Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Paul

Watch This: Six Weeks of Honorable Mentions

Six weeks is a long time to go without running a Watch This and the 50 selections that ran in the 150th installment (the preceding post) barely scratched the surface. To get deeper into the extraordinary wealth of material worth exploring, a sequel of sorts seemed necessary. There’s absolutely no way that a single person is going to watch everything listed below but each link is genuinely exceptional and deserved to be featured. Whether they were part of a series, a great capture, a great performance, or notable for another reason, they’re all linked for a reason. So, bookmark the page and explore at will. Stop waiting and Watch This.

Middle Kids, Big Thief (x2), Nada Surf, Weaves, Dude York (x2), Kodakrome, Okkervil River (x2, 3), Ariana Brophy, Tokyo Police Club, Kishi Bashi, The Peekaboos, Gauntly, Title Tracks, SuperGlu, Journalism, School Damage, Julia Jacklin (x2), Dinosaur Jr. (x2), Hype, Loney Dear, Free Cake For Every Creature, Lever,  Midnight Faces, Jackie Islands, Mr. Ma’am, The Shelters, Tara Terra (x2), The Lemon Twigs, Boxed In, James Vincent McMorrow, Diet Cig, Alright Panther, Slothrust (x2), Weyes Blood, Slow Down Molasses.

SuunsJFDR, Kuroma, Young In The City, Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster, Post Child, Suburban Living, MOM, Big Jesus, The Thermals, Minor Victories, Tectonics, Adia Victoria (x2), Disorder Kid, Shadowhouse, Tobacco, Holly Lovell, Out the Car Window, Vaginaboys, Parquet Courts (x2), Fossette, Mount Kimbie, Keaton Henson & Lisa Hannigan, Loch Lomond, BADBADNOTGOOD, PLANEADOR, Dinowalrus, Spruce Trap, Golden Suits, Giorgieness, Golden Suits, Joe Bordenaro, Ages And Ages, Lucy Dacus.

Lina TullgrenPatsy’s Rats, Belle Mare, Julien Baker, Pipeline, Gymshorts, David Bazan, The Woolen Men, Moderat, Allah-Las, Mean Jeans, Smoking Popes, Baba Dochia, Bobby Rush, Honey Bucket, Blanket Party, Nassau, Moondle, Conor Oberst (x2, 3), Dulce Y Agraz, Annabel, Talune, RY X, Ira Wolf, Day Wave, Oxymorons, Ess See, Bigjoy, Racing Heart, Richard Maule, Joe Bel, Dirty Laundry, Purling Hiss, Cory Kilgannon, Menacerno, The Roalde Dahls, Huey P, Haathi, Bad Cop/Bad Cop (x2), Cold Mountain ChildSóley.

MidijoyfulBlack EyesAttacca Quartet, Sims (x2), Gates, Evan Opitz, Sea Inside, Josh Pyke, Lyerr, Nature & Madness, Alma Forrer, Warpaint, Corbu, Dr. Martino, Male Gaze, Jack Garratt, Eros and the Eschaton, Marin Patenaude, Andreas Mattsson, Whitney, Hiss Golden Messenger (v), Matthew McNeal, Margo Price, The Minders, Zebra, Absolutely Not, Henry Bateman, Zen Mother, Royal Canoe, Love, The Twains, Shannen Moser, Billie Marten, Scott Matthews, Andy Place and The CoolheadsSignal To Noise.

Leisure Club, B00tyJoe Chunk, Pearl Earl, Drift Mouth, The Britanys, Miossec, Lisa Prank (x2), The Secret Sisters, Lost Walks, Smokey Brights, TTNG, Yori Swart, Hartford/FochtJesca Hoop, Moon Hooch, Aaron Lee Tasjan (x2), Ryley WalkerEstá Vivo, Alejandro Escovedo (x2), Lisa Hannigan, Lobo Marino, The Lavender Flu, MRCH, Divers, Pale Tongue, Floating Points, Deathsticks, Prettiest Eyes, Bat For Lashes, The Stops, Campo-Formio, Jessica Martins, Berriloom, Them Dead Poets, Looms.

Down GownAndrew Leahey & The Homestead, Vice Device, The Growlers, Digable Planets, Jack Grelle, Abhi Tambe, Spazzare, SUSTO, Lilah Larson, Shlomo Franklin, Ivy Meissner (ft. Uncivilized), Sex Crime, Chris JamesThe War On Peace (x2), Mohit Mukhi, Sanguine and Shiny, Dirty Fences, Band of Horses, Merynn Jean, Tom Stephens, Red Dons, The Domestics, The Saturday Giant, Public Eye, Pantomime, The Minus 5, Violetta Zironi, EYE, Laura Sjin, Black Bear Rodeo, Nacho Picasso, Old Fashioned Lover Boy.

