Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: More

Ghost Gum – More (Stream)

ghost gum

Occasionally, there are days that underwhelm in terms of new releases. Then there are days like today, which churn out more than a dozen legitimate contenders for the headline slot and serve as reminders that we’re currently living in the best (and most accessible) time for new releases. There were incredible songs from Jack (who came a hair’s breadth away from getting a standalone post), Eric Slick, Lost Boy ?, Eyes of Love, Johanna Warren, Soft Candy, No One Mind, Peaer, Diners, Chris Farren, M. Lockwood Porter, Seeing Hands, Nots, Oldermost, Sex Stains, SubRosa, Lambchop, The Minders, Elijah Ford, Sports, and an outstanding one-off cover from site favorite Mo Troper.

Several music videos made an impressive impression as well, including new entries from the camps of Sunflower Bean, Dust From 1000 Yrs, Death Valley Girls, Uni Ika Ai, Silent Pictures, Le Boom, EL VY, WatskyAmber Arcades, and Chris Staples. Tying everything together were the full streams that were unveiled by Pleistocene, Earth Girls, Kindling, Katie Dey, Ant’lrd, and Lié.  In terms of quality, it matched an above-average week’s worth of material. Topping it all off is “More”, a near-perfect new track from Ghost Gum.

After turning some heads last year with “Again“, their contribution to a loaded 4-way split (Loose Tooth, Clique, and Mumblr rounded out the release), the quartet’s returned with a vengeance. “More” comes loaded with hooks, exhilarating moments, and genuine feeling. At every turn, the song provides something fascinating, from the tremolo picking that sets the tone of “More” to the rapid-fire hi-hat pattern to the earworm-ready bass line and guitar riff that kick the track into the fifth gear.

In less than three minutes, Ghost Gum offer a masterclass in dynamic structure, getting the most mileage possible out of a soaring chorus, a searing solo, and a compellingly muted verse that keeps everything grounded and breathes in some fractured humanity. Some aching backing vocals enhance the song’s half-haunted atmosphere to great effect and everything clicks in ways that both satisfy and induce genuine excitement.

When everything’s through, “More” stands as a song that not only lives up to the promise of its title but redefines that very same title as a winking understanding of how listeners should be feeling upon hearing the song’s final notes. Explosive without being bombastic and contemplative without dipping into tedium, “More” is a sharply crafted piece of work from a band that’s been continuously bettering themselves with each successive release. If the rest of their forthcoming release, The Past, The Future, Dwelling There Like Space, is anywhere near this good, it’ll be among the strongest releases of the year.

Listen to “More” below and download it here.

Two Inch Astronaut – Dead White Boy (Stream)

2ia

A few notheworthy full-lengths emerged over the course of this week’s closing stretch. Two of the finest, Vagabon’s Persian Garden and VVHILE’s More, barely registered as blips on most site’s radars. Both stand as a very strong testament to the increasingly powerful (and ever-expanding) DIY punk scene and are well worth quite a few listens- and quite a bit of investment. Even with both of those records absolutely stacked with noterworthy songs, Two Inch Astronaut‘s third look at Foulbrood– following the title track and “Part of Your Scene“- managed to stand out.

It’s difficult to imagine Foulbrood not being heralded as one of the year’s best records around the time of its release. A case could be made for a little over half of the songs on the record being in the ranks of the year’s finest. “Dead White Boy”, in its nearly eight minute sprawl, is one of those songs. One of the record’s most definitive songs, it brings in cues from post-hardcore, math, shoegaze, and post-punk to create something deceptively subtle and naturally hypnotic. Teeming with restless lyrics that delve into some of the uncertainties of mortality, it’s one of the band’s most successful lyrical outings as well as one of their most arresting musically.

Veering from passage to passage, “Dead White Boy” also manages to succeed in terms of narrative-worthy dynamics. Alternately visceral and beautiful, it’s a unique entry in the band’s catalog and expertly taps into a somber mood that’s entirely new for Two Inch Astronaut and a surprisingly good look for a band hell-bent on remaining unpredictable. From the gorgeous falsettos in a sea of murky chaos to the unexpectedly jarring ending to the delicate bridge, there are no false notes here- not even the ones approaching atonality. Guitars surge, vocals soar, the bass courses, and the drums are next-level (all of which is par for the course for an Exploding in Sound-approved band but taken to extremes here). Everything clicks into place to create one of Two Inch Astronaut’s most engaging tapestries to date- and this is still only a hint of what Foulbrood has to offer.

Listen to “Dead White Boy” below and pre-order Foulbrood on Two Inch Astronaut’s bandcamp.