Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: Gothic Tropic

Glueboy – Yikes (Album Review)

Glueboy XXI

The past few Friday’s haven’t offered much in the way of new material but this week proved to be an exception, gifting the world new tracks from Earth Girls, Anti Pony, JEFF The Brotherhood, Slow MassSLØTFACE, Kindling, Emma Ruth Randle, Looming, Divan, Sheer, Criminal Hygiene, Raury, Buzz Kull, Gothic Tropic, The Raveonettes, Scarlett Saunders, Banks & Steelz (ft. Kool Keith), Sharks Teeth, and Bueno. Additionally, there were full streams from Steve Adamyk Band, Eric Slick, Hollow Sunshine, and an entrancing music video from Massive Attack.

While all of those proved to be worthy titles, it’s Glueboy‘s sophomore full-length debut, Yikes, that earns this post’s featured spot. Following two promising releases, the band fully capitalizes on their potential and lets loose from the record’s onset with the fiery “Foot Soldier”. After a deceptive 40 second buildup, “Foot Soldier” takes off at full sprint and from that moment forward, Yikes never looks back.

Importantly — and largely thanks to the mixing and mastering team of Flagland‘s Nick Dooley and Big Ups‘ Amar Lal — this is the best Glueboy’s ever sounded on record. Following 2015’s impressive Videodrama EP, the band sounds revitalized, attacking every square inch of these songs with a newfound conviction. It’s a trait that’s evident from Yikes‘ opening run of songs and that sense of galvanization never wavers. Whether it’s guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Marty’s frantic, deeply-felt vocal work, bassist/vocalist Coby Chafets’ increasingly sharp lyric sets, or the additional sense of purpose that seems to have elevated Eli Sills’ drumming.

Everything clicks, congealing into a whirling dervish of a record that feels volatile and grounded simultaneously. Even when the band’s being boldly transparent in their influences (the vocal pattern and general construction of “Telescreen”, for example, is incredibly reminiscent of Titus Andronicus’ “Dimed Out“), there’s a genuine spark behind their playing that essentially erases any room for complaint. Helping matters along is that those moments are few and far between, allowing the rest of Yikes to firmly establish the band’s own singular identity.

Yikes also winds up benefiting from its members’ intrinsic musicality [disclosure: I lived with Chafets for half of 2015 and had several opportunities to join in jam sessions with all of the band’s members] and their comprehensive understanding of their chosen genre. Taken as a whole, the level of musicianship Marty, Chafets, and Sills imbue Yikes with is incredibly impressive, conjuring up levels of energy that oscillate but never come anywhere close to stagnancy.

Helping Yikes maintain its pace is the fact that only two of the songs eclipse the three minute mark, keeping things lively. Nearly every song in the collection comes in at a furious tempo, with the band seemingly intent on finding catharsis through destruction. Remarkably, the trio seems to actually achieve that goal at nearly every turn. Personal confessions, declarations, and half-buried desires litter Yikes‘ narrative landscape and breathe an additional level of life into the proceedings, coming to a climactic moment that serves as the record’s finale.

At the end of “Falling Down” everything finally threatens to go off the rails for good, splintering apart into near-chaos as the band lays seemingly everything on the line. Chafets (who trades vocal leads with Marty throughout the record) screams his larynx raw in the song’s closing passage, with the band around him erupting into a hardcore spree before cutting out abruptly. It’s an extraordinary ending to a record that should prove to be monumental to the band’s evolution as well as their reputation. Earnest, uncompromising, and endlessly fascinating, Yikes is more than just a much-needed jolt of pure basement pop adrenaline- it’s one of the year’s best surprises.

Listen to Yikes below and pick up a copy here.

Gurr – Moby Dick (Music Video)

gurr

Miss June, The Dirty Nil, Gothic Tropic, Chris Farren, Kids of the Apocalypse, The Girdles, His Clancyness, Drugdealer, ScHoolBoy Q, Avers, Japancakes, and Young Moon all had excellent music videos emerge over the past three days. Joining their ranks was Gurr’s light, expressive clip for their latest single, “Moby Dick”.

The premise for “Moby Dick” is exceedingly simple but ties into the band’s identity extraordinarily well. Both band members mime the words to the song while dancing around in  alternating one-shots, everything taking place in front of a faded turquoise backdrop. Neither member’s able to suppress a genuine smile as the Andrea Weiczorek-directed clip progresses, giving the whole affair a contagious, carefree joy. It’s a light clip but it’s perfectly executed and was clearly born out of love, a dynamic that’s become increasingly rare for the format.

While it may feel a little familiar it’s also a breath of fresh air, something to combat the overly serious nature of the types of narratives that have been dominating all corners of the media in recent times. That’s an important status to occupy and Gurr deliver on that level tremendously and heighten the anticipation for their upcoming record, In My Head, in the process. Consider it a small victory for everyone.

Watch “Moby Dick” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on the band’s forthcoming record(s).

Naked Hour – Always On the Weekend (Stream)

Naked Hour

The past few days saw a small handful of great songs find release from the likes of Night School, Yung, Gothic Tropic, Walter Schriefels, and Silent Pictures. Naked Hour confidently added themselves to those ranks with the dynamic “Always on the Weekend”, from their forthcoming record of the same name. Always on the Weekend is Good Cheer’s first release following Mo Troper’s astonishing Beloved and the label’s set to continue their winning streak.

