Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: October 2019

The Best Records of October (2019)

Surprise EPs, rapid-fire singles, daring long-form narratives, and more populated the best records of October. All but two of the artists featured in this list have been featured on this site in the past, while the two new entries provided head-spinning introductions that set each respective act up for further exposure. Each record hits different nerves of pleasure, so whether prospective listeners are looking for something a little more streamlined or a lot more frantic, they should be covered by something on the list.

Due to time constraints and the emphasis placed on the upcoming year and decade-end material, this will be an abridged version of what was originally intended. Nonetheless, these are all very much worthy of listeners’ full time and attention. Don’t let the scant review space stand as an indication of worth; a few of these will be mentioned again shortly. In the meantime, enjoy exploring below.

1. Charly Bliss – Supermoon

Explosive, volatile, and a perfect bridge between Charly Bliss‘ first era and their current mode. An unabashedly energetic thrill ride from start to finish, one of the strongest EP’s of the year, complete with some of the best songs from one of the decade’s best bands (“Feed” and “Heaven” alone could’ve powered this into a featured selection).

2. Ex-Vöid – Ex-Vöid

One of the more interesting punk bands of the past new years, Ex-Vöid feels like a natural extension of the members’ previous projects (namely, Joanna Gruesome) with a dash of something new. There’s a specificity to both of the songs on this 7″, one more pop and one more hardcore, that points to Ex-Vöid being a more fully realized project than some might think.

3. Lightning Bolt – Sonic Citadel

Few bands have gained the type of singular reputation afforded Lightning Bolt. One of noise’s most celebrated duos, the pair matches virtuosic playing with an unmatched, almost feral intensity. Sonic Citadel, their first record in four years, find them in a more polished pop mode (by their own unique set of standards) and yields some of the most immediate and enjoyable work of an already legendary career.

4. Black Beach – Tapeworm

Black Beach have appeared on this site a few times in the past and their natural artistic progression continues to make an impression. Tapeworm, the band’s latest, finds them at the top of their game, blending post-hardcore production aesthetics with noise-punk intensity and a deceptively pop-leaning melodic sensibility that tethers everything into a uniquely compelling whole.

5. clipping. – There Existed An Addiction to Blood

One of the most interesting acts of the past 10 years, clipping.  have carved out a unique niche for themselves through a remarkable consistency. Even as the noise-rap band grows bolder and more adventurous with their artistic choices, there’s an innate quality to both the production and bandleader Daveed Diggs’ astonishing command of narrative that makes the trio’s latest, There Existed An Addiction to Blood, stand out at every unpredictable, terrifying turn.

6. Blush Cameron – Ambiguous World

Every once in a while, a bedroom pop record rolls around from a local upstart that is so fully-formed and thoughtful in its concept and execution that it feels as if the artist responsible for its creation has been making waves for years. Blush Cameron’s Ambiguous World falls firmly into that rare category, utilizing a fondness for ’90s alternative to great effect, imbuing an impressive record with a lo-fi warmth that elevates the whole affair from great to irresistible.

7. Great Grandpa – Four of Arrows

One of 2019’s most unexpected records for a whole host of reasons, Great Grandpa‘s sophomore effort is a breathtakingly accomplished piece of music. A startling leap ahead in directional sensibility, Four of Arrows finds the band transforming their explosive, pop-leaning math-grunge into a genre-defiant collection of styles. Radiohead, Imogen Heap, The Cranberries, Tom Petty, and Cyndi Lauper all somehow wind up being major points of reference across the record, making it one of the year’s most fascinating listens. Impressively, everything the band throws at the wall here works. An astonishing record.

8. Carver Baronda – Spooky Love

Spooky Love, the latest EP from DIY alt-country force of nature Carver Baronda, is the songwriter’s most impressive work to date. Filled to the brim with a romanticized take on the genre’s best strains, Baronda carves out a collection of memorable tracks that are teeming with intricate subtleties and well-articulated nuance (the restrained slide work is especially tasteful). A small but staggering EP from an artist that deserves everyone’s full attention.

9. Amy O – Shell

One of the more consistently engaging emergent voices in indie pop, Amy O followed up 2017’s winsome Elastic with a more considered album, allowing it’s thoughtfulness to pay dividends. From the opening title track through the 10 songs that follow, Shell casually invites and thoroughly rewards investment. A small but notable triumph for an intriguing songwriter that never seems to stop getting better.

The Best Music Videos of October (2019)

While 2019 hasn’t been as strong for the music video format as some previous years, there are still gems to be found. A quartet of them popped up during the course of October, each one accentuating the strength of their central song while holding their own as a work of art. Varied in approach and execution, each of these clips had something unique to offer. Each one deserves a certain level of investigation and the investment that process entails. Give all four a watch below.

1. Amy O – Crushed

Color damage, lo-fi effects, solid editing, and a great basement pop song. Sometimes that’s all of the ingredients you need to create a smart, engaging music video and Amy O‘s “Crushed” is certainly one of those times. Simple, effective, and just about perfect.

2. Wilsen – Ruiner

Mitzi Akaha and Tamsin Wilson deliver strong turns in Michael Simon’s clip for “Ruiner”, a single from Wilson’s Wilsen project. A quietly unnerving clip that oddly echoes two Elisabeth Moss films, Queen of Earth and The One I Love. Shot in the style of a Gothic psychological horror, Simon makes great use of atmosphere and a superlative lead performance. Jake Saner’s cinematography gives a perfect read on the song’s tone and pushes the “Ruiner” clip over the top, leaving it as one of 2019’s best clips.

3. Ada Lea – 180 Days

“180 Days”, the latest music video from Ada Lea walks a fine line between traditional music video and lyric video. Never really establishing a clear narrative, the clip mostly thrives on Lea singing to the camera in a variety of poses and costumes as the lyrics scroll by on the bottom. Despite the simple conceit, those foundations prove to be more than enough, as “180 Days” keeps the viewers attention steadfast.

4. Common Holly – Crazy OK

When I Say to You Black Lightning, the most recent full-length from Common Holly, is an astounding work. One of the record’s strongest highlights comes in the form of “Crazy OK”, the record’s explosive finale. Max Taeuschel & Aaliyeh Afshar stepped behind the camera for the song’s music video and spearheaded an incredibly memorable visual accompaniment. Leaning heavily on the song’s lyrical narrative, Taeuschel and Afshar let the images of bandleader Brigitte Naggar’s posture and movement provide an effective maximization. Gripping through and through, “Crazy OK” is easy to admire and hard to shake.