Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: Split Single

The Best Music Videos of 2017’s First Quarter

Being the type of place that’s always been as concerned with film (even if it hasn’t always been so visible in print) as new music releases, music videos occupy a special distinction. To that effect, it’s probably not too surprising that 50 clips are featured in this piece. Some being celebrated for the technicality present in the filmmaking, some for being a perfectly complementary marriage of sight and sound, and some for being commendable takes on the source material. Lyric videos, music videos, and interactive videos are all represented below in the featured videos, split up into two playlists. This is a very varied package celebrating a large handful of some of the best independent-minded artists and filmmakers currently gifting their efforts to the world at large. Dive in and enjoy.

PART I

1. Charly Bliss – Percolator
2. Doe – Monopoly
3. Hiccup – Teasin’
4. Meat Wave – Run You Out
5. Pissed Jeans – The Bar Is Low
6. Cloud Nothings – Internal World
7. Yeesh – End Results
8. Parquet Courts – Outside
9. Cayetana – Mesa
10. PWR BTTM – Answer My Text
11. Yucky Duster – Elementary School Dropout
12. Beachheads – Moment of Truth
13. Kane Strang – Oh So You’re Off I See
14. Billy Moon – I W K
15. Idles – Mother
16. Cass McCombs – I’m A Shoe
17. Angel Olsen – Pops
18. Ruth Carp and the Fish Heads – I’m So Scared
19. Dominic – Emotional Businessman
20. R Ring – Cutter
21. Zuzu – What You Want
22. Snail Mail – Thinning
23. CARE – Solitude
24. WHY? – This Ole King
25. Mount Eerie – Ravens

++

PART II

1. Jeff Rosenstock – Pash Rash
2. Alexander F – Call Me Pretty
3. Idles – Stendahl Syndrome
4. Split Single – Untry Love
5. Tim Darcy – Still Waking Up
6. Diet Cig – Tummy Ache
7. R Ring – 100 Dollar Heat
8. Poppies – Mistakes
9. PWR BTTM – Big Beautiful Day
10. LVL UP – Blur
11. Sløtface – Empire Records
12. Vundabar – Shuffle
13. WHY? – Proactive Evolution
14. Vallens – Sin So Vain
15. Baked – Danelectroladyland
16. Tashaki Miyaki – City
17. Girlpool – 123
18. Chemtrails – Aeons
19. Summer Twins – Stop & Go
20. John Andrews & The Yawns – Drivers
21. The Chinchees – Gorp
22. Mo Troper – Cooler
23. Conor Oberst – Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out
24. Strand of Oaks – Cry
25. Craig Finn – God In Chicago
*

Nothing Stops In November: The Month’s Full Streams

A lot changed over the course of November, on national, global, and intimate scales. The results of the latter category led to a near-absence of posts over the past 30 days on this space. No matter how much the personal landscape changed, the tracking of new releases remained a constant. While the last post documented some of the best music videos to emerge over the course of that run, the attention here falls to the full streams that were unveiled in that same interim.

As is typically the case with these types of roundups, everything here deserves more praise than it can possibly receive here and is likely best sifted through at a leisurely pace. Feel free to bookmark the page and make return visits to hear some outstanding music because these aren’t releases that people will want to miss. Dive in and enjoy. 

Permit, Lawn, Swampmeat, Minihorse, Deerhoof, RetailThe Momotarōs, Spelling Reform, Very Fresh, Dark Blue, Skin Lies, Nine of Swords, Harmony Tividad, Miracle Sweepstakes, Monomyth, Pure Moods, if i die in mississippi, Mustardmind, Frank Weysos, Tuffy, Dr. Dog, Jess Williamson, Pastel Felt, Floating Room, Mark Sultan, Landing, Psychic Love, His Clancyness, Blank Range, Dogs At Large, Mr. Universe, Carroll, Warm Ouroboros, NGHTCRWLRS, Ava Mendoza/Maxime Petit/Will Guthrie, You Blew It.

Burial, Justin Carter, Cold Country, Gloria, Brave Timbers, Split Single, Amp, Deadaires, Cameron AG, Estrons, The Superweaks, My Education, Genders, Elle, Perfect Human, Fujiya & Miyagi, The Immoderate Past, Holy Golden, and Quit + Wuss. An outstanding GoldFlakePaint compilation and an exceptional Z Tapes compilation rounded things out in memorable fashion.

