Julia and Mike McCoy have brought about a breathtakingly singular vision in their astonishing animated clip for Kishi Bashi‘s “Violin Tsunami”. Gorgeously crafted and delivered with no reservation in conviction or sincerity, “Violin Tsunami” is achingly beautiful throughout its runtime, using some reserved and extraordinarily powerful imagery to undercut the tragic reality of the clip’s conclusion. Every frame of “Violin Tsunami” is mesmerizing and bristling with raw feeling, drawing from the well of humanity itself to serve an arc worthy of that stature. Pained, haunting, and concealing more than a glimmer of hope, “Violin Tsunami” stands firmly in its message and winds up as one of the strongest pieces of animation, let alone music videos, 2019’s had to offer.
Watch “Violin Tsunami” below and pick up a copy of Omoiyari from Joyful Noise here.
We’re more than a third of the way through 2019 and the editorial branch of this site has been far too dormant since 2018 received the Best Of recap treatment. Today will be dedicated to addressing that coverage gap with three look backs at the very best songs, music videos, and full streams that January, February, and March had to offer. Due to the sheer volume of highlighted material, these lists will (unfortunately) be static, presented on their own without any dedicated write-ups. Each of these releases is exceptional and may receive some more words further down the line but for now, simply revisit and enjoy: The Best of March 2019.
Six weeks is a long time to go without running a Watch This and the 50 selections that ran in the 150th installment (the preceding post) barely scratched the surface. To get deeper into the extraordinary wealth of material worth exploring, a sequel of sorts seemed necessary. There’s absolutely no way that a single person is going to watch everything listed below but each link is genuinely exceptional and deserved to be featured. Whether they were part of a series, a great capture, a great performance, or notable for another reason, they’re all linked for a reason. So, bookmark the page and explore at will. Stop waiting and Watch This.
As stated in the preceding post, a lot’s been happening in the world of Heartbreaking Bravery (both in its interior machinations and mitigating exterior factors). Its public upkeep has been largely neglected but behind the scenes, the work continues to be ceaseless. Watch This, the typically weekly series that celebrates the greatest live videos of the given week, has been on somewhat of a hiatus. To amend that, for this 15oth installment, this will extend far beyond the series’ usually confined scope.
In the previous 50 markers for Watch This, Heartbreaking Bravery’s original live videos have been featured. With matters of scheduling, it’s been impossible to keep that pace but bookmark the site’s YouTube channel for upcoming clips of acts like LVL UP, Alex G, Nobunny, The Hussy, and more (with a few long-archived clips finally making their way to air). So, instead of personally-generated footage, this will celebrate not five but 50 of the finest live clips to have appeared since the last Watch This ran at the end of October.
Single song performances, full sessions, individually-helmed efforts, and professionally-captured studio takes all appear. With this amount of material featured, it’d be a hyper-herculean task to take everything in all at once. The best route may simply be to bookmark the page, the clip, or fast-forward at will (though everything featured is more than worth the effort). So, as always, sit back, grab a drink, adjust the settings, focus, and Watch This.
The tracklist for Watch This: Vol. 150 can be found below the embed.
1. Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Driver/Killer Whales (Fallon) 2. Monica LaPlante – Hope You’re Alone (The Current) 3. Cymbals Eat Guitars (KEXP) 4. Casper Skulls – Love Brain (Exclaim!) 5. Um Are – Dark Entry (Boxfish Sessions) 6. LVL UP (KEXP) 7. Jack – Blue (I Like It Session) 8. Islands – Fear (Do512) 9. Jeff Rosenstock – Wave Goodnight To Me (Radio K) 10. Mercury Girls (WKNC) 11. The Peep Temple – Constable (3RRR) 12. Total Slacker – Don’t Ever Fade Away (BreakThruRadio) 13. And The Kids (WKNC) 14. Special Death – Perfume (DZ Records) 15. Spit – Days In Dreams (The Loft Sessions) 16. Drive-By Truckers (NPR) 17. Daisy Chains – Prove It (Radio K) 18. Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim (La Blogotheque) 19. Bellows (Audiotree) 20. The Just Luckies – Conventions (DZ Records) 21. Lady Lamb – Spat Out Spit (Buzzsession) 22. Fraternal Twin – Big Dipper (Allston Pudding) 23. Pinegrove (NPR) 24. John K. Samson – Reconstruction Site (ANTI- Records) 25. Small Houses – Telling It Wrong (Sofar Sounds) 26. Wilco – If Ever I Was A Child (La Blogotheque) 27. Sad13 (PressureDrop.tv) 28. Sidney Gish – Hexagons and Other Fun Materials (Boxfish Sessions) 29. Julien Baker – Rejoice (KVRX) 30. Snail Mail (Michael Andrade) 31. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Nobody Dies (NPR) 32. Swimsuit Addition – Uptick (DZ Records) 33. Frankie Cosmos – What If (Allston Pudding) 34. Cayetana (Audiotree) 35. Courtney – Going Out Tonight (DZ Records) 36. Bethlehem Steel – Figure It Out (I Like It Session) 37. Atlas Crash – V.O.L.E. (Sofar Sounds) 38. Kishi Bashi (KEXP) 39. Ben & The Saints – Gold Rush (Sofar Sounds) 40. Wrekmeister Harmonies (Audiotree) 41. MASZER (KEXP) 42. Field Mouse (Audiotree) 43. Mall Walk (PressureDrop.tv) 44. Hovvdy – Problem (KVRX) 45. Purling Hiss (PressureDrop.tv) 46. Fufanu (KEXP) 47. Bear Vs. Shark (Audiotree) 48. Okkervil River (KEXP) 49. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Magneto (Andrew Dominik) 50. Explosions in the Sky (NPR)
Earning the featured spot was site favorites Lost Boy ?, who’ve been relatively quiet since releasing one of the best basement pop records in recent memory. That record, Canned, set expectations astoundingly high for their follow-up and now the band’s offered up a first glimpse via the characteristically off-kilter “Goose Wazoo”. The nonsensical title is a solid indicator of the song, which fearlessly embraces zaniness while simultaneously managing to keep the proceedings impressively grounded.
Lost Boy ? mastermind Davey Jones has more than proven his worth as a songwriter and it’s wildly entertaining to hear him tackle a more experimental approach. Jones has made Daniel Johnston’s influence on his work incredibly transparent over the past few releases (and has been known to cover the artist from time to time) but that influence reaches a fever pitch on “Goose Wazoo”. From the vivid cartoon-friendly narrative to the vocal delivery, Johnston’s spirit’s present but it never quite overtakes the singular identity that Lost Boy ? has managed to cultivate.
From the melodic shifts to the vocal quirks, everything on “Goose Wazoo” indicates that Canned wasn’t a fluke release; Lost Boy ? seems determined to cement a status as a great outsider artist. “Goose Wazoo” alone goes quite a way in establishing that status as a palatable goal. A complete joy, a tantalizingly unique entry, and an impressive display of both confidence and artistry, “Goose Wazoo” is the kind of song that won’t fade easily. More importantly, it’s one that holds up to a dozen consecutive plays without losing an ounce of its oddball charm.
Listen to “Goose Wazoo” below and keep an eye on this site for more news surrounding the band and their upcoming release.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Each of the seven volumes that comprise this Watch This package contain 25 clips apiece. Due to the sheer volume of live videos that have come out during January, February, and March all of the packages will have the same introductory paragraph. Regular Watch This segments will resume on Sunday.]
It’s been a tremendous first quarter for live videos. While Watch This, Heartbreaking Bravery’s weekly series celebrating the very best of the live video format, hasn’t been in operation for roughly three full months, the information required to keep this thing humming (i.e., checking through hundreds of subscriptions and sources for outstanding new material) has been collected at regular intervals. If they were full sessions, single song performances, studio-shot, DIY captures, transcendent songs, or transcendent visual presentations, they were compiled into a massive list. 175 videos wound up making extraordinarily strong impressions, those videos will all be presented here, in the Watch This: The Best of 2016’s First Quarter extended package, one 25-clip presentation at a time.
Watch the third collection of those videos below.
1. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down (KEXP) 2. Leapling – Alabaster Snow (VHS Sessions) 3. Ty Segall & The Muggers (KEXP) 4. Jawbreaker Reunion – Small Investments (This Has Got To Stop) 5. Julien Baker – Blacktop (BIRN) 6. Bantam Lyons – Away from the Bar (Faits Divers) 7. Furnsss – Effy (WHUS) 8. Michael Rault (Audiotree) 9. Ratboys – Light Pollution (DZ Records) 10. Savages – Evil (KCRW) 11. Stone Cold Fox – Contagion (Hooke) 12. Darlene Shrugg – First World Blues (Noisemakers) 13. Single Player – Silver Dollar (DZ Records) 14. Parquet Courts – Outside (WFUV) 15. The Dirty Nil – No Weaknesses (Little Elephant) 16. Palm – I Don’t Want to Know (VHS Sessions) 17. Sleater-Kinney – Price Tag (Austin City Limits) 18. Looming – Nailbiter (Trundle Sessions) 19. Courtney – Kids In Blushing Love (DZ Records) 20. EL VY (NPR) 21. Low – Try To Sleep (The Current) 22. Kishi Bashi – Manchester (NPR) 23. Run Forever – Big Vacation (Trundle Sessions) 24. J Fernandez – Read My Mind (Consequence of Sound) 25. Sharon Van Etten – Tarifa (NPR)
Live music videos never seem to get the emphasis they deserve. It’s part of why Watch This was created; to celebrate stunning documents of equally stunning performances. A good band can make a great record but a truly great band usually excels in the live setting. With 2014 winding to a close (and with another 100 posts in the past), it seemed appropriate to start reflecting on some of the year’s best offerings. Lists of LP’s, EP’s, 7″ releases, and more will be forthcoming but today the focus will fall on live clips. And, yes, 2014’s not quite over yet and there will be a few weeks worth of live clips to consider (in addition to the past few weeks, which will be focused on in the posts immediately following this one) and “best” is still subjective- but the videos contained in this mix were simply too good to just feature once. If there’s enough material, an appendix will be added around the start of next year.
To be eligible for this video mixtape, the videos involved had to have been previously featured in Watch This and not contain an interview sequence. Full sets were ruled out as well (with a lone exception being made for one of 2014’s best videos in any capacity to provide a sense of closure to the proceedings). These videos were pulled in from as many places as possible with only Chart Attack, La Blogotheque, and Little Elephant making repeat entries (with two each). From the painfully gorgeous (Mutual Benefit, Angel Olsen) to sublime perfection (Radiator Hospital, Little Big League) to the absurdly impressive (Kishi Bashi) to the most electric late night performance of 2014 (Ty Segall), there’s a little something for everyone. 25 clips are included and listed below, with a hyperlink provided to their respective installments in Watch This‘ always expanding catalog. Since this brings the site to another 100 post mark, hyperlinks will be provided to posts 300-399 for anyone interested in checking out past material. With all of this exposition out of the way, there’s really only one thing left to do: sit back, focus up, and Watch This.
1. Audacity – Counting the Days (Jam in the Van) — vol. 24
2. Greys – Guy Picciotto (Chart Attack) — vol. 24
3. Radiator Hospital – Fireworks (BNTYK) — vol. 51
4. Ovlov – Where’s My Dini? (Little Elephant) — vol. 23
5. Frankie Cosmos – Embody (Radio K) — vol. 55
6. Mean Creek – My Madeline (Wondering Sound) — vol. 19
7. Joanna Gruesome – Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers (BTR) — vol. 51
8. Sweet John Bloom – Aging In Place (Allston Pudding) — vol. 48
9. Emilyn Brodsky – Someone Belongs Here (TCGS) — vol. 28
10. Mitski – First Love // Late Spring (bandwidth) — vol. 43
11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street (ACL) — vol. 54
12. Sharon Van Etten – Serpents (Pitchfork) — vol. 40
13. Mutual Benefit – C.L. Rosarian (Bruxelles Ma Belle) — vol. 19
14. Angel Olsen – Enemy (La Blogotheque) — Vol. 11
15. Kishi Bashi – Philosophize In It! Chemicalize In It! (WNYC) — vol. 29
16. Little Big League – Year of the Sunhouse (Little Elephant) — vol. 45
17. Screaming Females – It All Means Nothing (Audiotree) — vol. 27
18. Ty Segall – Feel (Conan) — vol. 40
19. Dilly Dally – Candy Mountain (Chart Attack) — vol. 51
20. Cloud Nothings – Now Hear In (Amoeba) — vol. 57
21. MOURN – Otits (Captured Tracks) — vol. 53
22. Courtney Barnett – History Eraser (KEXP) — vol. 34
23. Lee Fields – Don’t Leave Me This Way (La Blogotheque) — vol. 54
24. Jenny Lewis – Slippery Slopes (KCRW) — vol. 52
25. Saintseneca (NPR) — vol. 38
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Another few days have come and gone since a feature-less Sunday. This time, for the first time in a while, technical issues weren’t the cause of the brief delay in posting; I’m currently going through an exhaustive- and exhausting- training that’s consuming most of my time. A lot of content has been organized during this brief interim and will be posted over the weekend.]
