Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Frenchkiss Records

Twen – Holy River (Stream)

Twen have been quietly kicking around the upper midwest punk scene for a while, taking their time in perfecting a psych-inflected strain of dream pop on tracks like the recent “Holy River”. While their audience has yet to blossom, a recent signing to Frenchkiss only means that next step’s only a matter of time. The tracks they’ve been releasing leading up to their first major effort for the label have all had a similar floating quality, the melodies and instrumentation stretching skyward, reaching towards a new height. Before long, there might not be anywhere left to reach.

Listen to “Holy River” below and keep an eye on this site for further updates on the band.

Diet Cig – Maid of the Mist (Music Video)

To say that the past few weeks have been tumultuous for Diet Cig would be a massive understatement. From an NPR First Listen premiere for their debut album to a conversation-starting Pitchfork review that offered up some scathing criticisms, the duo has seen stratospheric highs and harrowing lows in very quick succession. True to their nature, they haven’t seemed too affected by any of the chaos swirling around their characteristically carefree epicenter.

Even with all of that happening, the duo managed a small but significant triumph in the animated clip for Swear I’m Good At This highlight “Maid of the Mist”. A lot of Diet Cig’s appeal comes down to guitarist/vocalist Alex Luciano’s defiantly optimistic worldview and unfettered sincerity (especially in a time when both of those things are topics of derision for one too many people), a trait that Mazzy Bell wisely plays up in this clip, which also doubles as a lyric video.

From the simplistic animations to the vibrant colors, Bell complements Diet Cig’s aesthetic with ease, rendering “Maid of the Mist” one of Diet Cig’s most representative — if not the most representative outright — offerings to date. It’s a quietly sublime work that coaxes maximum impact out of Diet Cig’s latest career highlight, enhancing its numerous strengths by mining the basics. Playful, effective, and surprisingly striking, it’s a perfectly-timed reminder of why so many people already know this band’s name. If they keep approaching their craft with this much thought, a whole new slew of converts will be waiting just around the corner.

Watch “Maid of the Mist” below and pick up Swear I’m Good At This from Father/Daughter (in conjunction with Frenchkiss) here.

Watch This: Vol. 45

As mentioned in the previous post, this has been a tremendous week for new music- and the same can be said for new live footage as well. When Watch This started, Heartbreaking Bravery was already in its third week of operation. To help create a greater consistency, today will feature two installments of Watch This instead of the usual standalone entry. Everything in Volume 45 surfaced during the earliest part of the week but have more than held up to repeat viewings. From site favorites to living legends to new discoveries, this installment covers a spread that encompasses next to everything that this series was designed to celebrate. So, sit back, switch off the lights, warm up, wind down, and Watch This.

1. Tweens – Bored In the City (Faits Divers)

That Tweens wound up being as great as it was shouldn’t have surprised anyone familiar with the band’s early demos or tapes. What was somewhat unexpected was how readily they were embraced by the public. They’re a band that built a lot of their reputation by having consistently impressive live shows so it’s a joy to finally be able to feature one here. Faits Divers recently took them in for a session while the band was touring Europe and “Bored In the City” wound up being an easy highlight.

2. The Rocketboys – Time Is A Devil (Audiotree)

As far as first introductions go, it’s hard to beat something like The Rocketboys’ Audiotree session for “Time Is A Devil”. While there are an abundance of polished pop/rock elements that are fighting their way to the forefront, the whole song’s underpinned by a brooding anxiety that’s completely antagonistic for most stadium-ready bands. If music like this winds up being the future of the radio, we’ll likely all be better off for it.

3. The Dream Syndicate (KEXP)

It’s a little disheartening that The Dream Syndicate’s comeback didn’t get as much press as it deserved. The seminal 80’s band has been massively influential for a number of great bands that emerged since the band’s initial departure in 1989. After reforming in 2012, the band’s never paused to look back. Here, they tear through an assortment of classics for KEXP at the Bumbershoot Music Lounge, sounding as vital as ever.

4. Alice Boman – Lead Me (Allston Pudding)

On rare occasion there are extraordinarily intimate performances that wind up earning features on here by virtue of their impact. Swedish songwriter Alice Boman falls into this category with ease. Performing “Lead Me” for Allston Pudding, Boman carries a stunning solo performance with an easy grace, undoubtedly rendering it an unforgettable moment for anyone that was fortunate enough to be in attendance. All Boman needs is a keyboard and her voice to create something completely ethereal.

