Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: JOYA

Lithuania – Kill The Thing You Love (Stream)

eric slick

[Editor’s Note: In light of the tragic circumstances in Orlando, there was some debate over featuring a song with a title that could be construed negatively in the face of that event. However, now more than ever, it seems deeply necessary to endorse and promote acts of kindness, understanding, and empathy. It’s because of this song’s message and the good that can come from its purchase that it’s in today’s headlining spot.]

Since the last post on this site went up just a few short days ago, new tracks emerged from Pari∀h, Deerhoof, Pink Mexico, Guts Club, Blesst Chest, Ali Beletic, Kool A.D., and two new tunes from JOYA‘s Robert Sotelo. Artists with commendable music videos was a list that included The Gotobeds, Wimps, Oddissee, The Figgs, Palehound, Gang of Youths, Terrible Feelings, WALL, and Museyroom. The past several days also saw the release(s) of several legitimate album of the year candidates, including efforts from Told Slant, DEN, The Gotobeds, Margaret GlaspyThe Craters, and a demo of the upcoming full-length debut from Mr. Martin & The Sensitive Guys.

All of the above items amounted to an extraordinary run — especially for the full streams — for such an abbreviated time frame. One of the most heartening things to emerge during that stretch came courtesy of site favorites Lithuania, a band fronted by Dr. Dog drummer and A Year’s Worth of Memories contributor Eric Slick. “Kill The Thing You Love” was originally intended for the band’s latest record, 2015’s astounding Hardcore Friends, but was ultimately nixed for being too out of sync on a thematic level. Fortunately, the song wasn’t just relegated to an unheard archives litter and was recently released as a standalone single to benefit Women Against Abuse, a Philadelphia organization that aids women who are escaping or have survived domestic abuse.

“Kill The Thing You Love” itself is one of the band’s more gnarled, rough-hewn offerings. Relentlessly aggressive in its dynamic approach, the song actually gains a wealth of power from its decidedly direct aesthetics, elevating an oddly moving narrative. Slick delivers the most impassioned vocal delivery of his career and the song uses its lo-fi nature to amplify its own propulsion. In a little over three and a half minutes, the band embraces a chaotic sludge that underlines the confusion that frequently manifests and overpowers the decision-making in relationships that make room for — and frequently try to excuse instances of — domestic abuse. It’s a bold song that calls attention to a dark reality that goes ignored far too often.

Here’s the statement that Slick issued to Post-Trash for the great premiere piece that accompanied the song:

The song “Kill The Thing You Love” was written in 2014. Its intended purpose was for the Hardcore Friends album, but we decided to leave it off because it didn’t fit the narrative. It’s also a complicated listen. However, the song is of great importance to me. It was written from the perspective of a young woman who runs away from her abysmal home life and starts fresh in a safe environment. It’s based on a story that a close friend told me about her incredibly difficult and abusive childhood. “Kill The Thing You Love” is indeed a jarring title, but its intent is more of a mantra of empowerment. Sometimes we have to let go of things (kill in the figurative sense) we love, especially when they’re hurting us. Abuse is still everywhere. A direct example is the inexcusable behavior of Seagreen Records. Seagreen was initially supposed to release this song until they came under fire for very serious sexual abuse charges. I was horrified. Luckily, Lame-O Records agreed to release this song. I’m relieved that we can benefit a great cause in the process.

Listen to “Kill The Thing You Love” below and get the track (and donate to a good cause) here.

Hater – Radius (Stream)

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After a flurry of new material emerged yesterday, Wednesday was kind enough to keep the momentum going, producing new songs from Cross Wires, HSY, Sur Back, Kilo Tango, School ’94, Wymond Miles, Strange Relations, and JOYA. Additionally, there were outstanding clips from Margaret Glaspy, Middle Kids, Public Access TV, Angel Olsen, Icky Blossoms, and Brass Bed. Finally, the full streams were capped off with extremely strong releases from the following artists: Casket Girls, Moonface and Siinai, Cough, The Stargazer Lilies, Dream b/w Comfort, Kalispell, and a reissue of elvis depressedly‘s holo pleasures that comes packaged with a new slate of b-sides. As great as all of those releases were (and they were great), today’s feature spot was confidently claimed by emergent act Hater and their spry “Radius”.

