Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: sunglasses

Sulky Boy – Things Betwixt (Stream)

sulky boy

Over the course of the past week, I’ve been collecting music as it comes while also preparing for a move halfway across the country. A lot of things have caught my attention in that time and tonight I’ll be highlighting three tracks, each coming equipped with a list of 15 highlights that- if time wasn’t an issue- would all have been expanded on a lot further than just a link. Unfortunately, time can be a severe limitation and- all things considered- forces this brief reformatting of the site’s usual design. On the upside, the three songs that do get featured are three of the strongest in recent memory, starting with “Things Betwixt”, an extremely limited lathe cut from Dan Taylor’s Sulky Boy project.

Like seemingly everything else coming out of Art Is Hard these days, “Things Betwixt” is scrappy, winsome, and effortlessly charming. Weathered, familiar, and presented with a vision that feels singular, it’s the kind of song that has the potential to build a career. With Sulky Boy well on its way to achieving a much greater visibility. Rambling along at a mid-tempo pace, it feels almost as if the whole thing is a stream-of-consciousness outpouring that manages to convey the lengths of Taylor’s considerable charisma. Ostensibly a song about loss, it’s grounded in Taylor’s weary vocal delivery, rendering it an unflinching look at what it means to be human. Presented as part of Art Is Hard’s The Hard Cut Record Club series- and complete with an inspired art design- it’s one of 2015’s more stunning niche releases.

Listen to “Things Betwixt” below and keep an eye on Art Is Hard’s store for more releases (the limited run of “Things Betwixt” is already sold out). Beneath the embed, enjoy a list of 15 songs to emerge from the past week and a half that deserve hearing.

Less Win – Bayonet
The Boys – Us
Ampline – It Will Evaporate
Negative Scanner – Would You Rather
Jawbreaker Reunion – Your X
Beach Moon/Peach Moon – Philosophy At 23 At 24
Nervosas – Night Room
The Fresh & Only’s – Sunglasses
It Looks Sad. – Creature
Edward R. – Wolves and the Water
Jade The Moon – 5 6 7 8
Gnarwhal – Have Fun Tomorrow From Ozzy/Stella
Heaven’s Gate – Amanda Berry
Future Death – Cerebral Scuzz
Phil Cook – Great Tide

Dead Stars – Someone Else (Music Video)

Old Flame Records continue to build themselves one hell of a catalog. Next month the label will be releasing what looks to be the umpteenth great record in the past few years that they can lay claim to; this time around it’s Dead Stars’ Slumber. They’d already teased Slumber with “Crawl”, an undeniably great basement pop song that owed a debt to the late 80’s/early 90’s SST scene as much as what was happening at that time over in New York. A little scuzz and a lot of melody is a happy meeting point to arrive at and it’s where Dead Stars find themselves once again with “Someone Else”. This time around, they’ve paired that song with a decidedly lo-fi video that winks at a long list of their influences. Micah Weisberg and Bill Dvorak directed the clip, which looks like it was shot on Super 8, and features the band miming the song in locations that range from a basketball court to a gas station to a food truck. Improbably, it comes off as more charming than tired, and suits the song nicely. Aspiring DIY directors, look to this clip for proof that you don’t need to worry about a budget. Potential listeners, start paying attention to Dead Stars.

Watch “Someone Else” below and get in a game of pick-up basketball before the sun disappears.

Watch This: Vol. 24

Technical difficulties have struck again, forcing another late entry into the Watch This series. While it’s sincerely doubtful anyone’s growing frustrated by the lack of the regular Sunday posts for this, the schedule should be resuming soon. This is partly in thanks to the astounding influx of great material that’s been happening lately. There were enough videos to have been released in the past week and a half to warrant a double-header of Watch This, which means that Vol. 25 will be coming soon after this goes live. This installment’s fairly heavy on bands that this place has a well-documented love for. From two of the bands to make the very first 5 to See at NXNE to the very first band to ever be covered here, it feels a little bit like a family affair. It’d be next to impossible to ask for better company. So, as always, sit back, eat a pizza to drive away any lingering hangovers, relax, and Watch This.

1. Audacity – Counting the Days (Jam in the Van)

As mentioned above, Audacity were the very first band to ever be written about here at Heartbreaking Bravery. They haven’t lost a step since that feature and their songs have only grown catchier with time. More good news? Jam in the Van is back at Burgerama which means there’ll be a handful of videos that are likely going to wind up being featured here. There’s something about that combination that just works- and this is a perfect example of that.

