Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: indie

PAWS – Owls Talons Clenching My Heart (Stream)

PAWS’ Cokefloat! was one of 2012’s most refreshing full-lengths and now, two years later, they’re following it up with the bolder, more aggressive, and more fully-formed Youth Culture Forever (a title taken from a line in Adventure Time). The band offered up a first glimpse at their incredible upcoming record with “Tongues“, a song good enough to land itself in this playlistYouth Culture Forever‘s release is still just around the corner (May 6 via Fat Cat) and the band’s continuing to drum up anticipation with another preview, this time in the form of “Owls Talons Clenching My Heart”.

One of the driving forces in the creation of Youth Culture Forever was the band’s disgruntlement with the lo-fi tag that was strangely prevalent in the reviews for Cokefloat!. Both “Tongues” and “Owls Talons Clenching My Heart” have definitely proven the band’s succeeded in accomplishing a sound that’s both fuller and more clean without sacrificing an iota of their character or identity. “Owls Talons Clenching My Heart” is as scrappy and melodic as anything the band’s recorded while being just as clever (and indescribably catchy). It’s another ripper from the Glaswegian power trio that packs plenty of bite and another great example of how forceful Youth Culture Forever really is.

Listen to “Owls Talons Clenching My Heart” below and pre-order Youth Culture Forever from Fat Cat here.

Greys – Guy Picciotto (Music Video)

Greys’ If Anything (due out June 17 via Carpark) is already one of the most anticipated full-lengths of the remaining year. This is thanks, in no small part, to lead-off preview track “Guy Picciotto”. Amanda Fotes has now provided that track with a video that rivals the songs sense of chaos and tension. Presented in a muted palette (incidentally- and possibly intentionally- it looks like it was tuned through a gray filter), the video revolves around the band throwing a Marshall cab off of the roof an ostensibly abandoned building in a desolate part of some unnamed city. There are a few moments where some footage of the band playing gets spliced in and Fotes disorients the linearity of the act by positioning the members on both the roof and the ground during the amp’s descent. It takes the amp the duration of the song to reach impact and there’s a sly bit of cleverness to that ultimate, climactic moment. It’s all over in well under two minutes and more than worth anyone’s time. Watch it below and keep an eye out for both If Anything and the band’s reportedly insane live show. Enjoy.

Shannon & the Clams – Mama (Stream)

Not too far removed from Reigning Sound on the very-particular-brand-of-timelessness is Shannon & the Clams, the doo-wop-leaning throwback outfit. Led by the powerhouse vocals of Shannon Shaw, the band’s earned their place on many specialists year-end lists over the past several years for their distinct take on the basement pop aesthetic, seamlessly blending in specific influences from the last 60 years into their core sound.

While last year’s Dreams in the Rat House wasn’t their best record, it was close to their best record. Maintaining a standard of excellence as high as they’ve been over the years isn’t an easy feat but it looks as if they’re barreling along anyway. The most recent piece of evidence working in their favor is “Mama” taking from an upcoming split 7″ with Portland punk rippers Guantanamo Baywatch (both acts share common ground via both Suicide Squeeze, the label releasing the split, and Burger). “Mama” comes off as breezy and effortless as the bulk of the band’s very best material. There’s an elusive looseness as well as a hint of perfectionism running through “Mama”, making it a somewhat paradoxical and completely enthralling listen.

If Guantanamo Baywatch’s side proves to be even half as good as this, then 2014 will have one of its first contenders for split of the year. Listen to “Mama” below and pick up the split when it comes out on April 29.

Fucked Up – Paper the House (Music Video)

There are very few bands with discography’s as deep as Fucked Up’s with so few LP’s. For a while, especially towards the beginning of the band’s career, they produced a ceaseless onslaught of 7″ and 10″ releases, while never offering up more than an EP. When their first LP finally did come along, it sent some shockwaves through a broadening audience. Fast forward from that moment to today and nearly all of their full-lengths can be considered classics. After all, it takes something special for a band flirting with so many hardcore tendencies to take home the Polaris Prize (here’s looking at you, The Chemistry of Common Life). Now, three years after their massive, blistering rock opera David Comes to Life, the band have set their sights on their newest LP: Glass Boys.

