Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: Dreams

Devon Welsh – Down the Mountain (Album Review)

devon welsh

Editor’s Note: There’s been a month-long gap in coverage, thanks to near-incessant travel and other extenuating circumstances. The following run of posts that contain this note will be posts that should have appeared sometime within the past several weeks. Use these posts as an opportunity to catch up to the present release cycle or to simply discover some new music. Either way, enjoy.

One of the toughest breakups to swallow over this past year has undoubtedly been Majical Cloudz, the ambient duo responsible for some of the most emotionally shattering music of the past few years. In the months that have followed, vocalist Devon Welsh has been slowly revealing projects that have had the benefit of his artistic direction. Even with those projects coming out of the woodwork, it would have been difficult to anticipate Down the Mountain, the first release under his own name.

In tone and in scope, Down the Mountain skews most closely to what Welsh was creating as half of Majical Cloudz. With the opening duo of tracks, in under nine minutes, Welsh manages to plummet listeners back down to startling emotional depths with his unwavering narratives and careful delivery. The back half of “The Movies” second verse hits especially hard, touching lightly on love and mortality in a way that feels frighteningly familiar.

None of Welsh’s emotional impact has been lost in his seamless transition to solo artist and the rest of Down the Mountain goes a long way in supporting that statement. The bulk of the record’s made up of haunted whispers as Welsh continues to explore the terrain that makes us human on an acute, personal scale. Each of these eight tracks are powerful, gripping, and, more often than not, devastating. Take the collection’s title track, for instance, about the death of a mother. Heavy, focused, and patently beautiful, Down the Mountain is a record worth being added to any serious music collection.

Stream “Down the Mountain” below and download the record here.

2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Katie Bennett)

i tried to run away when i was 6

I first came across Katie Bennett a few years back thanks to her work as Free Cake for Every Creature. Since then, we’ve met in passing on a few different occasions at shows, usually stopping to make small talk. I’ve also been fortunate enough to see Bennett play in a separate project, i tried to run away when i was 6. Through everything I’ve seen, she’s displayed a quiet tenacity in the pursuit of simply making (and performing) music. An inspirational artist and an important voice in today’s musical landscape, Bennett turns her attention here to CE Schneider Topical’s “Dreams”, moving to Philadelphia, and more. Read the piece below and remember that there’s an untold level of value in the most common of struggles.

++

Dreamin’ With CE Schneider Topical

For two weeks in June, I got up early and walked a mile and a half to the University of Pennsylvania medical center, where I participated in a pretty embarrassing study related to me being vegan. The study, along with money I’d saved substitute teaching throughout the school year, would help me finance the recording of my band’s first record and a two-week west coast tour.

By 7:30 on those June mornings, it was already eighty degrees and so muggy I sometimes felt like I was gasping for air. My ears sweat beneath my big headphones, and the sweat dripped down my neck and back. My thighs rubbed together below my black jean shorts and burned slightly from the friction. I was usually rushing, stinking, hungry, and, yep, carrying a small cooler containing a fresh stool sample.

Some of those morning walks, I thought of my partner, who had done the study a few months earlier. I thought of us: what were we doing? Maybe I’d let out a quick laugh, or imagine we were the stars of some crappy indie rom-com: “20-somethings doing weird things for money but happy and in love anyway.” Most of the time though, I felt kind of stupid about the whole thing, like maybe I should have just sucked it up and gotten a job, let go of my DIY pop dreams, and penguin-dived into suit-and-tie adulthood.

Halfway through the study, I downloaded CE Schneider Topical’s Look Who Showed Up Out Here and popped it on my iPod for my morning trek. I didn’t know what to expect, but, in continuing with the my-life-as-a-movie idea, everything seemed to stop around me as I listened to the first track “Dreams”, and a sparkling ray of hope, in the form of Christina Schneider’s lovely voice saturated in tape hiss, reached down from the bandcamp heavens to fill my spirit. I’d hadn’t realized how much I needed the song until I heard it.

If nobody wants to hear about your dreams
Just make sure they hear about them
You’re a lot of things,
“Worthless” isn’t one of them

-CE Schneider Topical, “Dreams”

My dream: to play music. “Dreams” helped me realize I was more than my empty pockets and sweaty pits; my music dreams were real and important, and I wouldn’t back down from them. Walking home from the medical center that morning, I blasted the song, already singing along to every word. I looked around the city, my new city of Philadelphia, and I felt like a champion, my future shining and expansive before me. I punched and kicked the air a couple times, nominating myself as the Rocky of DIY pop music.

