Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Nobunny

Watch This: Best of 2014 (Video Mixtape)

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Live music videos never seem to get the emphasis they deserve. It’s part of why Watch This was created; to celebrate stunning documents of equally stunning performances. A good band can make a great record but a truly great band usually excels in the live setting. With 2014 winding to a close (and with another 100 posts in the past), it seemed appropriate to start reflecting on some of the year’s best offerings. Lists of LP’s, EP’s, 7″ releases, and more will be forthcoming but today the focus will fall on live clips. And, yes, 2014’s not quite over yet and there will be a few weeks worth of live clips to consider (in addition to the past few weeks, which will be focused on in the posts immediately following this one) and “best” is still subjective- but the videos contained in this mix were simply too good to just feature once. If there’s enough material, an appendix will be added around the start of next year.

To be eligible for this video mixtape, the videos involved had to have been previously featured in Watch This and not contain an interview sequence. Full sets were ruled out as well (with a lone exception being made for one of 2014’s best videos in any capacity to provide a sense of closure to the proceedings). These videos were pulled in from as many places as possible with only Chart Attack, La Blogotheque, and Little Elephant making repeat entries (with two each). From the painfully gorgeous (Mutual Benefit, Angel Olsen) to sublime perfection (Radiator Hospital, Little Big League) to the absurdly impressive (Kishi Bashi) to the most electric late night performance of 2014 (Ty Segall), there’s a little something for everyone. 25 clips are included and listed below, with a hyperlink provided to their respective installments in Watch This‘ always expanding catalog. Since this brings the site to another 100 post mark, hyperlinks will be provided to posts 300-399 for anyone interested in checking out past material. With all of this exposition out of the way, there’s really only one thing left to do: sit back, focus up, and Watch This.

1. Audacity – Counting the Days (Jam in the Van) — vol. 24
2. Greys – Guy Picciotto (Chart Attack) — vol. 24
3. Radiator Hospital – Fireworks (BNTYK) — vol. 51
4. Ovlov – Where’s My Dini? (Little Elephant) — vol. 23
5. Frankie Cosmos – Embody (Radio K) — vol. 55
6. Mean Creek – My Madeline (Wondering Sound) — vol. 19
7. Joanna Gruesome – Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers (BTR) — vol. 51
8. Sweet John Bloom – Aging In Place (Allston Pudding) — vol. 48
9. Emilyn Brodsky – Someone Belongs Here (TCGS) — vol. 28
10. Mitski – First Love // Late Spring (bandwidth) — vol. 43
11. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jubilee Street (ACL) — vol. 54
12. Sharon Van Etten – Serpents (Pitchfork) — vol. 40
13. Mutual Benefit – C.L. Rosarian (Bruxelles Ma Belle) — vol. 19
14. Angel Olsen – Enemy (La Blogotheque) — Vol. 11
15. Kishi Bashi – Philosophize In It! Chemicalize In It! (WNYC) — vol. 29
16. Little Big League – Year of the Sunhouse (Little Elephant) — vol. 45
17. Screaming Females – It All Means Nothing (Audiotree) — vol. 27
18. Ty Segall – Feel (Conan) — vol. 40
19. Dilly Dally – Candy Mountain (Chart Attack) — vol. 51
20. Cloud Nothings – Now Hear In (Amoeba) — vol. 57
21. MOURN – Otits (Captured Tracks) — vol. 53
22. Courtney Barnett – History Eraser (KEXP) — vol. 34
23. Lee Fields – Don’t Leave Me This Way (La Blogotheque) — vol. 54
24. Jenny Lewis – Slippery Slopes (KCRW) — vol. 52
25. Saintseneca (NPR) — vol. 38