Lithics, Hunt Hunt Hunt Camp, Robert Ellis, Wizard Rifle, Holy SonsAkın Sevgör, Ofelia Ofelia, Animal Spirit, Daniela Andrade, Rae Spoon, Dead Snow Monster, Magnetic Ghost, Zimmerman, Murder By Death, Steve Gunn, First Pet, The Malady of Sevendials, Liset Alea, VLNY, Oracle Room, Sky Village, Riley Pinkerton, Ricky Roosevelt, Sahil Bahl, Tall Juan, Alexandra Savior, Lisa Crawley, Youthpool, Gia Margaret, Battleme, Oathbreaker, SOBI, Eric Burton, Arkells, SALESSarah De Warren and Drive-By Truckers.

Watch This: Vol. 141

This past week was brimming with exceptional live clips from artists like Happy Diving, Puppy Problems, Wolf Parade, Eros and the Eschaton, Grape Whales, Islands, The Tallest Man On Earth, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Oscar, Villagers, Clique, July Talk, Lisa Hannigan, Whitney, Rogue Valley, Woven In, Mudhoney, Helms Alee, Aidan Knight, Waterstrider, and The Staves. While all of those are worth studying for both the central performances and the way those performances were captured, the five clips featured below managed to become standouts for excelling in those departments. From old favorites to new faces, from legitimate live music video entries to full sessions, from cathartic release to sorrowful introspection, there’s a lot to navigate in these selections. So, as always, sit up, lean in, adjust the settings, focus, block out any distractions, and Watch This.

1. Mitski – First Love / Late Spring + Your Best American Girl (World Cafe)

Ever since Mitski‘s breakout release, Bury Me At Makeout Creek, the songwriter has been a staple of this site’s coverage. The project’s been outstanding both on record and in the live department. Mitski recently stopped by World Cafe to play through the fiery “Your Best American Girl“, easily one of this year’s brightest moments, and “First Love / Late Spring” with the calm confidence that’s propelled the songwriter to widespread acclaim. It’s a welcome reminder of a powerful performer and a beautiful document of the current era of the project.

2. Kevin Devine – No History

Kevin Devine has a storied history of spellbinding performances so it’s no surprise that the songwriter’s continued to sporadically show up in this series. Devine can be an electrifying performer when backed with a full, electric band but there’s a certain magic to his solo acoustic performances that’s only grown more pronounced with this time. “No History” capitalizes on that magic in full, standing confidently as both a gorgeously lensed live clip and — impressively — as bona fide music video.

3. XURS (KEXP)

A new name to this site, XURS recently had somewhat of a coming out party in the KEXP studios, delivering a blistering session of unapologetic noise/punk. Every song the band tears through in this session is absolutely vicious and delivered with enough conviction to knock most other bands flat. Wildly frantic and more than a little exhilarating, the band make the absolute most of a solid opportunity and the end effect seems set to resonate for quite some time.

4. Big Thief (NPR)

Big Thief very quickly became a distinctive part of this site’s identity thanks to the overwhelming strength of this year’s Masterpiece. “Paul“, the title track, and “Lorraine” all get performed here for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series to a small, hushed crowd. The band’s a perfect fit for the series and the setting allows the sweeping, open-road atmospherics that’s a specialty of the band a little extra room to breathe, casting a spell that’s nothing short of entrancing.

5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – I Need You

Only a few installments back, Nick Cave was granted an unforgettable entry in this series thanks to the harrowing clip for “Jesus Alone“, a gorgeous excerpt from the shattering Andrew Dominik documentary One More Time With Feeling. Like “Jesus Alone”, “I Need You” is a clip that’s both haunted and haunting, an examination of an artist going through unspeakable loss. Even these six minutes, isolated from the context of the film and the record, are a wrenching experience. Cave, now more than ever, looks like a ghost attempting to navigate a reality that shouldn’t exist. Deeply sorrowful and intensely moving, “I Need You” is an artful tragedy that’s impossible to shake.

Watch This: Vol. 138

While Car Seat Headrest, Abi Reimold, Lisa Prank, The Dove & The Wolf, Emma Russack, Black Thumb, Mindie Lind, Kiran Leonard, Laura Gibson, Wovenhand, CHVRCHES, Pig Snout, Metronomy, Clique, Skeleton Hands, Gang Gang Dance, Graveyard Club, Men of Paradise, Haux, Arc Iris, David Bazan, Pure Bathing Culture, Typesetter, Lisa Hannigan, and naps all had incredibly strong live video outings — culled from a variety of inspiring sources — last week, it would have been an exercise in futility to run them all together in a focal capacity. Even five featured slots can occasionally feel a touch excessive but it seems that anything less than five doesn’t typically do the format’s offerings justice.

