Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Kiran Leonard

Watch This: Vol. 138

While Car Seat Headrest, Abi Reimold, Lisa Prank, The Dove & The Wolf, Emma Russack, Black Thumb, Mindie Lind, Kiran Leonard, Laura Gibson, Wovenhand, CHVRCHES, Pig Snout, Metronomy, Clique, Skeleton Hands, Gang Gang Dance, Graveyard Club, Men of Paradise, Haux, Arc Iris, David Bazan, Pure Bathing Culture, Typesetter, Lisa Hannigan, and naps all had incredibly strong live video outings — culled from a variety of inspiring sources — last week, it would have been an exercise in futility to run them all together in a focal capacity. Even five featured slots can occasionally feel a touch excessive but it seems that anything less than five doesn’t typically do the format’s offerings justice.

The five clips featured today come from bands that have, in some form or another, garnered positive notices from this site in the past. Seeing these acts continue to grow, expand, succeed, and even flourish has been heartening. Seeing them excel in the live department remains galvanizing. There’s an expansive range from the selected acts (and their accompanying videos), in terms of style. All of them are worthy of praise. So, as always, sit back, tune up, lean in, and Watch This.

1.  Okkervil River (WFUV)

With their forthcoming Away nearing its release date, Okkervil River‘s been making some early rounds to promote the record.  It’s impossible to overstate how important Okkervil River were to the development of this site’s personal ethos, so any time the band makes a return it’s more than welcome. Here, they perform two songs from Away but continue to demonstrate their immense skill at re-interpreting their own material, offering an incredible version of “For Real” — easily one of the best songs since the turn of the century — that hints at their worldview. It’s an immensely impressive session and a memorable portrait of a band that’s never really gotten their due.

2. Worriers – Plans (Live From the Rock Room)

Last year’s Imaginary Life was Worriers‘ finest moment to date and the band still seems to be riding a surge of adrenaline and confidence from that small triumph. The quartet recently visited Live From the Rock Room to deliver a galvanizing rendition of “Plans”, one of that record’s many standouts. The band continues to be defined by both their intelligence and extreme amount of heart, both of which are fully on display in this clip.

3. Prism Tats (KEXP)

Prism Tats have been having a breakout year, releasing their formidable self-titled debut full-length on ANTI- Records and producing a string of praise-worthy music videos. They’ve been touring with some bands that have serious weight behind their names and making a small sea of fresh converts at just about every stop. Here, the band turns in a powerful session for KEXP, revealing their increasingly sharp interplay and knack for subdued, hook-heavy basement pop. The whole clip looks and sounds beautiful, standing as a strong example of what can be accomplished with the right people on both ends of the camera.

4. Big Thief (KDHX)

Masterpiece was an immediate standout upon its release and remains one of 2016’s finest records. It’s catapulted Big Thief into a new level of fame and the band’s responded in kind, continuously sharpening their craft and all but perfecting their penchant for sweeping, open-road anthems tinged with nostalgic hues. The band recently visited the KDHX studios and played through two songs, including the unforgettable and melancholic “Paul“. The band pairs it with a deeply felt run-through of “Vegas”, offering both a very strong reminder of Masterpiece‘s astonishing strength and their breathtaking prowess as a live unit.

5. Fresh  Snow – January Skies (Exclaim!)

For some time now, Fresh Snow have excelled in crafting aggressive, ambient tracks that come fully equipped with a decidedly punk influence. Their live show has been a consistent standout and the band holds nothing back for this atmospheric Exclaim! clip of the band playing “January Skies”. There’s a feeling of rawness through the whole affair that seems to be at odds with the serene lighting, creating a strange, unsettling feeling that elevates this far beyond the standard performance clip. There’s some magic at play here and it continues to cast out the kind of spell that simply can’t be refused.

