Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Virgin

Cende – Don’t Want To (Stream, Live Video)

The past four days have brought in a wave of excellent tracks from a variety of artists, Jet TrashMichael NauBjørn Torske & Prins Thomas, Single Mothers, Standard Legal, Yazz Ahmed, Hundredth, Pat Keen, Passion Pusher, Pet Cemetery, Gallery 47, Lando Chill, and Lød all among that extensive list. Cende also made another appearance with a third glimpse at the band’s forthcoming debut full-length, #1 Hit Song, and secured yet another feature on this site with the explosive basement pop of “Don’t Want To.”

In under 100 seconds, Cende manages to make yet another strong impression, this time emphasizing their more punk influences rather than scaling them back. It’s an effect that goes a long way in creating both energy and momentum, leaving “Don’t Want To” feeling surprisingly vital and a little volatile in the process. Guitarist/vocalist Cameron Wisch once again centers the narrative on self-doubt, self-deprecation, and self-awareness, which remains an intensely relatable combination. As sharp as both “Bed” and “What I Want“, “Don’t Want To” all but cements the lingering feeling that #1 Hit Song will wind up among the year’s best records.

Listen to “Don’t Want To” below (and watch the band rip through the song and an as-of-yet unreleased song beneath the initial embed) and pre-order #1 Hit Song from Double Double Whammy here.

The Libertines – Heart of the Matter (Stream)

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Not a lot of new material finds release on a major holiday, though sometimes an item or two manages to slip through the cracks and arrive to little fanfare. It also affords the unique possibility to scour the previous weeks’ offerings for the small releases. In the case of the latter, two submissions made it a little easier and produced two full-lengths worth exploring in Phooey!’s latest ambitious collection songs for my little brother and Govier’s understated gem Hermit Crab. As for the former, there was a lovely short documentary on St. Vincent and another exhilarating song to be released in advance of The Libertines’ comeback album.

Normally, the attention would have fallen to Govier or Phooey!’s releases, considering the considerable magnitude of the other two acts’ recognition levels but now seemed like a good a time as any to honor the profound impact The Libertines had on shaping my musical tastes and preferences. They’re responsible for two of the best full-lengths in the past 15 years in Up the Bracket (their fiery, us-against-everyone debut) and The Libertines (their shattering us-against-each-other diarist masterpiece). If the quartet would have bowed out after their self-titled, it would have been understandable- all of the reasons for the split had been aired and confined to the record. It’s that context which makes the news of their return the second most surprising thing about their recent reunion. The first? It’s mixture of vitality and preservation of quality.

Both of those elements can be witnessed in the band’s latest single, which was quietly released earlier this afternoon. “Heart of the Matter”, like the few tracks that have already acted as teasers in Anthems for Doomed Youth‘s rollout, is a rollicking mid-tempo number that packs a deceptively emotional punch. At this stage in the band’s push back towards reclaiming their relevancy, it’s abundantly clear that the band’s treating this like so much more than a staid cash-grab attempt. All of the their recent songs have sounded heartfelt but this one sounds deeply impassioned; they’ve got more things to say and are kicking things into high gear as a sort of self-flagellation for abandoning the project the first time around.

Swinging back and forth between the band’s most effective atmosphere (bittersweet) and one that’s characteristically chaotic, “Heart of the Matter” plays out like a well-earned, albeit surprisingly late, victory lap. That being said, it doesn’t feel like a legacy statement at all- it’s far too focused and hungry to be equated to an epilogue. Once again, the band finds a way to strike the perfect complementary balance between Pete Doherty’s gift for hard-won levity and Carl Barât’s penchant for commentary and determination, with the two trading off vocal leads like its second nature.

While “Heart of the Matter” feels like an on-the-nose title considering what’s ostensibly the band’s aim, it plays out so honestly that even that winds up carrying an additional meaning. Layered meaning has always been one of the biggest pulls of The Libertines’ sensibility, nullifying the more undesirable aspects of their roguish image and revealing a startling underlying intellect. It’s an element that’s still very present in their work and “Heart of the Matter” is the best example of the band’s current era to have been released to the public. Wry, meaningful, and an unshakable statement, it’s more than enough reason to be excited to have one of the last truly great rock n’ roll bands back in our midst.

Listen to “Heart of the Matter” below and pre-order Anthems for Doomed Youth here.