The Proper Ornaments – Memories (Stream)

the-proper-ornaments

Tuesday brought some outstanding streams from Split Single, Deerhoof, Leapling, Low Leaf, Doby Watson, Hellrazor, and Girl Tears. In addition to those titles, there were exceptional music videos that arrived via Shugo Tokumaro, Lisa Prank, Toy Cars, Quin Galavis, Safe To Say, and Johnny Foreigner while Pet Grief held down the fort for the full stream category. The Proper Ornaments snagged the day’s featured slot with the slow-burning “Memories”, extending the extraordinary winning streak that site favorites Slumberland Records have managed to string together this year.

James Hoare and Max Claps have quietly put together an incredibly impressive discography that’s never received quite as much attention as it so richly deserves. Hoare’s received a lot of attention for the work the songwriter’s put in with Veronica Falls (and occasionally Ultimate Painting) yet The Proper Ornaments have still managed to fly decidedly under the radar, despite Slumberland’s involvement and the project’s pedigree. “Memories” may be the song that provides that trend a welcome course-correction.

Keying in on the pyschedelic and pop influences of a bygone era, The Proper Ornaments have crafted a gently mesmerizing gem in “Memories”. It’s an approach that laces their material with tints of nostalgia, creating an infallible sense of warmth and comfort in the process. Virtually every second of the song’s 5:45 runtime is injected with genuine care and feeling. As a lead-off track for the rollout campaign of their forthcoming record, Foxhole, “Memories” is an incredibly tantalizing work. In demonstrating what The Proper Ornaments are capable of at their peak, it’s immensely assuring and propels the song to the ranks of 2016’s finest.

Listen to “Memories” below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on Foxhole.

LVL UP – Spirit Was (Stream)

LVL UP II

The first two days of this week saw strong songs released from the following artists: Painted Zeros, Sneaks, Devon Welsh, Cheap Girls, Lilac Daze, Casper Skulls, Dweller on the Threshold, Idiot Genes, gobbinjr, Faux Ferocious, Halfsour, Pip Blom, Elephants, Split Single, Rose Hip, Weyes Blood, Thick, Cameron AG, Preoccupations, Oldermost, Tim Hecker, The Shacks, Swet Shop Boys, The Cradle, Gallery 47, Monomyth, Robot Princess, Pumarosa, COPY, decker., Slaughter Beach, Dog, and The Perennials, as well as a great Modern Lovers cover from Sunflower Bean. That’s an intense amount of genuinely exceptional material, which says a lot about the strength of this post’s featured track: LVL UP‘s “Spirit Was”.

Pain” and “Hidden Driver” have set an impressive early tone for LVL UP’s forthcoming Return to Love — an easy album of the year candidate — and now “Spirit Was” joins their ranks. From its opening seconds, it’s evident that “Spirit Was” would be foregoing the heaviness of “Pain” and the urgency of “Hidden Driver” in favor of the more dream-like qualities that have given previous tracks like “Proven Water Rites” a tremendous amount of impact, despite their more serene nature.

As was the case with “Proven Water Rites”, bassist Nick Corbo is at the helm of “Spirit Was”, suffusing the tune with a distinctive blend of weariness, downtrodden longing, and a glimmer of faith in the possibility that there’s more to life than struggle. Like a lot of Return to Love (which can be streamed upon pre-order), “Spirit Was” showcases a heavier, grunge-leaning side of LVL UP that they’d only shown glimpses of in their earlier works. There’s a genuinely intangible quality to this song that elevates it beyond being a good song and transforms it into something impossibly compelling.

Every single second of “Spirit Was” seems to have an incalculable depth of meaning and importance to its authors, going far deeper than just the narrative. LVL UP are playing as if the stakes are life or death and they’re hedging all of their bets on survival, at all costs. From the very welcome addition — and surprising prominence — of piano flourishes to the empathetic rhythm section work to the intuitive guitar interplay, there’s not a false move to be found. It’s an astonishing moment of poise from a band that’s operating at the peak of their powers, paying tribute to their past while not taking their eyes off of the future.

