Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Nick Cave

Watch This: Vol. 144

To ease Watch This back into its regularly scheduled rotation, the following will focus on the two weeks that occurred after the last installment was published. In that time, Acapulco Lips (x2), Wasted On You, Chain of Flowers, Pinegrove, Peter Bjorn and John, Sunbathe, Good Personalities, Bad Cop / Bad Cop, Claire Cottrill, The Brokedowns, Kississippi, Haley Bonar, Billie Marten, Bayonne (x2), Entrance, Lush (x2), The Blank Tapes, JFDR, The Frights, Teleman, The Districts, Doe, Marissa Nadler, Joshua Bell & Jeremy Denk, No Honeymoon, Aaron & Bryce Dessner with Ben Lanz and Boys Noize, BlackGlass, The Minders, Super Furry Animals, Kristin Kontrol, Tenement, Queen of Jeans, Michael Kiwanuka, Breanna Barbara, Corbu, All People, Boss Fight, Margo Price, Titus Andronicus, Brass Bed, Somos, Oliver John-Rodgers, Foxing, The Wombats, and PWR BTTM all found themselves at the center of outstanding performance clips. Competition that strong says more about the strength of the five featured clips that could be conveyed with mere words. All five bands have been featured on the site in the past and the performances range from genuinely exhilarating to utterly devastating. So, as always, sit up, lean in, adjust the volume, block out any excess noise, focus, take a deep breath, and Watch This.

1. Never Young – Soap (Prisma Guitars)

Immediately kicking things back into the highest gear possible is this Prisma Guitars session from site favorites Never Young. Easily one of the most explosive single-song performance clips to ever be featured throughout the 140+ installments of this series, the quartet careens through an adrenaline-inducing take on “Soap” that sees them giving the session their everything. Beautifully shot and presented with an enormous amount of conviction, this is exactly the type of clip that Watch This was built to celebrate.

2. Greys (KEXP)

Greys have made several appearances throughout this series’ run and touring on their recently-released Outer Heaven‘s allowing them even more opportunities to be featured. The band recently stopped by the KEXP studios for a full session that features songs from their past three releases, including their most recent work, Warm Shadow. As always, the band plays with a barely-contained energy, an incredible amount of tenacity, and a deep-seated passion that makes this another vital document of one of today’s most exciting acts.

3. Heliotropes – Primates (BreakThruRadio)

For a few years now, Heliotropes have been quietly carving out an impressive name for themselves, earning the respect of both critics and their peers. Creatively restless and endlessly intriguing, the band continues to impress with this BreakThruRadio performance of “Primates”. It’s a glimpse towards the future the band’s angling towards and it’s impossibly tantalizing. One of their finest songs to date, “Primates” keys in on the band’s wiriest post-punk tendencies and sporadically cuts them to shreds. If this is indicative of the rest of the band’s forthcoming material, start bracing for something genuinely explosive.

4. The Coathangers (KEXP)

The second KEXP session of this installment features The Coathangers, who have been touring hard behind their excellent Nosebleed Weekend. Celebrating both that record and the 20th anniversary of the label that released the record, Suicide Squeeze, finds the band in exceptionally high spirits. All of that culminated in an unshakable, infectious joy that drives this session, making it both immediately accessible and surprisingly memorable. The trio remains in fine form throughout the session, playing with ramshackle glee while maintaining an impressively tight grasp on the songs, creating what could be considered a definitive portrait.

5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Girl In Amber

After enduring unspeakable loss, Nick Cave allowed filmmaker Andrew Dominik into his creative process to create One More Time With Feeling, a documentary that follows both the creation of Skeleton Tree and Cave’s battle with grief in the wake of his youngest son’s tragic death. It’s excruciatingly heartrending from an outsider’s perspective and Dominik elegantly underscores how unthinkably difficult it’d be to be in that situation. In the third studio video to be released from the project, Cave continues to look completely lost and withdrawn, as if perpetually trying to wrestle his thoughts down.

“Girl In Amber” also expertly incorporates Dominik’s inspired direction and the technical wizardry that went into the 3D, black-and-white filming of One More Time With Feeling. The overall effect’s equal parts haunting and haunted, creating an unforgettable impression. This is a staggering work of bravery and artistry, each colliding with the other to produce something as singular as it is captivating. As the camera circles Cave, surveying his every movement and placing him at the center of swirling uncertainty, Cave repeats “don’t touch me” as the video cuts to black, providing one last breathtaking moment of a miniature masterpiece.

Watch This: Vol. 52

With another week behind us (and a few milestones), it’s time to look back at some of the best live videos that surfaced during that time. Unsurprisingly, there were a fair few videos vying for contention- and, in a rare case, there were too many worthy of feature spots to contain to just one installment of this series. To that end, these are the first five entries in what will be another two-part showcase for great live footage. A few bigger names make appearances in volume 52 but, as ever, their performances are characteristically exemplary and impossible to ignore. From a few revered songwriters to the emerging acts, there’s a lot to love. So, as always, sit back, dim the lights, lean in, and Watch This.

