Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: The Beverleys

2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Amanda Dissinger)

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Photograph by Dean Stafford

I don’t actually remember how I first met Amanda Dissinger but I’ve become increasingly grateful for that moment. Ever since that initial introduction, she’s been ceaselessly supportive of just about everything I’ve decided to do and has been a constant voice of reason. It’s why whenever I travel, I take the gorgeous collection of poetry she released last year, This Is How I Will Tell You I Love You, with me as a road companion. We call each other “the best” in an eternal loop with no trace of irony. If she sends me a promotional email for one of the several artists she does publicity for at Terrorbird Media, there’s a decent chance it’ll just devolve into a long string of short email blasts about what’s happening in our lives. For a very brief time, we shared door duties at Baby’s All Right and allowed ourselves to be inspired by the surroundings it offered. Not just one of my favorite authors but one of my absolute favorite people, it’s an honor to be hosting her writing on this site. Below, she tackles a night with Dilly Dally and Julien Baker that rekindled her love for the city where she resides. Read it below and then find a reason to celebrate your own surroundings.

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2015 was a weird year for me. I wrote a book, fell in love, moved to a new apartment, recovered from a weird mysterious muscle illness, and got to work with many rad bands in my full time job. I made new friends, I lost friends, I traveled all over the country, etc. etc. Though it may sound cliché, music is mostly what got me through it all. This year, I got to see some of my very favorite acts in the whole world- from my high school loves Death Cab for Cutie, new favorites like Weaves, and dozens of amazing bands that I do press for from Heaters to Total Makeover to Keeps, and friends’ bands like Big Ups and Charly Bliss.

I got to travel to Toronto for NXNE (by myself) and become immersed in the awesome scene there that’s spearheaded by the amazing Buzz Records and bands like Odonis Odonis, Greys, and Dilly Dally (more on them later). I went with coworkers to Raleigh, NC for Hopscotch Festival and while I had no expectations going in about the town, I became enamored with it, and with its diverse venues and friendly natives. I fell head over heels for Austin, TX and the lively music scene there, encouraged by my boyfriend, a wonderful musician, and the venues he frequents- Cheer Up Charlies, The Mohawk, and Barbarella (for dancing to ’80s music only).

However, this year in music can be best summed up by one cold night in November, when I got to see two of my favorite new artists perform in a back-to-back marathon concert night. In 2015, all of my favorite albums were released by females or female-fronted bands. I loved Carly Rae Jepsen’s whimsical Emotion, the ass-kicking albums by Bully, All Dogs, and Hop Along, and the catchy-as-hell releases from Bad Bad Hats and Laura Stevenson. Above all though, two albums that represented the polarity of my feelings — and the two that I loved the most — were Julien Baker’s Sprained Ankle (representing my vulnerable, emotional and nostalgic self) and Dilly Dally’s blistering, raucous Sore, showcasing the assertive, in-your-face person that I aspire to be.

Miraculously, I got to see four of the artists that made my favorite albums in one week in November in a way that only New York sometimes operates- Tuesday: Bad Bad Hats at Baby’s All Right, Wednesday: Carly Rae Jepsen at Irving Plaza, and Saturday: Dilly Dally at Baby’s, followed by Julien Baker at Mercury Lounge. Though I was recovering from a gnarly cold that week, I still absolutely 100% needed to run around like a chicken with my head cut off and see both of these artists responsible for music that touched me so deeply.

Before that night, I had seen Dilly Dally about three times since 2013. My friends in Toronto who run the aforementioned Buzz Records release constantly hypnotizing and brave music from incredible bands (like all the ones I mentioned above- Weaves, Greys, Odonis and Odonis, as well as bands like The Beverleys, HSY, and so many more). They are all smart, incredibly nice and wonderful people. They’re also my favorite label and everything they touch turns to gold.

By now most people have heard the thrilling ’90s tinged Sore, and I’ve probably listened to it about 1000 times since its release in October. I was thrilled to see a headlining set from them after the album release, especially since I only caught a bit of them at CMJ at like 1am at Santos Party House. At Baby’s, they were at their best, impressing the really large and enthralled crowd who packed the small, sweaty room to hear melodic yet hard-edged tracks like “Green” (one of my favorites since their 7” of it), the pulsating “Desire”, and “Purple Rage”.