Eluvium – Rorschach Pavan (Stream)

eluvium

Over the course of the past few days, a host of impressive streams have surfaced from the likes of Death By Unga Bunga, Cory Hanson, Cheap Girls, Goon, Super Unison, Mannequin PussySofia Härdig, Totally Sl0w, Kiran Leonard, The Tallest Man On Earth, Two Houses, Suburban Living, Chasms, Racing Heart, Roses, Kadhja Bonet, Belle Mare, Diamond Hands, Astro Tan, and Kynnet. A bevvy of music videos emerged as well, including impressive new clips from Mozes and the Firstborn, Annabel Allum, Sam Evian, Marching Church, Billie Marten, Odonis Odonis, Eleanor Friedberger, Austin Lucas, The Body, Sunshine & the Blue Moon, Peter Bjorn and John, Cinemechanica, and The Pooches. Outstanding full streams from Band Aparte, Channeling, and Kaz Mirblouk rounded everything out in stylish fashion.

While all three dozen of those entries are worth a hefty amount of investment, it was Eluvium‘s characteristically breathtaking “Rorschach Pavan” to earn this post’s featured spot. Following on the heels of the spine-tingling “Regenerative Being“, Matthew Cooper once again demonstrates what’s made his discography one of the richest — and most celebrated — in ambient music.  “Rorschach Pavan” is one of Cooper’s finest offerings to date.

Once again, there’s an air of tranquility that permeates through “Rorschach Pavan” as well as a genuine sense of peace. Cooper’s stated that False Readings On is meant to be a meditation on cognitive dissonance and that thread reveals itself in patches throughout the course of this track but never overwhelms the proceedings, acting as a brief reprieve from the aggressive punctuation of “Regenerative Being”. Even with feedback and white noise swirling through its veins, “Rorschach Paven” registers as one of Cooper’s more calm, cerebral works.

The structure of the bulk of Eluvium’s music demands the songs to slowly unfurl, revealing themselves in layers while simultaneously adding new, overlapping themes, motifs, and instrumentation. Here, that approach hits an apex just after the 3:40 mark as a bass suddenly lifts the melody skyward in what’s one of the most beautiful sequences of music anyone’s likely to hear all year. That specific moment winds up being the definitive one for “Rorschach Pavan” as the gentle climax slowly cedes and the track begins to calmly disintegrate.

Otherworldly, intimate, and unfathomably gorgeous, “Rorschach Paven” is classic Eluvium, through and through. Beyond that, it’s one of the most awe-inspiring songs of recent memory. If the rest of False Readings On can live up to the standards set by its precedents, it’ll likely stand as one of the most beautiful records of 2016. Until then, “Rorschach Pavan” should be more than enough to tide anyone over. Fall under its spell and drift off on a sea of muted bliss.

Listen “Rorschach Pavan” below and pre-order False Readings On here.

Casket Girls – Deep Time (Stream)

stardeath

[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

Stardeath and White Dwarfs have gained a lot of notoriety thanks to both their association with The Flaming Lips and a strong discography of their own. Hopefully, some of that recognition ties over to another band they’ve paired up with: Casket Girls. The acts recently teamed up for a limited-run split that’s highlighted by Casket Girls’ arresting “Deep Time”, a haunting meditation on mortality and what makes us human. A swirling layer of feedback, organ, battered guitars, and drones drive the instrumental as a ghostly vocal figure delivering a series of probing questions provide the song’s emotional wallop with a considerable emphasis. Easy to digest and difficult to shake, “Deep Time” taps into something transcendental, providing Casket Girls with an unlikely new career best. Don’t allow this one to pass by unnoticed.

Listen to “Deep Time” below and pick up What Keeps You Up At Nght here. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

The Goon Sax – Boyfriend
Luke Rathborne – Losing It
Moss Lime – Comfy Cotton Shoes
Cold Sweats – Hater Failure
Emma Louise – Undeflow
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s – Francine
Kiran Leonard – Pink Fruit
The Goldhearts – Here’s the Thing
WALL – Fit the Part
Rare Monk – California
The Brainstems – Simple Joys
Liskka – Keep Me Awake
The Cave Singers – Christmas Night
Pete Astor – My Right Hand
The Shivas – Gun In My Pocket (Revisited)
Prickle – Tell Me Why
Saintseneca – New Coats
Ed Tullett – Ply
Pet Sun – Dark Planet