The five clips featured today come from bands that have, in some form or another, garnered positive notices from this site in the past. Seeing these acts continue to grow, expand, succeed, and even flourish has been heartening. Seeing them excel in the live department remains galvanizing. There’s an expansive range from the selected acts (and their accompanying videos), in terms of style. All of them are worthy of praise. So, as always, sit back, tune up, lean in, and Watch This.

1.  Okkervil River (WFUV)

With their forthcoming Away nearing its release date, Okkervil River‘s been making some early rounds to promote the record.  It’s impossible to overstate how important Okkervil River were to the development of this site’s personal ethos, so any time the band makes a return it’s more than welcome. Here, they perform two songs from Away but continue to demonstrate their immense skill at re-interpreting their own material, offering an incredible version of “For Real” — easily one of the best songs since the turn of the century — that hints at their worldview. It’s an immensely impressive session and a memorable portrait of a band that’s never really gotten their due.

2. Worriers – Plans (Live From the Rock Room)

Last year’s Imaginary Life was Worriers‘ finest moment to date and the band still seems to be riding a surge of adrenaline and confidence from that small triumph. The quartet recently visited Live From the Rock Room to deliver a galvanizing rendition of “Plans”, one of that record’s many standouts. The band continues to be defined by both their intelligence and extreme amount of heart, both of which are fully on display in this clip.

3. Prism Tats (KEXP)

Prism Tats have been having a breakout year, releasing their formidable self-titled debut full-length on ANTI- Records and producing a string of praise-worthy music videos. They’ve been touring with some bands that have serious weight behind their names and making a small sea of fresh converts at just about every stop. Here, the band turns in a powerful session for KEXP, revealing their increasingly sharp interplay and knack for subdued, hook-heavy basement pop. The whole clip looks and sounds beautiful, standing as a strong example of what can be accomplished with the right people on both ends of the camera.

4. Big Thief (KDHX)

Masterpiece was an immediate standout upon its release and remains one of 2016’s finest records. It’s catapulted Big Thief into a new level of fame and the band’s responded in kind, continuously sharpening their craft and all but perfecting their penchant for sweeping, open-road anthems tinged with nostalgic hues. The band recently visited the KDHX studios and played through two songs, including the unforgettable and melancholic “Paul“. The band pairs it with a deeply felt run-through of “Vegas”, offering both a very strong reminder of Masterpiece‘s astonishing strength and their breathtaking prowess as a live unit.

5. Fresh  Snow – January Skies (Exclaim!)

For some time now, Fresh Snow have excelled in crafting aggressive, ambient tracks that come fully equipped with a decidedly punk influence. Their live show has been a consistent standout and the band holds nothing back for this atmospheric Exclaim! clip of the band playing “January Skies”. There’s a feeling of rawness through the whole affair that seems to be at odds with the serene lighting, creating a strange, unsettling feeling that elevates this far beyond the standard performance clip. There’s some magic at play here and it continues to cast out the kind of spell that simply can’t be refused.

Watch This: Ending Another Short Stretch of Static

static

We’ve officially arrived at the 950th post of Heartbreaking Bravery, which means it’s time to offer up another mixtape of some sort or another. Since the Watch This series has maintained radio silence over the past two and a half weeks it only felt appropriate to turn to the over-abundance of incredible material that’s surfaced in that time frame. The 25 clips included below range from old favorites to promising new faces, single songs to full sessions, and generally cover the range of what the series was created to support: the very best of the live video platform. It’s unlikely that anyone will watch through the entirety of this packet (as it runs for nearly four hours, if viewed uninterrupted) but it’s worth taking the time to both explore and return to all of the performances contained in Ending Another Short Stretch of Static. So, as always, kick back, focus up, adjust the settings, settle in, and Watch This.

