Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Song Premiere

Gash – Always Pissed (Song Premiere)

Any time there’s a band that convinces someone to start a label, there’s always an innate quality about them that justifies such a passionate response. It’s a theory that’s been held up in practice countless times over and applies to Gash — a power trio from Eau Claire, WI — who are largely responsible for stoking the fire of what would become Heavy Meadow Records. Curiously, the band’s forthcoming Haha will be Heavy Meadow’s third release but it also stands a reasonable chance of being the label’s earliest calling card.

Haha was recorded by Seth Tracy of Double Grave and “Always Pissed” is the first look at the record. Sludgy, grunge-adjacent, and teeming with slacker punk tendencies (deliberate pacing, sardonic humor, etc.), “Always Pissed” comes equipped with a heavy dose of reverb and attitude. Through the grime, there’s a pop song buried at the center, creating a competitive balance that winds up propelling the song into its own world. It’s dirty, it’s powerful, and it’s got a measure of casual brilliance. Turn it on and turn it up.

Listen to “Always Pissed” below and pre-order Haha from Heavy Meadow here.

Tosser – Swimming (Song Premiere)

Late last year, Washington DC project Tosser made some serious waves in the DIY punk community with a scintillating self-titled EP. Roughly half a year later, the project’s seeking to capitalize on that momentum with Lures, which looks to be another incendiary burst of basement pop. “Swimming”, an instantly galvanizing first look at Lures, has more than enough power to ensnare some expanding attention and is premiering below.

Tilting into shoegaze pop territory, “Swimming” still retains the pop bite that helped make Tosser so memorable. The vocals operate like world-weary sighs, contemplating some dispiriting truths as the narrative grapples with various subsets of the ennui of young adulthood. Some sublime guitar work and a driving rhythm section protect “Swimming” from tipping into sheer misery, offsetting the whole affair in a way that actually elicits some excitement. It’s a pyrotechnic showcase of Tosser’s control over craft and delivers as much immediacy as it does memorability, which is a key distinction.

A bed of landmines, “Swimming” constantly leans into the dirt, ensuring as many explosive moments as possible. Even in all of its urgency, the project finds a way to project some beauty, valuing the damage with the knowledge it’s part of what makes life worth living. There’s some tension, there’s a lot of release, but most of all there’s a great song that should manage to put people on notice. Tosser’s not here to mess around and Lures has a lead-off track to make that title seem apt.

Listen to “Swimming” below and pre-order Lures here.

Honeyfitz – Haircut (Song Premiere)

Photograph by Julia Leiby

Nearly a year ago, this site hosted the premiere of Honeyfitz’s oddly moving clip for “October Air“, which demonstrated a lot of promise. That promise has continued to build over that near-year, culminating in a forthcoming EP entitled Cutting Your Hair. It’s highlight, the elegiac “Haircut”, premieres here tonight.

Elihu Jones, the mastermind behind Honeyfitz, has refined both technique and control over time, honing what can prove to be an elusive craft. One of the more intriguing figures operating in the bedroom pop world, Jones has never shied away from confronting difficulty, something on full display in “Haircut”. Not only is this Honeyfitz’s finest moment to date, as beautiful as it is mournful, it’s also the most challenging. There’s a sense that Jones is probing at some demons in “Haircut” and it can be uncomfortable to contemplate even as the composition radiates a tranquil beauty.

Even though the track is two and a half minutes, by the time “Haircut” ends, it only seems as if the song’s been playing for mere seconds. There’s a magnetic pull that takes the listener deep into a painfully relatable world, touching on the ennui of young adulthood to mesmerizing effect. Everything here works gorgeously, from the shouted backing vocals that act as both punctuation marks and affirmations that hope exists to the instrumentation itself, which is the most richly layered work of Honeyfitz’s young discography.

“Haircut” is another perfect song to soundtrack a volatile spring, offering up glimpses of warmth in a struggle to escape barren desolation. A major triumph, “Haircut” is a song that deserves to be heard by the people who are willing to listen. A sublime work and a potent reminder of Jones’ burgeoning talent, it’s a song that doesn’t deserve to be missed.

Listen to (and watch a clip for) “Haircut” below and keep an eye on Honeyfitz’s bandcamp for more updates about Cutting Your Hair.

sewingneedle – two three four (Song Premiere)

Photograph by Vanessa Valadez

Last week, sewingneedle unveiled the enigmatic music video for their excellent “feel good music” and today they’re following up that clip with the album opener of their forthcoming user error, “two three four”. The song exists in the same bleary vein as “feel good music”, finding ways to relentlessly attack from an extremely specific angle, as dark as it is energized, falling neatly in line with some of the finest acts on Exploding In Sound’s roster (Two Inch Astronaut, Kal Marks, Pile, etc).

