Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: New Brunswick

Watch This: Vol. 26

Well, it’s been a while but by the end of today Watch This will be back on track. This is, once again, thanks in no small part to an abundance of great material to have come out over the past week or so. With the influx of material being so strong, this will be the first of two Watch This posts to go live today. Both sections are going to be filled with bands that have never been featured and old favorites. In this installment, the newcomers get featured a little more heavily but there’s still enough room for a genre mainstay or two. All of it’s worth investing some time and, really, the best course of action? Lean into it- and Watch This.

1. Picastro – Mountain Relief (BreakThruRadio)

Kicking off the series this time around is Liz Hysen’s long-running Toronto-based project, Picastro. BreakThruRadio invited her in to film a performance and Hysen delivers an absolutely haunting rendition of “Mountain Relief”. There’s a short interview that follows the performance but the real takeaway from this is just how arresting “Mountain Relief” is. It’s on Picastro’s most recent record, You, which is more than worth anyone’s time.

2. Constant Lovers – 14 Missed Calls (KEXP)

It’s been a while since there’s been a KEXP session quite as lively as the insane one Constant Lovers just turned in. Among their set’s most intense moments was this fiery as hell take on “14 Missed Calls”. All intense guitar jabs and one of the fiercest vocal takes imaginable, “14 Missed Calls” proved to be one of the best parts of the last week in music. It’s a must-watch.

3. Menace Beach – Fortune Teller (3VOOR12)

One of the more intriguing acts of the last few years, Menace Beach have yet to release a record. This hasn’t stopped them from earning praise and coverage in a variety of major taste-making publications. The Leeds-based group has one hell of a pedigree between their two main members and rotating cast; nearly everyone involved has achieved some level of notoriety with at least one other project. From this video alone, it’s abundantly clear that this band knows what they’re doing. 


4. Black Lips – Smiling (KEXP)

There are some things that just don’t change- one of them is that Black Lips are a great live band. No matter how much the band varies their sound or how strong whatever record their touring behind is, their live shows consistently bring an incredible amount of energy to the table. While not all of that translates over to a taped session (a literal impossibility considering there’s no crowd interaction), it’s still fun enough to earn a spot here.


5. Screaming Females – Baby Jesus (Audiotree)

As is the case with Black Lips, Screaming Females have one of the best live sets in the game. Having torched the basement circuit with a vengeance, the New Brunswick act has seemingly set their sights on world domination. Pity anyone that gets in their way. This will be the first of two videos from their Audiotree session to be featured today because there’s no way they don’t both deserve to be featured. This is a masterclass.


Screaming Females – Lights Out (Live) (Stream)

screamales

Screaming Females are gearing up for the release of Live at the Hideout, the Steve Albini-produced document of their recent two-night stand in Chicago. In the press release for Live at the Hideout, there’s a mention of an incident that occurred sometime before the Chicago show, where there band’s vehicle spun out of control on the freeway and they were hit by an oncoming semi whose driver they had locked eyes with before impact. While the story does tie in to Live at the Hideout‘s renewed sense of purpose and freedom, what the release doesn’t mention is that the incident happened before their Milwaukee show (which also explains why that set was particularly lively).

Everything that the Milwaukee show was praised for seems to have tied over to Live at the Hideout and with Albini at the soundboard, there’s no possible way this will be a misfire. Don Giovanni’s offered a first glimpse at Live at the Hideout with “Lights Out” and it’s predictably brilliant; the band sounds as tight as possible, Paternoster shreds fearlessly, and Albini applies the trademark metallic sheen that helped make Ugly one of the band’s best efforts. If nothing else, the song’s worth listening to for the crowd’s elation- a reminder of just how far this band’s come over the past few years. For a few years, they were one of the most tenacious acts playing the basement circuit and now they’ve earned a kind of fervent dedication that’s only granted to legends. What makes this all the much sweeter is that they accomplished this without changing and by continuing on the path they set for themselves in the early stages of their career. That kind of dedication is a rarity and that brand of integrity deserves to be celebrated. Right now, there’s no better way to celebrate than to just listen to “Lights Out” below and eagerly await the final product.