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HB300: Songs of Summer: 2014 (Mixtape)
HB301: together PANGEA – Badillac (Music Video)
HB302: Night School – Birthday (Stream)
HB303: The Midwest Beat – Vortex Hole (Stream)
HB304: Watch This: Vol. 42
HB305: All Dogs at Bremen Cafe – 8/19/14 (Pictorial Review, Videos)
HB306: Attendant – Freaking Out (Review, Stream)
HB307: Grape St. – Free Stuff (Stream)
HB308: Iceage – Forever (Music Video)
HB309: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – Televan (Music Video)
HB310: Young Jesus – G (Stream)
HB311: Watch This: Vol. 43
HB312: LVL UP – Ski Vacation (Stream)
HB313: Radiator Hospital at Cocoon Room – 9/8/14 (Pictorial Review, Video)
HB314: Nano Kino – Eyes Before Words (Music Video)
HB315: Tenement at Mickey’s Tavern – 9/9/14 (Pictorial Review, Videos)
HB316: Bass Drum of Death – For Blood (Stream)
HB317: Pretty Pretty – Feels Like Rain (Stream)
HB318: Watch This: Vol. 44
HB319: Medicine – Move Along – Down the Road (Stream)
HB320: Mitski – Townie (Stream)
HB321: Allah-Las – Follow You Down (Music Video)
HB322: Sonic Avenues – Teenage Brain (Music Video)
HB323: Iceage – How Many (Stream)
HB324: The Honeydips – No Shirt, No Shoes (Music Video)
HB325: Watch This: Vol. 45
HB326: Watch This: Vol. 46
HB327: Iceage – Glassy Eyed, Dormant and Veiled (Stream)
HB328: Zulu Pearls – Lightweight (Music Video)
HB329: Two Inch Astronaut – Foulbrood (Stream)
HB330: Little Big League – Property Line (Stream)
HB331: Mikal Cronin – I Don’t Mind / Blue-Eyed Girl (Stream)
HB332: Mutts – Everyone Is Everyone (Lyric Video)
HB333: LVL UP – Hoodwink’d (Album Review, Stream)
HB334: Watch This: Vol. 47
HB335: The History of Apple Pie – Jamais Vu (Music Video)
HB336: Iceage – Against the Moon (Stream)
HB337: Speedy Ortiz – Doomsday (Stream)
HB338: Hurry – Oh Whitney (Stream)
HB339: Thalassocracy – Shimensoka (Stream)
HB340: Mitski – iPhone Voice Memo (Stream)
HB341: Watch This: Vol. 48
HB342: Watch This: Vol. 49
HB343: Screaming Females – Wishing Well (Stream)
HB344: Meat Wave – Brother (Music Video)
HB345: Joanna Gruesome – Jerome (Liar) / Trust Fund – Reading the Wrappers (Music Video)
HB346: Ovlov – Ohmu Shell (Stream)
HB347: Ty Segall – The Singer (Music Video)
HB348: Pet Sun – Gimme Your Soul (Music Video)
HB349: Washer – Rot (Stream)
HB350: Three Quarters Down (Mixtape)
HB351: LVL UP – Big Snow (Stream)
HB352: Weaves – Shithole (Stream)
HB353: Pile at The Burlington Bar – 10/10/14 (Pictorial Review, Video)
HB354: Audacity – Counting the Days (Stream)
HB355: LVL UP at Beat Kitchen – 10/12/14 (Pictorial Review, Video)
HB356: Two Inch Astronaut – Part Of Your Scene (Stream)
HB357: Watch This: Vol. 50
HB358: Girlpool – Plants and Worms (Stream)
HB359: Watch This: Vol. 51
HB360: Cherry Glazerr – Nurse Ratched (Stream)
HB361: The Gotobeds – Wasted On Youth (Music Video)
HB362: Happy Diving – Big World (Album Stream)
HB363: Filmstrip – Don’t You Know (Stream)
HB364: Nobunny – Nightmare Night (Short Film)
HB365: Heartbreaking Bravery Presents, Vol. 1: Meat Wave, Mumblr, Geronimo! (Videos)
HB366: Watch This: Vol. 52
HB367: Watch This: Vol. 53
HB368: Cymbals Eat Guitars – Warning (Music Video)
HB369: Mitski – Bury Me At Makeout Creek (Album Review, Stream, Photos, Videos)
HB370: Chandos – ..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top’ (Stream)
HB371: Toby Coke – Face Taker (Stream)
HB372: Two Inch Astronaut – Dead White Boy (Stream)
HB373: Left & Right – Low Expectations (Music Video)
HB374: Watch This: Vol. 54
HB375: Deerhoof – Exit Only (Music Video)
HB376: Meat Wave – Sham King (Stream)
HB377: Kal Marks – It Was A Very Hard Year (Stream)
HB378: Band Practice – Bartending At Silent Barn (Stream)
HB379: Big Lonely – Dirty Clocks (Music Video)
HB380: Slight – Run (EP Review, Stream)
HB381: Screaming Females – Ripe (Stream)
HB382: Girlpool – Blah Blah Blah (Music Video)
HB383: Mutts – Black Ties & Diamonds (Song Premiere)
HB384: MOURN – Otitis (Stream)
HB385: Iceage – Against The Moon (Music Video)
HB386: Watch This: Vol. 55
HB387: Watch This: Vol. 56
HB388: Watch This: Vol. 57
HB389: Kal Marks – Don’t Pussy Foot With A Pussy Footer (Stream)
HB390: Trust Fund – Cut Me Out (Stream)
HB391: Alex G – Soaker (Stream)
HB392: Band Practice – Theme Song (Stream)
HB393: Chandos – Cobra Points (Stream)
HB394: Screaming Females – Empty Head (Stream)
HB395: Title Fight – Chlorine (Music Video)
HB396: Space Mountain – California Blue (Stream)
HB397: Liam Hayes – Fokus (Stream)
HB398: Toby Reif – 2014 (EP Stream)
HB399: Beliefs – Tidal Wave (Music Video)

