Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Melkbelly

Melkbelly – Mount Kool Kid b/w Elk Mountain (7″ Review)

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When last week came to an end, it gifted the world great new tracks from the likes of ESP Ohio, Cross Country, Marissa Nadler, Field Music, Pamphleteers, Fond Han, WTCHS, Death By Unga Bunga, Grandaddy (x2), Sonic Avenues, Black Marbles, Hello Shark, Peaer, Pony Hunt, Oathbreaker, Computer Magic, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Sean Rowe, Ricky Eat Acid, and Francie Moon. Those weren’t the only things this week’s left in its wake. Along with those titles, there was also (finally) the release of the Mount Kool Kid b/w Elk Mountain 7″ from Melkbelly.

The band first teased this release more than a full year ago by uploading an early, unfinished version of “Mount Kool Kid” to their bandcamp. That version’s been pulled in the time that’s elapsed since its quiet release and its absence has finally been amended with the release of the band’s latest 7″. “Mount Kool Kid” remains an absolute beast of a song, echoing shades of the very best noise, basement punk, and hyper-spastic pop acts in one fell swoop.

Even though it wears all of those influences proudly, “Mount Kool Kid” is still very distinctly Melkbelly. The enhanced production brings out a near-feral rawness in the track that was previously buried, albeit still evident. Everything hits tremendously hard in this more polished version, utilizing Albini-esque tactics for the drum sounds and providing some layers that allow it a more expansive sound.

The flip-side of the 7″ is “Elk Mountain”, which dials back the ferocity to expand on the band’s penchant for grunge and sludge-leaning moments. While the tempo recedes, the abundance of feeling remains in tact. Not a moment of “Elk Mountain” is anything less than exhilarating. Guitarist/vocalist Miranda Winters helps set these songs apart by infusing them with a surprising amount of delicacy that elevates both of these tracks into the realm of the sublime.

Both “Mount Kool Kid” and “Elk Mountain” are incredibly dynamic, compelling  tracks that near the four-minute mark. For virtually every second of their run-time, there’s an admirable choice that manifests in the songs. Whether it’s a drastic tempo change, a vocal run, a runaway drum break, or a sudden commitment to overwhelming heaviness, those choices enliven both tracks, leaving Mount Kool Kid b/w Elk Mountain as one of the best 7″ releases anyone’s likely to hear in 2016. So, stop reading, hit play, surrender to the band’s chaos and get swept up in the frenzy.

Listen to Mount Kool Kid b/w Elk Mountain below and pick up a copy here.

Weaves – Tick (Music Video)

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Weaves were a focal part of most of this site’s coverage this week, so running yet another feature on the band may seem predictable but it’s entirely earned. Their latest music video, for the excellent album opener “Tick”, is a perfect representation of the exhilaration that Weaves so effortlessly generates. “Tick” was one of a handful of intriguing music videos to surface over the past 24 hours, a list that also boasts new material from The So So Glos, Melkbelly, Thrushes, Billie Marten, and Parakeet. Natural Child, The Hecks, CC Mose, Johanna Samuels, Adam Olenius, and The Saxophones all offered up strong new songs while DentistLake Ruth, Pink Mexico, Show Me The Body, and The Guests all unveiled explosive full streams. Additionally, there was a two-song preview of the Husband Stitch’s upcoming self-titled EP and an important compilation from SRB Productions entitled Forever Beautiful: A Collection of Love for Orlando with all proceeds going towards the victims of the tragic events that transpired at Pulse earlier this week.

Each of those endeavors are worth undertaking (and, again, that compilation is both deeply important and frustratingly necessary) but in terms of new releases, this week belonged to Weaves. The band’s been on an incendiary tear recently, highlighting their run with the reveal of their extraordinary full-length debut.  Now, they’re taking on the music video game with a clear-eyed ferocity and a surplus of focused determination. Opening with a tongue-in-cheek commentary on middle-aged malaise, “Tick” quickly ricochets into the artful weirdness that permeates throughout nearly every facet of Weaves’ outsize aesthetic.

“Tick” immediately kicks into full gear following the humorously droll introduction, with the song quite literally following the protagonist’s every move. Eye-grabbing visualizations propel the clip to absurd heights as it careens along, providing both absurdist tendencies and subtle, pointed commentary in spades. The whole thing is a massively entertaining thrill ride that recklessly careens along from start to finish, allowing its own substantial momentum to be its definitive trait. Most importantly, every aspect of “Tick” scans as truthful, imbuing the clip with a refreshing dose of unapologetic reality; people are weird, inherently lonely, and entirely capable of creating an environment that suits their most immediate emotional needs.

