Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Mess

Casper Skulls – Colour of the Outside (Music Video)

The past week ended in a flurry of excellent songs from the likes of illuminati hotties, Sam Evian, Peach Kelli Pop, NOVA ONE, Porlolo, Marmalakes, Yours Are the Only Ears, Middle Kids, Eerie Gaits, Mess, Jon Patrick Walker, Strange Boy, and Chase the Horseman. Over that same short span of days, Casper Skulls’ music video for “Colour On the Outside” offered up a stark reminder of that band’s potency.  Director, editor, and DOP Shawn Kosmo heads up the clip, which toys with and subverts the traditional performance clip.

There’s an engaging palette (the pale blues at the beginning are especially mesmerizing) that morphs as the song barrels along, matching an impressive range of motion for both the camera and its subjects. “Colour of the Outside” also offers up a masterclass in lighting but those small, significant details would be lost without engaging core performances from the band members. Casper Skulls have given notable performances in their clips before but deliver here with some extra weight behind their conviction, making “Colour of the Outside” a testament to their growing confidence. Tethered together, the cumulative effect is spellbinding, pushing the band to an unexpected career highlight that’s massively satisfying and imparts a sense of excitement for whatever Casper Skulls decide to do next.

Watch “Colour of the Outside” below and pick up a copy of the band’s recent Mercy Works over on their bandcamp.

Watch This: Vol. 138

While Car Seat Headrest, Abi Reimold, Lisa Prank, The Dove & The Wolf, Emma Russack, Black Thumb, Mindie Lind, Kiran Leonard, Laura Gibson, Wovenhand, CHVRCHES, Pig Snout, Metronomy, Clique, Skeleton Hands, Gang Gang Dance, Graveyard Club, Men of Paradise, Haux, Arc Iris, David Bazan, Pure Bathing Culture, Typesetter, Lisa Hannigan, and naps all had incredibly strong live video outings — culled from a variety of inspiring sources — last week, it would have been an exercise in futility to run them all together in a focal capacity. Even five featured slots can occasionally feel a touch excessive but it seems that anything less than five doesn’t typically do the format’s offerings justice.

The five clips featured today come from bands that have, in some form or another, garnered positive notices from this site in the past. Seeing these acts continue to grow, expand, succeed, and even flourish has been heartening. Seeing them excel in the live department remains galvanizing. There’s an expansive range from the selected acts (and their accompanying videos), in terms of style. All of them are worthy of praise. So, as always, sit back, tune up, lean in, and Watch This.

1.  Okkervil River (WFUV)

With their forthcoming Away nearing its release date, Okkervil River‘s been making some early rounds to promote the record.  It’s impossible to overstate how important Okkervil River were to the development of this site’s personal ethos, so any time the band makes a return it’s more than welcome. Here, they perform two songs from Away but continue to demonstrate their immense skill at re-interpreting their own material, offering an incredible version of “For Real” — easily one of the best songs since the turn of the century — that hints at their worldview. It’s an immensely impressive session and a memorable portrait of a band that’s never really gotten their due.

2. Worriers – Plans (Live From the Rock Room)

Last year’s Imaginary Life was Worriers‘ finest moment to date and the band still seems to be riding a surge of adrenaline and confidence from that small triumph. The quartet recently visited Live From the Rock Room to deliver a galvanizing rendition of “Plans”, one of that record’s many standouts. The band continues to be defined by both their intelligence and extreme amount of heart, both of which are fully on display in this clip.

3. Prism Tats (KEXP)

Prism Tats have been having a breakout year, releasing their formidable self-titled debut full-length on ANTI- Records and producing a string of praise-worthy music videos. They’ve been touring with some bands that have serious weight behind their names and making a small sea of fresh converts at just about every stop. Here, the band turns in a powerful session for KEXP, revealing their increasingly sharp interplay and knack for subdued, hook-heavy basement pop. The whole clip looks and sounds beautiful, standing as a strong example of what can be accomplished with the right people on both ends of the camera.