“Always on the Weekend” starts off at a gentle clip, nearly resembling a lullaby at several points through its first 40 seconds. Just as it seems “Always on the Weekend” will maintain the serene nature of its introduction the song veers left into a sharp explosion of noisy, subversive pop-punk. For just under a minute Naked Hour thrives off the explosive energy of the main section of “Always on the Weekend” before quietly settling back into the subdued cadences of the intro section. It’s an effectively haunting whisper that elevates “Always on the Weekend” from a good song to a great one. Don’t let it go unheard.

Listen to “Always on the Weekend” below and pre-order the upcoming tape here.

Nervosas – Parallels (Stream)

Nervosas I

Nervosas have been one of the bands this site’s been pushing since it first came into existence. One of the only bands to be granted an On the Up feature, they’ve finally managed to erase any doubts on whether or not they’d be able to follow up their outstanding debut (which very nearly topped my list for Album of 2013) with their just-unveiled sophomore LP, once again entitled Nervosas. They’ve impressed live, cultivated a dedicated following through a tenacious touring schedule, and gained the respect of just about anyone currently operating in or along their circuit.

When they’re not on the road, they’re ensuring Cleveland remains an unlikely hot spot for DIY punk, and now- just ahead of their next official release- they’ve finally captured the attention of national media. Unsurprisingly, the attention’s warranted and couldn’t have come at a better time; their new material’s retained it’s morose tendencies while remaining blisteringly energetic. One of the best examples of this is their recently released single, “Parallels”, a characteristically ferocious post-punk ripper that embraces its gothic sensibilities and shows off the trio’s considerable musical ability. It’s a shot in the arm that’s arriving when that might be what we need most.

Listen to “Parallels” below and stream the entirety of Nervosas over at Noisey ahead of its release on Dirtnap. Underneath the embed, listen to 10 other outstanding tracks to have surfaced in the past two weeks.

Worriers – Plans
Lazyeyes – Fractals
The Atom Age – It’s A Mess
Mas Ysa – Arrows
Heaters – Kamikaze
Best Behavior – Buried On A Mountain
Adult Mom – Told Ya So
Gothic Tropic – Puppet Master
Tenderhooks – I Weakened at the Weekend
The Castillians – You & Me

First Quarter Clips, Pt. 2 (Video Mixtape)

static

We’re not even three months into 2015 and it’s already yielded a sprawling treasure trove of the kind of music-related items that are worth cherishing. It’s been a particularly strong year for music videos, with some titles from last year’s best releases getting their just treatment balanced out by some tantalizing clips sending expectations for the forthcoming releases that they’re attached to rocketing up to stratospheric heights. Animation, lyric videos, puppetry, seductively slow cinematography, static shots, dancing corpses, subtitled documentary footage, blood, more puppets (it’s been a great time for puppets in music videos), and self-shot footage are just some of the traits that define this two-part collection of 50 of the year’s most engaging clips. All of them, from the folk-leaning lilt of the second collection and the largely DIY punch of its predecessor, deserve praise. Don’t allow the fact they haven’t received any accompanying text beyond this introductory paragraph to do them a disservice; a few of theses videos rank as the best thing the attached band’s ever done and several others continue stunning individual stylistic penchants. More than anything, though, this is a collection that’s intended to represent the diversity and strength of 2015’s earliest offerings in the visual medium. Whether the video comes from an established act or a relatively unknown band, as always, is largely besides the point: this is art worth celebrating. Set aside an hour or two and dive into the madness- and keep an eye on this site for a continuation of this series that should be appearing in the coming days.

COLLECTION II

1. Mitski – Townie
2. Hailey Wojcik – XO Skeleton 
3. Doomtree – Final Boss
4. Hundred Waters – Innocent
5. Palma Violets – Danger in the Club
6. Girl Band – Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?
7. Jawbreaker Reunion – My Own
8. Screaming Females – Hopeless
9. Museum Mouth – Sacred
10. Celestial Shore – Now I Know
11. Chastity Belt – Time To Go Home 
12. Cloakroom – Starchild Skull
13. Modest Mouse – Coyotes
14. Girlpool – Chinatown
15. Sweet John Bloom – Blood Moon
16. Bass Drum of Death – Better Days
17. Colleen Green – TV
18. Turbo Fruits – The Way I Want You
19. Young Widows – King Sol
20. Evans the Death – Enabler
21. Green Dreams – Rich Man/Poor Man
22. Japanese Breakfast – The Woman That Loves You
23. Michael Rault – Still Not Sad
24. A Place to Bury Strangers – We’ve Come So Far
25. Karen O – Day Go By

+

COLLECTION III

1. Gothic Tropic – Underwater Games
2. Laura Marling – False Hope
3. Beech Creeps – Son of Sud
4. Ultimate Painting – Riverside
5. Elvis Perkins – Hogus Pogus
6. Trust Fund – Essay to Write 
7. Mount Eerie – This
8. Kevin Morby – Dancer
9. Seagulls – You and Me
10. Bay Uno – Wait For Your Love
11. Jose Gonzalez – Leaf Off / The Cave
12. The Staves – Black & White
13. Big Noble – Ocean Picture
14. Inventions – Springworlds
15. S. Carey – Neverending Fountain
16. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Boundlessness
17. Ava Luna – Coat of Shellac
18. Novella – Land Gone
19. Young Buffalo – No Idea
20. Avi Buffalo – Think It’s Gonna Happen Again
21. HUMANS – Tell Me
22. Kathryn Calder – Take A Little Time
23. Sondre Lerche – Lucky Guy
24. Doe Paoro – Traveling
25. Asaf Avidan – Over My Head