During the compilation of the 29th installment of Watch This it became clear that we currently live in an extraordinary time for music. Image is becoming less of an issue, creating on synthesizers, loops, decays, and manipulations are considered organic, and raw talent is being earnestly celebrated. It’s something that allows this feature, and this installment, to be diverse. Without that opportunity for diversity, anything can run the risk of being inclusive. While there is a definite focal point of music that gets emphasized here, this feature allows for a broader range than usual in terms of style just for the sake of showcasing incredible live music. It’s an open-door policy and was inspired by similar policies that help keep great art vital. So, read a book, watch a film, attend a showcase, or Watch This- but, above all else, do everything possible to ensure great art continues to get made.
1. Gap Dream – Shine Your Light (Jam in the Van)
There were a lot of memorable music videos released in 2013 and, even with that considered, “Shine Your Light” still manages to stand out. Whether it was the concept, how well the music and imagery played into each other, or something else entirely- is up for discussion. As much impact as that video had, it seems the same can be said of the song. Jam in the Van made their usual stop at Burgerama and had Gap Dream climb in to deliver a knockout performance of “Shine Your Light” and a few others that are worth watching.
2. Pink Mink – Campbell’s Soup Kids (Radio K)
Pink Mink has been making their gloriously weird powerpop-indebted lo-fi punk for a few years now and have only managed to grow fiercer because of it. Here, they take to the Radio K studios to unleash “Campbell’s Soup Kids” on anyone who’ll listen. It’s a great performance from one of Minneapolis’ longer-standing bands. While the space restriction does make everything come off as just a touch too stunted, make sure to see this band live whenever possible; they were one of the small font highlights of the one-and-done SoundTown Festival back in 201 and have become even sharper over the past three years.
3. The London Souls – The Sound (Jam in the Van)
Jam in the Van strikes again. This time, they’ve brought The London Souls along for the ride. That The London Souls were scooped up at the New Orleans Jazz Fest for this showcase shouldn’t come as a surprise; just listen to the drums. What does come as a surprise? How satisfying this band’s live performance winds up being by taking a slightly off-kilter approach to a genre mix that would usually just result in a reserve-for-fairs situation. Everyone’s on top of their game here, lending this performance an unusual amount of impact.
4. Mansions – If You’re Leaving (Little Elephant)
Little Elephant continues its exception streak of outstanding sessions. Only a few weeks after Ovlov monopolized this series, Mansions seem poised to do the same. All of the hallmarks from their Vol. 27 entry are still present; a gnarled-to-hell bass tone, a strong sense of dynamics, and a fascinating structure. Genres collide and everything just explodes forward. It’s astonishing. Don’t be surprised if they wind up making a few more appearances in this series as it goes on.
5. Kishi Bashi – Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! (WNYC)
Perfect Pussy. Tenement. Swearin’. Technicolor Teeth. These are the only artists I’ve ever broken the narrative rule of Heartbreaking Bravery for. Add Kishi Bashi to the list. Ever since seeing the nearly inhuman performances on KEXP and for the Cardinal Sessions, I’ve been certain of one thing: Kaoru Ishibashi, the man at the center of Kishi Bashi, is a genius. There’s really no other way to explain or phrase this. Easily one of the most commanding and obscenely talented solo performers I’ve ever encountered, I’ve been waiting for an excuse to feature him in this series. In this respect, WNYC has delivered emphatically. Unbelievably, since those jaw-dropping solo performances, Ishibashi has managed to wrangle a supporting cast around him that manages to complement his project perfectly while still managing to stand out on their own (take note of the stuttered, shuffling drums and the absolutely killer distorted banjo tone just past the bridge). We’re all lucky to be alive to witness this kind of artistry.