In the end, “Tick” stands as a testament to perseverance. Heartfelt, painfully honest, and equipped with a formidable bite, “Tick” also stands as a prime example of what can be achieved within the confines of the music video format. A beautiful accompaniment to one of the year’s most astonishing debuts, “Tick” finds the band continuing on an astounding level of near-perfection. Give it a watch (or several) and do something that feels necessary.

Watch “Tick” below and pick up a copy of Weaves here.

Lady Bones – Weight (Stream)

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Continuing on with the impressive slate of notable songs that have come out since the start of April, the focus falls — as it has so many times on this site in the past — on Lady Bones. Before turning the attention towards their outstanding “Weight”, it’s worth casting a look over at great new songs from Lost Boy ?, Melkbelly, Pumarosa, Henry Chadwick, Ali Beletic, Honey Radar, Stone Cold Fox, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, FIR, and Keroscene. While those 10 songs were all more than worthwhile, it was Lady Bones’ “Weight” to snag this post’s feature spot.

Last year’s excellent Dying saw the trio continuing to hone their own take on the grunge-meets-post-punk-filtered-through-noise-punk-trappings sound that has become a calling card for many Boston-area bands. Dying saw the band continue to scale back some of the more pop-leaning aspects that populated their split with Horsehands, to considerable effect. “Weight”, once again, finds the band diminishing their more pop-skewing sensibilities in favor of something much more aggressive. Again, it’s a move that pays dividends for the band.

Now, to be abundantly clear, the band hasn’t sacrificed their keen melodic sense, they’ve just inverted it into something that comes across in a much more emphatic manner. On “Weight” they continue to go for their listener’s throats, conjuring up a bruising number that benefits from their murky tones, never quite becoming a sludge song but playing with some of the genre’s more interesting aesthetics. They’ve settled into a confident rhythm and have found what works most effectively for their songwriting and “Weight” is exhilarating proof.

Listen to “Weight” below and pre-order Terse from Midnight Werewolf here.

2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Ryan Wizniak)

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As has been mentioned, multiple times over, few bands have had as large of an impact on the past several years of my life as Meat Wave. From the hundreds of listens I’ve given to their self-titled debut to their appearance at the first Heartbreaking Bravery showcase to their continued support of this site, it’s been a genuine privilege to have them as a part of my life. Delusion Moon was one of 2015’s fiercest records and the few times I got to see the band perform, I was always left floored. A large part of their draw has always been the frantic drum work of Ryan Wizniak (pictured above, bottom left). I’m thrilled to be bringing Wizniak into the fold of A Year’s Worth of Memories and I’m equally excited that he’s chosen to focus his piece on Meklbelly. Read it all below and remember to celebrate the people who continuously make a positive impact on your life.

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Of all the fantastic music that came out in 2015, and there was a lot of it, my absolute favorite track was “Piss Wizard”, by Melkbelly.  Recorded at Public House in Chicago and released via Automatic Recordings on piss-yellow and poo-brown 7”s, “Piss Wizard” is a truly unique slab of uncategorizable noise rock.  Within its just over 7 minute running time it contains every aspect of what makes Melkbelly so great: super bizarre tones, excellent guitar interplay, a range of vocal stylings, absurd drums and dynamic bass playing that glues everything together.

One of my favorite things about Melkbelly is every song makes the listener feel like they are entering a living breathing place. “Piss Wizard” is a perfect example of this. The track starts with a vocal intro from Miranda [Winters] and as soon as the rest of the instruments join in it creates the feeling of being strapped into some deranged ride that has flown straight into a tornado. Eventually the track lets up just long enough for one to regain their senses before it blasts into an explosive ending.

My band got to play a few shows with Melkbelly at the end of our long tour this fall/winter. One of them was at this place in Ann Arbor called The Metal Frat and it turned out to be an actual fraternity focused on musicians and music lovers. It was totally surreal and a lot of fun. At one point in the night we went on a beer run and noticed the frat next door doing their initiations, which involved blindfolded people being thrown into the backs of cars and some sort of all night organ playing ritual. So wild!

