Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Sonny & The Sunsets

Charly Bliss – Ruby (Music Video, Live Video)

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For well over a year now, this site has been anxiously anticipating — and meticulously tracking — the release of Charly Bliss‘ debut full-length. Easily one of the most heavily featured bands of these pages, the quartet’s finally offered up the first glimpse at what will be a viable Album of the Year contender. Before diving too much further into that piece of pop confection, though, it’s worth noting that for one of the first times all year, Heartbreaking Bravery is back on pace with the breaking release cycle.

To that end, these posts will resume including the most notable releases in individual streams, full streams, and music videos. Today saw the release of great new songs from Toys That Kill, The Velveteins, Sudakistan, Andy C. Jenkins, and Sonny & The Sunsets, while Blessed, Thin Lips, and Angel Du$t unveiled their respective records. Capping things off were a trio of music videos from ultraviolence, Turnover, and, of course, Charly Bliss.

Ever since the release of the band’s exhilarating Soft Serve EP — a very real early contender for EP of the Decade — the band’s been on the cusp of greatness. The band’s full-length debut, whenever it finds release, will go a long way in re-affirming the band’s undeniable talent to those already in the know or convince a whole new host of converts that they’re one of the most exciting bands on the planet. “Ruby”, one of many breathless runs through hard-charging, cleanly-produced basement pop, has now emerged as the record’s lead-off single.

In every instance I’ve been fortunate enough to catch the band running through the song, guitarist/vocalist Eva Hendricks has introduced the song with an almost-giddy “this song’s about my therapist!” Hendricks’ forthright honesty imbues “Ruby”, and the bulk of the band’s work, with a palpable sense of both wonderment and charm. Part of what makes Charly Bliss’ music so intriguing is that any projected innocence is routinely cut through with something much darker, a trait that the Andrew Costa-directed clip underscores beautifully by bringing out the song’s most jolting line (“passed out on the subway with blood in my hair”) and then in the video’s nightmarish finale.

“Ruby” is far from being defined by gloom, most of the clip’s an open-hearted ode to public access television (specifically siting the 1984 Ralph “Whistler” Giese clip from Kelly & Company in the music video’s premiere piece for The AV Club). Every member of the band turns in endearing performances as the clip rapidly scans through a series of entertaining cliches. The editing work throughout is strong, hitting its best moment with a perfectly-timed kick from bassist Dan Shafer, and “Ruby” never devolves into chaos or loses its identity despite the overwhelming amount of material brought into focus.

All in all, “Ruby” creates a solid hook for the band’s upcoming release while effortlessly tapping into the band’s oddball identity. Their humor’s tinged with the slightest hint of pathos, grounded in an unflinching reality that the band’s more acutely aware of then they sometimes let on. It’s an invigorating preview of what could eventually come to be regarded as a genre classic, landing a breathtaking series of grace notes that announce the band is more than ready to officially arrive.

Watch “Ruby” below and keep an eye on this site for an inevitable slew of updates on the band’s forthcoming full-length debut throughout the year. Beneath the official clip, watch a video of the band performing the song last year as part of Father/Daughter’s Northside showcase.

Sheer Mag – Button Up (Stream)

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Continuing on in the quest to get the site caught up on all the things that caught my attention in 2015 affords some unique opportunities. One of them is the chance to celebrate a few of the truly great items that surfaced over the course of this year’s first three months. By the end of tonight, all of those will be featured in some form- be it a list inclusion, a mix, or some words. In this post, there won’t be a lot of material from the past two weeks (with the notable exception of a jaunty tune from The Splits and an absolute stunner of a track from one-time site contributor Johanna Warren) but it should still serve as a healthy reminder of 2015’s formidable early strengths. One of those songs, Sheer Mag’s “Button Up” will be receiving the greatest amount of focus. Below that, as has been custom, are 75 outstanding songs from this year’s first quarter. Now, back to this post’s main draw.

Sheer Mag have been picking up a great amount of notoriety in important circles since the release of their 7″ from last year, which was strong enough to land on the site’s Best 7″ Records of 2014 list. “Button Up”, the band’s first new material since that EP, is a refinement of everything that’s made Sheer Mag so exciting from the beginning. “Button Up” retains the band’s appealing lo-fi punch but their pop sensibilities are sharper than ever, rendering “Button Up” an unlikely heavyweight. Impossibly crunchy guitars, powerful vocals, and a sense of joy permeate throughout this track and provide Sheer Mag with a valid claim as one of the most exciting upcoming bands on the market. If the rest of their upcoming 7″ can hit similar peaks, it’s not unlikely that they’ll be appearing on quite a few December lists (ours included).

Listen to “Button Up” below and keep an eye on this site for more coverage surrounding the band’s upcoming release. Beneath the embed are 75 outstanding songs from 2015’s opening stretch.

