Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Henry Chadwick

Mike Krol – An Ambulance (Stream)

A whole pile of incredible songs emerged this week, including new entries from: Florry, Mothers, Henry Chadwick, Sauropod, Notches, Strawberry Mountain, Lost Boy ?, Muncie Girls, Harvey Trisdale, Thin Lips, Sketti Tangles, Gon von Zola, Michael Michael Motorcycle, Found Wild, Joey Sweeney, Rosie Thorne, Claw Marks, Paul Collins, Bilge Rat, Memory Bells, The Chills, Jane’s Party, and Leland and the Silver Walls. They’re all worth a listen. Another artist to join the party was site favorite Mike Krol.

Just a few years ago, Krol put out the incredible Turkey, a record teeming with blistering basement pop strong enough to land it a spot as Heartbreaking Bravery’s pick as one of 2015’s best albums. Krol hasn’t released much of anything in the interim that’s followed but did see a spike in popularity after an unexpected, joyous appearance as an in-show character on Steven Universe. Rebecca Sugar’s show — and the fervent fan base its amassed — seems in perfect keeping with Krol’s sensibilities, which manage to simultaneously suggest immediacy and thoughtfulness.

Which brings us to “An Ambulance”, a characteristically scintillating surge of punk-tinted basement pop from an artist that’s built a career out of mastering that exact genre. From the jump, “An Ambulance” flaunts its blown-out giddiness, exploding in an adrenaline rush of melodic aggression. A catchy-as-hell guitar riff forms the foundation for one of the summer’s best hooks, accelerating the song from a controlled cruise to reckless abandonment. The song’s vintage Krol, suffusing the past with credible meaning and blowing the doors to the future wide open.

Listen to “An Ambulance” below and pre-order An Ambulance b/w Never Know from Merge here.

Courntey Barnett – Elevator Operator (Music Video)

Courtney Barnett I

Littler, Mass Gothic, Kino Kimino, Ty Segall, Henry Chadwick, Angel Du$t, Little Scream, and Talons were responsible for all but the last of the great music videos to emerge over the course of this site’s mini-hiatus. After being gone for nearly two weeks (thanks to both other musical obligations and preparation work for an upcoming feature on this very space), there were quite a few titles to consider. Ultimately, this final music video spotlight allotted to that stretch of time went to perennial site favorite Courtney Barnett (and her excellent new video).

After experiencing a massive breakout year that saw Barnett do everything from hosting SNL to being nominated for an overdue Grammy, the expectations for any new release for the songwriter have been set extraordinarily high. Thankfully, Barnett’s had a surprisingly long history of avoiding literally any form of disappointment and the brilliant Sunny Leunig-directed video for Sometimes I Sit And Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit‘s invigorating lead-off track is no exception.

Opening the clip on a tongue-in-cheek discussion carried out by Sleater-Kinney sets a lively pace both for the clip’s narrative and for the astonishing amount of cameos packed into the sub-six minute running time. Not soon after the coy cold open, Barnett takes up the titular role and Keunig sets about dismantling any expectations that decision may bring.

Apart from one legitimately breathtaking sequence of relative quiet that cuts away from the song completely, “Elevator Operator” exudes a kind of surprisingly specific irreverence and well-meaning snark that’s proven to be a Barnett specialty. Not long after that staggering moment of existentialism — which is anchored by an impressive performance from Barnett — “Elevator Operator” slides right back into its natural groove, cementing its status as a more-than-worthy addition to Barnett’s enviable output.

Watch “Elevator Operator” below and pick up a copy of Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit here.

Birth (Defects) – Demands (Stream)

birth defects

In just under two weeks a small army of notable songs have been unveiled, including new titles from acts like Cowtown, The Pills, The Amazing, Trust Punks, Descendents, Tempesst, Ultimate Painting, Cave Curse, Trevor Sensor, Katie Burden, Tom Brosseau, Opposite Sex, True Neutral Crew, Crocodiles, Grieving, Henry Chadwick, Shapes In Calgary, Goblin Cock, and Saints Patience. That run of songs all but closes out the list of the finest tracks to cross this site’s path over the interim, with one notable exception: Birth (Defect)’s near-feral “Demands”.

A brief talk with Birth (Defects)’s vocalist (as well as social activist, Is This Venue Accessible mastermind, Accidental Guest head, and all-around great human) Sean Gray revealed that “Demands” was the first song the band ever wrote. Gray still considers it the band’s finest offering and, with this new version recorded by Perfect Pussy‘s Shaun Sutkus and rounded out by the band’s recently-expanded lineup, it’s not difficult to see why that’s the case.

Like nearly all great hardcore bands of any breed, Birth (Defects) draw considerable power from frustration and that frustration has never manifested more clearly than in the staccato stabbings of “Demands”, which complements the band’s most recent offering — the incendiary “Hanshin“, which will be the track’s flip-side on the forthcoming 7” — to perfection.

Through aggressive, chaotic caterwauling, Birth (Defects) carve out a home in a dark corner and sink their heels in deep, recoiling while simultaneously positioning themselves for attack. Feedback runs through everything, providing an air of discordance that drives up a sense of tension that never evaporates and lingers on after the final snare blast. Somehow, as raw and primordial as it seems on the surface, “Demands” can’t help but feel weirdly triumphant. It’s the sound of a band who have embraced their voice and are intent on projecting it through a row of sharpened teeth. The end result? A third-degree bite mark that deserves to be worn like a badge of honor.

Listen to “Demands” below and pre-order the 7″ from Reptilian here.

Lady Bones – Weight (Stream)

Lady Bones II

Continuing on with the impressive slate of notable songs that have come out since the start of April, the focus falls — as it has so many times on this site in the past — on Lady Bones. Before turning the attention towards their outstanding “Weight”, it’s worth casting a look over at great new songs from Lost Boy ?, Melkbelly, Pumarosa, Henry Chadwick, Ali Beletic, Honey Radar, Stone Cold Fox, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, FIR, and Keroscene. While those 10 songs were all more than worthwhile, it was Lady Bones’ “Weight” to snag this post’s feature spot.

Last year’s excellent Dying saw the trio continuing to hone their own take on the grunge-meets-post-punk-filtered-through-noise-punk-trappings sound that has become a calling card for many Boston-area bands. Dying saw the band continue to scale back some of the more pop-leaning aspects that populated their split with Horsehands, to considerable effect. “Weight”, once again, finds the band diminishing their more pop-skewing sensibilities in favor of something much more aggressive. Again, it’s a move that pays dividends for the band.

Now, to be abundantly clear, the band hasn’t sacrificed their keen melodic sense, they’ve just inverted it into something that comes across in a much more emphatic manner. On “Weight” they continue to go for their listener’s throats, conjuring up a bruising number that benefits from their murky tones, never quite becoming a sludge song but playing with some of the genre’s more interesting aesthetics. They’ve settled into a confident rhythm and have found what works most effectively for their songwriting and “Weight” is exhilarating proof.

Listen to “Weight” below and pre-order Terse from Midnight Werewolf here.