1. Car Seat Headrest – Fill In the Blank (Pitchfork)
2. The Spook School – Gone Home (BreakThruRadio)
3. Meat Wave – Sham King (SideOneDummy)
4. Weaves (3voor12)
5. Ron Gallo (Audiotree)
6. Dusk – Shift Towards Tenderness (This Means War)
7. Izzy True – Which Wish (Bedhead Sessions)
8. Royal Headache – Carolina (Pitchfork)
9. Royal Brat – Avoider + Broken Step (Radio K)
10. Girl Band – Paul (Pitchfork)
11. The Coathangers – Burn Me (Radio K)
12. Japanese Breakfast – Everybody Wants To Love You
13. Free Cake For Every Creature (WKNC)
14. Fear of Men (Audiotree)
15. Majical Cloudz – Silver Car Crash (q on cbc)
16. Jade Imagine – Stay Awake (3RRRFM)
17. Tele Novella – Heavy Balloon (Do512 Austin)
18. Margaret Glaspy (KEXP)
19. Kevin Morby (NPR)
20. PWR BTTM – New Hampshire (WFUV)
21. Wand (KEXP)
22. Declan McKenna – Brazil (The Late Show With Stephen Colbert)
23. Lucy Dacus (NPR)
24. Ólafur Arnalds (ft. Brasstríó Mosfellsdals) – Dalur 
25. Julien Baker (Primavera)

Watch This: Vol. 132

The Multiple Cat, Fleurie, Wallgrin, Laura Stevenson, Acid Dad, Jessie Winslow, Jeff Rosenstock, Teleman, Secret Space, Sam Cohen, Evening Bell, Joey Cape, Eagulls, Andrew Bird, and Hounds of the Wild Hunt constituted the second half of the honorable mentions list to have accumulated over the past two full weeks, which this installment of Watch This is designed at capturing. After the preceding post got the proceedings underway, this 132nd volume of the series officially brings the coverage up to this present week (which is not accounted for in either of these recap posts). Below are several of the finest full sessions to have appeared in the series this year from a variety of site favorites. So, as always, sit up, crank the volume, adjust the brightness, and Watch This.

1. Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires (KEXP)

There are few stories as inspiring in the world of entertainment as the story of Charles Bradley, a man who refused to let his dreams and die and was rewarded for his relentless commitment, persistence, and faith. One of the most respected and beloved soul singers on the planet, his success as an artist has been legitimately heartwarming. In the moment, memories of that story well aside, there are few performers who manage to be as effortlessly captivating, a trait that’s lovingly captured here by KEXP.

2. Courtney Barnett (3voor12)

At this point in the series’ run, it’s safe to say that no one has made more appearances than Courtney Barnett, who was regularly finding featured spots even in the earliest weeks of implementation. Barnett’s reputation has grown significantly over the course of that time and the songwriter’s honed an arsenal of winsome talents into near-perfection. Its a development that’s immediately evidenced in this session’s opening number, “Depreston“, and the mesmerizing guitar runs that Barnett strings together during the song’s breaks. Infusing the vocals with a more recognizably emotional flourish to round things out, it’s unlikely that Barnett’s reign over this series will end anytime soon.

3. Wimps (PressureDrop.tv)

Wimps have made a few appearances both on this site and in this series thanks to both their manic garage pop and carefree-but-hyper sensibilities. They’re an act that seems determined to keep attempting to best their previous outings. It’s a trait that makes them eminently likable and informs their performances in the most positive ways, which is illustrated more fully by this PressureDrop.tv session, which stands with Summer Cannibals’ recently-featured session as one of the series’ most bracing highlights.

4. Big Thief (KINK)

Few records to have emerged over the course of this year have landed an emotional punch as forcibly as Big Thief‘s aptly-titled Masterpiece. Here, guitarist/vocalist and principal songwriter Adrianne Lenker strips these songs down to their barest form: acoustic guitar and vocals. It’s a testament to their inherent power that they remain as riveting in this context as they do in the more sprawling presentations of the record. It’s a beautiful session that easily ranks as one of the finest Skype’s 101.9 KINK subdivision has produced to date.

5. Savages (NPR)

No station has proven to be more adept, inventive, or artful at capturing full concerts as NPR, whose meticulous dedication to preserving their featured artists remains a source of inspiration. Here, the station provides Savages with the kind of lurid editing and foreboding photography direction that matches the band’s aesthetic to perfection. For nearly 90 minutes, the presentation’s never anything less than absolutely stunning. As the light comes cascading down and flickers off into the ether for the final time at the end of the clip, Savages exit confidently and can now rest easy knowing that they’ve just been given the definitive document of this era of their career.

Big Thief – Paul (Stream)

big thief

After a small avalanche of post, this will be the last in a series focused on catching the site up to the current release cycle in three major categories. Music videos are up to date, full streams are up to date, and now, individual songs will be as well. Throughout the past few days, we’ve been given great new tracks from Magic PotionTiergarten, Jo Passed, and Alex Calder. We’ve also been given another masterful tune from Big Thief, who are on a pre-release run that’s all but guaranteed their upcoming full-length, Masterpiece, will be a breakaway success.