2. Greys – Guy Picciotto (Chart Attack)

At this point, over 100 videos have been covered in Watch This. None of them have featured a performance as fiery as the one Greys turned in at Toronto’s Sonic Boom Records of this song. There really isn’t a reason not to hit play on this one. Have at it.

3. Ovlov – Moth Rock (Little Elephant)

Yes, an Ovlov song from these same sessions was just featured in the last Watch This– but “Moth Rock” was only uploaded a few days ago. It’s also impressive enough to earn itself a spot on this list. “Moth Rock” sees Ovlov operating at the absolute top of both their songwriting and live talents, making this must-watch (and must-listen) material.

4. PS I Love You – Sentimental Dishes (Chart Attack)

Judging from this video and the Greys one occupying the two slot this week, it’s fair to be jealous of just about anyone that was lucky enough to spend their Record Store Day at Toronto’s Sonic Boom Records. For the rest of us, an eternal debt of gratitude is owed to Chart Attack for being on hand to capture some of it in extraordinarily high quality. This performance of “Sentimental Dishes” only reaffirms the fact that PS I Love You need to be mentioned way more often in the “best musical duos” conversation. This is some seriously inspired work; don’t let it go unnoticed.

5. The Men – Going Down (Radio K)

The Men’s discography is remarkably consistent for how frequently the band changes their sound. There are already several arguing their most recent effort, Tomorrow’s Hits, is their high water mark. There are also several that argue it’s impossible to judge the band from the studio alone and that the songs need to be put into a live context for a more accurate test. Occasionally, those arguments crossover. It’d be difficult to find someone from either party who was disappointed with this- and it’s also a perfect way to bring the 24th installment of Watch This to a close. Enjoy!

New Swears – Midnight Lovers (Music Video)

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Junkfood Forever, Bedtime Whatever is the title of the upcoming New Swears record and “Midnight Lovers” is the first glimpse at what promises to be a raucous debauchery-fueled stomper of a record. The Ottawa quartet’s been making some waves for a while now but if the absolutely insane music video for “Midnight Lovers” is any indication, they’re about set to explode. It’d almost be a disservice to the video’s mania to attempt to confine it to something as trite as what really amounts to just a small blurb but to hell with it, let’s do it anyway.

“Midnight Lovers” as a music video is as frenetic as the song itself, suggesting both a defiant energy and a fuck-everything approach reminiscent of (really) early Black Lips. This includes, but is not limited to, rampant drug use, heavy drinking, nudity, a penchant for Jackass-style action, and the kind of fearlessness that comes with being totally willing to commit to just about anything. Balloons, guitars repurposed as snowboards, silly string, and girls in Senators shirts are all involved. There are times when it’s hard to remember this is a music video and not a collection of turn-of-the-century Thrasher clips (right down to the fisheye lens). Most importantly, it genuinely seems like the band’s having fun which is something the music video format could always use more of.

Watch “Midnight Lovers” below and then watch it again tomorrow. Junkfood Forever, Bedtime Whatever will be available on Bachelor Records at a to-be-determined mid-summer date.

Antarctigo Vespucci – I’m Giving Up On U2 (Stream)

Image of Antarctigo Vespucci - Soulmate Stuff PRE-ORDER

Well, it finally happened. Antarctigo Vespucci, the duo made up of Chris Farren (Fake Problems) and Jeff Rosenstock (Bomb the Music Industry!, solo) finally put some music out into the world. Unsurprisingly, considering the parties involved, it absolutely slays. “I’m Giving Up On U2” is every bit as enjoyable as the title suggests and sounds like early Weezer in the best way possible. There’s an infectious sense of celebration present, which is unsurprising considering how much this sounds like two great friends (who happen to be great musicians) just kicking back and having fun with each other. There’s no indication that the duo was ever aware of any expectations and as a result, wind up with something that sounds exhilarating; there are no restrictions evident in “I’m Giving Up On U2”, just a refresher on what freedom can sound like.

Going back to the early Weezer comparison, all of the hallmarks of that band’s golden era are present: the falsetto’ed backing vocals, the wiry guitar work, the thick palm mutes, the sunny melody, a subtle bit of production work, a hard-charging chorus, a massive overall sound, the ability to come across as intelligent while remaining absurdly catchy, and a delightfully askew sense of humor. There hasn’t been a song that felt as perfect for soundtracking a new start in quite some time. If all of the band’s debut, Soulmate Stuff (due out in early June via Really Records) winds up sounding like this, then it has the potential to be a serious gate-crasher come December. This is no joke- despite maybe also being the best joke of all.

Listen to “I’m Giving Up On U2” below and pre-order Soulmate Stuff here.