Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: lovely

La Sera – Fall In Place (Music Video)

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La Sera’s Hour of the Dawn asounds like summer. It’s also the best album Katy Goodman (ex-Vivan Girls, All Saints Day) has ever crafted. A big part of this is thanks to the explosive fretwork that comes courtesy of new guitarist Todd Wisenbaker, which helps lend the record quite a bit of an explosiveness. Every track on the record is a vibrant little triumph that stays just understated enough to avoid tipping over into grandiosity. One of the best examples of this is “Fall In Place”, a song that boasts an incredibly sweet chorus and keeps itself grounded with some astoundingly warm verses. Actually, come to think of it, warmth may be the record’s defining characteristic; the tones, the atmosphere, the arrangements, and the delivery- all of it feels welcoming and familiar. In that respect, “Fall In Place” may be Hour of the Dawn‘s defining song and the video matches it perfectly. The Michael Erik Nikolla-directed clip consists of nothing more than Goodman and Wisenbaker walking down a closed-off street with their dog and a crew that consistently switches out Wisenbaker’s guitar(s), it’s decidedly more slice-of-life than Big Moment- and it’s all the better for it.

Watch “Fall In Place” below and take a long walk in the sun at the next available opportunity.

Reigning Sound – Falling Rain (Stream)

Over the span of their existence and an extraordinary discography, Reigning Sound have carved out a place in the contemporary musical landscape that seems fated to wind up as One of America’s Great Forgotten Rock Bands only to be rediscovered years down the road by crate-diggers who will have no idea what they’re in for. Of course, the band does have a strong foothold in certain circles and anyone that owns even one of their records (Time Bomb High School and Home for Orphans are both outright classics) knows that they’re a genuinely great band. Those fortunate enough to find themselves involved in those circles will undoubtedly do their best to pass down this music to the next generation. However, there are times when being overlooked for so long can be tiresome or grate the wrong way in the grand scheme of things, especially from a label standpoint, so a round of applause to Merge for putting their faith in this band and signing them ahead of the July 15 release of Shattered.

Both the band and the label have offered up the first taste of Shattered with “Falling Rain”, a song that exists squarely in the band’s sweet spot. There’s a sense of familiarity, a warm analog crackle, and Greg Cartwright’s masterful songwriting and inviting persona driving “Falling Rain”. It’s another entry in the band’s catalog that feels like it could have been a lost hit from virtually anywhere in the span of the last 40 years or so. That particular brand of timelessness is always an impressive thing to be able to boast and it’s where Reigning Sound have made their home over the course of their career. Cartwright’s already proven himself to be one of this generation’s best songwriters and “Falling Rain” is only further proof of his enviable command over both composition and personality. Hopefully Merge’s support carries this band from a best-kept secret to a household name. There are few bands that deserve that transition as much as Reigning Sound does.

Listen to “Falling Rain” below and discover (or rediscover) one of America’s best bands.

Dum Dum Girls – Are You Okay (Short Film)

It’s probably fair to say that when most people woke up today, they didn’t think they’d be watching a Dum Dum Girls short film written and conceptualized by Bret Easton Ellis that eclipsed 11 minutes. Yet, that’s exactly what happened to a large section of the people who pay attention to those kinds of things- and we’re all the better for it. There’s a compelling vagueness to the film itself (which includes some gorgeous additional score work from Tamaryn and Drew McDowell), that centers around a rich psychologically-involved narrative. Brewer is at the helm of the strikingly visual Are You Okay and throws in characteristically seductive flourishes throughout.

After an intense opening sequence that establishes Dum Dum Girls’ lead personality Dee Dee Penny as a patient in a therapy session (after an evocative opening shot of a desolate landscape that pans outwards over the sound of heavy breathing) who’s challenged to recreate an imaginary double of herself. As Penny goes deeper into the task, fully embracing all of its set parameters, Are You Okay begins to mount a sense of dread. Charles Ray’s postmodern Two Boys art piece is used masterfully throughout, intensifying the feeling of disorientation.

“Are You Okay?” winds up being the film’s centerpiece- and rightfully so, as this is ostensibly a showcase to serve the song (one of Too True‘s stronger highlights). The goth-noir tendencies are perfectly suited to the progressing tension that’s so present throughout the entirety of Are You Okay. While the song itself does lend a new dynamic to the film, it’s the introduction and epilogue pieces that drive the song to noticeably greater heights. All in all, it’s a gorgeous piece of multidimensional art that ignores the limitations of traditional formatting. As a result, it’s one of the most compelling things to have been unveiled in the artist/video category this year. Watch it below and get treated to some world-class cinematography and surprisingly exceptional acting.

La Sera – Losing to the Dark (Stream)

Well, it happened. Vivian Girls called it quits and each respective member now has the freedom to throw themselves into their other projects to a more complete extent than they could have while the band was still active. Of all those projects, Katy Goodman’s solo venture, La Sera, has been the most consistently captivating over the past few years. La Sera’s last record, 2011’s Sees the Light, hinted at a darker sound with contained noir-punk moments like “Drive On”- but nothing provided full preparation for something like “Losing to the Dark”.

Goodman’s lyrical stock and trade leading up to this point has largely relied on either joy or apathy, “Losing to the Dark” shifts that focus to unbridled anger. In accordance with that anger, in the Hour of the Dawn lead-off single she’s crafted a song that winds up being a perfect combination of all her previous works strongest elements. There’s recklessness, restlessness, and a humanizing touch of lightness to be found in both the melody and overall composition. A guitar cuts in and out of a frantic solo, as if the hands of whoever was controlling it were lit on fire. All of it comes together in the most immediate way imaginable, stopping the listener dead in their tracks. There couldn’t have been a more perfect time for the arrival of “Losing to the Dark”, as it does really feel as if Goodman’s clawing her way out of Vivian Girls’ graves and setting a path for vengeance. If all of Hour of the Dawn winds up being this good, there may be a surprise album of the year contender in the works.

Listen to “Losing to the Dark” below.