Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Michigan

don’t – forget it (EP Review)


July’s continued to bring out quality full streams in full force and the last few days of this week were no exception, bringing about worthy titles from Pre Nup, Yeesh, and The Saxophones as well as a Disposable America mixtape that’s directing all of the proceeds it earns towards the Pulse Tragedy Community Fund. As always, all of those titles should be more fully explored than time here allows and stand as highly recommended listens. Joining them in that regard is this post’s intended feature, the outstanding debut release from don’t, the cheekily-titled forget it.

Both the pop-punk and bedroom pop genres have been at their absolute best when they’ve proven to be subversive, opting out of merely imitating their expected beats. forget it succeeds in bridging the two genres by virtue of that type of subversion and becomes an unlikely standout in the process. In four short tracks, don’t offer up a variety of familiar points and then sets about demolishing their construction.

Whether it’s the synth that erupts at the chorus of “ambiguous” that transports the song into unexpected territory after a standard pop-punk build or the intense, sharp left forget it takes for its closing ballad, “your head”, that unexpectedly turns over the vocal lead and dramatically altars the momentum of the EP before exploding into a sort of euphoria, the band refuses to cater to an easy or predictable route.

Throughout it all, forget it remains deeply compelling not only by the virtue of its choices but in large part to the purity of the music it offers. Nearly every track’s narrative is populated and defined by some type of longing and elevated by its instrumental explorations. There’s not a moment on forget it that feels anything less than overwhelmingly honest and it draws a considerable amount of power from its sincerity.

In approximately 11 minutes, don’t  go from being an unknown entity to one of 2016’s most exciting — and most promising — new acts. Don’t be surprised to see a quick succession of converts fiercely latching onto the band following this release or to hear their name come up in conversation a lot more readily. With a start this promising, it’s very easy to have a tremendous amount of hope for the future of music. Before that point hits, we should just be grateful to have been gifted such an incredible soundtrack for the ride.

Listen to forget it below and pick it up here.

Watch This: The Best of 2016’s First Quarter, Vol. VI

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Each of the seven volumes that comprise this Watch This package contain 25 clips apiece. Due to the sheer volume of live videos that have come out during January, February, and March all of the packages will have the same introductory paragraph. Regular Watch This segments will resume on Sunday.]

It’s been a tremendous first quarter for live videos. While Watch This, Heartbreaking Bravery’s weekly series celebrating the very best of the live video format, hasn’t been in operation for roughly three full months, the information required to keep this thing humming (i.e., checking through hundreds of subscriptions and sources for outstanding new material) has been collected at regular intervals. If they were full sessions, single song performances, studio-shot, DIY captures, transcendent songs, or transcendent visual presentations, they were compiled into a massive list. 175 videos wound up making extraordinarily strong impressions, those videos will all be presented here, in the Watch This: The Best of 2016’s First Quarter extended package, one 25-clip presentation at a time. 

Watch the sixth collection of those videos below.

1. Lady Lamb – Dear Arkansas Daughter (Audiotree)
2. Lithuania – God In Two Persons (WXPN)
3. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (The Current)
4. Lever – The Nerve (DZ Records)
5. Mothers – Burden of Proof (Paste)
6. Kississippi – Googly Eyes (WXPN)
7. Savages – Adore (Colbert)
8. The Dirty Blondes – Because (VHS Sessions)
9. Saintseneca – Sleeper Hold (KUTX)
10. Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore (Radio K)
11. ARNO – Dance Like A Goose (Bruxelles Ma Belle)
12. Devon Goods – Michigan (VHS Sessions)
13. Little Yellow Dog – Time Machine (DZ Records)
14. Two Inch Astronaut – Personal Life (bandwidth.fm)
15. Tangerine (KEXP)
16. Kitten Forever – Cannon (The Current)
17. Eleventh Dream Day – Cheap Gasoline (Sound Opinions)
18. Catbath – Jellyfish (Radio K)
19. Andy Shauf – The Worst In You (La Blogotheque)
20. Choir Vandals – Ghostly (Little Elephant)
21. New Ruin – Disappearances + Del Rosa + Negative Dialectics (Razorcake)
22. Left & Right – Sleep Show (Do512)
23. The Thermals – Thinking of You (Jam in the Van)
24. Blah Blah Blah – Soon as I Get Home Tonight (DZ Records)
25. Julia Holter – Sea Calls Me Home (Strombo Sessions)

Silence Dogood – Chairman of the Bored (Stream)

Chairman Of The Bored

Michigan power trio Silence Dogood have been stealthily cranking out incendiary lo-fi scuzz pop EP’s since 2012’s Sound of Silence. Master of Puppets (the band’s stock and trade lies in tongue-in-cheek appropriation)  is the band’s 10th (yes, 1oth) EP and opening track “Chairman of the Bored” sees them taking their apathetic nihilism to new heights. It’s not unfamiliar territory for a band who frequently finds their feet firmly planted in reactionary status. What it does do, however, is grab the listeners attention. Immediately.

“Chairman of the Bored” opens with some quick guitar stabs before guitarist and vocalist Cameron Mahoney makes a startling announcement. Those opening lines? “Me and my friends make our own rules- we burn down churches and piss off schools- and we’ll burn you too.” And he’s only just getting started. As the song grows darker, so does the lyrical content, hitting an apex with the couplet “some smartass kid made fun of my town/chained him to my truck and showed him around” before following it with a characteristically bored and detached delivery on “who’s laughing now?”

Mahoney’s lyrics have always been startling and one of the band’s strongest selling points. “Chairman of the Bored” definitely raises the stakes on their unpredictability though, definitely proving that their is no topic or character narrative they’re afraid to tackle. Their brand of post-punk works in tandem with that aspect of their music as a perfect complement. By striking a balance between contrast and accentuation they’ve landed on something weirdly irresistible.

Hear “Chairman of the Bored” below and remember that presentation isn’t always glorification. Seriously.

Protomartyr – Scum, Rise! (Stream)

Protomartyr album cover

First, the facts: Protomartyr are an incredible post-punk band from Detroit, MI. They recently announced they’d officially signed to Hardly Art. “Scum, Rise!” is the first look at their sophomore effort due out on April 8th, entitled Under Color of Official Right. “Scum, Rise!” itself finds the band working with an expanded production budget without sacrificing too many of their tonal qualities that made them a natural fit for their previously lo-fi recordings. Landing somewhere between the rhythmic pull of Thee Oh Sees and the goth-punk  tendencies of Nervosas, “Scum, Rise!” is reason enough to get really excited about the band’s upcoming record. It’s a two-and-a-half minute blast of rhythm-propelling riffs and miniature explosions. Easily the most energetic preview track to have surfaced in this very young new year, “Scum, Rise!” sounds like a band truly announcing itself. This could be huge. Hear “Scum, Rise!” below (and check out the record’s killer artwork above).