Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Illinois

Watch This: Vol. 157

The last time a regularly-scheduled, one-week-encapsulating Watch This ran, October was drawing to a close. A lot of things have happened in the interim and all of the videos that surfaced in that time were given their due through the massive recap project that ran just a short while ago. Finally, the series is back in earnest. Each of the highlighted videos (save for one notable exception) was released between the past Monday-Sunday full week run.

During that time, a whole host of videos worth exploring were released from artists like Craig Finn, Mo Troper & The Assumptions, Chouette, Meatbodies, Molly Burch, Thelma, Lever, SUMEAU, Jock Gang, Dude York, The New Pornographers, Chicano Batman, Peter Silberman, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Future Islands, Same, Square Peg Round Hole, Alien Boy, Big Business, Lo Moon, Emerald City, Future Islands, Momma’s Boy, Gemma Ray, Ha Ha Tonka, Lucius, Nimrod, Dangerous Animals, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, Breanna Barbara, SUSTO, and Half Waif. Which, as is typically the case, constitutes a very strong field that speaks volumes about the strengths of the five featured clips. So, as always, lean back, take a deep breath, clear your mind, straighten up, lean in, adjust the settings, and Watch This.

1. Lady Lamb (Hear Here)

A fascinating emerging concert series, Hear Here, recently hosted site favorite — and Watch This staple — Lady Lamb for an intimate solo performance. When Lady Lamb is in full band mode, there’s no denying the project’s sheer power, which isn’t something that can always be matched with the solo presentation. When they can, though, as is the case here, the divide between good songwriters and great songwriters begins to emerge. Lady Lamb is a great songwriter.

2. Lookapony (3voor12)

Every once in a while, 3voor12 will run a live session with enough power running through its veins to jolt a body upright and get their eyes glued to the screen.  Lookapony recently joined that category with this scintillating run through a handful of basement pop gems, delivered with an energy and conviction that the genre can occasionally lack. Riding the perfect divide between technique and feeling, Lookapony deliver the type of performance that’s strong enough to permanently brand their name into a viewer/listener’s memory.

3. Charly Bliss – Westermarck (Paste)

Anyone that’s been paying an iota of attention to this site knows that there are few currently-active bands Heartbreaking Bravery values more than Charly Bliss. As mentioned in the introduction, this one is a slight cheat as it’s a holdover from the massive recap that ran last week. The reason? “Westermarck”, a new song from the band’s forthcoming Guppy, deserves to be highlighted, as does this acoustic rendition. The band, as always, gives it their all and delivers a sterling take on what will likely hold up as one of 2017’s finest tracks. Deceptively sweet, surprisingly barbed, and verging on flawless, this is something worth celebrating.

4. Rosie Carney – Awake Me

Utilizing a live video as a song’s official video’s always a risky prospect, especially for emerging talents (for artists like Nick Cave, it’s a different story entirely), which makes this gorgeous clip for Rosie Carney‘s “Awake Me” all the more surprising. With “Awake Me” already standing as an early 2017 highlight, as well as one of the year’s most elegant, haunting tracks, Carney still manages to find a way to suffuse the song with even more life. There’s a soft lyricism to the camera movements as well, perfectly rounding out an unforgettable video.

5. clipping. (KEXP)

eDaveed Diggs, one of the primary driving forces behind clipping. could have taken it easy and rested on his laurels following his Tony-winning run in cultural phenomenon Hamilton. Instead, Diggs found a way to release an EP with clipping., Wriggle, immediately after leaving the show and then followed that up with a full-length only a few short months later. Diggs’ characteristic restlessness permeates through every last second of this session the band did for KEXP, showcasing an energetic, singular talent that, frankly, even with all of the deserved accolades, still seems deserving of more credit. Challenging, forward-thinking, and undeniably intelligent, this is a once-in-a-generation kind of talent. All we can do is sit back, watch, try to keep up, try to learn, and be wildly entertained.

