Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Metalmania

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

Salad Boys – Dream Date (Music Video)

salad boys

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.