Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: R.L. Kelly

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.

2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Athylia Paremski)

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Photograph by Nicole Rapkin

Returning once more to the A Year’s Worth of Memories series is Athylia Paremski, who runs the extraordinary Steep Sounds and constantly, vocally supports the artists she loves. There’s an inherent lightness to both her personage and her writing, a quality that’s exemplified in even the smallest of actions. Everyone that meets her seems to be immediately drawn to her and she, in turn, provides a welcome (and welcoming) source of grace and comfort. Here, she takes on the second installment of the Odd Castles-presented Our Hearts Are Beating showcase, the Silent Barn, and a whole host of artists. Read it below and remember to fight for the important aspects of your community.

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October 19th was a crisp fall Monday. A very clear and warm autumn sky, I remember as the bus pulled into the city. I’ve lost track of how many bus rides I’ve been lucky enough to take between Boston and New York City these past few years, however I always remember my surroundings and the faces around me when we drive down, or is it up, through Manhattan. A young individual across from me, engulfed in music pouring out through red headphones was ever so gingerly eating a hamburger clutched in a pair of black fingerless gloves.

I looked down at my neurodegenerative diseases notebook and out of the corner of my eye I caught the loveliest flourish of rainbow light. A pair of lancet styled windows with multicolored glass posed next to a giant gold cross stared back at me from a church on a corner. I kept thinking about miracles and the miracle that is not only the support, love, dedication, and pure hard work behind the rebuilding of the Silent Barn, but the miracle and wonder that is the Silent Barn and everything it is, stands for, breathes into countless environments, and simply inspires.

Knowing I was going to step foot into an atmosphere that was just incredibly reopened for shows and community support less than a month after a dreadful fire, for the second Odd Castles showcase no less, left me feeling the brilliance of that last remaining hour of daylight beaming on those rainbow pieces of glass. Our Hearts Are Beating part 2, basking in the glory of its first counterpart showcasing the magnificence that is R.L. Kelly, Poppy Red, Uxvie, Emily Reo, and Yohuna, offered again the perfect opportunity to celebrate a phenomenal group of women and their art.

This time, Fin, Shakai Mondai, Yohuna, Uxvie, Emily Reo, and Qualiatik took to the stage respectively and each took us to different and truly mesmerizing worlds. The rest of the evening was brimming with hugs, fresh air, the magnificent DJ work of Cascine’s Andi Wilson, kind conversation, chai wine, dancing, and incredible light. Echoing in my mind are the lyrics of Lontalius’ “yr heart is beating”, an absolutely beautiful ballad of love, hope, sacrifice, just the trembling odds and ends and in-betweens of life I suppose.

To know, to remember that somewhere, everywhere, there are people beautifully existing right now with hearts pumping in all different sorts of rhythms; that thought glimmering in all its comfort, eternally captures what the night felt like for me.

That, and every time Emily Reo sings “Spell”.

-Athylia Paremski