The Cribs – I See Your Pictures Every Day
Football, etc. – Open
Princess – Black Window
Novella – Land Gone
Eric Chenaux – Skullsplitter
Pinkshinyultrablast – Land’s End
Vagaband – Gabrielle
HOLY – Demon’s Hand
Tall Tales and the Silver Lining – This Time Around
Divers – Breathless
Michael Stec – Party Dress
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Philadelphia Story
Cyberbully Mom Club – Anabelle (Love Soft)
Passenger Peru – Break My Neck
The Splits – I Know
Alice – Nightmare
Lightning Bolt – The Metal East
Guantanamo Baywatch – Too Late
Maribou State – Rituals
Dastardly – The Hollow
Aero Flynn – Twist
The Minus 5 – The History You Hate
Braids – Miniskirt
Faith Healer – Universe
Karen Meat & the Computer – If I Were Yours
Chris Weisman – Backpack People
Jeff Rosenstock – You, In Weird Cities
The Dodos – Retriever
Busses – Wizard of the Eye
Obnox – Cynthia Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Twerps – I Don’t Mind
Sonny & the Sunsets – Happy Carrot Health Food Store
The Muscadettes – Pearl and Oyster
Waxahatchee – Air
Matthew E. White – Rock N’ Roll Is Cold
Nic Hessler – Hearts, Repeating
Grooms – Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair
Pops Staples – Somebody Was Watching
Moon King – Roswell
Caught On Tape – Full Bleed
Oscar – Daffodil Days
EULA – Noose
Inventions – Springworlds
Dirty Dishes – Guilty
Johanna Warren – True Colors
Happyness – Don’t Know Why (Norah Jones)
JEFF The Brotherhood – Coat Check Girl
Johnny Marr – Struck
Leapling – N.E.R.V.E.
The Juliana Hatfield Three – Ordinary Guy
Tyler Ditter – Echo Off the World
Fruit Bomb – Normcore Girlfriend
Dorthia Cottrell – Kneeler
In Tall Buildings – Unmistakable
Kind of Like Spitting – Stress Cadet
Fort Lean – I Don’t Mind
Native Lights – Black Wall Street
Wire – Joust & Jostle
Marika Hackman – Monday Afternoon
Football, etc. – Sunday
Sammy Kay – Highs and Lows
Wolf Solent – Hold On
Solvey – Solvey
All Boy/All Girl – Glitters
Threading – Ember
Lucern Raze – Someone Like You
Pelican Movement – Light Like Before
Carmen Villain – Quietly
Ghastly Menace – Real Life
Irontom – In the Day and the Dark
Sun Hotel – After Peggy Tells Her Parents They Never Had Any Trouble In Their Relationship
Wand – Self Hypnosis in 3 Days
Quarterbacks – Night Changes (One Direction cover)
Lost Boy ? – Love You Only
Broken Water – High-Lo

First Quarter Full Streams, Pt. 1

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Keeping the recent themes of the site going, this post will be dedicated to 75 of this year’s most fascinating records (along with an overlooked fourth quarter gem or two from last year getting their due). Covering a range of genres, as always, these records cover a lot of ground. A few find their niche in fierceness while others make a home in more tranquil realms. It’s impossible to stress how full of a year 2015’s already been for new music and if this crop of early offerings is any suggestion, we’re all in for one of the strongest stretches of new music in roughly a decade. As ever, don’t let the fact there’s no accompanying text with these releases detract from their value; a great deal of these have a good chance of ranking among 2015’s finest releases (NPR’s current roster of First Listen selections is an exhilarating reminder that we’re only just getting started). Click on the hyperlinks below (listed in no particular order) to hear the records and- if you find yourself drawn to any- make sure to pick one up from either the band or their label. Happy exploring.

1. California X – Nights in the Dark
2. Swings – Detergent Hymns
3. Ty Segall – Mr. Face
4. Mike Pace and the Child Actors – Best Boy
5. Little Brutes – Desire
6. Dazed Pilots – Drummers & Codies
7. The Sidekicks – Runners in the Nerved World
8. Menace Beach – Ratworld
9. Natalie Prass – Natalie Prass
10. Jack Name – Weird Moons
11. Sick Feeling – Suburban Myth
12. Bandit – Of Life
13. Culture Abuse – Spray Paint the Dog
14. The Rentiers – Here Is A List of Things That Exist
15. Kind of Like Spitting + Warren Franklin & the Foundations – It’s Always Nice to See You
16. Creative Adult + Wild Moth – Split
17. Sun Hotel – Rational Expectations
18. Clique/Loose Tooth/Ghost Gun/Mumblr – Split
19. Grand Vapids – Guarantees
20. Gal Pals – Velvet Rut
21. The King Khan & BBQ Show – Bad News Boys
22. Club K – Let M Shake
23. Astral Swans – All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson
24. ylayali – ylayali
25. M.A.G.S. – Cellophane
26. Leapling – Vacant Page
27. Feature Films – Feature Films
28. Walleater – I
29. Will Butler – Policy
30. toyGuitar – In This Mess
31. Bloodbirds – Album 2
32. Pistachio – Tehuantepec
33. Yeesh – No Problem
34. Seagulls – Great Pine
35. Snow Roller/Sioux Falls – Split EP
36. Evans the Death – Expect Delays
37. RA – Scandinivia
38. Lucern Raze – Stockholm One
39. Never Young – Never Young
40. Love Cop – Dark Ones
41. Darlings – Feel Better
42. Romantic States – Romantic States
43. A Place to Bury Strangers – Transfixation
44. Sunflower Bean – Show Me Your Seven Secrets
45. Ghastly Menace – Songs of Ghastly Menace
46. Viet Cong – Viet Cong
47. Anomie – Anomie
48. Reservoir – Cicurina Vol. 1
49. River City Extension – Deliverance
50. Ty Segall Band – Live in San Francisco
51. Six Organs of Admittance – Hexadic
52. Big Dick – Disappointment
53. Treasure Fleet – The Sun Machines
54. Jeff Rosenstock  – We Cool?
55. Husband – The Money
56. Divers – Hello Hello
57. Belle & Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance
58. We Can All Be Sorry – Again
59. Cal Folger Day – Adornament
60. Outside – Outside
61. Fragie Gang – For Esme
62. Moor Hound – Missin’ Out b/w Married
63. Pile – You’re Better Than This
64. Sonny & the Sunsets – Talent Night at the Ashram
65. Platinum Boys – Future Hits
66. Grooms – Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair
67. The Amazing – Picture You
68. Pops Staples – Don’t Lose This
69. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
70. Jack McKelvie & the Countertopss/Uh-Huh – Split
71. Young Buffalo – Split
72. Lieutenant – If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going To Eat For A Week
73. Sister Palace – Count Yr Blessings
74. Van Dammes – Better Than Sex
75. Sammy Kay – Fourth Street Singers

