Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: YAWN

Pinegrove – Size of the Moon (Music Video)

There were a small handful of great releases to make their way out into the world over the past 24 hours, including great new tracks from RatboysCool American, Harmony Woods, Land of Talk, BodYAWN, Jimi Charles Moody, music videos by the likes of Kevin Morby, Hovvdy, Kamasi Washington, Hellrazor, Mt. Wolf, Bill Baird, Laser Background, and a pair of records from Oiseaux-Tempête and Entrail. Still, as good as all those titles were, it’s impossible to compete with the emotional heft generated by documenting a real-life affliction, especially when that documentation’s got the benefit of being set to one of last year’s finest songs: Pinegrove‘s “Size of the Moon”.

While this is, officially, an unofficial video, its also an unforgettable one. Chronicling the fight against Advanced Chronic Lyme’s Disease Monica Arbery — a sister of one of Pinegrove guitarist/vocalist Evan Stephen’s Hall’s friends — is currently waging, the video (directed by Arbery’s brother, Will) is a deeply human look at what it’s like to face down a debilitating disease.

In all of the laughter, all of the tears, all of the dancing, all of the resilience, and all of the strength present throughout “Size of the Moon”, the empathy driving this clip becomes readily apparent and, in turn, makes it an even more powerful document. Remarkable, compelling, and near impossible to shake, “Size of the Moon” gets at the heart of familial love in the face of struggle and makes its case with an abundance of conviction and feeling. Click play and then click over to the medical fund linked below to do something that will yield immediate productive good.

Watch “Size of the Moon” below, pick up Cardinal here, and donate to Monica Arbery’s medical fund here.

Vacation – Like Snow (Stream, Live Video)

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Now that the music videos are (very nearly) brought completely up to date, it’s time to turn the attention towards the single streams. Unsurprisingly, considering the length and breadth typically contained in the medium, this has been the most difficult format to corral into upkeep. This week’s already seen the release of YAWN’s characteristically hazy, pysch-tinged “Day Trip“, Air Waves’ compellingly insistent mid-tempo number “Milky Way“, Dirty Ghosts’ delightfully skittish “Cataracts“, and Jesse Payne’s rustic-leaning folk dirge “Ravens“.

While all of those had other platforms for introduction, today’s feature came courtesy of Don Giovanni’s quiet, generous upload of Vacation‘s forthcoming Non-Person to their soundcloud. Having recently seen (and been subsequently blown away by) the band, it’s not surprising that one of the best new songs of their live set would so easily translate into one of the best songs of the year. I have no idea whether or not Vacation intends on releasing “Like Snow” as a single or if they’re planning on relegating it to the confines of the record but it’ll likely flourish either way.

A few lineup changes in (several of which due to the success some of the members had found with their other band, Tweens) and the band’s evolved from a trio to a quartet; they’ve never sounded sharper. Emphasizing the basement pop bent that’s always been at the root of their sound (check the excellent “Party Over” for proof), they’ve managed to refine just about every angle of their attack.

As furious as ever, they’ve found a new nuance with their current iteration; one that sees Jerri Queen stepping out from behind the kit to take over on guitar/vocal duty. Queen proves to be more than capable, producing some of the band’s best work to date. “Like Snow” feels perfectly representative as it careens forward with a white-knuckle intensity after a clean, gentle open.

The now-two guitar attack seems intent on burning everything that surrounds the song while the intro- “I’m always waiting for the day/like snow, I melt away”- gets used as the song’s refrain and injects a heavy dose of dynamics into the proceedings, ensuring a drastic tempo change that lends itself to the vibrancy of both modes. Everything the band tries on “Like Snow” works to perfection and pushes a lot of doors for future prospects wide open in the process. Don’t make the mistake of letting this one pass by unnoticed.

Listen to “Like Snow” below and pre-order Non-Person from Don Giovanni here. Beneath the embed, watch a live clip of the band ripping through the song in Milwaukee, WI.

Hey Hallways – Anything At All (Music Video)

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Continuing the recent trend of emerging (or, in this case, re-emerging) items that were featured  or teased by the writers kind enough to participate in A Year’s Worth of Memories series is Hey Hallways’ first music video, “Anything At All”. Of course, it wasn’t the only music video to surface over the past few days. It was joined by the likes of Titus Andronicus’ typically fiery “Fatal Flaw“, YAWN’s gorgeously lensed “Overflow“, Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room’s surprisingly great lyric clip for “Enemies“, Beach Baby’s intuitive, sensual “No Mind No Money“, Craft Spells’ effects and editing masterclass “Twirl“, and Birdstriking’s urgent, damaged “Monkey Snake“.

In the very first installment of a A Year’s Worth of Memories Radiator Hospital‘s Cynthia Schemmer (who also serves as managing editor for the rightfully-celebrated She Shreds) waxed ecstatic about Hey Hallways’ Absence Makes the Heart Forget, singling out “Anything At All” specifically. It’s easy to see why: the song’s a knockout punch that demonstrates the vast range of Jason Brownstein’s considerable talents (he also plays in both Joyride! and Permanent Ruin). Now, that song has its own music video- a collage of home movie aesthetics that bristles with genuine feeling. That kind of raw honesty is something that’s impossible to duplicate and difficult to convey but it comes across effortlessly in both song and video, providing a brief glimpse at Brownstein’s quiet charisma. Ultimately, “Anything At All” is the exact kind of song (and clip) that has the power to inspire others to start creating their own art and that alone’s worth more than words could ever convey.

Watch “Anything At All” below and pre-order Absence Makes the Heart Forget from Salinas here.

