Last week, there were great videos to emerge from some reliably excellent camps, like those of Ty Segall, Grandaddy, Sam Craighead, Damn Jackals, Forest Swords, Jacky Boy, and Molly Nilsson. Another artist to offer up a new clip was Heather Woods Broderick, whose knack for the format hasn’t gone unnoticed. Broderick’s latest, a clip presented as a tie-in to the fascinating Home Winds project, boasts gorgeous cinematography and direction from Jeffrey Rowles. A characteristically majestic song from Broderick plays over the nature-heavy footage, giving “Home Winds” an appropriate sense of sweeping grandeur. Quiet, meditative, and gentle, it’s hard to shake but even harder to want to shake at all, leaving “Home Winds” as another in a string of Broderick’s unassuming triumphs.
Watch “Home Winds” below and order a copy of Home Winds here.
Before diving into the particulars of the forthcoming lists, it’s worth addressing the distinction made in the headline. Each of the categories that received a list in 2015 (music videos, songs, EP’s, albums, odds and ends) will be expanded upon in this post. However, there are still two forthcoming film lists but each of those will include the honorable mentions along with the featured rankings. An obscene amount of great material came out over the 12 months that comprised the past year so any attempts to cover everything would be futile. If anyone’s exhausted the below lists, a more comprehensive version can be found by exploring the following tags: stream, full stream, EP stream, and music video. Explore some of the top tier picks that didn’t make it onto the year-end lists via the tags below.
The combination of PUP and Chandler Levack and Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux’s collaborative filmmaking team has proven to be historically successful with me over the years. Last year, I cited “Guilt Trip” as 2014’s best music video on this site and in the preceding year, I awarded top honors to “Reservoir” over at PopMatters. In the videos that have come between (and followed) there simply hasn’t been one that hasn’t been highlighted in some form on Heartbreaking Bravery. “Dark Days”, the team’s latest effort, is another triumph of both artistry and form.
Once again, Levack and Shcaulin-Rioux have managed to find an intriguing way to tap into both the bands identity and their unwavering humanism. This time around, they achieve this through a slightly unexpected medium within the format: anime-inspired animations (courtesy of Solis Animation Inc.). Turning the focal point to the deceptively glamorous life of a touring band, all of the trivialities and hardships of life on the road all receive their respective turns under the spotlight.
Yes, there’s still an exhilarating run of the time spent on the stage, playing your heart out for an appreciative audience, and an endless slew of memorable moments spent in transit but the good moments tend to act as cathartic release for touring’s inevitable hardships (sickness, mental and physical exhaustion, fights, hunger, potential monetary loss, leaving your friends after only seeing them for moments, navigating relationships with the people back home, and figuring out how to correlate the peaks and valleys of personal life with life on the road, among countless other factors) but its rarely been presented this clearly. It’s a subject that’s been broached countless times (one of the best examples of this is Thor Harris’ guide to touring and his insights on touring with depression) but has frequently struggled to achieve a finished product so compelling.
The art direction- as it’s always been with Levack and Shcaulin-Rioux at the helm- is breathtaking and the editing gives “Dark Days” a vibrancy that lends to its relatable nature. “Dark Days” took a somewhat staggering six months to create and the considerable amount of work involved shows. Tour documentaries have rarely been this compelling and the same can be said for music video streaks this stratospheric. Unsurprisingly, again, the music and the clip elevate each other in a manner that gives new life to the song and a staggering vitality to the video. It’s something that deserves to not just be seen- but to be remembered.
Watch “Dark Days” below and order a copy of the band’s self-titled record here. Beneath the clip, explore a mixture of 25 great full streams and other music videos to have found release in the past handful of days. Enjoy.
Another day of great releases gone by, another batch of exciting releases to cover. With yesterday’s coverage going to the Ben Seretan premiere, there’ll be material to have surfaced from both today and yesterday running in this post. For music videos, we were graciously gifted Eternal Summers’ kitchen trip “Comes Alive“, Heaven’s Gate’s oddly eerie “Sally Says“, The Libertines’ weirdly inspired (and psych-tinged) return clip “Gunga Din“, and Big Noble’s characteristically gorgeous “Traveler“. White Reaper‘s “Last 4th of July” wound up getting this post’s focus and will be expanded on shortly.
White Reaper’s upcoming White Reaper Does It Again is an unbelievably explosive record (two of the songs the band’s released in the rollout campaign have already been featured on this site) so it sort of makes sense there’s a song on it called “Last 4th of July”. Continuing on with sensible decisions, the band’s decided to release a music video for the 100 second tune just in time for this year’s 4th.
Retro effects provide the clip with a fun opening before it takes an unexpected left turn and devolves into a beautifully-lensed series of shots where the band wreak absolute havoc on the windows and windshields of a variety of scrapyard vehicles. Much like White Reaper Does It Again, the whole affair is a jolt of surging adrenaline that establishes White Reaper as an absolute force. Join the party or get the hell out of the way.
Watch “Last 4th of July” below and pre-order White Reaper Does It Again ahead of its July 17 release date from Polyvinyl here.
Cherry Glazerr have earned themselves a slew of kind words from this site in the past and they continue to stealthily improve with each new outing. “Sip O’ Poison”, the band’s raucous new entry into Adult Swim’s singles series, upholds that pace with a ferocious conviction. The band’s never sounded angrier, more determined, or inspired. In under 100 seconds, they ride a wave of feedback into a hurricane of pure chaos, somehow managing to make sure they’re completely in control of a surprisingly harrowing journey. Put simply: the band’s never sounded this enticing.
Listen to “Sip O’ Poison” below and download it for free from the Adult Swim site here. Underneath the embed, listen to 10 excellent songs to have emerged in the past two weeks.
In the last round of catching up from last week’s loaded slate of new releases, Heather Woods Broderick’s stunning clip for “Wyoming”. It’s the only video in yet another round of great songs. Sunflower Bean released the swirling, psych-damaged “I Hear Voices“, Nervous Trend unveiled their pummeling post-punk highlight “Shattered” (which came a hair’s breadth away from taking the feature spot), Digital Leather’s winning streak of synth-heavy basement pop hit new highs with “Cold Inside“, and Speedy Ortiz offered up a fascinating look at the minutiae of their songwriting process via an acoustic guitar/vocals demo of “Basketball“. Then, there was “Wyoming”.
Shot in a grainy 16mm black-and-white that favors long landscape shots, “Wyoming” finds an early strength in a mode of cinematography that creates a sense of eerie calm. As Broderick’s song slowly builds to its towering climactic moment, the clip’s palette blooms into a soft color. It’s an unexpected, and effective, moment that matches the song’s penchant for the otherworldly. As the camera follows Woods from climbing waterside ridges to the water itself, the clip deepens a sense of inexplicably serene calmness. Emotive storytelling via the film’s mechanics are favored over a clear narrative (in a manner not entirely dissimilar from Shane Carruth’s incredible Upstream Color). It’s a minimal, evocative piece of filmmaking that boasts imagery that’s hard to shake and elevates an already great song. After the flurry of posts about last week’s material, it also feels like the perfect end-cap to a particularly memorable storm. Don’t let this one drift off into the distance.
Watch “Wyoming” below and order Glider from Western Vinyl here.