By its end, “Spirit Was” serves as an incredibly assured testament to the artistic prowess that the band’s attained over several years of evolving their craft.  None of them have ever sounded more impressive than they do on Return to Love both in an individual capacity and as a unit. “Spirit Was” is a perfect example of that progress and a cogent argument for their tenacious commitment to artistic growth. Subdued, atmospheric, and oddly reassuring, “Spirit Was” is the sound of a band on the verge of perfection. It’s a peak that deserves to be experienced by everyone so stop reading now and just hit play.

Listen to “Spirit Was” below and pre-order Return to Love from Sub Pop here.

Trophy Dad/Barbara Hans (Split Single Review)

trophydad

After a quiet holiday, the releases nearly doubles from their daily average. There were great songs Amy Klein, Honeysuck, Lisa Prank, Ranch Ghost, Rosemary Fairweather, and Savoy Motel, Mesmerizing music videos were unveiled by Pinegrove, Jackal Onasis, PLGRMS, and Slow Club. Impressively, there was a shocking amount of full streams that appeared from the following artists: Erin Tobey, ghostbusters VHS, Bag-Dad, Psychic Ills, Skatebored, Rae Fitzgerald, Dream Wave, Mourn, Pudge, Whelpwisher, the A-side of Cult Values’ self-titled, PUP (easily one of this year’s finest records), and a vinyl issue of Tenement’s self-titled cassette (easily one of last year’s finest releases). Since the Tenement self-titled was extensively covered at the time of its initial cassette release, the feature spot today falls to an astonishing split single between Trophy Dad and Barbara Hans.

The split opens with Trophy Dad (pictured above), who are continued to ride a wave of momentum they generated with last year’s excellent Shirtless Algebra Fridays. 2o15 felt, in a lot of ways, like a breakout year for the quartet with Shirtless Algebra Fridays serving as their crown jewel, indicating a growing level of confidence. That trend continues its upward ascension on “Addison”, an explosive song that approaches the six minute mark without ever losing its energy or pacing. “Addison” opens with a beautiful piano outro before blooming into a Waxahatchee-esque verse section, building to a breathtaking crest before falling away into a hypnotic middle section. Just as it seems “Addison” is content to ride out in a storm’s wake, a solo erupts and viciously cuts any semblance of serenity to shreds before returning to the more median operative mode that the first verses called home.

Bundt Cakes“, the song that Barbara Hans contribute to the split, is a far spikier and complements the impressive dynamics of “Addison” nicely. Barbara Hans specialize in basement pop rave-ups and stompers and “Bundt Cakes” may be their best to date, incessantly surging forward towards some unknown ending like its destined for a fiery wreck and openly embraced its own death. Just as it seems Barbara Hans are content to coast on their own adrenaline-generating powerpunk, they veer sharply left into a chaotic outro that could ostensibly resemble a free-form Sonic Youth noise session. It’s a thrilling end to an exhilarating song and makes a sizable impression. Paired with “Addison”, it experiences a natural elevation (and “Addison”, in turn, does the same). It’s the perfect capper to one of the best split singles of the year. Don’t miss out.

Listen to Trophy Dad/Barbara Hans below and pick it up here.

First Quarter Clips, Pt. 3 (Video Mixtape)

static

The fact that it’s been a great year for music videos has been stated- and subsequently reiterated- on this site multiple times over. It’s an unavoidable truth and the evidence in its favor continues to mount. While Part 3 (and the fourth collection) brings the featured 2015 music video total to an excess of 100, that number’s fully warranted by the material below. Due to a handful of these clips being Vimeo-only titles, tonight’s video mixtape is presented through a case-by-case basis. No accompanying text is given to the individual titles but most wind up saying more for themselves than I ever could. From familiar faces to determined upstarts to established entities, there’s a lot to mull over. Whether it’s Jack White temporarily negating seemingly everyone’s conflicted feelings with a masterfully-executed experimental interactive video (follow the link for the interactive clip, the animated version’s embedded in the list) or LVL UP getting hit in the face with steaks in slow motion, the 25 videos below are a testament to the creative spirit currently driving the contemporary state of this particular visual medium. Also: even more puppets. Watch all of the clips below, buy the records from the bands you like, and keep an eye on this site for the final installment of this series for the foreseeable future. Enjoy!