Nobunny – Nightmare Night (Short Film)

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Even by the ridiculous standards of the past few weeks, today was absolutely loaded with worthwhile content. Antarctigo Vespucci streamed their second outstandning EP of the year- I’m So Tethered- over at The AV Club and Field Division unveiled their mesmerizing Reverie State EP, rounding out today’s full streams. The full songs department was a bit more plentiful, with new offerings ranging from the most recent look at Big Ups‘ side of their split with Washer (via the ravaged and ravaging “Not Today“) to the gentle acoustic pull of Soft Fangs’ “Dog Park“. Continuing things in the quieter realms were the lightly damaged pscyh-folk of Ready Astronaut’s “Lost In Space” and the quietly lilting sounds of Elephant Micah’s “By the Canal“. Fleshing out the DIY punk side of things was another sideways glance at Nots’ hotly-tipped We Are Nots, courtesy of “Reactor“, and an exhilarating career-best from Crying called “War of Attrition“. Really, though, today absolutely belonged to music videos. Nearly every single one of these would seem like an obvious feature choice on literally any other day but as it stands, today will be going to the most thematically appropriate.

Before jumping into Nobunny‘s most recent hellscape, it’s worth touching on everything else that made up today’s embarrassment of riches in the visual medium field. Cool Runnings skated their way through a desert oblivion in “Blister“, Foul Tip indulged a lo-fi lunacy in “Madness“, and Platinum Boys exuded a rock n’ roll ethos in “Candy“. Sweet Apple teamed up with Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard to soundtrack a memorable Halloween outing in “Reunion“, former Speedy Ortiz guitarist Matt Robidux’s new project- Curse Purse- embraced the heavily discordant in “Message CP“, and Willis Earl Beal drifted off into darkly ambient territories with “I AM.” The Growlers used a bevvy of classically filmic composition tricks in the black-and-white clip for “Good Advice“, Team Spirit dealt with an insane producer in their absurdly entertaining clip for “Satisfaction“, and MONO released an absolute gift of a video in the gorgeous, jaw-dropping, Mitsuyo Miyazaki-directed clip for “Where We Begin“, which may very well be one of that medium’s most compelling pieces this year. Even with the strength of that MONO video, it just felt too appropriate to give today’s spot to the deranged gore of Nobunny’s short film, Nightmare Night– just in time for the holiday.