4. Big Thief (KDHX)

Masterpiece was an immediate standout upon its release and remains one of 2016’s finest records. It’s catapulted Big Thief into a new level of fame and the band’s responded in kind, continuously sharpening their craft and all but perfecting their penchant for sweeping, open-road anthems tinged with nostalgic hues. The band recently visited the KDHX studios and played through two songs, including the unforgettable and melancholic “Paul“. The band pairs it with a deeply felt run-through of “Vegas”, offering both a very strong reminder of Masterpiece‘s astonishing strength and their breathtaking prowess as a live unit.

5. Fresh  Snow – January Skies (Exclaim!)

For some time now, Fresh Snow have excelled in crafting aggressive, ambient tracks that come fully equipped with a decidedly punk influence. Their live show has been a consistent standout and the band holds nothing back for this atmospheric Exclaim! clip of the band playing “January Skies”. There’s a feeling of rawness through the whole affair that seems to be at odds with the serene lighting, creating a strange, unsettling feeling that elevates this far beyond the standard performance clip. There’s some magic at play here and it continues to cast out the kind of spell that simply can’t be refused.

Woahnows – Mess (Music Video)

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Over the past few days, a whole host of notable music videos have surfaced. In addition to an achingly beautiful clip from Japanese Breakfast (courtesy of the inimitable House of Nod team), Teleman, Night School, gobbinjr, Deerhoof, Vallens, Operator Music Band, Pinkwash, Hinds, Shabazz Palaces, Boogarins, and Moderat all came through with compelling clips while Okkervil River offered up a tantalizing glimpse at their forthcoming record, Away. For sheer energetic force, though, none of the above clips could contend with Woahnows’ delightful “Mess”.

The trio’s latest video uses a grainy VHS aesthetic to its advantage, nicely underscoring the band’s oddball personality. “Mess” is a jaunty ride through one of the year’s best basement pop songs, with the accompanying clip, endearingly, not providing much more than a series of shots that show the band mimicking their way through the song. What’s essential to “Mess” is also the functioning crux of what makes Woahnows such a compelling act in the first place: they’re just out having fun.

Too frequently bands get lost in the guise of performance and it starts inhabiting itself in every facet of their appearance. Woahnows don’t seem anywhere close to falling into that trap. “Mess” is one of the loosest, most carefree clips that anyone’s released this year, effortlessly establishing and maintaining a sense of genuine joy. From the hazy, low-budget green screen effects to the half-dancing, “Mess” stealthily avoids subjecting itself to any looming pressures; Woahnows are making music for the sake of making music. That the clip for “Mess” falls in line with that ethos as much as it does is more than enough reason for celebration.

Watch “Mess” below and pick up the 7″ from Specialist Subject here (or grab a digital copy here).

Beliefs – Tidal Wave (Music Video)

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Now, despite all the content that’s already gone up tonight, there’s still a lot that went down over the past week and a half while the site was dealing with technical complications. To that end, the approach in coverage is going to be slightly different this time around. Full streams, single streams, and music videos will all be covered- but they’ll be branched off into categories. Each entry will get a line or two and then when everything’s been accounted for, there’ll be a feature spot granted to Beliefs’ ridiculously entertaining clip for “Tidal Wave”. So, without further ado…