“Radius” is yet another in a long list of successes for the astonishingly prolific — and remarkably consistent — PNKSLM label, who have specialized in curating an aesthetic firmly built around carefree basement pop. Hater fit into that mold with a graceful ease but inject the proceedings with a magisterial sweep that quickly establishes them as one of their roster’s most intriguing acts. Evoking Ty Segall as much as Alvvays, Hater finds a curious middle-ground between two genres that overlap far less frequently than they should (with “Radius” operating as startling proof).

As “Radius” sprints along, arms outstretched, Hater never loses its footing or determination, allowing the song to stay grounded and build momentum all at once. In under two and a half minutes, the band conjures up a beautiful piece of lovingly damaged powerpop, maintaining an irrepressible, hopeful smile throughout all the bruises. Guitars swell, the rhythm section rolls, and the vocals soar in a beautifully woven piece of art that never outstays its welcome. Everything on “Radius” is either perfect or nearing perfection, projecting as much identity as it does confidence. In one song, Hater manages to carve out a name for themselves and it’s a name worth saying; Hater’s a band that deserves all of the mentions that will inevitably come their way.

Stream “Radius” below and pick up the band’s forthcoming EP from PNKSLM here.

2016: The First Two Months (Full Streams)

Jawbreaker Reunion II

Now that the songs have, by and large, been brought up to the present release cycle, it only seemed fitting to turn the attention towards some of 2016’s strongest records. Since records are more time-consuming than individual songs, none of them will be featured individually in the next week. However, all of the records below are more than worthy of investment. A small handful of these even have a shot of being expanded on at the end of the year. For now, though, I’ll simply provide another list for exploration. Once again, there’s absolutely no way these can be listened to in one sitting so it may be best to just bookmark the page and return at will. From demo debuts of solo projects (Potty Mouth‘s Aberdeen Weems) to triumphant returns (Jawbreaker Reunion, photographed above) to fascinating splits (Great Thunder and Radiator Hospital) to outstanding compilations, there’s a lot to discover. Dive in below and find some new bands worth following.

Jawbreaker Reunion – Haha and then What 😉 || Margaret Glaspy – You and I b/w Somebody to Anybody || Purling Hiss – Something || Kal Marks – Life Is Alright, Everybody Dies || Two Inch Astronaut – Personal Life || Aberdeen – Blue Lemon Demos || ROMP – Departure From Venus || Lucy Dacus – No Burden || Swim Team – Swim Team || Rita Fishbone – Spilt Milk || Hothead – Hothead || Sioux Falls – Rot Forever || Past Life – EP I || Abi Reimold – Wriggling || Nice Try – Nice Try || Krafftmalerei Plagiat || Lawndry – EP || Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk – Burritos || Mal Devisa – Kiid || Kane Strang – Blue Cheese || Big Ups – Before A Million Universes || Årabrot – The Gospel || Michael Nau – Mowing || Looks Like Mountains – Quick, Before We’re All Dead! || High Waisted – On Ludlow || Sin Kitty – Softer || Rafter – A Sploded Battery || Candy – Azure || Baklaava – Dane On

Fake Boyfriend – Mercy || Axed Crown – Amnesty || Soda – Without A Head || Fucko – Dealing With the Weird || Opposites – Joon II and Got My Cough || Journalism – Faces || Sarah Neufeld – The Ridge || Great Deceivers – Ask Me About Your Strong Suits || Burnt Palms – Back On My Wall || Adult Books – Running From the Blows || Dead Stars – Bright Colors || Acid Dad – Let’s Plan A Robbery || yndi halda – Under Summer || Sheer Mag – III || Edgar Clinks – Bath w/ Frozen Cat || Tangerine – Sugar Teeth || Muncie Girls – From Caplan to Belsize || Risley – Risley || Great Thunder/Radiator Hospital – Wedding Album || Pinegrove – Cardinal || Acid Fast – Last Night on Earth || Making Fuck – Harrowing End || Nick Thorburn – Serial S2 || Fred Thomas – Minim || Dude York – Lose Control b/w Love Is || Self Defense Family – Superior || Jo Passed – Out || POP ETC – Souvenir