The last show we played with them was our homecoming show in Chicago which also featured our good friends Sophagus and Rad Payoff at our favorite venue, the Empty Bottle. Between all four bands we managed to sell out the show. I couldn’t believe it! It was great way to close out the year.

-Ryan Wizniak

The Honorable Mentions of the 2015 Music Categories

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Before diving into the particulars of the forthcoming lists, it’s worth addressing the distinction made in the headline. Each of the categories that received a list in 2015 (music videos, songs, EP’s, albums, odds and ends) will be expanded upon in this post. However, there are still two forthcoming film lists but each of those will include the honorable mentions along with the featured rankings. An obscene amount of great material came out over the 12 months that comprised the past year so any attempts to cover everything would be futile. If anyone’s exhausted the below lists, a more comprehensive version can be found by exploring the following tags: stream, full stream, EP stream, and music video. Explore some of the top tier picks that didn’t make it onto the year-end lists via the tags below.

Music Videos

Screaming Females – Hopeless | Cayetana – Scott, Get the Van I’m Moving | Ephrata – Say A Prayer | ANAMIA – LuciaJoanna Newsom – Sapokinakan | Battles – The Yabba | FIDLAR – 40 Oz. On Repeat | PINS – Young Girls | Doomtree – Final Boss | Hundred Waters – Innocent | Celestial Shore – Now I Know | Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Sunday Candy | Modest Mouse – Coyotes | Girlpool – Before The World Was Big | Laura Marling – Gurdijeff’s Daughter | Bay Uno – Wait For Your Love | The Staves – Black & White | Young Buffalo – No  Idea | Avid Dancer – All Your Words Are Gone | Avi Buffalo – Think It’s Gonna Happen Again | Adir L.C. – Buyer’s Instinct | Midnight Reruns – Canadian Summer | Daughter – Doing The Right Thing | John Grant – Disappointing | Waxahatchee – Under A Rock | Wimps – Dump | Potty Mouth – Cherry Picking | Froth – Nothing Baby | The Libertines – Heart of the Matter | Car Seat Headrest – Something Soon | Mike Krol – Neighborhood Watch | Savages – The Answer | Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin | Bully – Trying | Sheer – Uneasy  | Will Butler – Anna

EPs

Snail Mail – Sticki | Kindling – Galaxies | Eugene Quell – I Will Work The Land | Gumbus – Crimbus Rock | Rye Pines – Rye Pines | Feral Jenny – Greatest Hits | Slutever – Almost Famous | Gracie – Gracie | Nice Guys – Chips in the Moonlight | Anomie – Anomie | Kitner – Stay Sad | Animal Flag – EP 2 | Never Young – Never Young | Birches – Birches | Alimony Hustle – Gutter Gutter Strike Strike Gutter Gutter | The Lumes – Lust | Pretty Pretty – Talkin’ to the WallsVomitface – Another Bad Year | PALMAS – To the Valley | Greys – Repulsion | Wild Pink – Good Life | The Glow – Lose | Spirit of the Beehive – You Are Arrived (But You’ve Been Cheated) | Shady Hawkins – The Last Dance | Holy Esque – Submission | Ashland – Ashland | Isabel Rex – American Colliquialisms/Two Hexes | Pet Cemetery – Dietary Requirements | Milk Crimes – Milk Crimes | Rubber Band Gun – Making A Fool of Myself | Creative Adult – Ring Around the Room | Amber Edgar – Good Will Rise | La Casa al Mare – This Astro | Trophy Dad – Shirtless Algebra Fridays | Glueboy – Videorama | Birds in Row – Personal War | YVETTE – Time Management | Communions – Cobblestones | O-Face – Mint | Day Wave – Headcase | Granny – EGG | Van Dammes – Better Than Sex | Vallis Alps – Vallis Alps | Little Children – Traveling Through Darkness | Philadelphia Collins – Derp Swervin’ | The Tarantula Waltz – Lynx | Nicolas Jaar – Nymphs II | The Japanese House – Pools To Bathe In | Guerilla Toss – Flood Dosed | Los Planetas – Dobles Fatigas | See Through Dresses – End of Days | Earl Sweatshirt – Solace | Kississippi – We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed | Yumi Zouma – EP II | G.L.O.S.S. – Girls Living Outside of Society’s Shit | Fresh Snow – WON | Girl Band – The Early Years | XXIX – Wafia | together PANGEA – The Phage | Ty Segall – Mr. Face | Young Guv – Ripe 4 Luv

