Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Jess Williamson

Nothing Stops In November: The Month’s Full Streams

A lot changed over the course of November, on national, global, and intimate scales. The results of the latter category led to a near-absence of posts over the past 30 days on this space. No matter how much the personal landscape changed, the tracking of new releases remained a constant. While the last post documented some of the best music videos to emerge over the course of that run, the attention here falls to the full streams that were unveiled in that same interim.

As is typically the case with these types of roundups, everything here deserves more praise than it can possibly receive here and is likely best sifted through at a leisurely pace. Feel free to bookmark the page and make return visits to hear some outstanding music because these aren’t releases that people will want to miss. Dive in and enjoy. 

Permit, Lawn, Swampmeat, Minihorse, Deerhoof, RetailThe Momotarōs, Spelling Reform, Very Fresh, Dark Blue, Skin Lies, Nine of Swords, Harmony Tividad, Miracle Sweepstakes, Monomyth, Pure Moods, if i die in mississippi, Mustardmind, Frank Weysos, Tuffy, Dr. Dog, Jess Williamson, Pastel Felt, Floating Room, Mark Sultan, Landing, Psychic Love, His Clancyness, Blank Range, Dogs At Large, Mr. Universe, Carroll, Warm Ouroboros, NGHTCRWLRS, Ava Mendoza/Maxime Petit/Will Guthrie, You Blew It.

Burial, Justin Carter, Cold Country, Gloria, Brave Timbers, Split Single, Amp, Deadaires, Cameron AG, Estrons, The Superweaks, My Education, Genders, Elle, Perfect Human, Fujiya & Miyagi, The Immoderate Past, Holy Golden, and Quit + Wuss. An outstanding GoldFlakePaint compilation and an exceptional Z Tapes compilation rounded things out in memorable fashion.

A Week and a Half’s Worth of Material

Over the past week and a half there was a vast arsenal of material that found release across all three major formats. All of the titles that made a sizable impression will be linked to below and all of them are well worth exploring. Over the next few days there will be a laundry list of individual items to find small features but that in no way should deter from the immense value of the songs listed below. If there was enough time to provide each and every one of these entries features of their own, a regular day would have to be well over 24 hours. As it stands, the best approach is to simply bookmark this page and peruse these selections at a preferred pace. Keep an eye out for more updates from this site very soon and enjoy the incredible offerings that are available below.

Streams

The Raveonettes, Coaster, Puerto Rico Flowers, Beachtape, Sad13 (x2), Small Wonder, Two Houses, Floating Room, Hooton Tennis Club, Communions, Monster Rally, Mark Sultan, CRX, Dama Scout, Lady Lamb, Maria Taylor (ft. Conor Oberst), The Cinematic Orchestra (ft. Moses Sumney), Frank Weysos, Parlour Tricks, JD Werner, Del Water Gap, Invisible Boy, Magic Magic Roses, Hand Habits, The Breaks, Tyvek, clipping., Flower Girl, Mark Eitzel, Soft Lions, Cosmonauts, Desperate Journalist, Sonnyskyes, Tyler Daniel BeanSløtface, Cory Hanson, Sinai Vessel, Will Johnson, MOLLY, The Olympian, Boon, Emily Reo, Joanna Newsom, War Nurse, Ramonda Hammer, Sundayman, Yeasayer, Gummy, Sacred Paws, Enemies, BROS, Dead Leaf Echo, Mo Troper, Jarrod Milton, Dante Decaro, wrtch, Miya Folick, and Frankie Cosmos

Music Videos

Flasher, Honeyblood, Gland, Black Marble, Matt Kivel, Emilyn Brodsky, Peacock Affect, The Soonest, Alpenglow, Peder, Peeling, Worms, Girl Ray, Communist Daughter, Moonheart, The Superweaks, Sara Jackson-Holman, Andy Shauf, Monomyth, Victoria + Jean, The Avalanches, Purling Hiss, Tanukichan, Lou Barlow, Pity Sex, Froth, Allison Crutchfield, Strange Relations, Berwanger, Hazel English, Nada, Mayflower, Jess Williamson, Brunch, The Cavemen, Ray & Remora, Busman’s Holiday, Matt Costa, Muncie Girls, Soaker, and Oh Pep!.

Full Streams

Slothrust, Eric Schermerhorn, Tony Molina, Perfume-V, Silent, gobbinjr, Thick, Sam Kogon, Soft Pyramids, Max, Suntrodden, Loamlands, Nocturnal Habits, Choir Boy, Twiga, Angelic Milk, Realms, Parlour Tricks, Skye Wallace, Saba, Dead To Me, Teen Suicide, No Nets, Kevin Morby, Bloody Death Skull, Tournament, King Dude, Spectral Fangs, Communist DaughterSpeak Into My Good Eye‘s The 3rd Annual 24 Hour Songwriting Challenge, and Brown Acid, a joint-effort compilation from Riding Easy Records and Permanent Records that explores some of the heavier music of the ’60s and ’70s.

