[EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the nature of these upcoming posts, a truncated version of this introductory paragraph will be appearing over the next several installments of this series.] It’s been quite some time since the 100th edition of Watch This went up on this site. There have been a lot of factors going into the extended interim but, as usual, a focal point of that absence was to make sure the preparation work was kept up to date. Full sessions, single song performances, DIY videos, and impressive turn-ins from radio stations abound. So, as always, sit back, adjust the setting, crank the volume, focus up, and Watch This.
1. Soul Low – Always Watchin’ Out (Radio K)
Soul Low have slowly been building up an impressive discography and staking out a respectable spot in Wisconsin’s music scene. “Always Watchin’ Out”, the lead-off track from this year’s Sweet Pea EP, is their finest moment to date. Radio K recently had the band swing by their studio to deliver a blistering take on the song, which packs even more punch live than it does on record.
2. Mikaela Davis (Consequence of Sound)
One of the most unexpected sets I saw over the course of 2015 came from harpist Mikaela Davis, who was part of Johanna Warren’s NYC release show for nūmūn. It was also one of the most beautiful. In the basement, it was just Davis– apart from a few songs she shared with Warren– playing solo. Consequence of Sound invited Davis and her full band into their treehouse for a captivating two song session that showcases the emerging songwriter’s prestigious talents.
3. PUJOL (WKNC)
Every now and then, it’s necessary to just cut loose and blow off some steam. In those moments, there are few acts who seem more naturally suited to be the soundtrack than Pujol. No-frills rock n’ roll at its finest, it’s the musical equivalent of the kind of party that doesn’t leave a trace of bitter aftertaste. In this three song spree for WKNC, the trio rips through a few highlights that are surprisingly substantial for how light and airy they appear at first glance.
4. Timeshares – Heavy Hangs (Little Elephant)
When Timeshares at their absolute best, they recall the finest moments of bands like Lucero and The Drive-By Truckers. They’ve never been better than “Heavy Hangs”, an impassioned cut from 2015’s Already Dead, the strongest record of their career. Shedding any hints of Fat Wreck influence in favor of a Southern drawl served them well on record but it works even better in performance.
5. Day Wave (KEXP)
Just as Pujol seemed perfectly suited to those perfect kind of parties, Day Wave’s locked into breezy, consequence-free days. KEXP had the band come in for a session and the young quartet capitalized in full. Here, they deliver a five song showcase of their latest material that feels as comfortably lived-in as it feels refreshing. There’s not a weak track or performance here, just an emerging act intent on making the most of any opportunity that comes their way.