Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: Supermoon

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.

Mock Orange – Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse (Album Review)

mockorange

Over the past several days a handful of great full streams have surfaced from the likes of Cat Be Damned, Mike Adams At His Honest Weight, The Hotelier, Boys, Swanning, Supermoon, Wave ActionMagic Potion, Dead Waves, 50 Foot Wave, and Winston Hightower, in addition to an incredible four-way split between Pet Cemetery, Henoheno, Brittle Brian, and Francie Cool. While all of those have significant merit, none of them were as unexpected as Mock Orange’s tremendous new effort, Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse.

From the onset of Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse it’s clear that Mock Orange have expanded their ambition, tightened their grasp on dynamics, and honed the most compelling aspects of their craft. The record opens with the slow crescendo of the intro section of “I’m Leaving”, essentially providing a microcosm of the band’s intelligence (and penchant for subtle, tongue-in-cheek humor) right off the bat.

What follows is a cavalcade of riff-laden, punk-leaning, left field basement pop. Ultra-melodic and unflinchingly weird, Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse draws an incredible amount of strength from it’s self-assuredness in its own singular nature. Mock Orange have all but perfected a sound that’s indebted to a strain of ’90s alt. bands that have remained relatively unmined in the crowded field of emergent bands taking cues from that decade.

Bright tones and a propulsive energy define Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse even in its darkest moments, like on the bruising “Window”, imbuing the whole affair with a lively feeling that’s difficult to shake. The record rarely dips below mid-tempo, contenting itself with an operative mode that attacks far more frequently than it withdraws. “Some Say”, which arrives around the record’s halfway point, is as close to a ballad that Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse has to offer but still comes across as more outwardly aggressive than vulnerable.

“Intake” and “Tell Me Your Story” constitute the explosive 1-2 punch that closes Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse and betray the band’s debt of influence to Dinosaur Jr more than any of the eight preceding tracks. They’re gruff, bruised, gnarled slices of basement pop (in the case of the former) and basement punk (in the case of the latter) that show the band’s breadth of range in a dizzying sequence that puts the final punctuation mark on a great chapter in the band’s history. Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse is the best the band’s ever been and promises great things for their future. I, for one, look forward to the ride.

Listen to Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse below and pick it up from the band here.

Mercury Girls – Ariana (Stream)

mercury girls

Over the past two days, a whole bevvy of outstanding songs have been released. A lot of them coming from site favorites. The bands responsible for those songs included Leapling, Diarrhea Planet, METZ & Swami John Reis, Yung, Snakes, Little Scream, Weaves, Haybaby, Supermoon, Beach Skulls, Daniel Martin Moore, and Heavy Times. That small group constitutes one of the strongest small, hyperlinked fields that this site’s run in some time (and it turned selecting a song to feature in this spot into a quasi-nightmarish scenario).

In the end, after listening to all of the songs listed above multiple times (a trend that will undoubtedly continue going forward), one song managed to stand out ever-so-slightly more than the rest of the pack: Mercury Girls‘ “Ariana”.

After waltzing away with the top honors in this site’s Odds and Ends of 2015 list (thanks to their awe-inspiring Demos & Live Songs), Mercury Girls could have easily buckled under the weight of the pressure that accompanies the follow-up to a flawless release. Instead, the band’s only sharpened what made them so great from the onset: soaring, airy melodies, unbelievable dynamic work, thoughtful composition, sharp instrumental work, intuitive production, and a genuine sense of hopeless romanticism that informs every nook and cranny of their songwriting.

All of the elements that comprised the winning formula that drove Demos & Live Songs have been amplified on “Ariana” in a way that feels meaningful rather than exploitative. While it may have been tempting for the band to just focus in on one aspect of what made those songs work as well as they did, they seemed to have poured even more care and attention — if “Ariana” is any indication — into their upcoming batch of material.

From the clean tones to the surprising amount of natural punch, the bittersweet “Ariana” stands proudly as the band’s most definitive song. The guitar work’s scintillating, the rhythm section generates a tremendous amount of power, and the vocals are pure and irresistible. For a few brief moments on “Ariana”, Mercury Girls recall The Cure at their finest.

By the time the track’s entered its explosive final quarter and set every conceivable wheel into motion, the band’s managed to plant their own flag firmly into the earth. No matter how clear their influences wind up being, “Ariana” couldn’t be the product of any band other than Mercury Girls. On the A-side of their first 7″, with no full-length out, Mercury Girls have readily established themselves as one of America’s best bands. Whether or not they’ll be able to reaffirm this with their future releases remains to be seen (there have definitely been a slew of indicators that have been more than favorable) but for now, all that matters is that they’re heard.

Listen to “Ariana” below and pre-order the 7″ from the band here.

Faye – Chow Chow (Stream)

faye

April’s been a very strong month for new song releases in its early goings, this much has been evidenced by great new cuts from Supermoon, And the Kids, Mutual Benefit, Phooey!, Attic Abasement, Traitrs, Seratones, The Lees of Memory, and Leggy. All of those songs have managed to find a whole host of pleasure points and deserve the array of admiration that should be directed their way. Another song worthy of praise is the one that this post was constructed to feature: Faye’s brooding post-punk dirge “Chow Chow”.

A sludgy bass line and a dissonant guitar part kick things off before the song blooms into a punchy pop-skewing number lamenting the lack of anything noticeably unique in daily, run-of-the-mill livelihood. Towards the end of the chorus section, “Chow Chow” betrays Faye’s desire for adventure and their refusal to accept status quos, a common admirable trait in emerging bands worth their salt. Over the course of a scant two minutes (and some change), Faye make their mark and take a shot at genuine longevity. “Chow Chow” ensure their place as a band to watch.

Listen to “Chow Chow” below and pre-order Faye here.