1. Two Inch Astronaut (BreakThruRadioTV)

Foulbrood, with all of its sharp left turns and subtle nuances, has a claim as one of 2014’s best records. With the title track and “Part of Your Scene” already hinting at just how much creative muscle’s being flexed on Foulbrood, one of the only real questions was how these songs would hold up in a live setting. With their Live Studio session for BreakThruRadio they put any doubts to rest; this is a band that’s ready to leave a lasting mark.

2. Restorations – Tiny Prayers (Little Elephant)

Restorations have been building up a steady buzz around their name over the past few months and a large part of that’s due to their powerhouse live performances. Little Elephant proves to be the perfect venue to showcase their towering, Midwest-inflected basement punk. With LP3 continuing to make the rounds and live turn-ins like the one featured here, a great future for Restorations is theirs for the taking.

3. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Stagger Less (Austin City Limits)

By this point one thing should be entirely evident; there will never be enough words to do Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds proper justice. Cave’s a freakish force of nature, a preacher who’s actually made of brimstone and fire, and the band he’s assembled behind him are talented enough to match Cave’s genius (a term that’s not used lightly). PBS’ notoriously white bread Austin City Limits series recently made the commendable decision to feature Cave and his collaborative partners for their most recent episode. Understandably, they saved the (brilliantly edited) profanity-riddled Murder Ballads classic “Stagger Lee” as a web exclusive. As can be safely expected, the performance is a killer.

4. Jenny Lewis – Slippery Slopes (KCRW)

The Voyager is one of this year’s great road trip records, Jenny Lewis’ tour-ending show at Minneapolis’ famed First Avenue was an unforgettable display of charisma and raw talent, and Lewis remains one of this generations finest songwriters. Having already established a reputation as one of the more celebrated independent songwriters, Lewis could have easily relegated the rest of her career as a victory lap after various successes with both Rilo Kiley and as a solo act. Thankfully, for everyone, Lewis isn’t one to stay still- and will always be up to the task of providing a stunning performance, like this run through “Slippery Slopes” for KCRW.

5. Fucked Up (Exclaim!)

Fucked Up are one of the more fascinating anomalies in music, a hardcore band that pisses off purists and appeals to people that aren’t normally into harsher genres. A band that makes records tethered to ambitiously sprawling narrative arcs, usually seeped in religion and heavily influenced by epics. Literary, self-aware, and visceral, their records hit like an anvil and their live shows tend to facilitate a palpable sense of community. A few recent performances and interview snippets are featured here in the excellent Coastal Frequencies series, courtesy of Exclaim!. It’s an excellent profile of one of the most interesting bands of the past 15 years.

Iceage – Forever (Music Video)

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The past few days have been outstanding for unmitigated ambiguity. No less than three of the best songs of 2014-so-far have emerged, each tinged with at least a small tendency towards the unforgivingly bleak. Baltimore’s rightfully-celebrated Roomrunner (somehow) wound up being the lightest of the three by virtue of allowing in a stronger pop influence on their outstanding new single, “Chrono Trigger“. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cemented their status as one of the most consistently brilliant bands of all time with an outtake from last year’s mesmerizing Push the Sky Away that’s being featured in the undoubtedly extraordinary quasi-documentary that centers around Cave, 20,000 Days on Earth. Between those two, it almost seemed impossible that anything else would land today’s feature spot- until Iceage released their jaw-dropping song-video combination for “Forever”, the next gigantic stride in an ongoing evolution that “The Lord’s Favorite” kicked off in spectacular fashion a little over a month ago.

While “Forever” doesn’t have the subtle optimism of “The Lord’s Favorite”, it keeps their trademark tension in tact, while allowing the band to stretch out a little more than usual. In an almost too-coincidental twist, it’s as if the band’s picked up the primordial nightmarish post-punk that characterized Nick Cave’s earliest works. Arriving with an accompanying note detailing the band’s upcoming record, Plowing Into the Field of Love (due out on Matador in a little over a month), “Forever” becomes the record’s second song to suggest that this could be a game-changing record for the landscapes of popular taste. While the song sears, broods, and brutalizes with the absolute best of them, it’s the visually stunning Pattinama Coleman-directed video that winds up pushing the whole thing into the sublime. Getting maximum effect out of a decidedly minimal approach is never an easy task to accomplish but “Forever” winds up pulling it off with ease. Whether that’s because of the band members’ natural charisma, damaged magnetism, a cavalcade of genuinely arresting looks, or the noir-ish presentation is impossible to say- but there’s something with an undeniable, intrinsic pull that centers “Forever” which suggests that this band has a greater grip on their identity than just about anyone else right now.

