Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Loma Prieta

The Best of November & December 2019

For the past 5+ years, I’ve been dividing this site’s content between three main platforms: Soundcloud, YouTube, and bandcamp. A rare Spotify link appeared on occasion for truly exceptional releases but I tried my best to avoid that situation entirely. I chose those three for ease of access and general convenience, as they seemed to provide a more direct way to unlock off-the-radar artists and their work, while not engaging in the casual classicism that’s built into paid subscription services. The extent of how much I used those sites will be revealed in the ensuing post, which may or may not break this site entirely, but to warm up, I’ll divide the best offerings of the past two months between those triangular points. Songs, music videos, and records are all accounted for and will be mixed in together. Click on anything and reap the rewards of that decision.

SOUNDCLOUD

YOUTUBE (1-8)

BANDCAMP

 

 

Hung Toys – Lurid (Album Review, Stream)

hung toys

There have been several dozen records unveiled in the past few weeks that merit attention. One of the latest in that string of releases has been flying completely under the radar despite the pedigree of the musician responsible. While Geronimo! weren’t the most well-known band but they meant a lot to a small but devoted following. I was happy to count myself among the converted and having the band headline this site’s first showcase on their farewell tour was something I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. However, the more you pour yourself into something, the more it stings when the container shatters.

While Geronimo! is officially over, a few of the bands members are working on new projects- the latest being guitarist/vocalist Kelly Johnson’s solo venture Hung Toys. Earlier this week, Johnson’s project released Lurid a full-length collection that finds the songwriter immediately diving back into the propulsive effects of his old project. Opener “Gotta Drink Some Water” is a monster of a basement punk song that’s as bruising as it is intriguing. It’d be easy for the rest of Lurid to fall short in the song’s tremendous wake but Johnson manages to subvert and expand central ideas across the rest of the record, exploring a range of styles that recall everyone from Terry Malts to, of course, Geronimo!.

All of Lurid comes off as an incendiary gut-punch and only the title track, the record’s sprawling closer, exceeds the 2 minute and 10 second mark. At times the record plays like a gambit and runs the risk of appearing as a genre exercise. By the time the record’s halfway mark gets highlighted by the searing instrumental attack that is “Blendered”, it becomes clear that Johnson’s songwriting is too capable (and substantial) to be reduced to something that hackneyed. Lurid is a record that rewards investment and begs for repeat listens, wielding its unerring immediacy as a formidable weapon. Powerful, brute, and spectacular, Lurid stands as one of 2015’s most welcome- and unexpected- entries.

Listen to Lurid below and explore a list of some of the best records to surface over the past two weeks.

The Yolks – Don’t Cry Anymore
Grubs – It Must Be Grubs
Alimony Hustle – BNOC b/w Zero Chill
Bob Keelaghan – Country Fresh: A Ghost Guitar Soundtrack
Hot Flash Heat Wave – Neapolitan
James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg – Ambsace
Salad Boys – Metalmania
Astronauts, etc – Mind Out Wandering
Nuclear Age – The Distinct Sounds of…
Pontiak – NOPE/JEPPE
Roger Lion – Roger Lion
Media Jeweler – $99 R/T Hawaii
Broomfiller – Third Stage Propellor Index
Guerilla Toss – Flood Dosed
Baston – Gesture
Yonatan Gat & Gal Lazer – Physical Copy
Carroll – Carroll
Blonde Summer – Paradise
Alone at 3AM – Show the Blood
Tedo Stone – To the Marshes
Jóhann Jóhannsson – Sicario
Diät – Positive Energy
BIG|BRAVE – Au De La
Rat Columns – Do You Remember Real Pain
Wand – 1000 Days
Tommy Stinson – L.M.A..O.
Lucern Raze – Happy & Astray
Summer Twins – Limbo
Blessed Feathers – There Will Be No Sad Tomorrow
Daniel Klag – Reality and Self
Dead Heavens – Adderall Highway
Loma Prieta – Self Portrait
Spencer Radcliffe – Looking In
Holy ’57 – Au Naturel

Prison Whites – Deceiver (Stream)

prison whites

From the end of last week to the start of this week doesn’t exactly constitute a lot of time but it’s more than enough to ensure a heap of great new songs find release. A few of those songs were Little May’s gorgeous ambient pop masterclass “Seven Hours“, Loma Prieta’s vicious return to form in “Never Remember“, Psychic Blood’s bruising “Blur World“, and “Glasgow Coma Scale Blues“, the latest triumphant reunion track from The Libertines. Låpsley’s serene “Hurt Me“, Lushes’ cock-eyed “Circus” (which very nearly took this post’s featured spot), Longings’ compellingly bleak “Vacancy“, Palace Winter’s atmospheric “Menton“, and Terry’s gleefully off-kilter “Talk About Terry” topped off the short stretch’s haul in style. As great as all of those songs were, it was the lead-off single from Prison Whites’ forthcoming debut that hit hardest.

Clocking in at a time that starts to approach five minutes in length, “Deceiver” is the sound of a band who refuse to quit- which is odd, considering the band’s essentially just starting. Impressively, the trio never loses an ounce of the infectious energy of their ferocious basement pop attack. Armed with a serious amount of tenacity, a sugar-coated pop sensibility, and an unmistakably punk attitude and energy, Prison Whites have hit the ground at a fall sprint with no intention of looking back. What’s most impressive isn’t the band’s immediate sense of velocity but their consistency. They’ve somehow already managed to find their footing.

After two and a half minutes of some of the most explosive basement pop to emerge all year, the band dives headfirst into a bridge that creates some tension around their madness, only to have that tension steadily build back up into a frenzied hurricane of a final section. It’s expertly crafted, it feels concise despite its length, and its completely exhilarating. Manic and bloodthirsty, “Deceiver” is one of the most startling warning shots not just of 2015 but of recent memory. Don’t let this band out of your sight (and if you blink, prepare to find them miles ahead of where they just were). Fat Cat will be releasing the band’s tape at some point in the near future. Buy it as soon as it’s available.

Listen to “Deceiver” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on the band.