Pinkshinyultrablast – Grandfeathered || Nap Eyes – Thought Rock Fish Scale || Art Week 2016 || Crater – Talk To Me So I Can Fall Asleep || Tuff Love – Resort || The Castillians – You & Me || Sitcom – Gig Bag || Howardian – A Smurf at Land’s End || Mass Gothic/Ex-Amazed – Split || Step Sisters – Thick || Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place – You’re Doomed. Be Nice. || Washer – Here Comes Washer || Titus Andronicus/Craig Finn – No Faith/No Future/No Problem || Frameworks – Time Spent || I’m An Island – Bored Days, Old Years || Wussy – Forever Sounds || Nathaniel Bellows – The Old Illusions || Keeps – Brief Spirit || Serac – Songs for the Broken Hearted || This Heel – This Heel III || Cotton Ships – Cotton Ships || Truly – Henry || Acid Tongue – The Dead Man’s Cat Walk || Dying Adolescence – Dear You, It Can’t Wait. || Proud Parents – Sharon Is Karen || Cayetana – Tired Eyes

JOYA – Surround b/w Kitsilano || The Two Tens – Volume || Leggy – Dang || Cellar Doors – Frost b/w Prism || Celebration Guns – Quitter || Quarterly – Quarterly || Hollow Hand – Ancestral Lands || Sierpien – Stench Up to Heaven || Cherry – Gloom || Relick – Twin House || Sun Dummy – Bunny || Lionlimb – Shoo || Tiny Knives – Black Haze || Chives – Drip || Chris Storrow – The Ocean’s Door || Bombay Harabee – Goldmine || Swaying Wires – I Left A House Burning || The Spook School – Binary / David Bowie Songs || Tender Defender – Tender Defender || Mozes and the Firstborn – Power Ranger || DRÆMHOUSE – Only Friends || Molly Drag – Tethered Rendering || Black Thumb – Black Thumb

Girlpool – Blah Blah Blah (Music Video)

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Another traditionally stacked Monday is just about in the books and it had a pool of treasures to offer. Single streams wound up being surprisingly scant but still had two small triumphs in the form of Cave People’s surprisingly gentle “Cluster” and Slaves’ weirdly menacing “The Hunter“. Full streams fared slightly better and included JOYA‘s delightful sophomore effort 2nd, Native America’s wild-eyed Grown Up Wrong, Warm Soda bandleader Matthew Melton’s similarly-minded (and similarly excellent) Outside of Paradise, and Two Inch Astronaut‘s extraordinary Album of the Year contender Foulbrood.

Music videos wound up being the most stacked category and that was thanks to the varying strengths of their collective efforts. Nots crafted a visually striking clip for We Are Nots highlight “Decadence“, The Cush committed to steady transitions for “Summer’s Gone“, and Sonny & the Sunsets went with a constantly-evolving deceptively crude comic look in “Cheap Extensions“. Guerilla Toss continued to be willfully chaotic with their video for “367 Equalizer“, The Bandicoots dreamt up an absurdly charming and well-executed concept for “Just After Dark“, Nothing staged a robbery-turned-kidnapping-turned-torture sequence for “Chloroform” (which was a highlight from their recent split with Whirr), and The Vaselines combined French new wave, film noir, and silent film hallmarks in their impossibly light and deeply engaging clip for “Crazy Lady“. Site favorites Girlpool wind up earning today’s feature with their second great video of the year- one that sees them teaming up with The Punk Singer director Sini Anderson.

