Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: The Wisconaut

Hoop – To Know Your Tone (Stream)

As another day recedes in the rear view mirror, it’s time to take stock of the goods it provided. There were excellent tracks from The Drums, B Boys, Gold Class, Us and Us Only, Loco Ono, Turtlenecked, Institute, and an unreleased demo from Ultimate Painting. Music videos were well represented by strong pieces that sprung from the likes of The Geraldine Fibbers, The Coathangers, Nick Hakim, Tiny Hazard, HOTT MT, and Daniel Martin Moore. Bringing everything to a nice close were full streams from The Wisconaut, Emperor X, and Sophie Sputnik.

While all of those, as always, are more than worth the time anyone’s willing to invest, today’s featured slot goes to Hoop’s arresting “To Know Your Tone”, from their forthcoming Super Genuine, which features a vocal assist from solo artist Allyson Foster. In a brief explanation of the inspiration for the song’s narrative, lyricist Caitlin Roberts offered the following: “To Know Your Tone” is about the power of asking for support and receiving support, and what it’s like to listen deeply to someone you don’t know very well but empathize with strongly. It’s about allowing tears to fall on the desert of isolation. 

A perfect summation of the humanism that’s always been at the core of Hoop’s music, the explanation goes a long way in explaining the overarching message of “To Know Your Tone” but what really elevates the song is the composition. Muted, hushed, nervous, and aggressive, “To Know Your Tone” benefits from an incredibly dark tone, providing both a contrast and a context to the song’s empathetic narrative. Allyson Foster delivers the vocal with a committed certainty, consumed by the song’s inherent power.

Appropriately, Foster stepped in to sing the song when Roberts lost her voice, underscoring the message of “To Know Your Tone” to an eerie perfection. Hoop — not to be confused with Hoops — and Foster work in tandem perfectly, complementing each other’s sensibilities with ease. The end result of their collaborative effort is both a tribute and testament to the very power of collaboration and the beauty present in asking for and receiving help. A gripping meditation on therapeutic connections, “To Know Your Tone” is also one of the year’s most quietly affecting tracks.

Listen to “Know Your Tone” below and pre-order Super Genuine from the band here.

The Wisconaut – Dad (EP Review)

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This series of posts reflects back on some of the best material to be released over the past few weeks. Each post with this heading is a part of this series. After this series has concluded regular coverage will resume. 

One of the most effective ways to discover new artists is through the lens of other artists. Petite League‘s Lorenzo Cook was kind enough to provide such an introduction via a recommendation to The Wisconaut, a retro-leaning, punk-tinged basement pop project from a young Wisconsin-based musician. Dad, the project’s latest release, is a two-song EP that quickly demonstrates what makes the project so intriguing; an informed sense of musical history, a reserve of energy, and a commitment to the material, which frequently sounds like a slightly more polished take on the type of music that the Black Lips were peddling over their earliest releases.

Neither “Salt Shaker” or “Pipe Dream” exceed the two-minute mark but both songs come loaded with conviction, feeling, and an infectious lightness. Dipping into a ’50s doo-wop influence and expertly combining in with proto-punk aesthetics, The Wisconaut still manages to find a way to sound decidedly modern. The clever lyrics are well above par, the vocal melodies are earworms all on their own, and each of the songs pack enough power in their running times to start a whole host of parties. Fun, impressive, and surprisingly substantial, Dad‘s does more than enough to make sure that this won’t be the last time the name The Wisconaut is printed on these pages.

Listen to Dad below and keep an eye on this site for more updates on the project.