Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: Hoop

Hoop – To Know Your Tone (Stream)

As another day recedes in the rear view mirror, it’s time to take stock of the goods it provided. There were excellent tracks from The Drums, B Boys, Gold Class, Us and Us Only, Loco Ono, Turtlenecked, Institute, and an unreleased demo from Ultimate Painting. Music videos were well represented by strong pieces that sprung from the likes of The Geraldine Fibbers, The Coathangers, Nick Hakim, Tiny Hazard, HOTT MT, and Daniel Martin Moore. Bringing everything to a nice close were full streams from The Wisconaut, Emperor X, and Sophie Sputnik.

While all of those, as always, are more than worth the time anyone’s willing to invest, today’s featured slot goes to Hoop’s arresting “To Know Your Tone”, from their forthcoming Super Genuine, which features a vocal assist from solo artist Allyson Foster. In a brief explanation of the inspiration for the song’s narrative, lyricist Caitlin Roberts offered the following: “To Know Your Tone” is about the power of asking for support and receiving support, and what it’s like to listen deeply to someone you don’t know very well but empathize with strongly. It’s about allowing tears to fall on the desert of isolation. 

A perfect summation of the humanism that’s always been at the core of Hoop’s music, the explanation goes a long way in explaining the overarching message of “To Know Your Tone” but what really elevates the song is the composition. Muted, hushed, nervous, and aggressive, “To Know Your Tone” benefits from an incredibly dark tone, providing both a contrast and a context to the song’s empathetic narrative. Allyson Foster delivers the vocal with a committed certainty, consumed by the song’s inherent power.

Appropriately, Foster stepped in to sing the song when Roberts lost her voice, underscoring the message of “To Know Your Tone” to an eerie perfection. Hoop — not to be confused with Hoops — and Foster work in tandem perfectly, complementing each other’s sensibilities with ease. The end result of their collaborative effort is both a tribute and testament to the very power of collaboration and the beauty present in asking for and receiving help. A gripping meditation on therapeutic connections, “To Know Your Tone” is also one of the year’s most quietly affecting tracks.

Listen to “Know Your Tone” below and pre-order Super Genuine from the band here.

Joyce Manor – NBTSA (Stream)

Continuing on with the posts that were lined up but didn’t get posted during a down time for the site, comes another strong list of recent songs by DasherAirLands, Mt. Doubt, Stella Donnelly, Dion Lunadon, Hoop, Delafye, Dump Him, GospelbeacH, turan, and Low Roar. One of the more unexpected new releases, however, came in the form of Joyce Manor’s bruising, hyper-minded “NBTSA”.

A sub-100 second blast of sheer basement pop that leans far closer to Radioactivity than anything the band’s ever put to tape, “NBTSA” — an acronym  for Never Be The Same Again — stands out as an unlikely lo-fi highlight from a band that made a serious change in tone for their last effort (the commendably clean Cody, which skewed to a more traditional pop-punk slant). Recorded for Polyvinyl’s always-excellent 4-Track Single Series, “NBTSA” finds the band with an extra dose of energy, looking to the past in an exhilarating victory lap that stands alongside “Comfortable Clothes” as the most adrenaline-inducing material they’ve ever released. It’s a remarkable work from a band that’s both constantly evolving and honoring its own history.

Listen to “NBTSA” below and subscribe to Polyvinyl’s 4-track series here.