Songs

Yowler – The Offer | Meat Wave – Cosmic Zoo | Pleasure Leftists – Protection | Saintseneca – Sleeper Hold | Slight – Hate the Summer | Sports – The Washing Machine | Diet Cig – Sleep Talk | LVL UP – The Closing Door | Royal Headache – High | Tica Douglas – All Meanness Be Gone | Speedy Ortiz – Raising the Skate | Phooey! – Molly’s at the Laundromat | Adir L.C. – Buyer’s Instinct | Sweet John Bloom – Tell Me | Pile – Mr. Fish | Screaming Females – Hopeless | Ernie – Sweatpants | Bad Wig – Stargazer | Dusk – Too Sweet | Painted Zeros – Only You | Krill – Torturer | Young Jesus – Milo | Tenement – Ants + Flies | Midnight Reruns – Richie the Hammer | Melkbelly – Mt. Kool Kid | The Weasel, Marten Fisher – Empty Bucket List | Soul Low – Always Watchin’ Out | Eluvium – Neighboring In Telescopes | Algiers – Blood | Institute – Cheerlessness | Bruising – Think About Death | Vacation – Like Snow | Cende – Widow | Alex G – Brite Boy | Bully – Trying | Nicole Dollanganger – You’re So Cool | Sheer – Uneasy | Laura Stevenson – Claustrophobe | Kathryn Calder – New Millenium | The Foetals – Nothing | Lady Bones – Botch | Dogs On Acid – Let the Bombs Fall Off | Fraser A. Gorman – Shiny Gun | Bandit – The Drive Home | Mercury Girls – Golden | ThinLips – Nothing Weird | Wimps – Dump | S.M. Wolf – Help Me Out | Glueboy – Back to You | Mean Creek – Forgotten Streets | Ratboys – Tixis | PINS – Young Girls | Shilpa Ray – Johnny Thunders Fantasy Space Camp | White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die | Lady Lamb – Spat Out Spit | Washer – Joe | Pupppy – Puking (Merry Christmas) | Midwives – Back in the Saddle Again | Torres – Strange Hellos | METZ – Spit You Out | Jeff Rosenstock – You In Weird Cities | Little Wings – Hollowed Log | Bent Denim – Good Night’s Sleep | Waxahatchee – Under A Rock

Albums

Girlpool – Before The World Was Big | Screaming Females – Rose MountainYowler – The Offer | Saintseneca – Such Things | Bully – Feels Like | Tica Douglas – Joey | Evans the Death – Expect Delays | Torres – Sprinter | Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp | Fred Thomas – All Are Saved | Krill – A Distant Fist Unclenching | Ratboys – AOID | Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter | METZ – II | Little Wings – ExplainsSlanted – Forever | Bent Denim – Romances You | Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – The High Country | White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again | The Armed – Untitled | Shilpa Ray – Last Year’s Savage | The Foetals – Meet the Foetals | Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Style | Wimps – Suitcase | Westkust – Last Forever | Girl Band – Holding Hands With Jamie | Cloakroom – Further Out | Stove – Is Stupider | Johanna Warren – numun | Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer | Mikal Cronin – MCIII | Adir L.C. – Oceanside Cities | Negative Scanner – Negative Scanner | Pleasure Leftists – The Woods of Heaven | Haybaby – Sleepy Kids | Heather Woods Broderick – Glider | Lady Lamb – After | Pile – You’re Better Than This | Algiers – Algiers | Fraser A. Gorman – Slow Gum | POPE – Fiction | Petal Head – Raspberry Cough | Shannen Moser – You Shouldn’t Be Doing That

Odds and Ends

DBTS: BS2 | Spook the Herd – Freaks b/w Fermented | Kinjac – Possession b/w Possessed | Carbonleak – Waveland b/w Bearing | Vexx – Give and Take | Nervous Trend – Shattered | CCTV – 7″ | Puppy Problems – Practice Kissing | Flagland + Washer | MONO + The Ocean | Uh Huh + Jake McElvie & The Countertops | Alanna McArdle – Bedroom/Balloons | Chris Broom – Meade House Demos | Composite – Demos 2015 | The Library – 100% | Dark Thoughts – Two More Songs From… | Wendy Alembic – Collected Early Works | Toby Reif – 2015 Demos

