Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Full Session

Watch This: Vol. 140

As was mentioned in the preceding post, the amount of praise-worthy live clips that were released last week were staggering. RaktaClique, L.A. Witch, Ausmuteants, Adryn, Nina Diaz, Alice Phoebe Lou, and Half Waif were all responsible for impressive entries while the five featured spots below all were claimed by outstanding full sessions. Every single one of these five artists have made a prior appearance on Watch This but the range of their music is surprisingly expansive and contain unknown depths worth meticulously exploring. So, as always, sit back, adjust the settings, relax, block out any distractions, take a deep breath, and Watch This.

1. Oscar (WKNC)

After developing a strong reputation for razor-sharp pop sensibilities, Oscar‘s taken a sharp left and fully embraced the punk tendencies that occasionally peeked through the recorded material. This three songs session for WKNC finds the project in full attack mode, playing with a newfound fervor that’s sharpened into an aggression that seems to have enlivened the live performances with a vengeance.

2. Weaves – One More + Coo Coo (q on cbc)

Just a short while ago, Weaves dropped their debut full-length, which immediately registered as one of 2016’s standout moments for music. Since then, the band’s been on absolute tear, continuing to demonstrate their outsize talent as a live act.  Two of Weaves‘ earliest standouts were “One More” and “Coo Coo”, both of which were recently performed for the cameras and microphones of q on cbc. Even in a space as restrictive for movement as a radio studio booth, the band runs at these songs with just about everything they can muster, leaving a jaw-dropping session in their wake.

3. Margaret Glaspy (NPR)

Margaret Glaspy‘s very quickly becoming a staple of the Watch This series as the songwriter continues to fervently tour behind the incredible Emotions And Math. Glaspy’s distinctive brand of songwriting makes her uniquely suited for the trappings of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series. As ever, Glaspy proves to be a commanding presence, flashing serious levels of skill as a lyricist, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. It’s another casually masterful run through genuinely exceptional material from one of 2016’s brightest emerging talents.

4. Clearance (Store Brand Soda)

Ever since the lead-up to the release of Rapid Rewards Clearance have been a band that’s been closely monitored by this site. Their particular incorporation of ’90s influences informs their music in a way that fits a very niche category: punk-inflected basement pop. In a recent session for Store Brand Soda, the band tore through two highlights from their discography and an inspired Soft Boys cover, once again illuminating their numerous strengths in a characteristically carefree fashion.

5. Benjamin Clementine (OpenAir)

Few artists have a presence as immediately striking as Benjamin Clementine‘s, who delivered one of this year’s most unforgettable NPR sessions. Clementine recently stopped by CPR’s OpenAir program to deliver another trio of quietly intense slow-burners that are carried by the weight of not just his vocals but his convictions. These are songs that carry the weight of history on their shoulders, filtered through the perspective of a man who’s climbed a steep uphill battle and fought through an onslaught of hardships. That journey has shaped Clementine into a songwriter that can silence the rowdiest of rooms with ease and leave behind a trail of converts. It’s the type of experience that should not be missed.

Watch This: Another Full Session

There have been a few recent posts that have commented on (and made attempts to amend) the recent hiatus that Watch This experienced. There will be two more extended packets following this installment of the series and then Watch This will be caught back up to the current release cycle. After the last entry — the longest compilation of any kind that’s ever run on this site — nearly exhausted the finest full sessions of the past month and a half, it felt necessary to turn the attention to some more abbreviated sessions.

Now, for the sake of consistency of time, a few full sessions appear toward the end of the compilation below. There are 83 total videos in this package but, as is always the case for this extended version of Watch This, 25 performances are featured. Had they been able to fit in without repeating or more properly aligned with what this entry’s trying to accomplish (without being repeat inclusions for the artist), Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings all had sessions that would have made the cut. That trio of clips alone should serve as a testament to the strength of this edition of the series. So, as always, sit up, adjust the volume, lean back, and Watch This.

