Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Turn It Up

Hop Along – How Simple (Music Video)

In just a scant few days a surprisingly long list of compelling music videos have come out, bearing the names of artists like Speedy Ortiz, Holy Now, Miya Folick, Okkervil River, Covey, Marchildon!, Cherry Glazerr, MOLLY, Johanna Warren, Alice Bag, The Duke of Norfolk, LUMP, Swampmeat Family Band, Secret Colours, and Scott Matthews. While all of those are worth a handful of watches, the clip that will be focused on in this post is the one that Hop Along‘s provided for Bark Your Head Off, Dog showstopper “How Simple”.

Derrick Belcham takes the reins for the “How Simple” clip, which is a joyous celebration of identity and an homage to classic films (notably, the golden era of the movie-musical). The video also puts guitarist/vocalist Frances Quinlan front and center, marking an intriguing first for the band. Quinlan’s boundless charisma and magnetism as a perform has long been a selling point of the band’s scintillating live show but they’ve never allowed themselves such a visual spotlight in the visual release format.

The wait pays tremendous dividends here, Quinlan’s presence coming off like a sustained flash of lightning, cleverly elevated by the clip’s single-spotlight framing. All eyes are on Quinlan as the songwriter guides us through what could be a manic breakdown, a morning routine, or an extended moment of solitude. No matter which way the clip’s narrative is spun, the truth of it manages to speak volumes, punctuated by what very well wind up being the line of the year in “don’t worry, we will both find out, just not together.”

Impromptu dance parties break out, cereal gets eaten, and different figures find ways to come into focus, but when “How Simple” begins receding, those faces are left peering in from outside, with that lone spotlight still on Quinlan. It’s a moment that’s both sobering and hopeful, coming across as a testament to a well-earned understanding of the importance of self-care. Even when everything falls apart or is splintering at the seams, there are still ways to center yourself. Sometimes all it takes is the knowledge that you’re always free to dance around and pour yourself a bowl of cereal.

Watch “How Simple” below and pick up a copy of Bark Your Head Off, Dog here.

Lost Balloons – Numb (Stream)

Over the first four days of this week Grim Streaker, american poetry club, Hazel English, Ben Kastner, Wyatt Blair, Chastity Belt, See Through Dresses, Leather Girls, Big Thief, Clairo, The Baby Shakes, Terror Watts, and unhappybirthday have all unleashed outstanding songs. They weren’t the only ones, either. Lost Balloons joined in on the fun with the typically excellent “Numb”.

A project comprised of The Marked Men/Radioactivity‘s Jeff Burke and Blotto/Suspicious Beasts‘ Yusuke Okada, Lost Balloons excels in acoustic-driven basement pop, retaining all of the urgency, bite, and melodic sensibilities of the duo’s earlier projects and shaping into something less overtly aggressive. “Numb” is a perfect example of this formula, its energy seeping through the softer trappings and proving to be as infectious as anything in either songwriter’s discography. Hook after hook proves to be sharp and as soon as its over, there’s already an immediate instinct to go back to the beginning. Trust that instinct, hit repeat, and let the cycle wear itself out years down the line.

Listen to “Numb” below and pre-order Hey Summer here.

Trophy Dad/Barbara Hans (Split Single Review)

trophydad

After a quiet holiday, the releases nearly doubles from their daily average. There were great songs Amy Klein, Honeysuck, Lisa Prank, Ranch Ghost, Rosemary Fairweather, and Savoy Motel, Mesmerizing music videos were unveiled by Pinegrove, Jackal Onasis, PLGRMS, and Slow Club. Impressively, there was a shocking amount of full streams that appeared from the following artists: Erin Tobey, ghostbusters VHS, Bag-Dad, Psychic Ills, Skatebored, Rae Fitzgerald, Dream Wave, Mourn, Pudge, Whelpwisher, the A-side of Cult Values’ self-titled, PUP (easily one of this year’s finest records), and a vinyl issue of Tenement’s self-titled cassette (easily one of last year’s finest releases). Since the Tenement self-titled was extensively covered at the time of its initial cassette release, the feature spot today falls to an astonishing split single between Trophy Dad and Barbara Hans.

The split opens with Trophy Dad (pictured above), who are continued to ride a wave of momentum they generated with last year’s excellent Shirtless Algebra Fridays. 2o15 felt, in a lot of ways, like a breakout year for the quartet with Shirtless Algebra Fridays serving as their crown jewel, indicating a growing level of confidence. That trend continues its upward ascension on “Addison”, an explosive song that approaches the six minute mark without ever losing its energy or pacing. “Addison” opens with a beautiful piano outro before blooming into a Waxahatchee-esque verse section, building to a breathtaking crest before falling away into a hypnotic middle section. Just as it seems “Addison” is content to ride out in a storm’s wake, a solo erupts and viciously cuts any semblance of serenity to shreds before returning to the more median operative mode that the first verses called home.

Bundt Cakes“, the song that Barbara Hans contribute to the split, is a far spikier and complements the impressive dynamics of “Addison” nicely. Barbara Hans specialize in basement pop rave-ups and stompers and “Bundt Cakes” may be their best to date, incessantly surging forward towards some unknown ending like its destined for a fiery wreck and openly embraced its own death. Just as it seems Barbara Hans are content to coast on their own adrenaline-generating powerpunk, they veer sharply left into a chaotic outro that could ostensibly resemble a free-form Sonic Youth noise session. It’s a thrilling end to an exhilarating song and makes a sizable impression. Paired with “Addison”, it experiences a natural elevation (and “Addison”, in turn, does the same). It’s the perfect capper to one of the best split singles of the year. Don’t miss out.

Listen to Trophy Dad/Barbara Hans below and pick it up here.