-Katie Bennett

PUP – Dark Days (Music Video)

pup

The combination of PUP and Chandler Levack and Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux’s collaborative filmmaking team has proven to be historically successful with me over the years. Last year, I cited “Guilt Trip” as 2014’s best music video on this site and in the preceding year, I awarded top honors to “Reservoir” over at PopMatters. In the videos that have come between (and followed) there simply hasn’t been one that hasn’t been highlighted in some form on Heartbreaking Bravery. “Dark Days”, the team’s latest effort, is another triumph of both artistry and form.

Once again, Levack and Shcaulin-Rioux have managed to find an intriguing way to tap into both the bands identity and their unwavering humanism. This time around, they achieve this through a slightly unexpected medium within the format: anime-inspired animations (courtesy of Solis Animation Inc.). Turning the focal point to the deceptively glamorous life of a touring band, all of the trivialities and hardships of life on the road all receive their respective turns under the spotlight.

Yes, there’s still an exhilarating run of the time spent on the stage, playing your heart out for an appreciative audience, and an endless slew of memorable moments spent in transit but the good moments tend to act as cathartic release for touring’s inevitable hardships (sickness, mental and physical exhaustion, fights, hunger, potential monetary loss, leaving your friends after only seeing them for moments, navigating relationships with the people back home, and figuring out how to correlate the peaks and valleys of personal life with life on the road, among countless other factors) but its rarely been presented this clearly. It’s a subject that’s been broached countless times (one of the best examples of this is Thor Harris’ guide to touring and his insights on touring with depression) but has frequently struggled to achieve a finished product so compelling.

The art direction- as it’s always been with Levack and Shcaulin-Rioux at the helm- is breathtaking and the editing gives “Dark Days” a vibrancy that lends to its relatable nature. “Dark Days” took a somewhat staggering six months to create and the considerable amount of work involved shows. Tour documentaries have rarely been this compelling and the same can be said for music video streaks this stratospheric. Unsurprisingly, again, the music and the clip elevate each other in a manner that gives new life to the song and a staggering vitality to the video. It’s something that deserves to not just be seen- but to be remembered.

Watch “Dark Days” below and order a copy of the band’s self-titled record here. Beneath the clip, explore a mixture of 25 great full streams and other music videos to have found release in the past handful of days. Enjoy.

Nothing – Something in the Way
Sharkmuffin – First Date
Frog Eyes – Joe With the Jam
Palmas – Stay Away
Flowers of Evil – Until You Feel the Cut
Copywrite – Philophobia
Dave Monks – Gasoline
Palma Violets – Girl, You Couldn’t Do Much Better on the Beach
Heather Woods Broderick – Mama Shelter
Albert Hammond Jr. – Losing Touch
Yo La Tengo – Friday, I’m In Love
Teen Daze – Morning World
Jacuzzi Boys – Happy Damage
Mexican Knives – Beach Song
Trust Fund (ft. Alanna McArdle) – Dreams
Coliseum – Sharp Fangs, Pale Flesh
Pixx – Fall In
Broen – Iris
City Calm Down – Rabbit Run

 

Trust Fund (ft. Alanna McArdle) – Dreams (Stream)

tf

Now that the site’s caught back up to the current release cycle it’s unlikely that there’ll be an overabundance of information being posted multiple times a day. Even with that being the case, today’s haul wound up producing a crop that proved to be strong to relegate to just one feature. There were standout releases in nearly every category that gets coverage here. On the visual side of things, Darkside’s concert film Psychic: Live and Izzy True’s “Absolute Troll” made sure the format was well represented. GUNK’s debut full-length proved to be an unexpected 2015 highlight and there were excellent new songs from Helado Negro, Luke Reed, and Philadelphia Collins (featuring Two Inch Astronaut‘s Sam Rosenberg).  

One of the days highlights came in the form of yet another collaboration between two site favorites: Trust Fund and Joanna Gruesome‘s ex-vocalist (and outstanding solo artist), Alanna McArdle. The pairing makes sense and the two central acts continue to play off each other with an easy finesse, tied up in a cyclical, complementary game. A hard-charging, twee-inflected burst of basement pop, “Dreams” is as good as anything in Trust Fund’s deeply impressive discography. McArdle retains the seemingly effortless wistfulness that permeated throughout Joanna Gruesome’s best work. In short: “Dreams” is unmissable and reaffirms the considerable talents of both parties.

Listen to “Dreams” below and keep an eye on this site for updates on music from both McArdle (who is continuing to make solo appearances following her departure from Joanna Gruesome) and Trust Fund.