Melkbelly – Mnt. Kool Kid (Stream)

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Photograph by Taylor Schneider

At the midweek marker, remarkable releases have continued to be doled out at a breakneck pace. In some ways, that overwhelming magnitude contributes to a slew of smaller releases getting overlooked at their time of release. Today’s featured items was one of those- and it was strong enough to fight off this recent batch to secure the majority of the focus. That, by no means, should detract from the value of the field it’s included in, which continues to cement 2015’s status as one of the strongest years for new music in recent memory. Full streams had the quietest output for the day, yielding only La Misma’s great full-length Kanizadi. Music videos had a heavier crop, boasting strong new clips from Made Violent, Microwave, SadGirl, Little Wings, and Martin Courtney. As always, the individual streams seemed to make the most sizable dent with formidable entries from the likes of GrubsFern Mayo, YungEx-BreathersMidday Veil, Modern Baseball, Drug Church, Brian Carpenter & The Confessions, and Battles.

While everything in the linked above paragraph is worth a click, it’s when Melkbelly‘s latest wound up making its way here that the feature spot really clicked. The band’s not the most well-known act but has secured some high-profile support lately- most notably via this excellent Talkhouse piece from Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis. While the piece used the band’s recent outstanding Bathroom at the Beach 7″ as its focal point, they’ve managed to quietly unveil another new standalone track on their bandcamp (a place that’s composed entirely of standalone entries). “Mnt. Kool Kid” sacrifices some of the band’s immediate melodicism in favor of emphasizing their more aggressive noise tendencies. Over four minutes, the band rides the crest of a stark, menacing bass hum and uses it as a catapult for both a brief, outsider pop section and a towering main section that manages to come off as, almost paradoxically, a more expansive and contained version of Lightning Bolt at their best.

Bruising at every turn, “Mnt. Kool Kid” is a commanding show of force that highlights all of Melkbelly’s strongest looks and continues to see the quartet tightening their craft into something that feels genuinely powerful. Unflinching, unmoored, and unforgettable “Mnt. Kool Kid” is the sound of a band continuing to lock into a groove that should set them spinning to an explosive finish. For now, be content to sit back and watch the band burn everything they pass; sometimes the passages to the climactic moments wind up carrying even more meaning than the resolution. A song this good doesn’t deserve to succumb to a fate where it largely passes by unnoticed.

Listen to “Mnt. Kool Kid” below and get lost in an exhilarating course correction. Keep an eye on this site for further Melkbelly updates.

Salad Boys – Dream Date (Music Video)

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It seems fitting that another stacked week for new releases would find a similarly overloaded endcap. Total Makeover, Soft Fangs, Blackalicious, and Cumstain all had incredible new songs while Melkbelly, Lindi Ortega, and Phylums unveiled outstanding records. Even with the strong representation for those categories, the day belonged to music videos. La Luz’s animated “Black Hole, Weirdo Shine“, sore’s delightfully low-key “elle le fantôme“, Pianos Become the Teeth’s startlingly heartfelt “Ripple Water Shine“, Sharkmuffin’s unapologetic “Tampons Are For Sluts“, Albert Ryan’s lyric clip for “Man“, Kaleo’s gorgeous, inventive “Way Down We Go“, Earl Sweatshirt’s classic, nightmarish “Off Top“, and Deaf Wish’s retro-influenced futurist vision “On” constituted an unusually strong field. Topping everything off was Salad Boys‘ curiously entertaining “Dream Date”.

The narrative through-line’s essentially non-existent in “Dream Date”, leaving the clip to function and thrive on its own singular energy. Directed by Ben Dodd and Salad Boys’ guitarist/vocalist Joe Sampson, the clip finds Sampson placed front and center in various scenic locations. While his isolation could serve as a commentary on loneliness, there’s a wryness and contentment that centers Sampson’s performance and suggests that being alone can be an extraordinary thing. It’s a deceptively clever setup anchored by a committed performance- and a spry basement pop song- that lends “Dream Date” an unavoidable vibrancy. Irreverent, funny, and impossibly light, it’s the kind of video that can act as a reminder of the joy of simply being alive.

Watch “Dream Date” below and pre-order Metalmania ahead of its September 18 release date from Trouble In Mind here.