Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: warm

La Sera – Fall In Place (Music Video)

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La Sera’s Hour of the Dawn asounds like summer. It’s also the best album Katy Goodman (ex-Vivan Girls, All Saints Day) has ever crafted. A big part of this is thanks to the explosive fretwork that comes courtesy of new guitarist Todd Wisenbaker, which helps lend the record quite a bit of an explosiveness. Every track on the record is a vibrant little triumph that stays just understated enough to avoid tipping over into grandiosity. One of the best examples of this is “Fall In Place”, a song that boasts an incredibly sweet chorus and keeps itself grounded with some astoundingly warm verses. Actually, come to think of it, warmth may be the record’s defining characteristic; the tones, the atmosphere, the arrangements, and the delivery- all of it feels welcoming and familiar. In that respect, “Fall In Place” may be Hour of the Dawn‘s defining song and the video matches it perfectly. The Michael Erik Nikolla-directed clip consists of nothing more than Goodman and Wisenbaker walking down a closed-off street with their dog and a crew that consistently switches out Wisenbaker’s guitar(s), it’s decidedly more slice-of-life than Big Moment- and it’s all the better for it.

Watch “Fall In Place” below and take a long walk in the sun at the next available opportunity.

Pretty Pretty – Leather Weather (Stream)

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Pretty Pretty has been a name that’s appearing with greater frequency in the “bands to follow” conversation. Apart from their blistering 2012 demo, the band hasn’t released any music. That’s changing soon with the release of their upcoming Leather Weather 7″. From the early sounds of it- and from the way the band’s been playing live– their band’s not going anywhere soon. They’ve upped their fidelity and tightened up their songcraft, as a result their music feels more vibrantly alive than sterile. “Leather Weather” was an easy highlight from their recent set with Swearin’ and the recorded version holds up. All sunny melodies and hard-charging punk-tinged powerpop, the song’s sharp teeth show through its disarming smile. A guitar solo cuts its way into the mix at around the halfway point and reinvigorates the whole thing just as it should be getting old. Following that, the song’s explosive second half indulges in spoken overdubs, a primal bridge, and general fierceness. By the time it plays itself out, the song feels vital enough to make this a must-buy release whenever Mandible and Let’s Pretend deem it fit for release. Keep both eyes peeled for that one- until then just play the title track as many times as possible (and revisit their demo for maximum enjoyment).

“Leather Weather” can be heard below.

Fucked Up – Sun Glass (Music Video)

The more that’s revealed about Fucked Up’s Glass Boys, the more interesting it gets. From the sunnier disposition to the fact the deluxe version will come packaged with a second LP that features the drums in half-time, it seems all but destined to wind up a thrilling, enigmatic anomaly in the band’s impressive catalog. “Sun Glass”, in both song and video (the second to be released in advance of the album), continue to support this theory by featuring a band mostly known for their anxiety sounding relatively unburdened and, more than that, having fun. It’s a drastic change of pace that suits them surprisingly well; the big questions get scaled back to make way for some small self-examination and guess what? As fucked up as some things can get, overall everything’s pretty alright. Appropriately, the video’s as sun-splashed as possible, with all involved parties looking like they’ve just gone through a small hell and come out completely rejuvenated; able to appreciate the small joys of life more readily instead of taking them for granted. 

Watch the improbably feel-good video for “Sun Glass” below and let it be a necessary reminder to stop and feel the sun every once in a while.

Shannon & the Clams – Mama (Stream)

Not too far removed from Reigning Sound on the very-particular-brand-of-timelessness is Shannon & the Clams, the doo-wop-leaning throwback outfit. Led by the powerhouse vocals of Shannon Shaw, the band’s earned their place on many specialists year-end lists over the past several years for their distinct take on the basement pop aesthetic, seamlessly blending in specific influences from the last 60 years into their core sound.

While last year’s Dreams in the Rat House wasn’t their best record, it was close to their best record. Maintaining a standard of excellence as high as they’ve been over the years isn’t an easy feat but it looks as if they’re barreling along anyway. The most recent piece of evidence working in their favor is “Mama” taking from an upcoming split 7″ with Portland punk rippers Guantanamo Baywatch (both acts share common ground via both Suicide Squeeze, the label releasing the split, and Burger). “Mama” comes off as breezy and effortless as the bulk of the band’s very best material. There’s an elusive looseness as well as a hint of perfectionism running through “Mama”, making it a somewhat paradoxical and completely enthralling listen.

If Guantanamo Baywatch’s side proves to be even half as good as this, then 2014 will have one of its first contenders for split of the year. Listen to “Mama” below and pick up the split when it comes out on April 29.

Reigning Sound – Falling Rain (Stream)

Over the span of their existence and an extraordinary discography, Reigning Sound have carved out a place in the contemporary musical landscape that seems fated to wind up as One of America’s Great Forgotten Rock Bands only to be rediscovered years down the road by crate-diggers who will have no idea what they’re in for. Of course, the band does have a strong foothold in certain circles and anyone that owns even one of their records (Time Bomb High School and Home for Orphans are both outright classics) knows that they’re a genuinely great band. Those fortunate enough to find themselves involved in those circles will undoubtedly do their best to pass down this music to the next generation. However, there are times when being overlooked for so long can be tiresome or grate the wrong way in the grand scheme of things, especially from a label standpoint, so a round of applause to Merge for putting their faith in this band and signing them ahead of the July 15 release of Shattered.

Both the band and the label have offered up the first taste of Shattered with “Falling Rain”, a song that exists squarely in the band’s sweet spot. There’s a sense of familiarity, a warm analog crackle, and Greg Cartwright’s masterful songwriting and inviting persona driving “Falling Rain”. It’s another entry in the band’s catalog that feels like it could have been a lost hit from virtually anywhere in the span of the last 40 years or so. That particular brand of timelessness is always an impressive thing to be able to boast and it’s where Reigning Sound have made their home over the course of their career. Cartwright’s already proven himself to be one of this generation’s best songwriters and “Falling Rain” is only further proof of his enviable command over both composition and personality. Hopefully Merge’s support carries this band from a best-kept secret to a household name. There are few bands that deserve that transition as much as Reigning Sound does.

Listen to “Falling Rain” below and discover (or rediscover) one of America’s best bands.