Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Porcelain Raft

Cymbals Eat Guitars – 4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY) (Music Video)

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A lot can surface in two days time, like great new songs from the likes of Mozes and the FirstbornR.L. Kelly, Snail Mail, Extra Medium Pony, Jordaan Mason, Rod, Joseph Coward, BADBADNOTGOOD (ft. Charlotte Wilson), The Saxophones, Alexa Wilding, Carl Broemel, Baby Girl, Amy Blaschke, and The Hell Yeah Babies. Even better when that crop can be rounded out by notable full streams from the camps of Flout, empathPorcelain Raft, Omni, Phantom Posse, and The Rashita Joneses. Best of all is when that entire cumulative haul can be complemented by new music videos from Joanna Gruesome (who very nearly took this feature spot), Alice Bag, and Bent Knee.

As good as all of those above titles are, this post’s focus belongs solely to Cymbals Eat Guitars’ inspired “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)”, a song that immediately and effortlessly carves out a spot as one of this year’s finest. Elevating the song’s absurd individual strength is another in a respected list of clips that find a way to exploit the middle ground between music video and lyric video (a niche approach that was popularized by Bob Dylan’s iconic clip for “Subterranean Homesick Blues“). It’s a devilishly clever reflection of the song’s narrative; the song’s transparently informed by history and the visuals follow suit.

Following Warning, one of this decade’s stronger records (and a high-ranking pick for the Best Albums of 2014), the band unveiled the funk-tinged romp “Wish“, prompting some questions over the directional aim of the band’s forthcoming Pretty Years. In case anyone was concerned that the band had lost their penchant for soaring, aggressive, punk-indebted anthems, “4rh of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” can definitively put those worries to rest.

From its opening moments, “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” stakes a claim as the most blown-out, deep-in-the-red track of the band’s impressive career and the severely bruised aesthetic winds up propelling the song to a place of curious transcendence. The band digs their heels in deep for the track, which scans as one of their most personal — and most revealing — to date. Ostensibly about the events that guitarist/vocalist Joe D’Agostino experienced last fourth of July in some great company (including site favorite Alex G, hence the winking parenthetical in the title), the song actually gains momentum through its transparency and frankness.

Not only is “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” one of the finest narratives D’Agostino’s ever crafted, the band’s rarely sounded this overwhelmingly committed to creating something this vicious. The video embraces the song’s production aesthetic and places D’Agostino in various scenic locations, holding lyric cards and taking in his surroundings as a series of overwashed imagery — which looks like it was shot on actual film — creates a cohesive visual narrative that complements the lyrics nicely.

Literally everything the band throws at this video works on miraculous levels, congealing into an astonishing piece of art that ably demonstrates the depths of the band’s ambition. There’s a very real sense of world-building both in the lyrics and in the clip, which again plays to the seamless marriage of both sides of the spectrum in “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)”. D’Agostino’s lyricism has rarely been as vivid or as sharp as it is here and that’s really the crux of the song as well as its most effective engine. Sludgy, punishing, and boasting the most grit the band’s ever conjured up, Cymbals Eat Guitars go full tilt at everything at their disposal for this one and wind up with a breathtaking career highlight that demands a serious level of consideration as an unlikely classic.

Watch “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” below and pre-order Pretty Years from Sinderlyn here.

Institute – Cheerlessness (Stream)

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A lot of great material was ushered forth over the past week and the lion’s share of the great items to find promotion or premiere were songs. Destroyer swung for the fences and connected emphatically with the massive “Dream Lover“, Bad Bad Hats balanced sweet with spiky in “Shame“, Porcelain Raft conjured up another alluringly atmospheric dreamscape with “Half Awake“, and Adult Mom hit a career peak with the reactionary, synth-laden “Survival“. Institute take the feature spot for this batch of songs thanks to a sprawling behemoth of a track entitled “Cheerlessness”.

Institute have been kicking away in Austin, TX for quite some time now and, thanks to their determined scrappiness, recently signed a deal with the vaunted Sacred Bones. They recently announced their first effort for the label, Catharsis, and provided a track along with the announcement. That song, “Cheerlessness”, is a relentless four-minute post-punk monster. Embracing all of the elements that make the genre so fascinating (tension, dynamic shifts, a bleak cynicism, sly subtlety, etc.) to create something that still manages to come across with a new, fully-formed identity is impressive. More impressive is the levels of conviction in display in “Cheerlessness”, from the instrumentation to the vocal delivery. Every punch the band throws hits its mark with enough brute force to leave a reverberating warning: we’re all in for one hell of a reckoning once Catharsis arrives.

