Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Raccoon Fighter

Noun – Fame and Famine (Stream)

screamales

Over the past 24 hours, there have been quality streams from the likes of Real Numbers, LA Font, Wild Pink, Two Houses, Super Unison, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Dennis Callaci, Tokyo Tea Room, Balance and Composure, Raccoon Fighter, and Turnip King. On top of that, there were a string of music videos that emerged from the camps of Slow Down Molasses, Odonis Odonis, LUH, La Lenguas, Magik Magik, Yohuna, Moses Sumney, Brendan Canning, and Makeunder. Providing the day with a welcome dash of finality were full streams that were unveiled by Magic Trick, Ski Saigon, and The Hecks.

As always, all of those entries linked above are worth jumping over to and exploring with a certain level of intensity. However, they weren’t all that wound up being released Thursday. Screaming Females‘ Marissa Paternoster’s Noun project made an unexpected return with the jagged, lo-fi “Fame and Famine”. Quietly uploaded to Paternoster’s tumblr, “Fame and Famine” winds up benefiting from a pre-established tone of unpredictability.

While Paternoster may get the most recognition for Screaming Females, Noun has proven to be a project just as worthy. 2010’s Holy Hell, a consistently overlooked triumph, may even be Paternoster’s finest record to date (though the last few Screaming Females records have been hitting some exhilarating highs). Noun’s consistently allowed Paternoster a wider range of possibilities, making a new entry into the project’s discography a tantalizing prospect.

For “Fame and Famine”, Paternoster takes a direct, immediate route that fully commits to its lo-fi aesthetic and elevates itself via a comprehensive understanding of the format. There’s a surprising amount of nuance in the ambient beds that swirl beneath the insistent, repetitive main section that serves as the engine of “Fame and Famine”. Enhancing the aggressive disconnect that manifests in the narrative of “Fame and Famine” is the artwork the song’s projected over, one of Paternoster’s characteristically striking chalk-based originals.

Everything packaged together winds up being as disconcerting as it does galvanizing. There’s a nervous undercurrent of stress that imbues every second of “Fame and Famine”, lending it a feeling of completeness that can be rare in demos. It’s a fascinating glimpse towards one of today’s most fascinating, tireless artists and it’s another in a long line of formidable examples of Paternoster’s creativity and commitment. Tenacious, unnerving, and more than memorable, “Fame and Famine” is one of the best surprise standalone releases of recent memory.

Listen to “Fame and Famine” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on the project.

PWR BTTM – Projection (Stream, Live Video)

PWR BTTM III

The last few days held a whole host of incredible new songs from the likes of Turtlenecked, ScotDrakula, Animal Lover, Dolores, Rips, Dott, Sex Stains, Devon Welsh, Dogbreth, Honey Bucket, Lumer, Atticus Ross and Leopold Ross, Raccoon Fighter, Jenn Champion, Field Mouse, Luke Winslow, The Pooches, Butch Bastard, Ravenna Woods, Young Summer, Bellows, Rosemary Fairweather, Alice MK, Grey Gersten, JEFF The Brotherhood, and Royal Oakie as well as a two-song sampler of the forthcoming record from Echo Courts. While all of those songs should receive listens, it’s an old favorite finally finding release to capture this post’s featured spot.

The first time I saw PWR BTTM was at Miscreant’s Northside showcase last year and it immediately ensured the band a hefty amount of future coverage (especially in the live department). Having been impressed by their earlier material, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect that day but it was one particular song that convinced me PWR BTTM was capable of achieving greatness: “Projection”.

Over time, “Projection” solidified its spot as my favorite song in the band’s arsenal. From Benjamin Hopkins’ remarkably tasteful guitar theatrics to a startlingly intimate lyric set to Liv Bruce’s intuitive drumming to the exchanged vocal leads, the song highlights several of PWR BTTM’s strongest aspects. From that first performance over a year ago, the band’s kept it as a live staple and subsequently afforded me the opportunity to document it several times over.

Recently, PWR BTTM announced they would be partnering with the excellent Big Scary Monsters label for their European releases, beginning with an extended version of Ugly Cherries that will come equipped with “Projection” (it’ll be available as a standalone single in America). While the band offers a mischievous wink towards the song’s main influence with its title, the narrative of “Projection” takes a much more serious tone.

From its opening couplet onward, “Projection” offers a very acute look at the displacement its songwriters have been subjected to because of their identities and preferences, rendering it heartbreaking in its realism– something enhanced even more by the song’s direct approach.

With its reprise of “my skin wasn’t made for the weather”, it’d be easy for the song to tip towards defeatism and while that’s an element that never completely disappears, the music surrounding the narrative becomes a retaliatory burst of frustration that seems to energize the band; they’ve found an outlet through creating music that feels like home. In that regard, “Projection” could be viewed as somewhat celebratory, though its down-trodden narrative keeps it tethered to the earth.

In creating that dichotomy, PWR BTTM fully demonstrate their enviable gifts as songwriters who have an uncanny understanding of their identity as a band (with only one full-length under their belt, no less). “Projection” finds every element of their songwriting at a stratospheric peak, underlining the hefty emotional undercurrent that informs their work but frequently winds up getting overlooked.

It’s an extraordinary song that offers insight, frustration, joy, longing, and some of their finest composition work to date. Empathetic and earnest in its unblinking sincerity, “Projection” is the type of song that’s capable of making converts out of skeptics; a genuine work of art. Greet the song’s official arrival with the kind of understanding and care that should be granted to others throughout life, free of discriminatory practices, prejudices, and blind hatred. Grab a copy, reciprocate its warmth, and never let its message fall out of reach… then hit repeat.

Listen to “Projection” below — and watch an early live performance of the song — and keep an eye on this site for more news on any of PWR BTTM’s forthcoming releases.