When the song’s closing minutes kick in and the video pulls back to an old man that seemed oddly intrusive during his first appearance inspired some of the fiercest chills to be provided by any music video this year. If “Forever” is topped by any song on Plowing Into the Field of Love, it’ll warrant consideration for Album of the Year honors. All that’s left to do now is wait in earnest, to see if the record can live up to its first two offerings. With the way things have been playing out, there’s reason to believe that’ll be the case.

Watch “Forever” below and pre-order Plowing Into the Field of Love from Matador, before it comes out on October 6, here.

Heartbreaking Bravery: A Retrospective Introduction

When Heartbreaking Bravery started, it was originally intended to be a place where film and music found equal footing. Now, 100 days and 100 posts later, it’s clear that somewhere along the line it established an identity firmly based on the music side of things. There are going to be a few changes made to the site in the upcoming year, one of them will be a section devoted to the discussion of film. New features will start and old features will be kept running. A few of the first updates were made earlier today. In addition to having its own domain, Heartbreaking Bravery now officially has homes on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Look for extra content, to varying degrees, on all three platforms.

For those just joining in or becoming aware of Heartbreaking Bravery’s existence, there are two things to ease into the familiarization process. One’s a playlist that features the kind of music that’s most regularly featured, which can be found below. Below that, active hyperlinks for the first 99 articles. Happy listening.

There are 25 bands and songs in this playlist. A few have received coverage from Heartbreaking Bravery, another few should have, and a fair few were part of what inspired its very existence. All of these bands mean something to this place and hopefully they’ll mean just as much, if not more, to whoever comes across them.

HB001: Audacity – Hole in the Sky (Music Video)
HB002: Swearin’ – Surfing Strange (Album Review)
HB003: Albert Hammond Jr – Carnal Cruise (Music Video)
HB004: PUP – PUP (Album Review)
HB005: Perfect Pussy – I have lost all desire for feeling (EP Review)
HB006: All Dogs – 7″ (Review)
HB007: Radioactivity – Radioactivity (Album Review)
HB008: A Look at Burger Records and the Longevity of the Cassette Tape
HB009: La Luz Suffer Major Setbacks in Semi-truck Collision
HB010: Midwives – EP (Review)
HB011: Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots) – Glory Days (Music Video)
HB012: Midnight Reruns’ Debut LP Streaming on Punknews
HB013: Nobunny at the Frequency – 11/11/13 (Live Review)
HB014: Angel Olsen – Forgiven/Forgotten (Music Video)
HB015: Polvo – Light, Raking (Music Video)
HB016: Split Feet – Fall Demo 2013 (Review)
HB017: Big Eyes – The Sun Still Shines (Music Video)
HB018: INTERVIEW: Meredith Graves (Perfect Pussy)
HB019: Great Thunder – Groovy Kinda Love (Album Review)
HB020: Gap Dream – Shine Your Light (Music Video)
HB021: Arcade Fire – Afterlife (Music Video)
HB022: Vaadat Charigim – Odisea (Music Video)
HB023: On the Up: Acid Fast
HB024: Watch This: Vol. 1
HB025: Va°nna Inget – Inga fra°gor Inga svar (Music Video)
HB026: Benny the Jet Rodriguez – Run. (Music Video)
HB027: Rookie Streams the Beyond Inversion Comp
HB028: On the Up: Meat Wave
HB029: Popstrangers – Rats in the Palm Trees (Music Video)
HB030: Allison Weiss – Wait for Me (Music Video)
HB031: Watch This: Vol. 2
HB032: Beyond Inversion Available at Bandcamp
HB033: Burger Releases MCII on Cassette
HB034: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Higgs Boson Blues (Music Video)
HB035: Vaadat Charigim – Kezef Al Hamayim (Music Video)
HB036: Angel Olsen – Forgiven/Forgotten (Official Music Video)
HB037: Globelamp – Star Dust (EP Review)
HB038: Watch This: Vol. 3
HB039: Saintseneca – Visions (Music Video)
HB040: Sunn O))) & Ulver Preview Collaborative LP
HB041: Burger Streams Velvet Underground Tribute Compilation
HB042: The Thermals Release Online Video Game
HB043: Tokyo Police Club – Argentina (Parts I, II, & III) (Music Video)
HB044: The Dead Weather Unleash Killer New Single
HB045: Majical Cloudz – Savage (Music Video)
HB046: On the Up: Nervosas
HB047: Watch This: Vol. 4
HB048: Burger to Release Night Drives Debut
HB049: AV Club Premieres Acid Fast’s “Tangle”
HB050: Home for the Holidays & A Guide to Surviving (Mixtape)
HB051: Burger Streams Massive Holiday Mix
HB052: Come Back Soon
HB053: Vertical Scratchers – These Plains (Stream)
HB054: Watch This: Vol. 5
HB055: The Flaming Lips’ Christmas on Mars (Film Stream)
HB056: On the Up: Tenement
HB057: Happy Holidays (Video Playlist)
Hb058: Yuck – Somewhere (Music Video)
HB059: The Flaming Lips’ 1983 2nd Cassette Demo (Stream)
HB060: 2013: A Video Review
HB061: Watch This: Vol. 6
HB062: RIP: Benjamin Curtis (Secret Machines, School of Seven Bells)
HB063: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbag’s (Stream)
HB064: 2013: A Photography Review
HB065: The Hussy – EZ/PZ (Stream)
HB066: Fire Retarded – Meat Stairs (Stream)
HB067: Mutts and Buffalo Moon Release Music Videos, Get People Dancing
HB068: Watch This: Vol. 7
HB069: Cass McCombs – Big Wheel (Music Video)
HB070: On the Up: Technicolor Teeth
HB071: 25 Best Demo’s, EP’s, 7″ Singles, and Compilations of 2013
HB072: Mozes & the Firstborn – Skinny Girl (Music Video)
HB073: Protomartyr – Rise, Scum! (Stream)
HB074: Nothing – Guilty of Everything (Trailer)
HB075: Watch This: Vol. 8
HB076: Liars – Mess On A Mission (Stream)
HB077: Big Air – Cemetery With A View (Song Premiere)
HB078: Perfect Pussy – Driver (Stream)
HB079: Tweens – Be Mean (Stream)
HB080: Cloud Nothings Preview New Record in Brooklyn (Stream)
HB081: Golden Animals – Most My Time (Music Video)
HB082: Watch This: Vol. 9
HB083: Eagulls – Possessed (Stream)
HB084: Sneak Peek: Failures’ Union, Neighborhood Brats, Corrections (Streams)
HB085: Perfect Pussy at Schubas Tavern – 1/22/14 (Live Review)
HB086: DTCV – Alpha Waves in a Gelatinous Conductor (Music Video)
HB087: PILE – Special Snowflakes (Stream)
HB088: Watch This: Vol. 10
HB089: Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part of Me (Stream)
HB090: Adam Widener – Laughter on Your Heels I’ll Follow (Music Video)
HB091: Potty Mouth – Black and Studs (Music Video)
HB092: Lemuria – Oahu, Hawaii (Music Video)
HB093: Screaming Females at Cactus Club – 1/29/14 (Live Review)
HB094: together PANGEA – Offer (Music Vide0)
HB095: The Trucks – Space Famous (Demo Review)
HB096: Watch This: Vol. 11
HB097: Saintseneca – Happy Alone (Music Video)
HB098: Vaadat Charigim – Ein Nehama Ladoachim (Music Video)
HB099: The Sleepwalkers – It’s A Good Day to Watch the World Go By (Stream)

