Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Half Japanese

Bruising – Honey (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

One of the finest emerging bands of 2015 has been Bruising, an act whose origins can be traced back to a Perfect Pussy shirt. While they’re steadily building momentum to what promises to be one of the more anticipated debut full-length efforts in recent memory, the slow stream of songs they’ve been releasing have merited a great deal of excitement on their own. Earlier this year, the act unveiled “Emo Friends” the A-side of their latest single, which saw them refining the things that helped them stand out. In the time elapsed since this site last covered single streams, the band released the b-side to that single, the propulsive “Honey”.

Built around incendiary guitar work and another compelling vocal performance from Naomi Baguley, the song exemplifies the band’s impossibly charming aesthetic. There’s some menace buried in a shoegaze-informed basement pop track that feels improbably light. Nearly paradoxically, there’s also some real weight to be found in “Honey”, thanks to the scathing lyrical kiss-offs and the hard-charging instrumental section. In all, it’s another triumphant effort from a band that’s already established themselves as a site favorite only a few songs into their career.

Listen to “Honey” below and pick up “Emo Friends b/w Honey” here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Luxury Gbg – Strand
Bilge Rat – Jon Puked Last Night
Halfsour – Porch Sittin
Little Star – For Goth Easter
Living Hour – Seagull
Washer – Pet Rock vs. Healing Crystal
Soft Fangs – The Air
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Nobody Dies
La Sera – High Notes
The Dirty Nil – Zombie Eyed
Telepathic – Suit to Fit
Kal Marks – Dorothy
Pinkshinyultrablast – The Cherry Pit
Half Japanese – Hold On
The Foetals – The World Isn’t That Big
Way Out – Arrival
Acid Fast – Just Grin
Thom Fekete – Treason
The Castillians – Piggy in the Middle
Casket Girls – Western World
Massenger – Cristal Animal

Dusk – Too Sweet (Music Video)

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Capping off tonight’s run of the best music videos of the past few months is Dusk— one of the year’s best new bands– with 2015 highlight “Too Sweet“. Over the course of the past 10 years of my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet most of Dusk’s members and share bills with their bands. The most notable of these directly affiliated bands is Tenement, a band I’ve written about on this site in great detail thanks to their key role in my artistic and personal development. As a kid who was just figuring out how to play guitar, I remember stepping foot into The BFG (a DIY punk house venue that the band used to run) and being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of records that the house had amassed, each showing the residents’ eclectic tastes.

I’d later come to find that a bulk of these belonged to Tenement guitarist/vocalist (and Dusk bassist) Amos Pitsch, who had a penchant for old soul and country records from the likes of artists like Sam Cooke and The Louvin Brothers. Those influences would gradually present themselves in subtle ways on Tenement songs (which have been erring closer to the band’s jazz influences) but they’d never featured as prominently as they do with Dusk, who also seem to share a very serious kinship with acts like The Band. After coming out of the gate with “(Do the) Bored Recluse“, the band followed up with “Too Sweet” arriving perfectly at a marriage between classic country and classic soul without ever sounding remotely inauthentic.

That sense of authenticity, the complete rejection of cheap revivalism, is evidenced again in the song’s Finn Bjornerud-directed music video, which simply features the band playing the song in an average living room (like their affiliates, Dusk has a tendency to find the beauty in the everyday rather than try to capture grandeur or bombast). A few striking compositions are spliced in here and there– including an absolutely gorgeous silhouette shot of a soft-lit Ryley Crowe playing pedal steel and a beautiful final group shot cleverly framed by an archway– but more often than not, the clip opts to celebrate the communal act of playing music surrounded by people you love.

Led by Julia Blair’s attention-ensuring crooning, a cavalcade of impressive backing vocal harmonies, and committed performances from all the featured players, “Too Sweet” feels like more than just a music video, it skews closer to a mission statement; celebrate the things you have and strive to elevate the people around you. Defiantly honorable to the end, “Too Sweet” is the most perfect encapsulation of Dusk to date and suggests that the band, thankfully, is only just getting started.

Watch “Too Sweet” below, pick up a copy of the 7″ here, and explore a list of some of the best music videos of the past few months underneath the embed.

Bing & Ruth – Broad Channel
Summer Twins – Ouija
Total Makeover – Self-Destructive
Francis – Follow Me Home
EL VY – No Time to Crank the Sun
Half Japanese – That Is That
James Clark Hangover – Maria
Oscar – Breaking My Phone
Wray – Hypatia
NZCA Lines – Persephone Dreams
Overlake – Travelogue
Rah Rah – Be Your Man
Paul Bergmann – You May Never Know
Pink Lung  – Chinese Watermelons
Laura Stevenson – Jellyfish
Ben Millburn – Don’t You Wait
Big Harp – DIEV
Busdriver – Much
Erica Glyn – The Killing Moon
Neonderthal – The Ride
Jackson Boone – Runaway
Freddie Gibbs – Fuckin’ Up the Count
Lowly – S.W.I.M.
Joey Kneiser – The Wilderness
Tuff Sunshine – Fire in the Hero Building
The Rashita Joneses – White Wave
The Goon Sax – Sometimes Accidentally
Kenrick Lamar – These Walls (ft. Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat)

The Foetals – Malted (Stream)

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It’s been a strong week leading into the weekend and today’s end-cap kept that streak alive, offering up a variety of gems. Skeleton Frames’ “Leech“, Zenith Myth’s “Shadow Fortune“, Coke Weed’s “Dead Man Walking“, and The Nudes’ “Hex” were all unveiled and deserve a handful of listens. Kendrick Lamar’s manic, jaw-dropping “For Free? (Interlude)” more than made up for an otherwise lacking day for music videos (honestly, though, “For Free” would have overshadowed anything else). Sharkmuffin, Half Japanese, Deaf Wish, and Ultimate Painting all offered streams of great forthcoming records while Comfy and Skirts offered up a stream of their commanding split EP.

Today’s feature cycles back to the single streams and lands squarely on The Foetals’ delightfully scrappy  “Malted”. The second glimpse at the amusingly titled Meet The Foetals, it’s another perfectly crafted piece of the kind of wiry pop that’s securing Swedish label PNKSLM Recordings a foothold in national stateside coverage. Punchy, full of hooks, and unabashedly poppy, “Malted” is the kind of track that seems perfectly suited for summer but has just enough dusty nostalgic touches to tie that appropriate-listening aspect over to fall.

The solo project of Pink Teens member Jolan Lewis, The Foetals may wind up surpassing what, up to this point, has been  Lewis’ main vehicle. If the rest of the extremely promising Meet The Foetals lives up to its early flashes of potential, Lewis just may find his other moniker scattered throughout some genre specialists’ lists come December. Until winter rolls around and definitively beds that theory, the only thing that feels appropriate is sliding the volume on “Malted” up and continuously hitting repeat.

Listen to “Malted” below and order a copy of Meet the Foetals ahead of its release here.