Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: trash

Watch This: Vol. 108

Once again, there’s been a brief interim since the last Watch This was posted but, as ever, a lot of great material has surfaced in that time. In this volume, there will be an emphasis on full sessions and artists who have made numerous appearances on the site over its two years of existence. All five of these artists have earned glowing reviews for their live shows and are, in a lot of ways, inextricably connected to Heartbreaking Bravery’s development. Only one of these clips is a performance of a standalone song and it’s one of the most gripping live captures of the year. So, as always, sit up, wind down, focus, adjust the settings, and Watch This.

1. All Dogs (Audiotree)

Watching All Dogs‘ exposure explode in 2015 thanks to the release of their extraordinary full-length debut, Kicking Every Day, felt genuinely gratifying. The songs in that collection, like any Maryn Jones-led project, feel brave and personal. Every song is relatable to an extent that’s almost painful; our own damage is reflected in Jones’ interior grappling, which suffuses every ounce of Kicking Every Day. In a live setting, those songs gain even more impact and Audiotree expertly captures that with  this very worthy session.

2. Bully (KEXP)

One of the first shows I saw after moving into an apartment in Brooklyn was thanks to a tweet that sent me sprinting towards Rough Trade. What followed was a whirlwind set by site favorites Bully, that largely pulled from their outstanding Feels Like. KEXP recently hosted the band for an in-studio session that once again finds the band nailing the seemingly paradoxical marriage between sounding polished and downright ragged. Exhilarating and fairly composed, it’s a fascinating look at one of 2015’s most deserving success stories.

3. Waxahatchee (Ithaca Underground)

Katie Crutchfield has been one of the most consistently enthralling songwriters of the past 10 years, elevating a staggering number of projects that have managed to find a near-reverential status among their respective communities and beyond. Eventually, that devotion spread outward and expanded into national recognition only shortly after her first collection as WaxahatcheeAmerican  Weekend, was released. Crutchfield’s released two more records under that moniker (and a few as half of Great Thunder) in the time that’s followed, with both Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp finding spots in numerous best-of lists at high-profile publications. Here, Ithaca Underground presents Crutchfield performing an arresting (and beautifully shot) solo set that leaves the audience speechless. It’s a powerful document of an artist who continues to find new ways to impress.

4. Dilly Dally (KEXP)

Dilly Dally came into 2015 riding a wave of buzz surrounding the staggering brilliance of their first few singles and capitalized on those early flashes of potential with ferocious abandon. Nearly every item the band released this year wound up inspiring several paragraphs worth of attention from this site and a few extremely strong reviews for their inspired (and, frankly, inspiring) live shows. Sore, their full-length debut, just served as the cherry on top of an already-appealing sundae. KEXP recently brought the band in for a full session and they responded in kind, gifting the studio an appropriately searing performance.

5. Saintseneca – How Many Blankets Are In The Wolrd? (ANTI-) 

Throughout 2015, ANTI- has produced some of the most beautiful live clips in recent memory (a handful of which have been prominently featured in this series) and that streak continues with this beautiful presentation of Saintseneca‘s Zac Little performing “How Many Blankets Are In The World?” while walking through what appears to be a drainpipe. Easily one of the year’s most gorgeous live captures, this is both a spellbinding performance and a masterclass in composition. Even when Little’s plunged into near-complete darkness, the song itself serves as the clip’s functioning heart, generating a thoughtful overall effect. When Little finally emerges back into the light, it’s a sequence that feels oddly moving, finalizing this as one of the year’s most complete offerings in this category.

Tweens – Forever (Music Video)

From the top: apologies are in order for one of the longest hiatuses this place has been pushed into since it came into being last October. There were conflicts that needed resolving (and some that continue to need resolving) that forced a delay. These situations always carry a duality of good and bad with them and the former category is what will be emphasized here. Yes, there was lots of lost time- but that just means a collection of riches to post about in several long sprees. The days following this post should see multiple articles until the 1:1 day-post ratio is restored. While soundcloud is still experiencing issues from the heartbleed virus, the first batch of new content will be largely occupied by the music videos that have come out in the past week or so and Tweens‘ “Forver” may just be the best of the bunch.

Tweens is also now officially out on Frenchkiss records and slays just as hard as everyone expected it would. Filled to the brim with a glam-spiked retro sugar-rush, the trio’s debut is the fullest realization of their alluring basement pop aesthetic to date. While the whole thing is worth wearing out over the course of however long the warm weather lasts, “Forever” is one of the record’s most scorching high points- and the Joe Castrucci-directed music video captures its mood perfectly. Putting a fun twist on the prom theme, the video revels in its clever concept and offers up an endless barrage of great moments (personal favorite: a cop chases a skateboarder who eventually drops a case worth of PBR’s into a freezer and all are taken immediately). While all the low-stakes insanity unfolds on the dance floor, the band’s on stage urging everyone on and having the time of their lives.

Tweens is the feel-good record of the year and “Forever” continues its roll out campaign in grand tradition. Watch it below and pick it up as soon as possible- it’s a must-own.