A Two Week Toll: Streams

It’s been a little over two weeks since this site’s run regular coverage. After the 1,000th post, there was a decision to be made over whether to continue on Heartbreaking Bravery in a severely limited capacity, a full capacity, or use the A Step Forward compilation as a final exclamation point. Before long, continuing on with a daily regiment felt like the right decision. This post and the dozen plus posts that will follow will all be a coordinated effort to get caught back up to the present release cycle.

The opening trio of posts will all feature a laundry list of items that are more than deserving of attention while the ensuing posts will be dedicated features for a singular item. A few Watch This installments will be posted and the rest of the coverage will be split into the three major tiers: streams, music videos, and full streams. Kicking things off is this collection of outstanding songs to have emerged during the brief hiatus. Dive in and go swimming.

Crying, Hellrazor, CasselsSlowcoaches, CoasterHalfsour, Private Interests, Minihorse, Very Fresh, Honeyblood, Fucked Up, Terry Malts, Kevin Devine, Joyride!, Teen SuicideLA BÊTE BLOOMS, The Exquisites, Penelope Isles, Nice Try, Dag, Jess Williamson, Chemtrails, Really Big Pinecone, John K. Samson, Soviet Soviet, American Wrestlers, Fake Limbs, The Tuts, Lubec, CarrollGirlboss, Gladkill, Hollow EverdazeBoogarinsLOKIT, Parlour Tricks, Vanishing Life, Wistappear, gobbinjr, Dmitry Evgrafov, Hidden Ritual, Lucidalabrador, Many Voices Speak, Future States.

Flamingosis, Sexy Jesus, Magana, Glacial Pace, Plastic Flowers, Super Unison, WTCHS, Tape Deck Mountain, Dexateens, Planes Mistaken for Stars, The Flat Five, HMLTD, Wovoka Gentle, Homebody, Pop & Obachan, Soft PyramidsFascinations Grand Chorus, Warhaus, Future DeathEmily ReoAffordable Hybrid, Light Fantastic, Temples, Michael ChapmanHiss Golden Messenger, The Dazies, Hippo CampusDoubles, LolahikoYouth Funeral, Lou Barlow, Pure Moods, Floating Room, James Parry, I’m Glad It’s You (x2), Communist Daughter, Henry Jamison, and J Mascis.

Slothrust – Horseshoe Crab (Music Video, Live Video)

Slothrust VII

Mozes and the Firstborn, TOY, Backer, Blue States, and Jess Williamson led a strong charge of new songs to get Wednesday off on the right foot. A handful of excellent music videos came from the ranks of Plush, Prince Daddy & The Hyenas, Weyes Blood, Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, Crushed Out, The Julie Ruin, Belle & Sebastian, and Cass McCombs. Tying everything together in a bow were full streams from DARK MTNS, JEFF The Brotherhood, Gauntly, Dog Orchestra, and Horseback, as well as a memorable five-year anniversary compilation from New Professor where the artist from the label cover each other’s work.

As significant as all of those were, only a few came close to matching the inexplicable emotional pull of the music video for Slothrust‘s “Horseshoe Crab”. After catching the band at Suburbia last year, the band’s maintained a consistent position on this site. Expect that position to progressively intensify as their forthcoming record, Everyone Else, draws closer. “Horseshoe Crab” kicked off the trio’s rollout campaign and now they’re capitalizing on the growing interest the single accrued with an unflinchingly intimate music video that pays homage both to their DIY ethos and their penchant for embracing uncomfortable honesty.

Slothrust built a strong reputation for themselves following the release of “Crockpot“, which easily stands out as one of the best tracks of this current decade. “Horseshoe Crab” comes across as a natural continuation of the template established by “Crockpot”, refining some of the band’s approach in the process. A 2016 highlight, “Horseshoe Crab” now has an intuitive CJ Riehl and Emmy Kenny-directed video as a complementary accompaniment that taps into something inextricably connected to Slothrust’s core.

Cleverly opening on a vantage point that skims a waterline, there’s a tonal sense of bittersweet tranquility that eases viewers into some confrontational imagery: sand, ants crawling over hands, hastily applied nail polish, and a papier mache doll all factor into play. Before long, the focal point becomes guitarist/vocalist Leah Wellbaum, surveying an expansive collection of dolls and figurines on the beach, while stuck in a state of melancholic longing.

All of the early imagery is filtered through an unavoidable sense of nostalgic mourning, lending “Horseshoe Crab” a quiet devastation that elevates the project. Johanna Brooks’ cinematography caters to all of this beautifully, successfully creating an additional empathetic character that also serves as an audience stand-in. Pushing the effect to almost unbearable heights is Brooks’ decision to shoot from Wellbaum’s POV, conjuring up nearly direct access to a deep-seated understanding that becomes so realistic that it approaches levels of genuine duress.