First thing’s first: this is a severely NSFW clip (although that should just automatically be assumed with anything related to Nobunny), so be sure to avoid that mistake. Blood, gore, B-movie tropes, and a DIY resonance abound in Nightmare Night, a spirited homage to the maniacal tendencies that come attached to the Halloween season. From its introductory sequence that introduces a burnt out cast of misfits to the unbridled bloodshed, Nobunny’s aims are even less restrained than usual. If there’s a mandatory genre beat to be hit, it’s not just touched on- it’s downright obliterated. Taking the bloodlust to sadistic levels that’d make even Tarantino blush, everyone’s favorite masked rodent stars as the centerpiece of this nightmarish fever dream. Picking off the would-be partiers one by one until the final climactic battle, Nobunny runs through a cast of fellow musicians while “Lizard Liars” from last year’s excellent Secret Songs: Reflections From The Ear Mirror propels everything towards its conclusion. Blackly comedic, entirely unrestrained, and ridiculously bombastic, Nightmare Night is the perfect way to kick off a weekend of veiled debauchery.

Watch Nightmare Night below and order Secret Songs: Reflections From The Ear Mirror here.

Watch This: Vol. 21

Well, it’s already been too long since the last one of these- the most personal installment of the series to ever have run– went live. This week’s all about making up for lost time which is why between this posting and Sunday, there will be three Watch This pieces posted. It’s been nearly a month since new material was posted so this volume will be dedicated to covering that space. There were more than a few videos to choose from due to the delay but the five below, whether they be a full set, short documentary, or just a single song, were five of the videos that most closely adhere to the spirit of this place. So kick off the new week in style, crank up the volume, and Watch This.

1. Tacocat (Full KEXP Session)

Tacocat’s recent self-titled record, NVM. is already shaping up to be one of the definitive 2014 summer records, filled to the brim with sunshine-inflected basement pop. In this recent KEXP session, the band plays four songs and enthusiastically responds to a fair few interview sections in an incredibly winning middle segment. All of the songs are played loose and with a sense of purpose. Never anything less than a delight, this round of songs for KEXP is just another notch in the band’s increasingly impressive belt.

2. Speedy Ortiz –  Silver Spring (Allston Pudding)

It didn’t take long for Speedy Ortiz to be thrown into the driver’s seat of the current 90’s revival crop. Major Arcana made it incredibly easy by distilling seemingly everything great from the alternative culture of that time period into something that was undeniably modern. This also allowed Sadie Dupuis a platform to tear down oppressive institutions and schools of thought, which is something that’s (dishearteningly) still sorely needed. Importantly, that also kept the band in the public eye and was likely one of the reasons for their continuously elevating success. Another reason? Their live show, which plays perfectly into their aesthetic- feeling over technicality had been lacking as of late, so praise be to Speedy Ortiz for trying their hand at restoring the balance. This version of “Silver Spring” should make just about anyone understand.

3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Blameless (KEXP)

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have remained an anomaly by virtue of the band’s undeniably erratic trajectory. When they were introduced to the world at large, they were at the forefront of a newly-emphasized class of buzz bands that were supported by hype and high expectations. After their debut record won them a vastly expanded following, they disappeared for a while before returning with what many thought was a lackluster sophomore effort. Retreating again after that, the band went through same changes, Alec Ounsworth started making solo music, and seemed fated to fade into a distant memory or relative obscurity. Now, Ounsworth is back, playing songs out solo under the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah moniker- and if this utterly gorgeous performance of new song “Blameless” is any indication, it looks like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah just might be coming up a whole lot more in conversation again.