1. Bully (The Current)
2. Those Manic Seas (Little Elephant)
3. Potty Mouth (Bedhead Sessions)
4. Torres (Paste)
5. Eddi Front (Hooke)
6. Alabama Shakes (Paste)
7. Tacocat (WFUV)
8. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (KCRW)
9. Seratones (WFUV)
10. Frightened Rabbit (KCRW)
11. Music Band (Jam in the Van)
12. Charles Bradley (KINK)
13. Mass Gothic (Rhapsody)
14. Greys (Exclaim!)
15. Izzy True (Don Giovanni)
16. Black Beach (Allston Pudding)
17. Erik Blood (Band In Seattle)
18. Acid Dad (Jam in the Van)
19. Suuns (Exclaim!)
20. Diarrhea Planet (Jam in the Van)
21. Parquet Courts (Rough Trade)
22. Negative Scanner (Pressure Drop)
23. Wild Powwers (Band In Seattle)
24. Burnt Palms (Pressure Drop)
25. Wimps (Band In Seattle)

Watch This: A Full Session of Full Sessions

As was mentioned in the last post to run on this site, Watch This — the (usually) weekly series celebrating the very best in newly-released live video presentation — experienced an extended hiatus in the wake of incessant traveling and the frantic catch-up mode that traveling necessitated. Over the course of the next week, there’ll be a small handful of collections to get the series back on track.

The collection below contains 25 of the best full sessions released over the past month and a half. KEXP, Audiotree, and NPR (understandably) dominate the selections as they’re all operating at a gold standard level for full session presentation. The final result is a compilation that features an arsenal of site favorites and nears the 11 hour mark in running time. To that end, it’s likely best viewed in small bursts so a page bookmark is recommended. Everything, in true Watch This fashion, is worth seeing (and hearing). So, as always, sit up straight, adjust the settings to your preference, and Watch This.

1. Lucy Dacus (Audiotree)
2. Palehound (NPR)
3. Eleanor Friedberger (KEXP)
4. Seratones (NPR)
5. And the Kids (Audiotree)
6. Florist (NPR)
7. Sunflower Bean (KEXP)
8. Mall Walk (KEXP)
9. PWR BTTM (TCGS)
10. Hockey Dad (3voor12)
11. Diarrhea Planet (KEXP)
12. Blue Crime (3voor12)
13. Bob Mould (KEXP)
14. Yuck (KEXP)
15. Car Seat Headrest (KEXP)
16. Quilt (KEXP)
17. Deep Sea Diver (KEXP)
18. Acid Dad (Audiotree)
19. The Ergs! (TCGS)
20. Pinegrove (Audiotree)
21. Operators (KEXP)
22. Strand of Oaks (KEXP)
23. Julien Baker (Amoeba)
24. Benjamin Clementine (NPR)
25. Jason Isbell (Front Row)

Watch This: Vol. 94

[EDITOR’S NOTE: A modified version of this paragraph appeared in the preceding post due to the nature of the pieces] Occasionally there are weeks where there are simply too many excessively strong live performance clips to highlight with just one entry and this week’s established itself as being of that caliber. It’s a rarity that there are exceptions to the setup of five featured clips and an honorable mentions list of hyperlinked material because it’s generally best to err on the side of brevity for these things. I’m not sure I can conjure up a more ringing endorsement than that for the 10 featured clips that will be running tonight. With the first half out of the way, it’s time to turn to the latter selections, all of which carry just as much impact as their predecessors. So, as always, sit up, adjust the volume, adjust the screen, lean in, focus, and Watch This.

1. Tacocat – Volcano (Rhapsody)

Throughout the week a lot was made of Tacocat‘s Rhapsody session due to their excellent Ramones cover but the band also delivered a fiery take on “Volcano”, an original that outshines the cover that circulated so many times over the past several days. “Volcano” is a perfect example of the band’s winsome sensibility and the band delivers it in earnest, with a palpable amount of affection for their craft. It’s an absolute joy to watch unfold and the perfect clip to kick off the second section.

