Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Tooth

METZ – Spit You Out (Stream)

METZ I

While there may still be a large handful of full streams to mention from 2015’s beginnings, it’s a small enough array to justify pushing off to the side for just a while. Today officially marks the return to regular coverage as an every day staple and today, more than any other day, feels like the precise right time to kick things back into high gear. While there weren’t a lot of music video that managed to sink their way in, Holy Pinto’s laid-back animated clip for “Tooth” and Oddisee’s black-and-white journey in “CounterClockwise” still constitute a strong showing for the medium. Full streams packed a little more heat in numbers, with a pair of demos coming into sharp focus, courtesy of Composite and Dominadora, respectively (a personal thanks to Pansy Twist Distro‘s Amy for tips on both). In the non-demo corners of that particular sphere, there were treasures to be found in the spiked post-punk of Bad Future‘s Nightchurch, the joyfully scattershot eclecticism of The Danger Boys’ self-titled effort, the scrappy grit of the indie pop found on VARSITY‘s most recent full-length, and Telepathic’s reassuringly brilliant Powers of Ten EP, which lessens the pain caused by the sudden departure of site favorites Bleeding Rainbow (Telepathic features members of the band).

As usual, there was a glut of incredible songs worth touching on, a few of which nearly snagged tonight’s headline. A pairing of elder statesman from the independent scene had a good day out with both Conor Oberst’s Desaparecidos marking their official return with “City on the Hill” to tease a forthcoming record (Payola) and Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan providing a reminder of why he remains one of the more influential voices in music with the lightly damaged (and wholly brilliant) “Box Batteries“.  Moon King provided alluring lilt with “Impossible“,  Town Portal took off the safety with the gnarled “Bonus Trigger“, Blank Pages blurred the line between basement pop and post-punk with “No Reception“, and 15 year-old wunderkind Billie Marten turned in a haunting folk stunner with “Heavy Weather“. Howard also turned in an arresting folk tune by way of “Religion” while Battle Ave carved out an atmospheric niche with the downtrodden “Aleph“. A trio of punk scrappers rounded things out with Hinds (formerly known as Deers) unveiling the finalized version of the slow-burning “Trippy Gum“, The Teen Age elevating the anticipation for their forthcoming record with the driving “Pieces“, and Loose Tooth wreaking all kinds of havoc with their latest, the rousing “Skinny Chewy“.

Even with all of those items coming out swinging, the day- and this piece’s focus- belongs to METZ. Arriving only a day after “Acetate” fearlessly pummeled its way onto the site’s First Quarter Highlights mixtape, “Spit You Out” comes flying off the handle, kicking down any doors that are in its path. One of the biggest criticisms METZ– the band’s acclaimed debut- faced was that it was too one-note; song structures were too similar and the band couldn’t shake its comfort zone. At the same time, praise for their live show began appearing in just about any publication that paid the band any mind. Personally, I loved the no-bullshit approach bent of their debut but “Spit You Out” does suggest the band might have latched onto something tremendously exciting by deviating from their more conventional tendencies (which aren’t really all that conventional anyway). One thing the characteristically hell-raising does do better than any of its predecessors is imitate the band’s exhilarating live show. Riding one of the band’s strangest riffs throughout the course of the song, guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins sounds as manic as ever- only relenting for a thrilling extended section that feels tuned in to what the band aims for live. Apart from that, there are a few other production flourishes here and there that suggest II, the appropriately-named album to which “Acetate” and “Spit You Out” belong, could be one of 2015’s finest releases. Noise solos, a tambourine that somehow manages to sound menacing, and a whole lot of attitude combine to serve as a warning: METZ aren’t planning on going anywhere until they finish what they started.

Listen to “Spit You Out” below and pre-order II from Sub Pop here.

PURPLE 7 – Wise Up (Stream)

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Among the few who have heard (and loved) it, there aren’t very many records to have been released since the turn of the century that can come even close to touching Hot New Mexicans’ should-be-classic self-titled sophomore effort. Hot New Mexicans was that band’s final release before their bandleader, Patrick Jennings, moved camp from Athens to Bloomington and joined up with Will Statler  (of Defiance, Ohio and Landlord) and Chris Mott (also of Landlord) to form PURPLE 7. Following their excellent five-song effort, Volume Two, the band’s released Jewel Finger in a limited edition LP run, which marks their first full-length to receive a physical release.

Quietly self-released just a little under a month ago, Jewel Finger is an absolute stunner and, from top to bottom, one of 2014’s very best. More than just a sum of the band member’s previous projects, they’ve already established an original voice of their very own. While the influences of their past work are still very clearly present, they’ve tapped into something else that feels entirely new, despite still trafficking in left field basement pop. From the attention-ensuring opening songs to the absolutely gorgeous title track and the arresting closer, this is a full-bodied work from a band confident enough to present themselves in a completely unguarded fashion. Most representative of all of this, though, is the raucous “Wise Up”.

“Wise Up” seems to stand out in a record literally full of highlights thanks to featuring an even more manic energy than the songs that surround it. From the stop/start rhythms to the buzzsaw riffs, menacing bass line, and impassioned vocal delivery, it’s the point where Jewel Finger shifts from truly great to completely transcendental. Continuously working in new ideas with verve and panache, “Wise Up” refuses to relent from being as gnarled, and as engaging, as possible. It’s the defining moment of a genuinely great record and deserves to be heard by anyone with even just a passing interest in the genre. This is a masterclass in songwriting and cements PURPLE 7’s growing importance- and reputation. Modern music doesn’t get much better than this.

Listen to “Wise Up” below and make sure to order a copy of Jewel Finger before they’re gone- this is a record that needs to be in as many collections as possible.

Mannequin Pussy – Kiss (Stream)

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Kiss Me Tender is the impending EP full of scorchers from the quickly-ascending Mannequin Pussy. While it’s already available digitally, the UK-based Crumb Cabin Records will be releasing a bundle package that pairs it with an EP from Dog Legs and comes with an accompanying zine (this package is limited to 50 copies and costs around $17 to ship to the US). So, now the big question: why should anyone care? “Kiss”, the opening track from Mannequin Pussy’s side, answers that question with no shortage of immediacy.

“Kiss” is a blistering shot of hardcore-leaning noise-punk. It’s delivered with a startling amount of conviction and self-awareness, cementing Mannequin Pussy as an act to watch. While the song’s over in 70 seconds, not a moment of it is wasted. One of the most visceral songs to emerge out of 2014, “Kiss” has no qualms about coming out swinging. Backing up the musical intensity is the directness of the incredibly arresting lyrics (that last stanza, especially, is a killer). Most importantly, it does everything an opening song’s supposed to do- and Kiss Me Tender doesn’t allow its pace to let it up once “Kiss” has set the tone for what’s to come. Stunningly unhinged, it also works as the perfect mid-release switch-over blast following Dog Legs’ excellent side (as a fun bonus, both bands cover a song from each other’s catalogs that aren’t included on the split) of the bundle package.

One of 2014’s most outstanding DIY releases, either with the bundle or without, this is a necessary item for any serious record collection.

Listen to “Kiss” below and make sure to keep both eyes peeled on Mannequin Pussy, it’s a name that should be appearing in a lot more places in a very short amount of time.