Girlpool have been having themselves one hell of a year. From stunning seemingly every critic at CMJ, to high-profile publications giving them coveted distinctions, to critical acclaim, they’ve set themselves up in an enviable position- one that will likely entail an uncomfortable amount of scrutiny. That they’re rapidly exceeding with as much poise and grace as they are is astounding; they’re incredibly young and their career together’s only just beginning. All of this bodes well for their future. An exponentially growing faction of people have chosen this band to rally behind because they embody so many things all at once; the unfairly marginalized, a decidedly DIY ethos,  an unerring sense of conviction, and commendable bravery in their relentless pursuit of choosing to do the thing they clearly love.

A nightmare for ageists and a dream for those looking to celebrate and encourage the talent of youth, the duo’s already released one of the best videos of the year via their devastating “Plants and Worms” clip.  This time around the formidable team of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad eschewed the arresting animation styles of Catleya Sherbow and went the live action route with Sini Anderson. “Blah Blah Blah” starts out on a shot in front of LA’s famed The Smell (the venue where the duo met) and is split into thirds through a clever natural framing device, with Tucker and Tividad pushed off to the far sides. It’s an arresting image that immediately establishes the duo’s stylistic aesthetic, ensuring the viewers rapt attention to their movements. Before long, they’re inside and striding their way through a crowd of friends and admirers who eventually surround them as they play through the scathing, pointed “Blah Blah Blah”. It’s all beautifully lensed and impeccably edited, climaxing with a strobe-lit confetti-strewn hanging-telephone singalong to drive home an emphasis on the band’s communal aspects.

Ending with a rapid pullback that suggests the party kept going after the cameras stopped rolling, “Blah Blah Blah” becomes a cinematic testament to personal resolve and an unforgettable reminder of Girlpool’s strength. We’re lucky to have this band and should facilitate their rising profile at any given chance, if only because they’re exactly the kind of band that deserves to serve as inspiration for aspiring musicians or people who need something to believe in. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste; make sure Girlpool gets the kind of platform they deserve.

Watch “Blah Blah Blah” below and pre-order Girlpool from Wichita Recordings here.

Kal Marks – It Was A Very Hard Year (Stream)

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Now that all of the great music videos and full streams from the first part of this week are accounted for, it’s time to turn the lens to the handful of single songs that managed to stand out. JOYA crafted a punchy tune that wielded an 80’s new wave punk influence masterfully with “Regale“, The Velveteens unveiled a beautiful indie pop slow-burner titled “Loneliness“, and California X came out swinging with career highlight “Nights In The Dark“- which will also serve as the title for their forthcoming record. My Drunken Haze gave life to the oddly hypnotic “Yellow Balloon“, Step-Panther gave a guided heist tour in their curiously dynamic “Nowhere“, and School ’94 revealed their gorgeous 80’s-indebted ballad “Like You“. Despite all of those songs being worthy of their own write-ups, it’s hard to just glaze past something as powerful as Kal Marks‘ “It Was A Very Hard Year”.

One of 2013’s strongest records was Kal Marks’ sprawling, gloom-infused post-punk masterpiece Life Is Murder, Now, only a year later, they’re preparing to release what will be one of this year’s best EP’s- Just A Lonely Fart. All of the implicit dread that informed Life Is Murder is still incredibly present in Just A Lonely Fart, which was previously teased with lead-off track “Zimmerman“. While “Zimmerman” dealt in political explosives with sharp social commentary, “It Was A Very Hard Year” pulls the reins back and delves into something equally terrifying; what it means to be human. Both songs (and their inspirations) were touched on in the interview that accompanied the song’s premiere, lending a greater insight to the thought processes driving Just A Lonely Fart. Empathy plays a heavy factor and manages to punctuate the incredibly tense “It Was A Very Hard Year” in surprisingly engaging and intriguingly subtle ways. It’s a brilliant closer that builds itself into a hurricane before settling into a quiet oblivion, successfully casting Just A Lonely Fart as one of 2014’s most striking releases. Don’t make the mistake of letting this one fall to the wayside.

Listen to “It Was A Very Hard Year” below and pre-order Just A Lonely Fart from Kal Marks’ bandcamp.