2. Screaming Females – Ripe + Broken Neck (WFUV)

Ever since Watch This was initiated nearly two years ago, Screaming Females have been making frequent appearances in the series. The reasoning behind that decision’s uncomplicated: the band’s one of this generation’s best live acts. Some things are fairly cut and dry and the trio’s formidable abilities as a live act are nearly unparalleled in the DIY circuit. Still riding high on the success of this year’s tremendous Rose Mountain, the band stopped by the WFUV studios to turn in two fiery performances and extend their winning streak to even further lengths.

3. Froth (KEXP)

In the midst of quietly putting together a strong year loaded with promise and potential, Froth stopped by the KEXP studios for a full session that provided a glimpse at what makes them one today’s more exciting bands. Finding a common ground between basement pop and shoegaze, the quartet’s bridged that gap and traversed every compelling mile between the two genres. While the music’s got an immediate nature, it’s best explored through serious investment where it reaps seemingly unlimited rewards. Already fascinating material is given new life in the live context, where it’s performed with a great amount of verve and genuine care.

4. Fake Palms – Sparkles (Exclaim!)

Fake Palms have landed their name on this site a small handful of times now thanks to a strong 2015 that saw them steadily emerging as a viable candidate for best new act in an overcrowded year. “Sparkles” was one of their breakthrough moments and Exclaim! recently caught the quartet gifting their cameras an explosive version of the tune in a picturesque outdoor setting. The combination makes for an unreasonably compelling piece of art that should help the band further their case for being one of the year’s more memorable acts.

5. SOAK (KEXP)

Very few songs this year have managed to freeze blood as quickly as SOAK‘s 2015 highlight “B a Nobody”. Bridie Monds-Watson- the enviably gifted songwriter operating under the SOAK moniker- seems to recognize this and is coaxing the appropriate mileage out of the song. Wisely kicking off this KEXP session with the tune to set the tone, it’s quickly followed by an effective trio that firmly establishes Monds-Watson as one of today’s premier young talents. KEXP’s cameras almost seem to be lensing Monds-Watson reverentially throughout this session, which provides the affair with a dimension that contributes to its stunning impact. Don’t miss this one.

Watch This: Vol. 93

Occasionally there are weeks where there are simply too many excessively strong live performance clips to highlight with just one entry and this week’s established itself as being of that caliber. It’s a rarity that there are exceptions to the setup of five featured clips and an honorable mentions list of hyperlinked material because it’s generally best to err on the side of brevity for these things. I’m not sure I can conjure up a more ringing endorsement than that for the 10 featured clips that will be running tonight and. as usual, that still leaves out a select few one-time feature candidates. Those performances came from the following acts: The Tallest Man On Earth, All Get Out, Mitski, The Superweaks, Glen Hansard, People Like You, and Screaming Females. The excellent nature of those videos also serve a dual purpose as an indicator of the featured clips’ level(s) of quality. So, as always, sit up, adjust the volume, adjust the screen, lean in, focus, and Watch This.

1. Bully – Bully (Sound Opinions)

A few months ago, Bully lit up Rough Trade and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re an incredible live band. It’s no surprise that this one-off for Sound Opinions crackles with a significant amount of energy. Led by Alicia Bognanno’s stop-you-in-your-tracks vocals it’s- predictably- a seriously impressive example of the band’s considerable amount of charisma and prowess in the live setting. It’s also unmissable.

2. Happyness (NPR)

Over the past few years, Happyness have built themselves a devoted following with their slightly askew approach to a very particular brand of 90’s indebted alt-punk. Now a small handful of records into their career, the trio stopped by NPR’s offices to deliver one of the year’s more memorable Tiny Desk sessions. Wry, wiry, and more than a little droll, they’re a perfect complement to a relaxed Sunday evening.

3. Murder By Death (Audiotree)

For whatever reason, now a large handful of releases into a remarkably consistent discography, Murder By Death still feel at least a little bit like a well-kept secret. This year’s excellent Big Dark Love flew mostly under the radar but saw the band perfecting a mix of their earlier works, which were dominated by a Southern Gothic sensibility, and their more current works, which I’ve frequently described as campfire-haze. Audiotree brought them in for a five-song session that let the band loose in a live setting, where they’ve always had the most pull. Unsurprisingly, the end result is breathtaking.