For a long while Glass Boys was shrouded in mystery, with the band taking some time to rest before emerging full-force just a few short months ago. Then, as is often the case with Fucked Up, everything seemed to hit at once: the announcement of the Year of the Dragon 10″, a revealing interview with Stereogum, the 285 Kent adieu, the Glass Boys reveal artwork above), and the stream of the accompanying lead-off single- along with its music video. While the recorded version of “Year of the Dragon” has yet to be heard, both “Paper the House” and its video prove to be quite gripping.

“Paper the House” the song is one of the most melodic pieces the band’s wrung out of their tenacity yet, containing a lead guitar line that’d fit comfortably in just about any 90’s slacker pop song. There’s a catchy-as-hell chorus, a vocal part that showcases Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham’s deceptive range (as well as what seem to be his most personal lyrics to date), and a fittingly forceful rhythm section that keeps the song as propulsive as possible. The accompanying video is artfully directed and unfailingly minimal- a beautifully-shot and artfully directed black-and-white performance clip video. It’s a necessary reminder of how straightforward this band can be without losing any of its power and its a tantalizing glimpse at what could be one of the years most important records. Watch it below.

Saintseneca – Happy Alone (Music Video)

Between the streaming of Terrestrials the behemoth of a collaborative album between Sunn O))) and Ulver, the announcement of a Bad Banana reunion show, John Dwyer releasing his first material post-Oh Sees hiatus, Big Air publicly unveiling their excellent debut tape, Buds, Fear of Men releasing a very promising sneak peek of their upcoming debut full-length Loom, a surprisingly punchy new track entitled “Any Wonder” from Yellow Ostrich, Mary Timony’s newest project, Ex Hex, offering up a hard-charging sample of their upcoming Merge debut, the cleverly constructed first music video to come out of the pairing of Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws and Julianna Hatfield for their Minor Alps project, an NPR Tiny Desk Session from The Pixies, the energetic black-and-white music video premiere of The Orwells’ “The Righteous One“, a live performance video of an all-acoustic run through of upcoming Drive-By Truckers track “Made Up English Oceans“, and Angel Olsen‘s absolutely stunning smoky, seductively noir-ish music video for upcoming Burn Your Fire for No Witness track “Hi-Five“, it’s been one hell of a Monday. Then, to top it all off, there’s the video that managed to edge out all of this to become today’s focus piece; Saintseneca‘s extraordinary clip for upcoming Dark Arc track “Happy Alone”.

Dark Arc, at this point easily one of the year’s most anticipated albums, should officially herald the arrival of Saintseneca, a band that was previously best known for being a conglomeration of two excellent Ohio basement punk bands; All Dogs and The Sidekicks. They’ve been maintaining an entrancing (and incredibly effective) rollout campaign for Dark Arc, their Anti- records debut, and seem poised to continue rewarding the investment of anyone who’s paying attention. “Happy Alone” has officially elevated their art form even further. The Christopher Good clip is clearly indebted to a vast array of arthouse influences and features stunning handheld cinematography, a gorgeous (magic hour-infused) color palette, inspired editing, yet another great song from the band, and band member Zac Little’s head in a giant bubble as he makes his way through everyday tasks.

It’s borderline dadaism and dips in and out of some Warhol-level pop art as it goes along to the most weirdly entrancing effect. It works as a surface level piece and as a light commentary on the nature of loneliness. There’s really absolutely no reason for any of it to add up to the inexplicably powerful whole that it is but it manages to do that and a little more. On its own, “Happy Alone” is definitive enough to act as a perfect introductory piece to the uninitiated while being singular enough to plausibly rank as one of the bands most important moments in their continuing evolution during this much-deserved groundswell of success. Above all else, though, it’s just a beautiful piece of art. That’s something that will always be worth rewarding. Watch it below.