5. Little Big League – Year of the Sunhouse (Little Elephant)

There haven’t been very many bands on Little Elephant that have been as easy to fall in love with as Little Big League. “Year of the Sunhouse” is punk-leaning outsider pop at its absolute finest. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been running with the Exploding in Sound family (“Year of the Sunhouse” originally appeared on a split with Ovlov) and making some waves as a result. Of course, that never would have happened if they hadn’t been conjuring up some of the most likable music being released today. Watch their Little Elephant session below and get converted (or have everything reaffirmed).

Songs of Summer: 2014 (Mixtape)

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Another hundred posts in and this site’s still humming along. As tradition dictates, today is one of the only days that doesn’t get dedicated to the outstanding just-released content (though there was an incredible amount, which will be covered tomorrow)- and features a digital mixtape instead. There was a lot of talk over what the song of the summer was and no real general consensus in any type of forum. In the spirit of that surprisingly diverse conversation, the mixtape features the songs that resonated throughout this place most strongly during what proved to be an incredibly memorable summer (covering both NXNE and Pitchfork festivals among the many highlights). As the season approaches its end, it only felt right to shine a light on some of those songs one more time before the year draws to a close.

A few of these have been featured in previous playlists but that should only stand as a testament to their longevity. While a few weren’t even released in summer, they definitely struck a deeper chord as the surroundings finally caught up to the mood they inhabited. Every single one of them can be streamed below (a tracklist is also provided) and, being that this marks another hundred posts- and in the event anyone was curious in catching something they missed, hyperlinks to posts No. 200-299 are given beneath the tracklist. So, turn the volume all the way up and enjoy some great music while the warm weather’s still here.

Stream Songs of Summer: 2014 below and feel free to navigate through any of the listed hyperlinks.

1. Lost Boy ? – Hollywood
2. LVL UP – Soft Power
3. Radiator Hospital – Cut Your Bangs
4. The Coasts – I Just Wanna Be A Star
5. The Yolks – You Don’t Live Here No More
6. Tweens – Forever
7. The Sleepwalkers – My Best Was Never Good Enough
8. Bent Shapes – 86’d in ’03
9. The Freezing Hands – Good Morning Takeout
10. Happyness – Anything I Do Is All Right
11. Dead Stars – Summer Bummer
12. Joanna Gruesome – Jerome (Liar)
13. Perfect Pussy – Leash Called Love (Sugarcubes Cover)
14. Eugene Quell – Hell Presidente
15. Happy Diving – Weird Dream
16. Mean Creek – My Madeline
17. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Warning
18. Left & Right – Low Expectations
19. Mulligrub – Canadian Classic
20. Dude York – Believer
21. Cayetana – Scott Get the Van, I’m Moving
22. Lenguas Largas – Kawasaki Dream
23. Wyatt Blair – Girls!
24. Jawbreaker Reunion – Empire
25. Reigning Sound – Falling Rain