4. Torres – A Proper Polish Welcome + Harshest Light (Valeria Toumayan)

At this point, Torres has become a staple of this series thanks to 2015 highlight Sprinter and its accompanying post-release campaign. Valeria Toumayan was recently on hand to capture what stands as Torres’ ninth entry in Watch This and sees the young songwriter once again returning to the chilling “A Proper Polish Welcome” (that floating falsetto towards the end of the song kills me every time) as well as the gripping “Harshest Light”. Gorgeous and quietly devastating, this DIY presentation is a bold reaffirmation of Torres’ singular gifts as a solo performer and has a personal feel that perfectly aligns the approaches of the subject and the filmmaker.

5. METZ (KEXP)

METZ are a serious force in the live department. All three occasions I’ve been fortunate enough to catch the trio, they’ve delivered an unforgettable performance that whipped the audience into a feverish frenzy. On the first occasion, it was a small arts center in Champaign-Urbana, on the second it was a blistering homecoming show at a punk bar in Toronto, and- most recently– a midsize venue where the crowd killed the band’s power after being pulled onstage. While all the lights, amps, and various other electronics remain intact for this KEXP session, the band still throws down a blistering set (especially for a radio session) that acts as testimony to their relentless tenacity.

Watch This: Vol. 17

After an unforeseen extended break due to some technical difficulties and exterior circumstances, the defibrillator has jumped this place’s pulse back into motion. Returning after a week’s silence means quite a bit of catch-up to do while also attempting to keep the up-to-date news in circulation. In the coming days and nights, there will be multiple posts a day until the day:post ratio of 1:1 is re-attained. This frenzied spree will kick off now, with what will hopefully be the last overdue Watch This for quite some time. This week’s edition is heavy on full KEXP sessions as an apology of sorts, a way to overcompensate for lost time. So sit back, relax, and watch this.

1. Coachwhips – You Gonna Get It (Sailor Jerry’s)

For whatever reason, Sailor Jerry’s has always been supportive of the DIY punk scene and hosted more than a few memorable live sessions. Most recently, they were on hand for SXSW to both assist and capture this insane middle-of-a-crowd Coachwhips performance. Coachwhips, a direct predecessor of Thee Oh Sees, were a band that generated a lot of support in the early days. Seeing them come back and met with an elevated level of adoration in this video is nothing short of bliss.

2. La Luz (KEXP Session)

With a tumultuous 2013 behind them (one that saw them release one of the year’s best LP’s, EP’s, and survive a major traffic collision), La Luz have nowhere to look to but the future. They’ve earned the support of a very vocal community that’s constantly growing. With performances like this one, it’s hard to see that trend doing anything but continuing- after all, that’s probably the best way to pay tribute to the band themselves.

3. Fruit Bats (KEXP Session)

Fruit Bats have maintained an enviable consistency over the past 17 years, releasing a body of work that deserves to be celebrated as legendary. Perpetually on the fringe of national attention, Eric D. Johnson watched as the roster around him constantly shifted. For this session, the songwriter came in on his lonesome and delivered a handful of tracks from Mouthfuls, along with the announcement that Fruit Bats was officially calling it quits. If this video can be viewed as a selection of Fruit Bats’ last stand, then it’s pretty clear Johnson is going out on top. 

4. Dinosaur Pile-Up – Arizona Waiting (Audiotree)

There has been no shortage of bands playing with 90’s influence as of late but it’s been quite some time since there was a band reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, and early Foo Fighters in equal measure. Dinosaur Pile-Up somehow manages to encapsulate the spirit of all of those bands while throwing in enough Audacity-style change-ups to keep things firmly rooted in the present. This video couldn’t be a more perfect introduction.

5. Angel Olsen (KEXP Session)

What else can be said about Angel Olsen at this point? Since the release of this year’s first quarter highlight Burn Your Fire for No Witness, Olsen’s gained enough accolades to close a canyon and her performances have been revered in the most awestruck of words. Having already appeared numerous times in Watch This, the most that can be said without growing too repetitious is that this KEXP session may be her finest recorded live outing to date.