Splitting at the Break: The Live Photography of 2016’s First Half, Pt. I

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Over the past six months, the site’s experienced a few hiatuses. While some of those hiatuses were due to personal reasons, the majority were because of long stretches of time spent on the road. During the course of those six months, I was fortunate enough to catch a small handful of shows (and play a few more). No live photography from 2016 has been posted (discounting the header photo that’s ran for the Told Slant feature spots and the Meat Wave photo that ran in conjuncture with the Live Videos segment) and below is a gallery — the first of five — designed to amend the oversight. Enjoy.

 

Geronimo! – Euphoria (Stream)

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While this site was (and is) still grappling with an inability to directly access soundcloud, an insane amount of music’s been brought into the world. The few songs that did earn features here were all accessed remotely, via other generous posters. One that seemed to slip by most, though, was music from the extraordinary, just-released Cheap Trick by the Chicago-based Geronimo!. Time to right that wrong. Cheap Trick is easily among the best records to have come out so far this year and the record’s penultimate track, the coursing “Euphoria”, manages to define both the record and the band in a little under seven minutes.

Not a single one of those seconds is wasted as the song goes from a sedated and contemplative slow-burner to a frenzied sonic assault. There’s a perfectly executed transition that leans in on the band’s penchant for woozy guitar riffs that are as inspired by shoegaze as they are post-punk. Even with that, the band still finds enough room for a few other influences; Midwestern emo, early hardcore, and left-field powerpop- and blends them into an aesthetic package that’s wholly their own.

By the time “Euphoria” hits, the record’s already full-sprint and climactic enough but this single song manages to push it, gleefully, over the edge of a cliff. It’s the soundtrack of the descent and it’s clear Geronimo! loves every exhilarating minute. Appropriately, considering the title, “Euphoria” winds up being the most noticeable moment of catharsis on a record full of them. Don’t let this one go unnoticed.

Listen to “Euphoria” below and make sure to pick up Cheap Trick as soon as humanly possible.

Archie Powell & the Exports – Holes (Music Video)

It wasn’t too long ago that Archie Powell & the Exports earned themselves both a write-up and a best-of mixtape inclusion for the incendiary ripper “Everything’s Fucked”. That song was the first to tease the band’s upcoming record, Back in Black, which promises to show a rawer and more ragged side to the Chicago-based quintet. Since releasing that as the introduction piece the band have been carefully doling out bits and pieces of the record but nothing has been as impressive as the recently-released music video for “Holes”, which earned itself an impressive feature on Consequence of Sound and featured heavy involvement from Audiotree.

“Holes” comes courtesy of Brian Racine and an impressively assembled crew who made this video as eye-catching as possible, in the best of ways. All of it’s shot in keeping with a classic video game aesthetic (in terms of palette and presentation it’s not too far removed from Edgar Wright’s largely misunderstood Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), apart from the few avant-glam shots thrown in for good measure, and packs a hell of a punch. It’ll also drive up a desire to either play arcade games, grab a drink, or start a band- so fair warning. All told, this is just further evidence that AP&tE are ready for bigger things and have their sights set on achieving them.

Watch “Holes” below and then play some arcade games, grab a drink, and start a goddamn band already.

Mutts and Buffalo Moon Release Music Videos, Get People Dancing

This week saw two of the Upper Midwest’s best fringe bands release music videos, both of which include dancing. First came Chicago, IL band Mutts’ DIY slacker-goofball video for “Pickpocket”, which was an incredibly welcome and lighthearted affair following their absolutely stunning music video for “Prizefighter”. Both “Pickpocket” and “Prizefighter” were taken from the band’s extraordinary career high-point, 2013’s Object Permanence.

After Mutts unleashed “Pickpocket” on the world, Minneapolis, MN band Buffalo Moon unveiled the impressive music video for the first single (and title track) from their upcoming Machista. Buffalo Moon have been relatively quiet since the release of 2011’s Selva Surreal, playing a handful of dates whenever (and wherever) they could manage. Like Mutts in their most recent acoustic form, Buffalo Moon have frequently flirted with the basement punk scene. While both are capable of delivering full-blown post-punk (look at Mutts’ first three full-lengths for proof and check either band out live), it’s always nice to have some variety. Both Buffalo Moon and Mutts are continuing to deliver in full. Watch the videos for “Pickpocket” and “Machista” below.