their forthcoming full-length, the genuinely outstanding All of Something (which was, incidentally, engineered by none other than Kyle Gilbride of Swearin’). The band’s already teased the record with the energetic “Saturday” and offered another look earlier today with the release of “The Washing Machine”.

A touch more grounded than “Saturday”, the band’s latest is a show of both maturation and force, emphasizing a subtle southern sensibility (in a manner not too dissimilar from Hop Along) to produce one of their best songs to date. Like a (thankfully) increasing number of bands in the DIY fold, the band gets a lot of mileage from fixating on elements that constitute life’s minutiae rather than opting to retread the same tired territory. While the overarching narrative still hinges on a relationship, it’s the way the relationship is colored that sets the song apart from a lot of the band’s contemporaries. Balanced, nuanced, and unerringly heartfelt, SPORTS pack enough punch, grit, and scuzz into this 3 minutes and change number to run away with today’s featured spot.

Listen to “The Washing Machine” below and pre-order All of Something from Father/Daughter ahead of its October 30 release date here.

Watch This: Vol. 86

It’s been an insane stretch of days, minimizing this site’s output and causing some scheduling neglect. Today will be dedicated to the compensation of that brief absence, beginning with a slightly delayed Watch This. All of the performance captures in the 86th installment of this series surfaced between last Monday and last Sunday, leaving the past few days’ clips eligible for volume 87. Only one of these bands has previously appeared in a Watch This installment, providing a definite change of pace from the past few entries, which have been dominated by site favorites. There are, as always, some genuine treasures to be found here along with a very reassuring sense that we’re living in a golden age of accessibility and forward thinking in multimedia. So, as always, sit back, focus up, adjust the volume, and Watch This.

1. The Muscadettes – Growing Pains (Exclaim!)

Bright and scrappy, when done well, can issue a very palpable sense of place. In the case of this strong performance of “Growing Pains”, The Muscadettes embrace the lo-fi nature of their surf-inflected basement pop and wind up with something that feels more lived-in than nostalgic, while still maintaining a throwback sensibility that suits them to perfection. It’s a perfect summer soundtrack delivered with a bite that’s rare in a genre that’s traditionally (and inherently) laid-back.

2. Flesh World (KEXP)

Flesh World’s The Wild Animals In My Life rattled the people invested invested in the post-punk genre to their core when it found release earlier this year, furthering the band’s standing among a very specific sect. The band recently swung by the KEXP studios where they filmed a session that looks, sounds, and feels appropriately grim. It’s a five-song performance that demonstrate the band’s strength and scope while also making yet another case for why they’re one of the more celebrated emerging acts in their genre.

3. Pree (BreakThruRadio)

Every once in a while a band comes along that defies genre conventions and plays some tantalizingly unconventional music with unbridled passion. Usually these bands err more towards noise freakouts and jarring prog-leaning excursions than anything else. Pree take that concept and subvert it into something that’s practically unrecognizable. Defiantly sunny and unabashedly pop, their performance(s) in this BreakThruRadio session are instantly memorable and effortlessly arresting. Don’t miss out.

4. Ronny – Why Do You Have Kids? (GemsOnVHS)

GemsOnVHS continues to deliver noteworthy performance captures in entirely unpredictable ways, turning to electro-damaged folk artist Ronny for their latest session. Unfailingly gorgeous and unexpectedly spellbinding, this performance of “Why Do You Have Kids?” is a curveball that subsists entirely on left-field grace notes. Intensely compressed and delivered with a startling amount of conviction, it’s a genuine stunner and a perfect introduction to a fascinating artist.

5. Algiers (KEXP)

Having already established themselves as site favorites and secured a few different spots on various Watch This installments, Algiers’ live prowess shouldn’t come as a surprise. The band’s self-titled album is one of 2015’s most breathtaking releases, deftly combining centuries worth of musical influence into something that doesn’t just feel bold but perfectly timed and possibly even necessary. Alternately haunted and haunting, unerringly soulful, and unbelievably gripping, their session for KEXP is one of the strongest the studio has seen in years.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Line On You (Stream)

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Only a small handful more of these posts to go and the site will be caught up on all angles for the first time since 2014. Part of that’s due to periods of inactivity brought about by an intense schedule in the year’s opening stretch and part of the reasoning behind that apparent drought was the sheer amount of time it took to collect everything as it appeared. 2015’s been absolutely overflowing with great releases from new and established artists, some hitting unthinkable highs. Mainstays Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have been gearing up to join that club over the past few weeks, releasing a string of songs that register as the best work of their career. Their latest single, “Line On You”, continues making a strong case for that particular argument. Before jumping into that song’s strengths, it’s almost necessary at this point to take a step back to cover some other outstanding material that’s been unearthed over the past week.

All of these posts are still going to regulate the featured titles to the single stream category and this time around, that category includes a very eclectic handful of tracks. There was Chomp’s basement punk and hardcore hybrid “The Rational Anthem“, Frances Cones’ blissed out dream pop tune “Wait Right Here“, Flesh World’s tension masterclass “Poolside Boys“, Amber Edgar’s breathtaking “Good Will Rise“, and It Was Romance’s punk-tinged indie pop number “Philadelphia“. Cayucas unveiled their compellingly frenetic “Moony Eyed Walrus“, DMA’s “Your Low” coasted on its carefree powerpop, The Weather Station released their startlingly gorgeous “Tapes“, and Eternal Summers’ characteristically stunning “Come Alive“. Then, of course, there was Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s “Line On You”.

With more than a few sections falling between early Weezer and site favorite Tony Molina, “Line On You” is one of the most energized pieces of music that Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have ever crafted. Expertly marrying more than a few genre pastiches to create something genuinely electrifying. All of the songs that have emerged in the band’s rollout campaign have sounded like their most committed work to date, an impressive feat for a band already so far into their career. Warm tones, sunny melodies, and a whole host of unexpectedly supercharged aggression cement The High Country‘s position as a record worth greeting with heightened expectations. By the time the surging finale takes the song to its roaring conclusion, the band’s subverted their own position in today’s constantly shifting musical landscape and wound up with one of their most immensely enjoyable works to date.

Listen to “Line On You” below and pre-order The High Country from Polyvinyl ahead of its June 2 release here.