Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired

Watch This: Vol. 120

After several recaps, best-of features, and weeks of waiting, Watch This returns to its standard weekly installments. A large handful of memorable videos have managed to accrue during the course of the past week. Kississippi, The Cave Singers, The Belvederes, Lomelda, The DistrictsFoxing, Cherry, The Zolas (x2), Choir Vandals, Fraternal Twin, Bayonne, Sun Club (x2), Jitters, 4th Curtis, Tomber Lever, Otis the Destroyer, Sounds Del Mar, Holy Wave, Shearwater, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Audacity, and The Greeting Committee all had individual efforts that merited multiple looks. Ultimately, this week belonged to the quieter sessions but still found a way to produce one of the most memorably raucous turn-ins of 2016 (so far, at least). There’s a lot to appreciate in the five videos below so, as always, straighten up, lean in, crank the volume, focus, and Watch This.

1. Mothers (NPR)

Last year, Mothers had me on the  verge of tears with the unveiling of the devastatingly gorgeous “Too Small For Eyes“. I’d seen them a  few months prior to that release but the restrictions CMJ presents essentially ensured that I wouldn’t be adequately prepared for the band’s astounding debut full-length, When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired. NPR recently hosted the band for an exquisite Tiny Desk session that does an intensely moving record justice.

2. Sunflower Bean – Easier Said (World Cafe)

One of the more intriguing bands to watch develop and fine-tune over the past few years has been Sunflower Bean, whose insane work ethic has begun to translate to widespread success (and no shortage of burgeoning acclaim). While it may be easy to become fixated on the band’s backstory, in the face of their music — a lovely blend of powerpop and psych-pop — it simply doesn’t matter. The band’s recent World Cafe session sees them on steady, assured footing, ready to meet whatever may come their way.

3. Kal Marks – Mankind (Allston Pudding)

Kal Marks is a name that’s appeared on this site multiple times over and the band keeps providing reasons to keep that name in heavy rotation on these pages. Case in point: an intense, scorched-earth single song performance for Allston Pudding. The band holds absolutely nothing back in this run through “Mankind”, which finds the trio elevating their no-holds-barred take on a blend of vicious basement grunge and snarling post-punk. It’s a thing to behold.

4. Long Beard –  Moths (VHS Sessions)

VHS Sessions has been crafting excellent live performance videos throughout 2016 but their current crown jewel came in the form of this humble run through “Moths” from Long Beard, who continue to set an exceedingly high bar for themselves and their peers. The trio constantly tap into an ineffable magic that renders songs that sound simple on paper transcendent in practice. This performance may very well be the most definitive example of their most intangible — and compelling — aspect.

5. Daughter (KEXP)

One of the most unexpected shows I managed to luck my way into last year was Daughter‘s secret set at Baby’s All Right. I’d admired the band previously but was completely enraptured with their live set, even to a point where I was incapacitated by severe chills during a breathtaking run through “Doing The Right Thing”. While it’s impossible for what the band achieves onstage to translate to a filmed studio session, this KEXP run is as close as anyone’s likely to get for the foreseeable future.

Mothers – Too Small For Eyes (Stream)

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: With the site now entering emergency year-end catch-up mode thanks to the cruel, mocking nature of time, tonight’s trio of posts will simply be short reviews of the song(s) in the headline(s) and an accompanying list of tracks that deserve to be heard.]

Back in October, Mothers delivered a memorable CMJ set as part of BrooklynVegan’s Baby’s All Right showcase. As promising as the songs contained in that showcase were, nothing hinted at the band being capable of a song like the breathtaking “Too Small For Eyes”, which stands out as one of the most painfully gorgeous numbers of 2015. Aided by a remorseful piano figure and a lilting string section, Kristine Leschper’s aching vocals take on an impressive amount of life. Over the course of its nearly six-minute runtime there are no false moves, just a sustained series of grace notes that push the song towards sublimity. Masterful in both arrangement and execution, “Too Small For Eyes” astonishes as irrefutable evidence of the depth of Mothers’ potential. Elegant and genuinely extraordinary, this is a watershed moment for a band that’s more than ready to be thrust into the spotlight.

Listen to “Too Small For Eyes” below and keep an eye on Grand Jury Music, who will be running the pre-orders for When You Walk A Long Distance, You Are Tired in early 2016. Underneath the embed, explore a list of great songs to have appeared over the course of the last several months.

Kississippi – Greyhound
Low Cut High Tops – Good Day
Youth Lagoon – I’ve Seen
Takénobu – Curtain Call
Casanovas In Heat – Jaded
Stove – Lowt-Ide Fins
The Both – You’re A Gift
Burnt Palms – Fold
Lil BUB – New Gravity
SWMRS – Figuring It Out
Baroness – Shock Me
Franesca – Sanity
Parlor Walls – Birthday
The Body – Shelter Is Illusory
The Echo Field – Is He Gone
Garrett Klahn – Are We Alright?
Frameworks – Time Spent
Hinds – San Diego
Death Index – Dream Machine