The middle section of “Horseshoe Crab” touches on the distancing that linear time necessitates before plunging fearlessly into a near-euphoric exploration of the unknown. During that connected sequence, the distancing is established by leaving a trail of figurines on a path, one by one. It’s a deeply effective move that’s matched by the arrival of the song’s extraordinary solo, which the video takes as a cue to momentarily ascend before diving back into the water.

In the most breathtaking sequence “Horseshoe Crab” has to offer, there’s a gorgeous underwater shot of Wellbaum sinking to to the bottom of a pool that’s intercut with sea creatures, directly referencing the song’s incredible lyrics. By the clip’s end, the band and the team they’ve assembled to shoot, edit, and produce “Horseshoe Crab” have created an unforgettable meditation on nostalgic loss, alienation, existential crises, and the malleability of longing. It’s an unlikely masterpiece that benefits from its own modesty and it deserves to be remembered fondly.

Watch “Horseshoe Crab” below, view an early performance beneath the initial embed, and pre-order Everyone Else here.

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2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 5

Johanna Warren I

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

Saintseneca – Live at Baby’s All Right – 8/8/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video)

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Before I left Wisconsin for Brooklyn, I made sure to see one last show: Saintseneca and Murder By Death. The latter had been the band headlining the first major show I’d seen on my own accord and the former had been one of my favorite bands for years and I had yet to see them live. While Murder By Death were undoubtedly impressive, Saintseneca’s live show blew me away. As soon as I heard the band would be headlining a show at Baby’s All Right, I made sure my schedule for the evening was cleared. Once again, the band delivered an extraordinary performance- but not before two opening sets.

Jess Williamson was the first to take the stage and immediately grabbed the audience’s attention with a haunting solo song before inviting her band to join her onstage. While Williamson’s first song had been fairly atmospheric, the addition of the band quickly catapulted that dynamic of her music into territory that felt downright cinematic. Playing nothing but new songs, Williamson and her band made their way through a haunting set of bruised folk songs with a Southern Gothic influence. Impressive, intricate, understated, and incredibly dynamic, it was a spellbinding performance from an artist deserving of a great deal of attention.

Following Williamson’s set was the decidedly more straightforward swing-for-the-rafters anthemic pop of Multimagic. While the band did tend to feel fairly by-the-numbers, they offered enough moments of subversion to both keep things interesting and guarantee an explosion in popularity should they be fortunate enough to find their music placed in the right television (or film) environment. Multimagic played with a great deal of finesse and had some similar structural approaches to their songwriting as the night’s headliners so their spot felt like a perfect lede for Saintseneca.

Currently preparing the release of the follow-up to 2014’s rightfully adored Dark Arc, the band wasted no time in diving into their incredible new material. From the live previews alone, I’d be shocked if their forthcoming record didn’t wind up being one of my favorites of 2015, as the bulk of them managed to expand and refine some of the elements that rendered Dark Arc one of my favorites of last year. Baby’s All Right was the band’s last show of their current tour, so they came to the stage with a considerable amount of practice and it reflected in both the new songs and the old material, which continued to sound remarkable. “Fed Up With Hunger” is one of the only songs to have managed to strike me as spine-tingling on record and that feeling multiplied tenfold.

“Fed Up With Hunger” wasn’t the only song to elicit chills, either, they came in waves as the band progressed through a set that saw them navigating hairpin turns and striking dynamic shifts with ease. Whether they opted for the quiet, acoustic route or the raucous, fuzzed-out intensity that seems to be a welcome hallmark of their newest material, the band fell into a focus that practically disallowed any false moves. Crowd favorites like the excellent “Happy Alone” radiated with life and that vibrancy was reflected by an appreciative audience (one that, unfortunately, did contain a small faction of people that felt inclined to talk over some of the set’s more gentle moments). Saintseneca ended their main set with the same song they’d ended their opening set in Milwaukee with just a few months before- a blistering, feedback-happy number that’s far and away the most intense song in the band’s discography- before being cheered back for an encore.

After a few false starts and a surprising amount of conversation, the band decided to go out with “James”, the incredible closing song from their first album, Last. It felt like an appropriately communal moment to cap off a set that included some incredible banter, sparked more than a few spirited singalongs, and a generally positive atmosphere. Also, if there’s a better way to signify that you’re entering a new era than playing the last song on the first record (one titled Last, no less) as the last song of the last tour before your next record comes out, i’m not sure what it is- but “James” did feel like the perfect selection regardless of trivial extenuating circumstance. While the evening may have had its ups and downs, “James” made sure that it went out in perfect harmony.

Click over to the full photo gallery of the show here and watch some of the evening’s performances in the video below.