SINGLE STREAMS

Pet Cemetery – Giants: The newest near-perfect post-punk entry into Art Is Hard’s perfect Pizza Club series. | Deer Tick – White Havoc: A fuzzed-out Holiday stomper courtesy of one of today’s more intriguing acts. | Sun Hotel – Tropic of Cancer: An incredibly compelling and slightly damaged folk-leaning exploration. | Abi Reimold – Workshop: A folksy DIY pop masterpiece that doubles as a perfect contribution to a great compilation series. | The Soft Moon – Black: Nightmarishly menacing ambient music that tilts into industrial territory. | Sleater-Kinney – Surface Envy: Video game guitar lines. Corin Tucker’s vocals. Total madness. Sleater-Kinney is back. | Victoria+Jean – Holly: Seductive art-pop that flirts with expectations and capitalizes on tension. | Menace Beach – Blue Eye: An ambient noise exercise that only gains intrigue as it quietly builds towards its finish. | Deerhoof – Exit Only (Perfect Pussy Remix): A terrifying reimagining of an already terrifying song, courtesy of Shaun Sutkus. | Moon Duo – Animal: Menacing and minimal psych-punk that isn’t afraid to bare its fangs. | Grand Vapids – Aubade: Indie pop that isn’t afraid to subvert or challenge aesthetic expectations. | Howlin’ Rain – Wild Bush: A pastoral folk throwback jam that wears its influences proudly on its sleeve. | California X – Red Planet: Another triumphant, scorched-earth preview of what looks to be a career-best effort. | The Sidekicks – Jesus Christ Supermalls: Subtle, stunning, and lovely. The Sidekicks‘ finest work to date. | Seagulls – Swimmin’: Unbelievably winsome and completely enchanting folk-centric indie pop. | Elephant Micah – Slow Time Vultures: Gently gorgeous and effortlessly arresting ambient folk reminiscent of Vic Chesnutt. | Future of What – Daydream 99: Boldly stylish indie pop that crafts its own brand of magic. |

FULL STREAMS

The Goodbye Party – Silver Blues:  The latest DIY punk-pop gem to grace the impossibly reliable Salinas roster. | Littler – Get A Life: Relentlessly propulsive weirdo punk. | Bonny Doon – Fred’s House Demo: An impossibly overlooked (and impossibly great) folk-tinted basement pop masterpiece. | School ’94 – Like You: Graceful indie pop with gargantuan scope that still manages to come across as refreshingly breezy. | Forth Wanderers – Tough Love: Defiant and subtly venomous basement pop with an unbelievable amount of inherent charm. | SUSAN – Just Call It: Surf-indebted basement pop with enough punk bite to please a purist. | Githead – Waiting For A SignLeftifeld post-punk and new wave from a quasi-supergroup that features members of Wire, Compact, and Scanner. | Furnsss – Silent Gold: Deranged slacker punk and basement pop for the actively lethargic. | Thelma & The Sleaze – Heart Like A Fist: Incendiary basement punk with a heaping of 80’s hardcore influence. | Cave People – Older: Treble-heavy basement pop that leans towards sentiment and presents a genuinely memorable vision. | Terrorista – Purple Tape: Hard-charging basement punk that thrives on the notion that everything could fall apart at any second.

MUSIC VIDEOS

Young Statues – Run The River Dry: Visually stunning and endlessly intriguing, “Run The River Dry” shines a bright light on Young Statues’ promising future in the visual format. | Christian Lee Hutson – Late November: A simple concept that becomes a wrenching experience as it transforms into something inexplicably moving. | Flashlight O – TV Time: Staunchly DIY and weirdly hypnotic in its collage-heavy presentation. | Highway Cross – Open Eyes: Furiously paced and brilliantly edited, this is a perfect example of how emphasizing details can pay off in unexpectedly huge ways. | Luluc – Tangled Heart: Beautifully arranged and enhanced with simple, creative effects, “Tangled Heart” winds up feeling like something worth treasuring. | Johnny Marr – Dynamo: The iconic guitarist has always had a visual flair but those tendencies reach new, modern heights with this clip. | Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling (Don’t Cry): Like the group, this is a video driven by outsize personality- it’s unabashedly weird and it’s absolutely glorious. | Bass Drum of Death – For Blood: Bikers and gangs collide in deliriously entertaining fashion throughout this brilliantly executed tracking shot clip. | Blonde Redhead – Dripping: A sensual and highly stylized video that wields atmospherics and soft touches to stunning effect. | Communions – Love Stands Still: Classically composed and unwaveringly endearing; a perfect reflection of Communions’ indie pop. | A Place To Bury Strangers – Straight: A hallucinatory collage of striking imagery backed by one of the band’s most insistent songs to date. | Liars – Mask Maker (Extended Version): Characteristically bizarre and replete with a whole mess of yarn. | Tinkerbelles – When Puppies Cry: Extraordinarily damaged basement punk made weirder by one of the most insanely warped clips of 2014.