COLLECTION IV

1. LVL UP – DBTS

2. The Spirit of the Beehive – I Smell Bud

3. Happyness – A Whole New Shape

4. Timeshares – The Bad Parts

5. The Menzingers – Where Your Heartache Exists 


6. Spoonboy – The Dispossessed

7. Honduras – Mistake

8. Jack White – That Black Bat Licorice

9. Deerhoof – Tiny Bubbles

10. Celestial Shore – Now I Know

11. Erase Errata – History of Handclaps

12. Grooms – Doctor M

13. Swimsuit Issue – Break

14. Screaming Females – It’s Not Fair

15. Ex-Cult – Clinical Study

16. Andy Gabbard – More

17. Split Single – Fragmented World

18. Flesh Lights – Free Yourself

19. Programm – Like the Sun

20. Rule of Thirds – Fingerprints

21. Spirit Club – Still Life



22. Title Fight – Rose of Sharon

23. Drenge – We Can Do What We Want

24. Interpol – Everything Is Wrong

25. Choir Vandals – Monsters

Girlpool – Plants And Worms (Music Video)

gp

A lot has happened in the four-day leave that this site took- a leave that officially ends with this post- and there are so many things to cover. It’d be foolish to pretend that this week didn’t just belong to Sleater-Kinney, who released a career-spanning box set, a new single (that was accompanied by a lyric video), and announced their official return. As tempting as it was to take a stab at waxing poetic over everything that band and their return means, their reputation’s already been earned and a million similarly-minded sites will be doing that in the weeks to come. Instead, today’s light will be shined elsewhere and ultimately fall on the band that’s earned the most mentions on this site without ever getting the feature spot. Before Girlpool gets their well-deserved due, though, all three of the regular fields will be recapped, in the order that follows: single stream, full stream, and music video.

Legendary Wings teased their upcoming basement punk ripper Do You See with the excellent “Weather Advisory” while Kal Marks did the same for their forthcoming EP with the forward-thinking bruiser “Zimmerman“. Portastatic proved they haven’t lost a step with the surprisingly great indie pop tune “Hey Salty” and Mitski‘s lead-up campaign for Bury Me At Makeout Creek remained perfect with the entrancing “I Will“. VLMA’s “Slime” and Cellphone‘s “Bad Medusa” were both post-punk stompers good enough to snag each act a handful of new followers. Chris Weisman celebrated the completion of his long-gestating album Monet In The 90‘s by previewing the record with the quietly mesmerizing “Working On My Skateboarding“. Vacation put forth an incredible Jesus And Mary Chain cover, Dirt Dress continued their impressive evolution with “Twelve Pictures“, and Caddywhompus continued extending what have become increasingly massive creative strides with the near-perfect “Entitled“. Davila 666 unveiled the tantalizing “Primero Muertas” in advance of their upcoming record, Pocos Años, Muchos Daños, just as Parts & Labor offered a glimpse at their upcoming record, Receivers, with the outstanding “Nowehre’s Nigh“. Art Is Hard’s Pizza Club series entered its final stretch with Broadbay’s newest noise-punk excursion “Plasticine Dream“, Primitive Parts made a rousing case for being a band to watch out for with “The Bench“, and Wildhoney became the latest act on the stacked Deranged roster to start breaking through on the strength of their towering shoegaze number “Fall In“. Circulatory System turned a few heads with the noise-damaged psych-pop of “It Never Made A Sound” and site favorites Saintseneca released a lovely Lucinda Williams cover. To round things out in the more ambient-leaning fields, there was a stunner from James Blake and a gentle new piece from The Greatest Hoax that easily swam its way into the realms of the sublime.

As for full streams, most of the talk in regards to this week will be dominated by the year-end-bound RTJ2, which is to be fully expected when a sophomore effort absolutely topples its heavily acclaimed predecessor- but don’t let that distract from a slew of other investment-worthy releases. Lace Curtains’ A Signed Piece of Paper also managed to exceed the record it follows in terms of artistic merit- which is a trait that it shares with The Twilight Sad’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave. The Unicorns’ Nick Thorburn made his uniquely charming score for the SERIAL podcast available via bandcamp and Fleeting Youth Records made their essential 33-track Blooming (A Fuzz-Fucked Compilationmixtape (which more than lives up to its name) available for streaming via soundcloud. French For Rabbits premiered their arresting folk-inflected Spirits over at Stereogum while NPR’s First Listen series hosted the premiere of Medicine‘s extraordinary Home Everywhere. The Omecs crafted a winsome throwback punk record which they’re now streaming on their bandcamp. Another record to be released via bandcamp, spit’s Getting Low, came dangerously close to being today’s feature by virtue of being a masterful work from an extremely promising songwriter (John Romano) that expertly straddles a curious line between Exploding in Sound and Orchid Tapes. Easily one of this month’s most fascinating records, it’s currently available over at bandcamp for a generous name-your-price fee. Don’t hesitate; this is music worth being in a wide array of collections.

