Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: tape release

Surrounder – Hyper-Monotony (City Folk) (Music Video Premiere)

Last year, Surrounder released Surrpiounder, a record that helped the trio forge a name for themselves. They’ve been playing shows in support of that record since it’s release and word-of-mouth has been kind about their live capabilities, leading to an escalating interest in the band. This might be the simplest explanation for the band’s decision to put out Surrpiounder on cassette nearly a year after it’s release. If recent trends hold, it’ll mark a strong step forward for the band that capitalizes on their growing momentum.

Stoking the fires of anticipation for Surriounder‘s tape release is the music video for “Hyper-Monotony (City Folk)” which is premiering here. The clip finds the band front and center of a playful, board-game driven narrative that intentionally verges on the nonsensical as it explores the monotony of modern living. It’s a clever metaphor and an apt fit for the band, who frequently take a confrontational role as story-tellers alongside their wildly unpredictable music that touches on everything from post-rock to art-punk.

The game that the band plays in “Hyper Montony (City Folk)” may end with a push of a button that leads to some unexpected violence but it’s hard not to think that they’ve hit a switch of their own. The band’s surging towards greater (and well-deserved) recognition, thrusting validating offerings like “Hyper-Monotony (City Folk)” out in the blink of an eye. Poised, confident, and ready for their closeup, Surrounder’s a band to watch as they take meaningful steps towards making an incredible impact.

Watch “Hyper-Monotony (City Folk)” below and keep an eye on Surrounder’s bandcamp for the cassette release for Surrpiounder.

Lost Boy ? – Live at Shea Stadium – 6/20/15 (Pictorial Review, Live Video)

Lost Boy ? IV

Tomorrow there will be a slew of posts and content that cover a large handful of notable new releases and semi-regular progress will continue (again, there will likely be a greater emphasis on live documentation in the coming weeks since it’s more readily accessible). Today belongs to a playlist that will run some time after this review (likely later on in the evening) and a show review of a packed bill that went down at Shea Stadium on Saturday night.

Unicycle Loves You, Mumblr, Leapling, Clearance, and Lost Boy ? all played impassioned sets and although I only managed to catch the tail end of Unicycle Loves You (the only band I didn’t manage to capture on film, an oversight I’ll be actively seeking to amend in the coming weeks), they’re a band worth recommending without any hesitation. Site favorites Mumblr— who played the only show this site’s ever presented [additional color: Ben Grigg from Geronimo! was also in attendance, wearing a Meat Wave shirt to round out the circle.]– drove from Canada to deliver a blistering set that leaned heavily on considerably noisier work than they’ve produced in the past. The dimly-lit setup proved restrictive for photography but all the lights were on for Leapling.

Playing a staggering amount of new material, Leapling seemed eager to test out their new songs and their focus seems to have sharpened in the brief interim that’s followed Vacant Page, a record that’s only been out for just over four months. Unfailingly sharp, the trio (a new lineup for the group) came off as having a practiced finesse and tapped into an exciting rawness when they embraced their noisier tendencies. Clearance would take the stage following Leapling’s run, further enhancing an off-kilter raucousness that Leapling had touched upon in their closing number.

The Chicago-based quartet leaned heavily on a Pavement influence to unusually exhilarating results, crafting something that nonetheless managed to feel like part of a unique identity. Scuzzy, surprisingly heavy, and just a little post-punk, Clearance have managed to cultivate a style of basement pop that translates perfectly to the live setting. Hitting all the right notes and building momentum as their set progressed, the band definitely left a mark on Shea Stadium and created a few converts in the process, all the while setting the stage for Lost Boy ?.

Following the unlikely saga of the 2014 tape release of Canned (I’m one of the few people that have stubbornly held onto an incorrectly sequenced cassette copy) with the official release of the record in 2015, Lost Boy ? have managed to keep their name in circulation for a while. If the record had been streaming at the end of last year, it would have been towards the absolute top of the specialty release list. A long-time favorite, the band delivered on every conceivable level with a high-energy set that made room to incorporate a few surprise guests (among them, Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles and Eric Harm).

Partially a celebration for Cammed, the cassette release of the Canned demos, the band also revealed a few new songs that were delivered with the same kind of manic energy that characterizes the bulk of their discography. Played with a sly smile and no shortage of determination, it came off as a proper headlining set that a lot of people wished would just keep going. Even after the band made their stage exit following a fiery performance of “Taste Butter”, the night felt far from over (likely thanks to the energy incited by Lost Boy ?).

In the last surprise of the evening, those that stuck around and saw Lost Boy ?’s set through were rewarded with an impromptu Neil Young cover set that saw members of Lost Boy ? and Titus Andronicus teaming up for ramshackle takes on some of the songwriter’s early career highlights. As far as epilogues go, it felt fittingly communal; a moment shared between friends who were all pursuing the same common interest(s). After a long take on “Down By The River” that saw Stickles take over on bass duties- and absolutely go off on a few furious, fuzzed-out solos- the night had drawn to a conclusion that mirrored the preceding events; subtly chaotic, fairly unexpected, and just about perfect.

A gallery of photographs from each band can be seen below and a video player containing performances from Mumblr, Leapling, Clearance, and Lost Boy ? has been included beneath the gallery. Enjoy.


Burger to Release Night Drives Debut

Night Drives cover art

Has any label done as much this year as Burger Records? At this point, it’s sincerely doubtful. As a testament to their restlessness, the fact that there are only two weeks left in the year has done absolutely nothing to slow them down. They’re also not ones to dabble in the politics of AotY lists and, as such, the quality of their most recent projects hasn’t been detrimental to their normal standard.

Burger has recently announced that they will be releasing the debut tapes from The Bam Bams and Night Drives. While the former is a worthwhile entry into their catalog, the latter is an absolute monster reminiscent of Thomas Function’s best work. Night Drives’ debut packs enough hooks, originality, and quality songwriting into the 11 songs on their debut that a lot of people might be upset they published their year-end lists as early as they did. It’s another must-purchase from a label that has a seemingly endless wellspring of them.

There’s no word on an official physical release for either yet but both The Bam Bams and Night Drives debuts are available for streaming in full over at Burger’s bandcamp (also referred to as their Dig It All site). Night Drives’ incredible self-titled effort can also be streamed below.

Burger Releases MCII on Cassette

This post is going to be a bit of an anomaly in the annals of Heartbreaking Bravery’s run but it’s news worth reporting on; Burger Records’ long-promised tape release of Mikal Cronin’s MCII is (finally) here. Cronin and Burger have a long history together and their respective successes seem to have directly influenced the success of the other. It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship and the fact that it’s continuing is reason for celebration.

MCII‘s tape release is perfectly-timed for those who needed a refresher on one of the year’s best records before compiling year-end lists. With snow cloaking much of the upper Midwest, it’s also a welcome reminder of warmer times. Head on over to Burger’s store now to pick up a record that deserves to be owned on every available format and hear MCII‘s gorgeous closing track (and one of the year’s best songs), “Piano Mantra”, below.