TIDAL WAVE

Okay, so the bold font probably wasn’t necessary but it’s late- and this is a really great video. Beliefs first gained an uptick in notoriety when they paired with the similarly-minded Greys for one of 2013’s best splits. Since then, they’ve been on a tear, steadily building a name for themselves on the strength of their powerful new material and formidable live show. If “Tidal Wave” is any indication, they may be able to add great music videos to that list as well. While it mostly finds inspiration in the trends of classic clips from the 80’s and 90’s there’s a certain playfulness here that’s missing from a lot of homage-style videos. That playfulness comes to a head nearly halfway through when they manage to seamlessly work in something genuinely unexpected and ridiculously perfect. It’s too good of a moment to spoil completely but it’s also one of the more endearingly appreciative moments of recent memory. By the time all the effects have worn down and “Tidal Wave” reaches its tongue-in-cheek epilogue, it becomes abundantly clear that this band has big things in mind for Leaper (the forthcoming album “Tidal Wave” is taken from) and for themselves. Beliefs aren’t a band intent to keep quiet and if they keep going at the pace they are, we’re all in for one hell of a ride.

Watch “Tidal Wave” below and pick up Leaper from Hand Drawn Dracula as soon as it’s available.

Chandos – ..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top’ (Stream)

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With the entirety of yesterday’s post dedicated to Mitski’s miracle of a record, Bury Me At Makeout Creek, there’s quite a bit to catch up on today. There were a bevvy of single streams that included Le Rug’s blown-out rager “Dudley“, Ghastly Menace’s vibrant pop confection “Closing“, and The Dodos’ triumphant return single “Competition“. There was also a sprawling, punchy piece of anthemic open-road folk in the form of Small Houses’ outstanding “Staggers and Rise” as well as another look at YAWN bandleader Adam Gil’s solo project, Dam Gila, via “Home Again“. Rounding things out for the single stream category was a demo from The Guests (a new band featuring members of Sheer Mag), a typically bold Liars b-side, and a Girlpool cover of one of the most achingly romantic songs ever recorded.

In the realms of the music video there was an equally plentiful pool of treasures that included Diarrhea Planet’s oddly compelling fantasia in “Kids“, Metronomy’s stunning woodland-set magic surrealism in “The Upsetter“, and Spider Bags’ subtly nightmarish visual effects collage “Eyes of Death“. Additionally, there was Dream Generation’s stark “The Spirit of America“, She Keeps Bees’ gorgeous “Owl“, Owen Pallett’s inexplicably powerful “In Conflict“, and Corners’ masterfully executed “The Spaceship“. As if that wasn’t enough, the full streams that appeared over the past few days matched the rough output of both the single song and music video output with some truly outstanding efforts coming to light- like Caddywhompus‘ strong bid for Album of the Year contention with Feathering A Nest. The Paperhead emerged with their latest throwback-heavy gem, Africa Avenue, while Parkay Quarts built on their renewed buzz with the wiry Content Nausea. Open Wide released a demo of quietly stunning folk-leaning ballads, Ex Cops threw a darkly-tinted dance party with Daggers, The Jazz June resurfaced with some shockingly strong material in After the Earthquake, and Nots left burn marks with the scalding punk tantrums of We Are Nots.

All of those items are worth sitting down and spending time with but it was recent Carpark Records acquisition Chandos’ “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” that gets today’s feature spot. It’s a vicious piece of sharp, 90’s-indebted punk, equal parts Acid Fast, PS I Love You, and Speedy Ortiz, “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” flies along, never bothering to do anything but build momentum through its myriad twists and sharp left turns. Tempos shift, personality gets exuded, and Chandos (formerly Chandeliers) wind up with something that sounds as raw as it does inspired. On Carpark’s ridiculously impressive roster, Chandos falls somewhere between Cloud Nothings and Popstrangers, which is really just shorthand for saying that Chandos’ upcoming record- Rats In Your Bed– is well worth an extremely high level of anticipation. If “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” is any indication, Chandos is in the midst of a creative peak that will likely yield the band’s strongest material to date. If everything clicks as well as it does in this song, Rats In Your Bed could very well be the first great release of 2015 when it’s released on January 27. Mark the calendar now.

