Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Maybe It’s No Secret

Watch This: Vol. 128

Lady Lamb, Eleanor Friedberger, La Luz, Bob Mould, Tangerine, Weaves, Lacrymosa, Bye Beneco, The Big Pink, Weaves, Sex Tide, David Bazan, Plants and Animals, LUH, The Wooden Sky, Mumblr, Bleached, Adult Mom, Hattie Marsh, Stephen Steinbrink, Destroyer, Mount Moriah, Muuy Biien, Young Magic, The Kills, Adeline HotelDeclan McKenna, Palehound, Friendship, Titus Andronicus, Petal, and Foals all had very strong live videos surface over the past seven days. Unsurprisingly, that cast of titles underscores the strength of the five performance that are highlighted in this, the 128th installment of the Watch This series. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch each of the five acts featured below and can confirm that these captures come close to doing them justice, chronicling their charisma, emotional pull, and talent spectacularly. So, as always, sit up, adjust the settings, elevate the volume, block out all distractions, and Watch This.

1. Seratones (Audiotree)

Ever since Seratones‘ run at last year’s CMJ, the band’s been slowly escalating nearly every facet of their already-formidable presentation. Boasting one of the most awe-inspiring vocalists currently on the circuit, the band delivers a commanding performance here for Audiotree. Grabbing onto something won’t save you from being flattened.

2. Car Seat Headrest – Fill In The Blank + Vincent (WXPN)

Teens of Denial still confidently stands as one of 2016’s finest records, a fact that will inevitably be reflected by several sources come December, and thanks to the band’s live show it’s still gaining traction. The band tore through “Fill In The Blank” and “Vincent”, the record’s opening two tracks, for WXPN. It’s a masterful run that shows Car Seat Headrest have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.

3. Courtney Barnett (Strombo Sessions)

Courtney Barnett may very well hold the record for the most Watch This series appearances at this point. An endlessly gifted — and obscenely likable — performer, Barnett’s hyper-intelligent songwriting is allowed to thrive in the live setting. All of those qualities can become even more pronounced in her endearing solo performances, which is squarely the case with this beautiful set that comes courtesy of Strombo Sessions.

4. Midnight Reruns – Richie the Hammer (Set List)

Last year, Midnight Reruns‘ brilliant Force of Nurture made a very strong showing in this site’s year-end rankings and a large reason for that placement was guitarist/vocalist (and principal songwriter) Graham Hunt’s growth as a lyricist. The record’s most surprising moment may very well have been the emotional devastation contained in “Richie the Hammer”, which the band recently performed for WPR’s excellent Set List series.

5. Weaves (NPR)

After several years of stellar performances and continuous evolution, Weaves have managed to create quite a few converts. “Shithole“, a fiery moment of reinvention, kicked off a run of songs that currently comprise the most formidable stretch of the band’s still-blossoming career. The band takes on a trio of those selections for one of the most galvanizing Tiny Desk sessions in recent memory. It’s downright electric.

Fake Palms – Sun Drips (Stream)

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The timing on this site’s return to regular daily coverage feels like it’s coming at a fortuitous moment. That statement? It would have held true for nearly every day of the past few months thanks to the monstrous wealth of great material that’s come out of the woodwork. A quartet of stunning videos will lead tonight’s frenzy. Between Torres’ arresting black and white clip for “Sprinter“, Lightning Bolt’s typically feral “The Metal East“, REFS’ alluring “Pain Goes Away“, and Rachel Grimes’ absolutely stunning “The Herald” (which very nearly snagged tonight’s headline by virtue of sheer artistry).

Songs, once again, showed up in full force. Punk stalwarts Timeshares continued to make massive strides with the Southern-tinged “Heavy Hangs“, The Wooden Sky provided a strong reminder of their high-level consistency with the sprawling “Maybe It’s No Secret“, and Bully returned with a vengeance via the 90’s-worship of “Trying“. Big Deal unveiled the heavily atmospheric “Veronica“, Ava Luna released the meticulously constructed “Steve Polyester“, and The Cave Children let loose the carefully calibrated- and lightly damaged- psych-pop of “Antigone“. Bent Denim’s masterfully orchestrated “City of Gardens“, Iji’s appealingly retro-leaning “Hard 2 Wait“, and Guantanamo Baywatch’s delightfully ramshackle and ridiculously catchy “Do What You Want” helped round out today’s offerings.

Topping things off was the pop-influenced post-punk of Fake Palms’ latest single, “Sun Drips”. Like Cloud Nothings, Radiator Hospital, and so many other acts before them, Fake Palms recently heightened their identity by expanding from a solo project into a full band. Along with that transition, the now-quartet signed to the increasingly impressive Buzz Records, joining a slew of site favorites in the process. “Sun Drips” suggests that the band’s ready to join their rankings by deftly combining so many great elements with a staggering effortlessness. In turns minimal and expansive, restrained and soaring, “Sun Drips” is a masterclass in shifting dynamics and an exquisite example of what makes post-punk such an appealing genre; its limitations are easy to bend towards other exhilarating sounds. It’s a track that’s defined by the levels of painstaking care that’s evidenced in Fake Palms’ craft and by the moods it manages to convey. This is a shape-shifting song that should serve as a serious warning: Fake Palms are ready to arrive.

Listen to “Sun Drips” below and keep an eye on the site for continuing coverage of Fake Palms and anything else they may have in store.