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HB200: NXNE 2014: A Listener’s Guide (Mixtape)
HB201: Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs – Calgary Hill (Music Video)
HB202: Swearin’ at Memorial Union Terrace – 5/30/14 (Pictorial Review, Video)
HB203: Watch This: Vol. 27
HB204: Watch This: Vol. 28
HB205: Pretty Pretty – Leather Weather (Stream)
HB206: Haunted Heads – VV (Stream)
HB207: Marvelous Mark – Bite Me (Music Video)
HB208: Mean Creek – Anxiety Girl (Music Video)
HB209: Bob Mould – I Don’t Know You Anymore (Music Video)
HB210: Parquet Courts – Black and White (Music Video)
HB211: Greys – Use Your Delusion (Music Video)
HB212: Beverly – Honey Do (Music Video)
HB213: Jawbreaker Reunion – Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club (Review)
HB214: Green Dreams – Rich Man Poor Man (Review)
HB215: Watch This: Vol. 29
HB216: Watch This: Vol. 30
HB217: La Sera – Fall in Place (Music Video)
HB218: Lemuria – Brilliant Dancer (Music Video)
HB219: The Midwestern Charm – Growing Pains (Trailer)
HB220: NXNE: Day 1 (Pictorial Review)
HB221: Watch This: Vol. 31
HB222: NXNE: Day 2 (Pictorial Review, Video)
HB223: NXNE Day 3: Greys, Benjamin Booker, Viet Coing (Photo Gallery)
HB224: NXNE Day 3: Speedy Ortiz, Swearin’, Spoon (Photo Gallery)
HB225: NXNE Day 3: Perfect Pussy (Photo Gallery)
HB226: NXNE Day 4: Creep Highway, Perfect Pussy, Frankie Cosmos, Swearin’ (Photo Gallery)
HB227: NXNE Day 5: Courtney Barnett, Army Girls (Photo Gallery)
HB228: Soybomb HQ: Cellphone, Ice Cream, Pleasure Leftists, Perfect Pussy (Photo Gallery)
HB229: Smiling Buddha: Pleasure Leftists, Holy Fuck, METZ (Photo Gallery)
HB230: NXNE: Day 3 (Review, Videos, Photos, Videos)
HB231: NXNE Day 3: Perfect Pussy (Review, Photos)
HB232: NXNE Day 4 + 5 (Review, Photos)
HB233: Perfect Pussy at Soybomb HQ – 6/21/14 (Review, Video)
HB234: METZ at Smiling Buddha – 6/22/14 (Review, Video)
HB235: Deafheaven at Bottom Lounge – 7/18/14 (Review, Photos)
HB236: Pitchfork Festival Day 2 (Review)
HB237: Pitchfork Festival Day 3 (Review)
HB238: Pitchfork Festival Day 3: Perfect Pussy (Review)
HB239: Watch This: Vol. 32
HB240: Watch This: Vol. 33
HB241: Watch This: Vol. 34
HB242: Watch This: Vol. 35
HB243: Watch This: Vol. 36
HB244: Watch This: Vol. 37
HB245: LVL UP – Soft Power (Stream)
HB246: Cymbals Eat Guitars – Warning (Stream)
HB247: Iceage – The Lord’s Favorite (Music Video)
HB248: Terry Malts – Let You In (Stream)
HB249: Dead Stars – Summer Bummer (Music Video)
HB250: Songs in Screen: A Look Back (Music Video Mixtape)
HB251: The Frankl Project – Day at the Races (Stream)
HB252: Cancers – Moral Net (Stream)
HB253: Watch This: Vol. 38
HB254: Mannequin Pussy – Kiss (Stream)
HB255: Vacation – Every Direction (Stream)
HB256: The Midwestern Charm – Bloodbath (Stream)
HB257: Dude York – Believer (Stream)
HB258: PURPLE 7 – Wise Up (Stream)
HB259: Lost Boy ? – Hollywood (Stream)
HB260: Mulligrub – Canadian Classic (Stream)
HB261: Purling Hiss – Learning Slowly (Stream)
HB262: Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs – Gates of Hell (Music Video)
HB263: Two Houses – Disappointer (Stream)
HB264: Cayetana – Scotty Get the Van, I’m Moving (Stream)
HB265: Shy Boys – Life Is Peachy (Music Video)
HB266: Low Expectations – Left & Right (Stream)
HB267: Sonic Avenues – Bored With Love (Stream)
HB268: Joanna Gruesome – Jerome (Liar) (Stream)
HB269: The Yolks – You Don’t Live Here No More (Stream)
HB270: Bent Shapes – 86’d in ’03 (Stream)
HB271: Watch This: Vol. 39
HB272: Ex-Breathers – Pocket (Stream)
HB273: Liam Betson – Rapture in Heat (Stream)
HB274: Allison Crutchfield – Berlin (Stream)
HB275: The Ar-Kaics – Be My Baby (Stream)
HB276: Even Hand – Even Hand (Album Review, Stream)
HB277: Naomi Punk – Firehose Face (Music Video)
HB278: Kindling – Sunspots (Stream)
HB279: Places to Hide – Nowhere Bound (Stream)
HB280: We Need Secrets – How You Remember (Stream)
HB281: LVL UP – I Feel Ok (Stream)
HB282: Girl Tears – Candy Darling (Stream)
HB283: Ex Hex – Beast (Stream)
HB284: The Freezing Hands – Good Morning Takeout (Stream)
HB285: Follies – I Make Sense (Stream)
HB286: Happy Diving – Weird Dream (Stream)
HB287: Big Ups – Justice (Music Video)
HB288: Radiator Hospital – Bedtime Story (Music Video)
HB289: Space Raft at Crunchy Frog – 8/16/14 (Pictorial Review)
HB290: Watch This: Vol. 40
HB291: The Seeers – Without Lites (Stream)
HB292: Dark Blue – Here On My Street (Stream)
HB293: Lenguas Largas – Kawasaki Dream (Stream)
HB294: Wyatt Blair – Girls! (Stream)
HB295: Perfect Pussy – Leash Called Love (Stream)
HB296: Eternal Summers – Window (Stream)
HB297: Watch This: Vol. 41
HB298: Eugene Quell – A Great Useleness (Review, Stream)
HB299: LVL UP – DBTS (Stream)