Listen to “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” below and pre-order Rats In Your Bed from Carpark here.

Watch This: Vol. 53

Now, onto part two of today’s recap of the past week in great live footage. From one of the most exciting new acts to an intricately assembled performance clip from one of the most fearlessly creative bands in music, nothing on display here is worth missing. As the previous five videos should have already indicated, the past week for great live footage was absolutely massive. To top this run off, there’s a devastating performance that proves minimal trappings can provide maximum impact as well as delightful CMJ sets from two site favorites. If nothing else, let this serve as a reminder that it’s an incredible time for music operating within the DIY confines. So, as always, sit back, wind down, focus up, adjust the volume to properly excessive levels, and Watch This.

1. MOURN – Otitis (Captured Tracks)

The most recently acquired Captured Tracks artist, MOURN, have been the (very deserving) center of a lot of celebrations lately. A case of youth driven by an independently motivated spirit and gifted with enviable composition skills, they’re a welcome source of new blood. “Otitis” is a fierce example of the band’s craftsmanship and singular identity.

2. Girlpool (unARTigNYC)

Another band embodying a staunchly independent spirit at a young age is the fiercely beloved Girlpool. The duo took this year’s CMJ by storm and played as many sets as they possibly could and subsequently wound up on nearly every publication’s “Best Of: CMJ 2014” lists. Here, unARTigNYC lends a typically artful eye to a stunning, confident set from one of music’s best emerging hopes.

3. Liars – Mask Maker (La Blogotheque)

La Blogotheque has provided some of the most compelling live footage for the past several years; each session managed to produce a complementary merging of artistic aesthetics, suffusing it with their own identity while allowing the featured band to be portrayed as honestly as possible. For their Empty Space series, they’ve teamed up with Converse and the collaborative effort has allowed a much greater range of technical abilities. Liars are a band that’s been perfectly suited to the forward-thinking mode that the series embodies since before Empty Space even existed. Unsurprisingly, this take of Liars tearing into “Mask Maker” is defined by precision and uniquely unconventional fearlessness.

4. Gem Club – Twins (WNYC)

Gem Club’s Breakers was one of 2011’s most emotionally crippling records. Gentle, lush, and deeply felt, it became an unofficial soundtrack to that winter and every winter that followed. Everything was built around delicate vocals and two of the most well-suited instruments to producing a melancholic atmosphere: piano and cello. For many who heard it, Breakers felt like a once-in-a-career kind of record. Their recently WNYC session featured a few performances of songs from that record, with “Twins” casting a particularly mesmerizing spell.

5. Cayetana (NPR)

Bringing today’s abundance of treasures to a close is a memorable set from NPR’s CMJ showcase by site favorites- and authors of one of this year’s best songs– Cayetana. As is to be expected from a band with Cayetana’s reputation, they blaze through a 10 song set with a certain joie de vivre and leave absolutely no doubt that they’ve earned their current position. Expect to hear their name with increasing regularity over the next year- and don’t miss this performance.

Watch This: Vol. 41

The Watch This series, up to this point, has mostly placed the overall focus on videos that just feature a band performing. For the 41th installment, that rule gets slightly modified. With the exception of a typically astounding performance from Noun (Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster’s extraordinarily consistent solo project), every video to earn a feature spot in this volume features a brief interview with the band playing music. In the case of the videos that bookend this week’s Watch This, the result is incredibly endearing- while the rest manage to be moderately informative without stripping away a sense of playfulness. More importantly though, the performances included below are uniformly outstanding and deserved to be spotlighted. With that said, it was a very difficult class of videos to select from, thanks to the abundance of great performances that surfaced from artists like Unicycle Loves You, Cousins, Bahamas, Jenny LewisHollow Boys, Cheap Girls, and St. Vincent. So, as always, pour a drink, grab a seat, adjust the contrast, turn up the volume, and Watch This.