4. Pookie & the Poodlez (Jam in the Van)

Another year, another Burgerama, and another of what will hopefully be one of many more Jam in the Vans from that festival. Pookie & the Poodlez (which is essentially just the Nobunny touring band switched around) rip through three gleefully obnoxious basement pop rippers. It’s all in the spirit of fun and fits perfectly into the Burger aesthetic, serving up a near-definitive representation of what kind of weirdness the label’s all about. Insanely catchy and absolutely carefree, it’s enough to spark hope for many more Burgerama Jam in the Van’s.

5. RIP 285 Kent (Pitchfork)

Definitely coming in as an outlier for the Watch This series, this Pitchfork documentary’s earned itself an inclusion on the basis of necessity; this is one of the most important short-form discourses on what a DIY space can mean to a community and what it can become. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a major area or the smallest town, there are valid points littered throughout RIP 285 Kent. Yes, there may be some esoteric language in terms of location and development pace but the underlying messages are ones worth noting. Additionally, it’s a close examination of a DIY space that was important to a scene that was important. Everyone from Deafheaven to Lodro to DIIV to Fucked Up get featured via live clips and a great deal of insight is offered from everyone who’s directly involved/responsible (like Ric Leichtung) and anyone who was tangentially involved (like Dan Deacon). It’s also a reminder to celebrate the things worth celebrating while they’re around. It’s worth several watches and bookmarking for future reference. All of those reasons are why it’s earned its spot as the closer for this 21st installment of Watch This.

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)

2013: A Photography Review

As is the case with any year, there were plenty of opportunities to grab a few photographs at memorable shows. While none of these are in Pro HD quality, it’s an accurate reflection of some of the Midwest’s best shows and venues from 2013. A few of them were short-lived, a few more were well-established, and a few more skewed closer to hidden treasures. It’s not much but it does serve a purpose; as a document of our times and a celebration of the great music happening in them.

Nobunny at the Frequency – 11/11/13 (Live Review)

Expectations are a tricky thing. They can be met, challenged, exceeded, subverted, and failed. When there’s a history that expectations are built on, it may be easier to discern the outcome. Every now and then, though, something will come along and completely mess with that system. Having seen both Nobunny and The Hussy and what they’re capable of, it was best to cast any sort of prediction aside. New Years Gang, on the other hand, were a completely new prospect and subject to more intense scrutiny.

Their opening set would be the final time they took the stage together, as an internal breakup brought their road to an end. Tensions did seem to be running high but they still managed to generate enough momentum to cause a decent amount of celebration in the steadily-growing crowd. Last-minute changes were made to the set, demanding chants for shirtlessness were cast, and the band played in a loose manner that treated their brand of basement punk quite nicely. By their sets final moments, the earlier requests for more skin had been half-obliged, the band seemed truly done, and the crowd seemed satisfied.

After a decent pause between New Years Gang and The Hussy, the latter took off and hit the ground running. Having kept up with The Hussy since their first few months as a band, it’s been a pleasure to see reactions to their sets strengthen over time. This duo, made up of Bobby Hussy and Heather Sawyer, have been responsible for three of the best records to come out of WI over the past three years and in 2013, they unleashed their strongest to date, Pagan Hiss. Unsurprisingly, their set pulled mostly from that record but made sure to factor in cuts that spanned their still-young career. They paced their set perfectly and played more by fiercely than ever. True to form, their set ended with a jaguar on fire (which seems like a fairly apt metaphor for the ferocity of their set).