Ever since “Real Love” landed the band in the 50 Best Songs of 2016’s First Quarter, they’ve been making all of the right moves. “Humans” saw them scale back the grandiose scale of both “Masterpiece” and “Real Love” to gripping effect and “Paul” continues to flirt with the divide between statement and understatement. “Paul”, maybe more than any of their songs to date, draws its life from its more subdued nature, playing up the nostalgic quality that helps define Masterpiece.

As always, the band’s grasp on their identity — and their dynamics — is exquisite, with each second of “Paul” registering as intensely thoughtful. Reveling in the song’s quiet nature allows the quartet the opportunity to make the brief silences of “Paul” into a chilling instrument of its own, driving up the song’s tension and wistfulness at roughly the same rate. The harmonies in the chorus provide the song with a beautiful flourish, underscoring the relationship at the crux of the central narrative like its a fondly-remembered dream.

Once again, Big Thief has gifted us a breathtaking glimpse into what’s shaping up to be one of 2016’s best records. Every second of the material the band’s released thus far has been meticulously composed, emotionally resonant, beautifully produced, and undeniably powerful. Subtle, nuanced, and surprisingly direct in its examination of fractured psyches, lovelorn tendencies, and some darker Southern Gothic sensibilities, “Paul” is as arresting as they come and all but cements Big Thief’s status as one of 2016’s most important emerging acts. More than a dozen consecutive listens into this review, it’s also the kind of song that’s proving nearly impossible to take off repeat.

Listen to “Paul” below and pre-order Masterpiece from Saddle Creek here.

PWR BTTM – Ugly Cherries (Music Video)

PWR BTTM III

Now that the site’s been brought back up to speed on some of the week’s best songs and full streams, it’s time to turn an eye towards some genuinely great music videos. Roah Summit’s soft, dreamlike “Take Care” kicked off this week’s viewing necessities, shortly followed by Honduras’ lightly deranged “Paralyzed“, Girl Band’s deliriously unhinged “Paul“, Sunshine & The Blue Moon’s nostalgia-ready “Lucy“, and Nano Kino’s poised “Never Seemed To Happen“. Joining those titles were The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s frantic “The Ballad of Joe Buck“, Of Montreal’s animated adventure “Last Rites at the Jane Hotel“, Worriers’ self-effacing “Most Space“, and Foals’ visually stunning lyric clip for “A Knife In the Ocean“. While the feature could have gone to any one of those entries, it felt most appropriate to give it to PWR BTTM’s intentionally bold video for the title track off of their forthcoming record, Ugly Cherries.

PWR BTTM has surfaced an astonishing number of times as this site’s entered its Brooklyn-based era, something that was all but guaranteed a few songs into my first experience of the band’s exhilarating live show. Of course, it also helps that their focus on the area has intensified as of late (the duo recently announced plans to move to the city) and two DIY institutions (Father/Daughter and Miscreant) have both thrown their weight behind the band’s forthcoming record. A lot of that record has been evidenced through this site’s live coverage but the only official preview thus far has been “Ugly Cherries” itself, the record’s shamelessly, refreshingly bombastic title track.

For the video, the camera’s lens places the song’s guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Walter Hopkins front, center, and sidescreen. Almost immediately the viewer’s brought to confront Hopkins’ complete embrace of identity. Shots alternate and contrast the co-existing versions of Hopkins: the to-the-elevens glittery drag queen and the dressed-down lounger. Curiously, Hopkins’ bandmate Liv Bruce is all but absent throughout the video, though they’ve issued an assurance that this is intentional and that Bruce will be prominently featured in the band’s forthcoming clip. It’s a strange move because the duo’s collaborative partnership is one of PWR BTTM’s defining characteristics but eschewing that aspect does allow for the band’s presentation of gender identity to be thrown into a sharp focus on an individual level rather than presenting it as a combined effort (even though the two aren’t mutually exclusive).

Of course, this does nothing to detract from the actual music itself, which- as always- is a deeply felt, ridiculously impressive composition. The band’s commitment to both aesthetic and craft is allowed to thrive in the music video format and “Ugly Cherries” makes the most out of that opportunity right out of the gate. While it’ll definitely be interesting to see what’s in store as a companion piece (and going forward from there), it’s incredibly hard to argue against “Ugly Cherries” being representative of the band at their fiercest. Glamorous, unapologetic, hallucinatory, and surprisingly forceful, it’s both obviously compelling and a perfect way to make a statement. Fortunately, that statement’s left with a lot of room for expansion- something the band will undoubtedly capitalize on with no shortage of conviction and mischievous glee.

Watch “Ugly Cherries” below and pre-order the record from Father/Daughter and/or Miscreant ahead of its September 18 release.