Songs in Screens: A Look Back (Music Video Mixtape)

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We’ve hit the approximate 2/3’s mark of the year 2014 and this very post is the 250th to run on this site. Over the course of its duration Heartbreaking Bravery has included a fairly strong emphasis on the music video and this year’s offerings made that commitment a complete non-issue by virtue of their excellence. Songs in Screens: A Look Back is a visual-based “mixtape” and serves as a reminder of a lot of the videos that earned acclaimed here- and a few that, whether due to time or an overabundance of other predetermined material, were egregiously overlooked. For all of the videos that have been featured, there will be a hyperlink leading to their respective write-ups. Those that didn’t receive a write-up will get a very brief one below the mix itself. All of these videos came out in 2014 and made an impression- and they all deserve to be remembered. Let’s give them the recognition that they deserve.

1. Perfect Pussy – I
2. Bleeding Rainbow – Images
3. Creepoid – Baptism

4. Thee Oh Sees – Drop

While Thee Oh Sees’ “The Lens” did land itself a nice write-up, “Drop” was unfairly pushed to the side during its release. Arguably the better of the two videos (and songs), it gets the most out of its constantly evolving, simplistically animated black-and-white presentation and felt like a more appropriate inclusion for this list.

5. together PANGEA – Offer
6. Diarrhea Planet – Babyhead
7. Potty Mouth – Black & Studs
8. Dead Stars – Summer Bummer

9. The Coasts – I Just Wanna Be A Star

It’s almost cruel that both this song and this video were overlooked due to festival coverage. Both are either perfect or near-perfect and embody just about everything this site loves most. “I Just Wanna Be A Star” is a joyous celebration on record and the video gets one hell of a performance out of its unlikely lead. Make sure to not skip this one.

10. PUP – Guilt Trip

11. Anna Calvi & David Byrne – Strange Weather

This spot was always intended to feature an anomaly- an act or style that doesn’t regularly earn a feature spot on this site. clipping. came a hair’s breadth away from claiming it with their mercilessly arresting video for “Work Work” but Anna Calvi & David Byrne made something so staggeringly beautiful and emotive with their video for their “Strange Weather” cover that it would’ve been criminal to ignore it. No video this year had cinematography this stunning- or a mood this anxious. A genuine work of art.

12. Beverly – Honey Do
13. Mean Creek – My Madeline
14. Fucked Up – Sun Glass
15. Mozes & the Firstborn – Bloodsucker
16. Tweens – Forever
17. PAWS – Owls Talons Clenching My Heart
18. Iceage – The Lord’s Favorite
19. The So So Glos – Speakeasy
20. Marvelous Mark – Bite Me
21. Savages – Fuckers

22. Lower – Soft Option

No video from 2014 had this amount of unrelenting tension. From its bare-bones premise to the engaging execution, it’s something with the potential to be permanently embedded into the brain of anyone lucky enough to come across it.

23. Greys – Guy Picciotto

24. Cloud Nothings – Psychic Trauma 

At this point, it’s fairly evident that Here and Nowhere Else will stand as one of 2014’s best records. The video for “Psychic Trauma” comes as a welcome reminder of that fact and features some basic (albeit eye-catching) visual effects. That combination’s enough to land it a spot in this list.

25. White Lung – In Your Home

Of all the 2014 music videos to be released so far, very few approach the levels of insanity attained by White Lung’s fiery “In Your Home”. Mixing a lot of the items featured prominently throughout this list (unexpected psychedelic imagery, contained animation, and the black-and-white aesthetic, especially) with something that’s uniquely their own, “In Your Home” stands tall as a testament to the fact that being weird is way more fun than being standard. And it offers up a perfect wrap for this mix. Roll credits.

Tweens – Be Mean (Music Video)

The “Be Mean” Video or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Let Tweens Continue to Do Everything Right. Now, this isn’t the first time Tweens have been mentioned here (or “Be Mean“, for that matter) but some things are worth bringing up over and over again. After releasing an incredible demo last year, the band signed with Frenchkiss Records, and have been mounting a delightful pre-release campaign for their self-titled debut full-length. Their lo-fi video for “Be Mean” is the latest example for this, utilizing an early VHS aesthetic to drive home the song’s retro tendencies. While all of this unfolds, Tweens-themed Jeopardy-style screens appear, allowing the viewer a sort of how-to crash course. It’s irresistibly fun and should make just about anyone look forward to whatever they’re cooking up next. Watch it below.