Then there was Nobunny. The masked marauder and his rotating cast of minions had been through WI a few times since capping off an especially memorable pre-wedding party a few years back and it showed. Years on the road can do wonders for presentation and Nobunny played up his unique angle for all its curious worth. Absolutely tearing through a gloriously ramshackle set of a career-spanning set has become second nature to the iconic rabbit. Flubbed notes and uninhibited glee were abundant and the energy pouring out of the band was reciprocated in full by the audience. Clad in only that demented mask, torn net stockings, two pairs of underwear, and a leather jacket (most of which were gone by the end of the night), he seemed unstoppable. At this point, of his ouevre, Love Visions is the only stone cold classic. That being the case, the rapturous reactions to standouts like “Chuck Berry Holiday” (which was introduced as “Elvis Presley Holiday”), “Mess Me Up”, “Nobunny Loves You”, and especially “I Am A Girlfriend” were well-warranted.

Of the remainder of his rapid-fire set, there were a handful of standouts from his more recent releases (most notably “Gone for Good”) that helped round a surprisingly accomplished set. Throughout the indeterminable set time the crowd had expanded considerably, letting loose like their life depended on it. People were continuously thrown into the stage, falling to the ground only to be immediately helped back up, and stage diving intermittently. For every new trick the rabbit onstage pulled out of his hat, the audience’s energy accelerated. When, for example, the outro to “Chuck Berry Holiday” came about two songs after it had originally trailed off, the place erupted. After “Nobunny Loves You” brought the whirlwind set to a close, the main attraction scampered off the stage and through the audience before re-emerging from the frigid November air through an emergency exit door to the side of the stage.

Nobunny and his band brought things to an appropriately fiery close (albeit not as literally as The Hussy) with the one-song encore of “Not That Good”. By the time everything was over, everyone was spent and smiling. Chaos seemed to inspire companionship. New friends were made, old ones rejoiced, and virtually everyone else got to go home with a few stories to tell. It was a night that saw one band come to a close, the next flourish, and the culmination of years worth of hard-won adoration for the main event. While The New Years Gang may be gone for good, here’s hoping that both The Hussy and Nobunny will be around for a long time to come.

A Look at Burger Records and the Longevity of the Cassette Tape

Over time musical formats, like all things, evolve in one way or the other. We currently live in an age where it’s occasionally necessary to specify whether your release is a physical object. Album sales through the first nine months of the year were down 6.1% from 2012’s sales. Digital sales are also down. Vinyl is continuing a curious re-emergence, up 100% in sale volume over in the UK. Then there’s the perpetually-overlooked cassette tape charting its own unique path.

Considered painfully outdated by many, the truth is that the cassette never really disappeared. A perennial staple of the DIY music communities due to its cost-effectiveness, it’s been virtually impossible to get an accurate sales projection on as the majority of its sales seem to take place independetly. However, with some of the cultural focus shifting back over to the musical regions that most heavily embrace tape culture along with the balls-out risk of Cassette Store Day they’re back to being a common point of debate.

There are those that will endlessly champion the cassette and its merits, this very publication being one, and those who are completely baffled by anyone who’s interested in the format. Cassettes haven’t been as easily accessible as they are today since the peak of their popularity in the 90’s. When the mass consumption ebb switched to favoring the much sleeker CD, the cassette seemed all but buried. Cassette walkmans went from trend pieces to lost artifacts that seemed hopelessly out of touch. This cultural shift propelled the cassette to an outsider status that lent it a new context.

Unsurprisingly, the basement punk scene continued to latch onto the format and while the numbers of mass sales decreased, the independent business model for it held strong. Punk and hardcore bands as well as outsider pop, folk, and psych bands often only dealt in cassette releases simply because they became the most affordable option. A deep bond was formed between format and genre, each proving beneficial to the others aesthetics. Then, while the mp3 started to overtake the CD and vinyl began a surprising but entirely welcome comeback, tapes were left almost completely out of the cultural conversation.