Listen to “Cheerlessness” below and pre-order Catharsis from Sacred Bones here.

Bent Denim – Good Night’s Sleep (Music Video)

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After a ridiculously packed month of material and a few small campaigns, this site’s nearly caught up on songs and music videos. There are 18 songs to get to and ten videos that aren’t contained in this post’s headline. What is going to be the primary focus of this post is also one of the best clips of the year (and possibly the decade) but we’ll get to that in due time. Before then, we’ll start with the lion’s share of the pre-feature coverage: single streams. Since there are so many, I won’t go into too much detail in listing the attributes that make them great, just know that they are genuinely great. In no particular order those songs are: Young Jesus’ “Dirt“, Fort Lean’s “New Hobbies“, Sweet John Bloom’s “Tell Me“, Chelsea Wolfe’s “Iron Moon“, Battle Ave.’s “Solar Queen“, Diamond Youth’s “No Control“, Colornoise’s “Amalie“, Spraynard’s “Bench“, and The Trendees’ “Motorcycles (Make Loud Noises)“. Joining that already formidable pile were Crosss’ “Golden Hearth“, Jack + Eliza’s “Oh No“, Elliot Moss’ “VCR Machine“, Lull’s “Bubble Tea“, Porcelain Raft’s “All In My Head“, Stranger Wilds’ “Pronoia“, Ezra Furman’s “Lousy Connection“, Mike Viola’s “Stairway to Paradise“, and Inheaven’s “Slow“.

Much like the songs listed above, the music videos over the past week or so have covered a similarly expansive musical spread. Among these videos were Something Anorak’s absurdly lush “I Am A Doctor“, Heaters’ retro dancehall exhibition “Mean Green“, ANAMAI’s extremely unsettling “Half“, Iron & Wine’s surprisingly beautiful indie wrestling fever dream “Everyone’s Summer of ’95“, and Palma Violets’ gleefully raucous “English Tongue“. Also included in this run were Ceremony’s stark career highlight “Your Life In France“, Jamie xx’s slow-burning, jaw-dropping “Gosh“, Death From Above 1979’s wild-eyed Amish party clip “Virgins“, The Rentals’ eerie, foreboding “It’s Time To Come Home“, and “Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive“-  a comically psychedelic animated adventure from The Prefab Messiahs. And then there was Bent Denim’s devastating, unforgettable “Good Night’s Sleep“.

Abortion has always been- and likely always will be- a difficult subject to address. Treatment either empathetic or unerringly sympathetic has rendered some recent works (like last year’s outstanding Obvious Child or The Antlers’ wrenching “Bear“) into pieces of art equipped with a lasting resonance. It’s the same reason that Ben Folds Five’s “Brick” has retained its value as an emotionally difficult piece of pop culture and it’s why the deeply-felt clip for “Good Night’s Sleep” is nearly impossible to watch without feeling emptied. After one viewing, it’s difficult to return to the video’s thesis shot: a vacant child’s swing, rocking gently in silence. It’s an arresting image that sets the tone for the ensuing emotional onslaught. Intertwining two visions (a la Derek Cianfrance’s masterpiece, Blue Valentine)- one decidedly more hopeful than the other- Bent Denim present a vision that cuts in a manner that’s brutally immediate.

Accentuating the video’s sense of pain and longing is the home video visual aesthetic, which suits the gentle tones of the song to a sublime perfection. All in all, “Good Night’s Sleep” is an intensely compassionate, moving portrait of both sides’ turmoil following what comes off as a difficult decision (one via audio and one through the clip, which features a gripping performance from its lead). In either case, the emotions are so palpable that the whole thing feels uncomfortably voyeuristic and intensely harrowing. It’s a situation that’s more familiar than most parties would let on but it’s rarely presented as delicately or as realistically as it is in “Good Night’s Sleep”. At the clip’s conclusion, to drive everything home in a way that’s definitively final, the viewer’s returned to the thesis image: a lone child’s swing, once projected to be full, once again swaying in silence.

Watch “Good Night’s Sleep” below and order Romances You from the band’s bandcamp.