“two three four” goes a long way in setting the tone for the band’s formidable user error, dropping the listener into a world of shadowy corners that give cover to lurking demons. The clean guitar tones add some enhancement to an already abrasive sensibility, allowing the moments of blistering distortion to gain even more magnitude. Half-open questions are cried out in nervous anticipation, directed at next to no one, the music surging underneath with the insistent counting tethering the entire affair back to the dreck of life’s monotony.

All of it congeals into a formidable piece of post-punk, elevated by its own commitment to noise. Intentionally ugly and undeniably compelling, “two three four” serves as a heavy reminder of the predetermined regulations we’re expected to navigate through our existence. It’s a song that has a lot on its mind and aptly conveys those thoughts using minimalist tactics in a clever twist, suggesting that operating outside of the lines can lead to memorably great results.

When the track races towards its finish, one thing does become abundantly clear among the songs frustrated uncertainty: sewingneedle are done existing in the background. This is a band that’s ready to make a statement by creating their own moment of reckoning. user error is that reckoning and “two three four” only hints at its astounding depths. While the record will arrive soon to address the curious in full, “two three four” is good company to keep. Leave it on repeat and let it play.

Listen to “two three four” below and pre-order user error here.

Tuxis Giant – Regan (Song Premiere)

A while back, the now-defunct soon-to-be-revived Watch This series featured a spellbinding acoustic performance from Tuxis Giant. A lot has happened between that moment and this one, including the preparation of the project’s forthcoming record Here Comes the Wolf and Tuxis Giant’s transition from solo project to full band. Embracing an ethereal slow-burn approach, Tuxis Giant offers up a hypnotic piece of music built on a bed of shuffling drums and winding guitars in “Regan”.

Over its five minute run-time, “Regan” takes several routes, tilting into post-rock, emo, folk, and post-punk on separate occasions, managing to weave together a comprehensive tapestry of their genre influences while carving out a distinct voice as a band. It’s an impressive work and — following the similarly excellent “Fiona” —  goes a long way in stoking anticipation for Here Comes the Wolf. It’s a fittingly hopeful start for the band’s next chapter as well as a potent reminder of guitarist/vocalist Matt O’Connor’s songwriting talents. Don’t let it go unheard and give Tuxis Giant the attention they deserve.

Listen to “Regan” below and pre-order Here Comes the Wolf here.

The Young Couples – Tarantula (Song Premiere)

Ian Proper’s been around for some time, making music strong enough to snag the interests of a deeply impressive rotating cast of backing musicians (including members of acts like Cherry Glazerr, Howlo, and Pleistocene) and utilizing them to great effect for his most recent project, The Young Couples. EP.01, the project’s first proper effort will be out in the world soon and Proper’s offering up a tantalizing preview in the form of the biting powerpop of “Tarantula”.

Hook-laden, smartly crafted, and executed with feeling, “Tarantula” teases and attacks in equal measure. Whether it’s a gorgeous but short-lived introduction segment or the lilting vocal melody of the song’s infectious bridge, “Tarantula” manages to provoke and ensnare attention. It’s a classically crafted genre piece that calls to mind genre forebears (Proper’s voice can occasionally eerily resemble an early-era Elvis Costello) and contemporaries alike.

In keeping with a time-honored tradition, “Tarantula” is a song that feels like it runs for half of its actual length because it’s so enjoyable in the moment. By the time it winds to a close, its absence is felt because of the warmth it exudes while its in rotation. From its opening seconds through its boldest production trick (a small but significant moment that arrives at roughly the three-quarters mark of the song), “Tarantula” remains captivating. It’s a welcome reminder that care can be put into songs that sound carefree and it deserves a whole host of new listeners.

Listen to “Tarantula” below and keep an eye on Dadstache for the record’s September 1 release here.

Havania Whaal – Supermoon (Song Premiere)

The genres of psych, shoegaze, and punk have all peacefully co-existed at various intersections throughout the past several decades but rarely have the three been as equally represented as they are on Havania Whaal’s “Supermoon”, an uneasy, five and a half minute triumph. Woozy tones drift in and out, the drums hit hard, the vocals fight their way through endless layers of reverb echo and a string instrument or two throw things even further off kilter.

Havania Whaal have been quietly gaining momentum over the past three years and everything seems to be coming to a head for the trio with “Supermoon” more than likely to pique a lot of additional interest. The song’s masterfully structured, allowing each element to both breathe on its own and congeal with the others to create an enormous sum.
Every second of “Supermoon” feels, impossibly, calculated and spur-of-the-moment, conjuring up an additional sense of uncertainty to accompany the light cognitive dissonance the production already does well to provoke.