In 1993 a Guitar Wolf demo tape convinced Eric Friedl to start a label to release the bands first record Wolf Rock!, that label, Goner, became one of punk’s most seminal since the ugly decline of SST. Friedl likely never paid the trajectory of tapes’ popularity any attention, continuing to release his artists music on the formats he/they saw fit. Even as the cassette turned into a surprisingly contentious topic, Goner consistently released them and anchored itself as one of the cornerstones in the formats strange history. As admirable as Goner’s works with cassettes were, at the start of the new millennium there was somethingt brewing on the west coast that would take the tape even further.

Two members of the much-beloved Fullerton, CA basement pop outfit Thee Makeout Party!, Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard, founded an independent record store and label in 2007, launching it officially two years later. Less than five years later their label, Burger Records, has become nearly synonymous with the word cassette. This year has proved to be one of Burger’s most prolific stretches, aided by an unexpected spike in interest for cassettes and the various basement punk sub-genres. While their collaborations with punk wunderkind Ty Segall may have lent some momentum to this, the label also experienced a greater amount of national coverage in 2013. Cassette Store Day certainly influenced some of the coverage but consistent reporting from scribes like Pitchfork’s Jenn Pelly, Noisey’s Zachary Lipez as well as a handful of articles from Stereogum’s Miles Bowe expanded Burger from a portion of the MRR set to the more indie-inclined crowds.

That crossover is where Burger has managed its biggest coup; for over four years the label has been releasing consistently impressive material that has equal appeal to both parties. Another coup; psych and surf influence litter the labels catalog, giving it a distinct west coast flavor, while also nicely syncing up with a growing demand for music that features either. All of these manage to intersect to provide the label with a legitimate identity apart from its near-refusal to release anything apart from cassettes (the label does occasionally release some vinyl, makes a select few of its releases available digitally, and even fewer available on CD). Burger’s ability to sustain a breakneck pace has been astounding and they’ve proven themselves as taste-makers in an impossibly short amount of time.

Looking at the amount of titles Burger has sold out is staggering, even considering their ace-in-the-hole model of release. Nearly everything the label presses to cassette is available once as a limited-run release, so if you missed out on Tenement’s Napalm Dream + Demos double-cassette, then you’ll likely have to keep both eyes peeled to a secondhand service like ebay. While some of their more popular releases do manage to get multiple re-pressings, it’s somewhat of a rarity. Burger’s also proved to be efficient at capitalizing on bands that seemed to be geared towards greater success, as they did with Tenement and as their currently doing with Seattle’s Big Eyes, having just recently provided a tape release for a record that’s already been out for months.

While cassettes still exist in abundance as several bands preferred mode of independent release, Burger seems keenly aware of the urgency created by a ‘get ’em before they’re gone’ kind of model. Their claims of starting their own movement don’t feel too far off base. Demand for their products were high enough to warrant Burgerama, the labels own self-curated music festival, Wiener Records- a subsidiary label, and the Burger Caravan of Stars tour that takes the central idea of Burgerama and condenses it into a smaller-scale nationwide version. They’ve created something far bigger than themselves and it’s paying off. Burger’s responsible for over 500 notable releases and more than half of those are currently no longer available.

Cassette Store Day brought a lot of issues to light and several people were left aghast, while it inspired local artists the world over to make their small contributions. Austin, TX troubadours Okkervil River took advantage of the nostalgic aspect of the cassette, releasing The Silver Gymnasium on the format. Burger Records understands the format and what it stands for. They’re the ones that know how many miles in a van a cassette can represent, how much cheap spilled beer went into making and celebrating one, how the slightly compressed sound quality can actually prove beneficial to the sound of particular artists, and the skip-resistant longevity of a cassette. They’re the ones that have been part of post-show basement cassette trades between local and touring acts. Burger Records knows who will fit and who will respond to the format most strongly.

Burger Records knows the cassette’s not dead and they’re going to keep it that way. Whether that’s a triumph, a statement, or a disgrace is anyone’s prerogative.  For a generation that’s involved in their movement, it exceeds simpler classifications and becomes a way of life. To Heartbreaking Bravery, it’s a life well worth living.