Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Ian Olvera

2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 5

Speedy Ortiz III

One thing that this site has strived to maintain is its own visual aesthetic. While it’d be impossible to find a photo in the archives for every given band that headlines a post, an original photo will be posted anytime the opportunity presents itself. Upgrading cameras halfway through the year provided a bevvy of new opportunities and the subsequent implementation of a more photo-centric presence. That’s not by mistake. Photography (especially event photography) has always been an important crux of multimedia journalism. It can be a way to implicitly (or explicitly) convey some of the more minute details of a singular moment to a reader- or it can simply act as an intriguing supplement.

Those were just a few of reasons that went into the decision behind a headfirst dive into photography investment (on both a personal and public level) and factored into why one camera or another was brought along to every show this site covered in the past year. Now, with 2015 just around the corner, seemed like as good a time as any to showcase a few photographs from the past 12 months that stood out as personal favorites. Since there are a few too many to go up all at once, they’ll be posted at random as part of installments that will run from now to the start of January. Most of these shots have been published on the site before (or on The Media), though there are a few that will be appearing for the first time.

Pt. 5 will be the final installment of this series and the preceding galleries can be accessed via the links directly below. Enjoy!

2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 1
2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 2
2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 3
2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 4


The Sleepwalkers – Come Around (Music Video Premiere)


There are very few records that have required as much patience as The Sleepwalkers’ just-released Lost My Mind in Stereo. That’s not to say it required a vast amount of dedication to appreciate; it just took a very long time to get released and was difficult not to share with just about everyone. Other than the USA Today premere of the extraordinary lead-off track “My Best Was Never Good Enough“, these songs have only existed in the world as a small handful of rough demos and live staples of Sleepwalkers’ sets. Now, the record’s finally out and the band’s granted this site the music video premiere for standout cut “Come Around”.

Lost My Mind in Stereo is a record full of songs that feel instantly classic, sharp blasts of music that are finely-tuned examples of both great songwriting and American culture. “Come Around” is one of the many examples where all of that is readily apparent. Incorporating everything from 60’s jangle to 90’s powerpop, there are no false notes. In the video, the band plays through the song in Oshkosh, WI venue Reptile Palace and intercuts footage of decidedly freewheeling shenanigans in the Fox Valley area, mostly involving food (Bron Sage’s Kyle Merckx also makes a few brief but memorable appearances). By the time “Come Around” fades into black and flashes a subliminal “WOOF”, it’s hard not to feel like a part of The Sleepwalkers’ world. It’s another instance of the band finding the exact pulse of a very particular timelessness and running with it. We’re all the better for it.

Watch “Come Around” below and make every day feel like the 4th of July.

The Sleepwalkers – My Best Was Never Good Enough (Stream)

Yesterday USA Today premiered the first song from The Sleepwalkers’ upcoming record Lost My Mind in Stereo (due out April 8 as a self-release), “My Best Was Never Good Enough”. For a few years now, it’s been one of The Sleepwalkers’ strongest songs during their live sets and the finalized studio version certainly lives up to expectation. The Sleepwalkers have been a band that’s deserved familiarization since before their first official release, The Reckless Kind, back when they were known as Ian Olvera and The Sleepwalkers and long before they moved to Milwaukee. They’re a band that’s consistently found itself in tune with an all-american longing. Open roads, baseball, apple pie, BBQ’s, fireworks, and basement shows all effortlessly evoked in their minutiae.

“My Best Was Never Good Enough” find this aspect of their music reaching new heights, as it seamlessly and simultaneously recalls the likes of The Replacements, Elvis Costello, Big Star, The Heartbreakers, and the Old 97’s. It’s littered with tones that have just enough crunch to make the music sound as dirtied up and hard-learned as Olvera does when he spits out the song’s title in the chorus. From the springboard intro through to the memorable riff that appears throughout and closes the track, “My Best Was Never Good Enough” packs one hell of a punch. Inspired guitar work, a propulsive rhythm section, and Olvera’s masterful lyricism (the entire second verse is a knockout blow) all get propped up to the levels they deserve through pristine production. There’s a down-home aesthetic, some fiery bursts of instrumentation (including one in that miraculous second verse that goes off like a stick of dynamite), and more than a few individual moments that threaten to become inescapable earworms. If anything, give this a listen to remind yourself that rock n’ roll is timeless.

Hear “My Best Was Never Good Enough” over at USA Today and keep up with the band on their Facebook.