It’s a fascinating and immensely enjoyable moment for a band that seems to destined to both keep its audience on its toes and keep their listeners happily engaged. Don’t miss out on one of this month’s most pleasant surprises.

Listen to “Supermoon” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Havania Whaal.

The Holy Circle – Early Morning (Song Premiere)

Only a short while ago The Holy Circle were kind enough to offer up a premiere for their “Polaris” music video. Today, a new premiere is on the table: the brooding, pulsating, melancholic “Early Morning”. Taken from the band’s forthcoming self-titled full-length, “Early Morning” is a characteristically dark piece of synth pop, underscoring  the band’s gift with atmospherics as much as it highlights their penchant for forward-thinking composition.

A calm, steadily swirling vortex of mood, emotion, and quiet determination, the track represents another important step forward for the band, whose evolution has been a privilege to witness. Hypnotic and mesmerizing in all of the right ways, “Early Morning” takes on a complex narrative involving perceived beauty and hard-fought individuality, weaving it into a gentle dreamscape couched in some subtle menace, creating an absorbing tapestry that’s difficult to shake. A commentary on the emotional duality of burdensome expectation, “Early Morning” transcends its outward tranquility to become something that cuts deep. One of the band’s finest moments to date.

Listen to “Early Morning” below and pre-order The Holy Circle here as a download, from ANNIHILVS on CD, and from Black Horizons on cassette.

Ben Morey & The Eyes – Black Jacket (Song Premiere)

Ben Morey became a memorable name thanks to an enviable output that included exceptional work with Dumb Angel and Howlo. Morey takes the spotlight here and is surrounded by an ensemble backing cast made up of some of Rochester, NY’s finest musicians (among them: Pleistocene‘s Katie Preston, Mikaela Davis, Green DreamsJesse Amesmith, and members of Attic Abasement).  “New Life”, the breezy first song to be released from the project’s forthcoming full-length, Mt. Doom, gave listeners plenty of reasons to be excited over its release and “Black Jacket” — premiering here — should only heighten that anticipation.

“Black Jacket”, which was recorded in South Wedge Mission and boasts a narrative that Morey described as a “Motorcycle death melodrama” told from the perspective of a teenage ghost. The doo-wop inflected track’s musical aesthetics hearken back to a time where that kind of story would feel snugly at home. It’s an absolutely gorgeous number that capitalizes fully on the 10-piece outfit assembled for the recording (which includes Pleistocene’s Preston).

There’s not a false note to be found on “Black Jacket”, a spirited near-waltz that makes excellent use of its “sha-la-la” backing vocals and spoken word interlude. Too forward-thinking to be strict revivalism and too historically-informed to not be considered nostalgia-inducing, “Black Jacket” straddles a familiarly cozy divide and breathes some new life into that gap. A beautiful piece from a record that grows more fascinating with each new track, “Black Jacket” is both a tantalizing look at Mt. Doom and a perfect addition to anyone’s summer soundtrack.

Listen to “Black Jacket” below and pre-order Mt. Doom LP from City of Quality here and keep an eye on Dadstache for the tape release.

Neutral Shirt – Dust On Your Shelf (Song Premiere)


One of the most exhilarating experiences that accompanies running a publication like Heartbreaking Bravery is when a personal submission winds up making a mark. For over three years, the vast majority of what’s been sent through to the site’s inbox hasn’t connected for one reason or another. So when a project like Matthew Terrones’ Neutral Shirt sends something as inspired as the upcoming 2016 EP over, it can comes as a galvanizing shock to the system and serve as a reminder of why places like these exist in the first place: to feature exceptional new music (and artists) whose work isn’t receiving the audience it deserves.

Since receiving 2016  which is slated to arrive on January 6, 2017 — the EP’s been in near-constant rotation. “Dust On Your Shelf” is one of many relatively unassuming highlights that ably demonstrates what makes Neutral Shirt a project worth watching. There’s a laid-back, almost romantic nonchalance that’s been present in Alex G‘s best work, an insistence that draws the listener in and keeps them riveted, and a comprehensive understanding of craft that’s typically only attained by a veteran artist (the first Neutral Shirt release came earlier this year and included a revealing demo of “Dust On Your Shelf”).

A song about the feeling of helpless neglect, “Dust On Your Shelf” acutely conveys a very specific type of heartache while remaining lively enough to make the pain easy to swallow. It’s an immense piece of punk-tinged bedroom pop from a burgeoning artist who seems poised for an astonishing run that will likely earn Terrones a lot of converts to the church of Neutral Shirt. Resilient, lonesome, and surprisingly urgent “Dust On Your Shelf” is as good of a starting point into Neutral Shirt’s world as any and it deserves serious investment. Dive in and get lost to its spell.

Listen to “Dust On Your Shelf” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Neutral Shirt and 2016.