Chandos – ..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top’ (Stream)

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With the entirety of yesterday’s post dedicated to Mitski’s miracle of a record, Bury Me At Makeout Creek, there’s quite a bit to catch up on today. There were a bevvy of single streams that included Le Rug’s blown-out rager “Dudley“, Ghastly Menace’s vibrant pop confection “Closing“, and The Dodos’ triumphant return single “Competition“. There was also a sprawling, punchy piece of anthemic open-road folk in the form of Small Houses’ outstanding “Staggers and Rise” as well as another look at YAWN bandleader Adam Gil’s solo project, Dam Gila, via “Home Again“. Rounding things out for the single stream category was a demo from The Guests (a new band featuring members of Sheer Mag), a typically bold Liars b-side, and a Girlpool cover of one of the most achingly romantic songs ever recorded.

In the realms of the music video there was an equally plentiful pool of treasures that included Diarrhea Planet’s oddly compelling fantasia in “Kids“, Metronomy’s stunning woodland-set magic surrealism in “The Upsetter“, and Spider Bags’ subtly nightmarish visual effects collage “Eyes of Death“. Additionally, there was Dream Generation’s stark “The Spirit of America“, She Keeps Bees’ gorgeous “Owl“, Owen Pallett’s inexplicably powerful “In Conflict“, and Corners’ masterfully executed “The Spaceship“. As if that wasn’t enough, the full streams that appeared over the past few days matched the rough output of both the single song and music video output with some truly outstanding efforts coming to light- like Caddywhompus‘ strong bid for Album of the Year contention with Feathering A Nest. The Paperhead emerged with their latest throwback-heavy gem, Africa Avenue, while Parkay Quarts built on their renewed buzz with the wiry Content Nausea. Open Wide released a demo of quietly stunning folk-leaning ballads, Ex Cops threw a darkly-tinted dance party with Daggers, The Jazz June resurfaced with some shockingly strong material in After the Earthquake, and Nots left burn marks with the scalding punk tantrums of We Are Nots.

All of those items are worth sitting down and spending time with but it was recent Carpark Records acquisition Chandos’ “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” that gets today’s feature spot. It’s a vicious piece of sharp, 90’s-indebted punk, equal parts Acid Fast, PS I Love You, and Speedy Ortiz, “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” flies along, never bothering to do anything but build momentum through its myriad twists and sharp left turns. Tempos shift, personality gets exuded, and Chandos (formerly Chandeliers) wind up with something that sounds as raw as it does inspired. On Carpark’s ridiculously impressive roster, Chandos falls somewhere between Cloud Nothings and Popstrangers, which is really just shorthand for saying that Chandos’ upcoming record- Rats In Your Bed– is well worth an extremely high level of anticipation. If “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” is any indication, Chandos is in the midst of a creative peak that will likely yield the band’s strongest material to date. If everything clicks as well as it does in this song, Rats In Your Bed could very well be the first great release of 2015 when it’s released on January 27. Mark the calendar now.

Listen to “..Pretty Sure it’s ‘Tang Top'” below and pre-order Rats In Your Bed from Carpark here.

Ovlov – Ohmu Shell (Stream)

A steady stream of streams flooded most of today’s music news and several of them wound up making strong impressions. Among them were Girlpool’s jittery “Blah Blah Blah“, Bad Power’s hardcore ripper “Jawws“, and Cellphone‘s Halloween-friendly post-punk nightmare “Human Rights“. Nothing continued to improve in exhilarating fashion, hitting a new high with the damaged beauty of “July The Fourth and YAWN bandleader Adam Gil’s new solo project- Dam Gila- offered up the tantalizing pysch-pop of “History“. Mineral’s vocalist, Chris Simpson, streamed Pink Chalk, the lilting record that’s due out soon from his Zookeeper project. Joel Jerome followed up the excellent Babies On Acid with Psychic Thrift Store Folk, which is now streaming in full over at Wondering Sound- a site that also has the distinct pleasure of hosting a full stream of Night School’s Heart Beat EP (which is easily one of the year’s best).  Then, of course, there was Ovlov‘s newest song- the second to be released from the jaw-dropping four-way split 7″ that also includes Krill, LVL UP, and Radiator Hospital.

All four bands on this split have earned the distinction of site favorites thanks to their punk-leaning strains of outsider pop. This will be the latest in a handful of releases born out of the collaboration between Double Double Whammy and Exploding in Sound, which continues to be one of the most exciting things in music. Krill’s “Peanut Butter” had already been unleashed on the world a few weeks back and kicked the obvious promise of the split up a few additional levels. Ovlov take that level of acceleration and floor it, not only offering up one of the best songs of their career but- impossibly- lending even more promise to the split. “Ohmu Shell” is a song that sounds like an assurance; this is a confident band who are fully aware of their identity (something many strive to achieve and fail to accomplish).  There’s a greater immediacy on display then there was on last year’s excellent am and continues their streak of incredible contributions to splits (Little Big League being the latest, following another four-way split with Ex-Breathers, Gnarwhal, and Woozy)- all from this year.

Every time the band steps up to deliver something new, it seems like they’re continuously improving upon their career-best, which is the kind of trajectory that can speak volumes about a band’s potential. Everything about “Ohmu Shell” works to perfection; the guitars charge as much as they swirl, the vocals manage to be alternately impassioned and apathetic- creating a contrast that injects the song’s explosive moments with an obscene amount of energy. There’s a greater emphasis on a skewed 90’s revivalism that’s deeply rooted in the slacker and outsider sub-genres of punk. Ovlov sounds more alive than ever, wide-eyed, determined, and prepared for anything that dares to come their way. If LVL UP and Radiator Hospital deliver on this level (which they’re both fully capable of, considering both of their full-lengths are locks for this site’s Top 10), this split just might be the best thing to come out of 2014.

Listen to “Ohmu Shell” below and pre-order the split from from Double Double Whammy here.