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Higgs Boson Blues (Music Video)

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds have widely been regarded as one of the best live bands on the planet since the 1980’s. Live documents like the legendary Abattoir Blues Tour and Live Seeds have featured material startling enough to support this notion. Recently the band released Live From KCRW, which leaned heavily on the material from their most recent record; this year’s superb Push the Sky Away.

They aren’t anywhere close to finished with live releases though, as is proved by the music video they unveiled today for Push the Sky Away standout “Higgs Boson Blues”. Ian Forsyth & Jane Pollard are found at the helm of this video once again, having worked on a variety of projects before for the band. Forsyth and Pollard are also largely responsible for the upcoming film 20,000 Days on Earth, which recently was officially selected for screening at next year’s Sundance Film Festival, which is a pseudo-documentary about the band.

Some collaborations yield fruitful results and he Pollard, Forsyth, Bad Seeds triumvirate is certainly one of them. The live performance clip of “Higgs Boson Blues” is definitive proof. Featuring a searingly intense yet eerily quiet live performance from the band, the co-directors weave in and out of close-ups, shadows, and the nervous frenetic movement of the band’s central character. All of their directorial impact would be somewhat diminished if not for the outstanding cinematography work courtesy of the BBC’s Lol Crawley.

“Higgs Boson Blues” doesn’t take long to settle in, extending its incisors to lock the viewer into its deadly vice-like grip. This is a live performance that has the potential for complete captivation, erasing any thoughts of a daunting run-time of over nine minutes. There’s a slow hypnosis at work that can completely surround the viewer, forcing them to lose all perspective of their surroundings. While the impact isn’t quite as strong as being physically present for the performance, it’s about as close as anyone could wish for.

After a slow build, an entrancing unraveling, a small-yet-explosive climax, the song winds to a hushed, hair-raising outro. This is evidence of masters at work and it’s something completely deserving of its length. Go get lost in Cave & co.’s black magic below.