In the music video category, Hurry had a blast with their clever clip for “Oh Whitney“, Dilly Dally got shrouded in smoke for “Candy Mountain“, and S gave the Tacocat bassist some peace of mind in the video for “Vampires“.  Ought danced their hearts out in “New Calm, Pt. 2“, Thurston Moore conducted a nightmarish clip for “Speak to the Wild” (Los Angeles Police Department’s woodland excursion for “Enough Is Enough” was far less menacing), and Split Single inverted normalcy with their positioning for “Monolith“. Broken Water set things up with no shortage of caution in “Love and Poverty“, The Coathangers cheekily provided what’s ostensibly both a puppet-centric video and a left-field visual tour diary in “Drive“, and Beverly cemented their beautiful stylistic approach to the music video format with “Yale’s Life“. DTCV mined a bevvy of filmic influences and utilized them to perfection for “Electrostatic, Inc.” while Public Access TV took a similar route for “In The Mirror“.  Allo Darlin’ kept things amusingly (and effectively) simple for “Bright Eyes“, Nano Kino set the airy “New Love” to a hypnotic visual collage, and Mannequin Pussy remained as energetic and unapologetic as ever with their lo-fi production for “My Baby (Axe Nice)“.

Now, that’s a lot of material to go through for just about anyone but none of those items hit with as hard of an impact as Girlpool‘s absolutely devastating animated video for “Plants and Worms”. From this video alone, it’s shockingly easy to see why such a huge subset of journalists and musicians have latched onto Girlpool so fiercely; their world-weariness, entirely relatable socio-political commentary, and compositional skills all suggest both an age and stage of career that’s vastly accelerated from the actuality of their current positions. The duo, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad (17 & 18 years of age, respectively), are moving at an accelerated pace- release follows release, idea follows idea, and there’s barely any time for an active listener to breathe. Impressively, all of those pieces carry their own distinct identity and they’re frequently accompanied by weighty topics that most songwriters experience an immense struggle to present without tipping into the cloying or cliché. It can be hard to resist the temptation of excess when dealing with important messages and this is where Girlpool excels; not only are their thoughts presented articulately- they’re presented in a manner that’s plaintive enough to be devoid of any easy derision. There’s a deep-rooted humanism and empathy that’s present in their work which is something that will always be admirable- and in their deceptively minimal compositions, the music carries the burden of the weight of those topics to a degree that seems to mirror the band’s inherent level of mutual support.

For “Plants and Worms” they wound up pairing with illustrator Catleya Sherbow, whose art here also acts as a double for Girlpool’s processes. In the Rookie premiere of “Plants and Worms”, Tucker and Tividad give an interview that lends some insight to their history, ideals, and intentions, while revealing that “Plants and Worms” is about accepting the world and how much it has to offer once fear and trepidation is reduced to the point of near-elimination. Neither get any more specific than that- but they don’t need to because the illustration makes a variety of specific instances of everyday fear entirely evident: body image issues, self-image, depression, loneliness, and self-destruction. In Sherbow’s illustrations, everything’s presented as it would be in a children’s book; there’s a soft quality that undercuts the severity of the video’s implications providing a thoughtful contrast that suggests the darkest aspects of the song are universal- but also definitively states that they can be overcome. It’s a crushingly powerful video that becomes impossible to shake after one watch and positions Girlpool in the unlikely position of being a young duo who could (reasonably) become two of this generation’s sharpest social commentators. “Plants and Worms” is likely just the beginning- and it’s already too important to miss.

Watch “Plants and Worms” below and pre-order Girlpool (the EP which “Plants and Worms” is taken from) from Wichita here.