Girlpool – Blah Blah Blah (Music Video)

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Another traditionally stacked Monday is just about in the books and it had a pool of treasures to offer. Single streams wound up being surprisingly scant but still had two small triumphs in the form of Cave People’s surprisingly gentle “Cluster” and Slaves’ weirdly menacing “The Hunter“. Full streams fared slightly better and included JOYA‘s delightful sophomore effort 2nd, Native America’s wild-eyed Grown Up Wrong, Warm Soda bandleader Matthew Melton’s similarly-minded (and similarly excellent) Outside of Paradise, and Two Inch Astronaut‘s extraordinary Album of the Year contender Foulbrood.

Music videos wound up being the most stacked category and that was thanks to the varying strengths of their collective efforts. Nots crafted a visually striking clip for We Are Nots highlight “Decadence“, The Cush committed to steady transitions for “Summer’s Gone“, and Sonny & the Sunsets went with a constantly-evolving deceptively crude comic look in “Cheap Extensions“. Guerilla Toss continued to be willfully chaotic with their video for “367 Equalizer“, The Bandicoots dreamt up an absurdly charming and well-executed concept for “Just After Dark“, Nothing staged a robbery-turned-kidnapping-turned-torture sequence for “Chloroform” (which was a highlight from their recent split with Whirr), and The Vaselines combined French new wave, film noir, and silent film hallmarks in their impossibly light and deeply engaging clip for “Crazy Lady“. Site favorites Girlpool wind up earning today’s feature with their second great video of the year- one that sees them teaming up with The Punk Singer director Sini Anderson.

Girlpool have been having themselves one hell of a year. From stunning seemingly every critic at CMJ, to high-profile publications giving them coveted distinctions, to critical acclaim, they’ve set themselves up in an enviable position- one that will likely entail an uncomfortable amount of scrutiny. That they’re rapidly exceeding with as much poise and grace as they are is astounding; they’re incredibly young and their career together’s only just beginning. All of this bodes well for their future. An exponentially growing faction of people have chosen this band to rally behind because they embody so many things all at once; the unfairly marginalized, a decidedly DIY ethos,  an unerring sense of conviction, and commendable bravery in their relentless pursuit of choosing to do the thing they clearly love.

A nightmare for ageists and a dream for those looking to celebrate and encourage the talent of youth, the duo’s already released one of the best videos of the year via their devastating “Plants and Worms” clip.  This time around the formidable team of Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad eschewed the arresting animation styles of Catleya Sherbow and went the live action route with Sini Anderson. “Blah Blah Blah” starts out on a shot in front of LA’s famed The Smell (the venue where the duo met) and is split into thirds through a clever natural framing device, with Tucker and Tividad pushed off to the far sides. It’s an arresting image that immediately establishes the duo’s stylistic aesthetic, ensuring the viewers rapt attention to their movements. Before long, they’re inside and striding their way through a crowd of friends and admirers who eventually surround them as they play through the scathing, pointed “Blah Blah Blah”. It’s all beautifully lensed and impeccably edited, climaxing with a strobe-lit confetti-strewn hanging-telephone singalong to drive home an emphasis on the band’s communal aspects.

Ending with a rapid pullback that suggests the party kept going after the cameras stopped rolling, “Blah Blah Blah” becomes a cinematic testament to personal resolve and an unforgettable reminder of Girlpool’s strength. We’re lucky to have this band and should facilitate their rising profile at any given chance, if only because they’re exactly the kind of band that deserves to serve as inspiration for aspiring musicians or people who need something to believe in. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste; make sure Girlpool gets the kind of platform they deserve.

Watch “Blah Blah Blah” below and pre-order Girlpool from Wichita Recordings here.