1. White Lung, ft. Katie Crutchfield – Dead Star (Noisey)

In what seems like a gift tailor-made for this series, White Lung’s Mish Way and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield teamed up together for a pair of acoustic performances. Crutchfield holds down guitar and melody duty on this stripped-down take of White Lung’s excellent “Wrong Star”. Before the performance, the two share a few words and a palpable connection, subtly setting the stage for how complementary their musical abilities wind up being. Unsurprisingly, this is a gem of a performance that reaffirms both artist’s deserved status.

2. White Reaper (Consequence of Sound)

Delivering a fiercely committed performance, White Reaper gives Consequence of Sound (and everyone else) a startling reminder of the strength of their debut EP. Here, they hold nothing back and just go full-throttle, emphasizing the kind of spastic energy that’s frequently a hallmark of the most entertaining live bands. In the short-form interview, the band discusses the meaning behind both “Half Bad” and “Oh Yeah”, giving a direct line of insight for their work- an increasing rarity. Starting and ending with two memorable performances, this is a can’t-miss video.



3. Noun – You and Mr. Rogers (Don Giovanni)

Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster’s solo project, Noun, should be every bit as prominent as her main vehicle. After releasing an incredible 7″ and what’s one of the decade’s finest LP’s, Holy Hell, Paternoster understandably refocused on Screaming Females. Lately, though, she’s been playing solo shows with greater frequency and quietly unveiling new material. Here, Don Giovanni captures Paternoster delivering a gripping take on a song called “You and Mr. Rogers” that showcases her raw talent. It’s genuinely stunning, offering up a more fully-formed portrait of Paternoster’s quieter side. All of the applause at the end of the clip is absolutely warranted.

4. Mannequin Pussy (BreakThruRadio)

Mannequin Pussy’s Kiss Me Tender EP was a beast of a release that was highlighted by the unrelentingly fierce “Kiss“, which also headlines their recent session for BreakThruRadio’s excellent Serious Business series. In the video, there’s the standard irreverent interview portion that is intercut with some blistering live footage of one of today’s more exciting new on-the-rise bands (it’s worth noting their first demos were released back in 2011). “My Baby (Axe Nice)” and “Anything” also get featured here, cementing Mannequin Pussy as another live act that’s not worth missing.

5. Waxahatchee, ft. Mish Way – Coast to Coast (Noisey)

Returning to the collaboration of Katie Crutchfield and Mish Way, the pair reverse the featured project- this time delivering an arresting performance of Waxahatchee’s “Coast to Coast”. Way’s melody lines float along effortlessly, providing a welcome layer to an all-acoustic take of what was easily one of last year’s finest songs. Even though Cerulean Salt only came out last year (as did Groovy Kind of Love), this performance alone is enough to reignite excitement for whatever Crutchfield has in store next.

Liars – Mess On A Mission (Stream)

Liars are one of the most tirelessly unpredictable bands going right now. Don’t believe it? Go through their discography in chronological order and try to figure out how they’ve held onto a distinct sound while shape-shifting into a multitude of different genres. They’ll always have art-punk influences in their corner but at what point does their electronic fetish take over as their primary influence? It’s anyone’s best guess, really, and “Mission” continues to make it impossible to definitively pinpoint what the band is exactly. Fortunately, this allows the band to never grow stale; their endless pursuit of something different ensures that they’re always miles away from the laws of diminishing returns.

Today the band announced several key components in their upcoming March release (their follow-up to the excellent WIXIW), which will be entitled Mess. They also unveiled the album art (pictured above) and lead-off single/sort-of title track “Mess On A Misson”, which can be heard below. “Mess On A Mission” doesn’t sacrifice an ounce of the band’s nervous tension and encapsulates their artistic restlessness extraordinarily well. It also gets better on every subsequent revisit. Mess will be available on March 24th via Mute. Get excited.