I caught most of their set and hopped over on the train with a few people I ran into at the show to see Julien Baker, whose album absolutely devastated me like nothing else I can remember, both on first listen and the many subsequent listens. Singing about addiction, heartbreak, and loneliness, Sprained Ankle stops you in your tracks- after I heard the whole thing in mid-October, I couldn’t listen to anything else.

Once Baker started her set at Mercury Lounge that night, the crowd went so silent that you could hear a feather drop in the room. Her songs were filled with lust and love and memories and I stopped breathing, I’m sure. Her songs are meandering and honest and fearless. In one of my favorites, “Everybody Does”, she sings “you’re gonna run/it’s alright everybody does/you’re gonna run when you find out who I am.” Though her set was too short, I was already 100% certain that everyone I know needed to see her live and hear her album and I am 100% certain that her performance broke my heart.

While it’s a bit sappy, the night reminded me of the reason why I moved to New York. Though I’m still relatively young, I recently lost interest in going out as much as I did when I was 19 or 20 and hopping to two or three shows a night. I felt alienated from the crowd and from the people around me, people who I used to be friends with and see all the time. Before that night, I would go out, stay at a show for an hour or so and immediately go home, lonely and disinterested.

That night in November reminded me of why New York can be so magical, and it gave me something I really needed. It made me realize that sometimes cool things don’t have to be terrible, and sometimes things can change, and the music, the people, and you can all be better than ever.

-Amanda Dissinger

METZ – Spit You Out (Music Video)

METZ XXVII

While this site hasn’t been running posts at the everyday pace it used to, there’s always work that’s being done behind the scenes. A project for the site has been enormously time-consuming as have other pressing commitments. However, as always, everything’s been accounted for as it comes into play. The next four posts will focus on some of the finest music videos to have come out  over the past few months, each highlighted by an individual clip. The upcoming slew of full and single stream posts will follow this format. Kicking everything off is the video for METZ‘s excellent “Spit You Out“.

A seemingly never-ending stream of frantic words have been spoken, shouted, and (suitably) unintelligibly screamed about METZ’s live show so a live edit clip somewhere along the way seemed inevitable. Enter: “Spit You Out”. Appropriately, the song’s visual accompaniment feels as searing as the song itself, utilizing a stark black and white palette, frenzied editing, and a strobe-like presentation to maximum effect. All the while, both the band and the audience go about losing their respective minds. It’s a no-holds-barred attack that leaves a strong impression. By scaling back, the band ups the urgency and remind us that stakes never really mattered in the first place.

Watch “Spit You Out” below, pick up a copy of METZ II here, and explore a list of some of the best music videos of the past few months underneath the embed.

Desaparecidos – Golden Parachutes
Sauna Youth – The Bridge
The Beverleys – Hoodwink
Soul Low – Always Watchin’ Out
Noun – Loveblood
Wavves – My Head Hurts
Loose Tooth – Skinny Chewy
Idle Bloom – Mind Reader
Haybaby – Doored
Laura Stevenson – Torch Song
The Blue Jean Committee – Catalina Breeze
Bianca Casady & the C.i.A – RoadKill
Spring King – Who Are You?
Potty Mouth – Creeper Weed
Petal Head – Spooky Something
Will Butler – What I Want
Swings – Tiles
Pouty – Sad
Majical Cloudz – Game Show
Madeira – Lay Me Down
Lil Bub – Gravity
Polyon – Blue
Public Access TV – In Love And Alone
Wimps – Dump
Cass McCombs – I Cannot Lie
This Will Destroy You – Mother Opiate
Chris Farren – Chris Farren’s Disney’s Frozen
Leif Erikson – Looking for Signs
Muncie Girls – Gas Mask 4
Waxahatchee – La Loose
Pixx – Deplore
Walter Martin – Amsterdam

Dilly Dally – Purple Rage (Stream)

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It’s been a busy week on multiple levels. Accordingly, there’s been a small gap in coverage. Of course, the release schedule towards this time of year clicks into fifth gear and unleashes a cavalcade of new material upon an unsuspecting public. All three formats had multiple entries worth multiple listens and looks. Chief among them, as usual, was the individual song slate. Since covering all of the great songs to have come out over the past few days would be pointless from a pragmatic standpoint, they’ll be listed below- and it has been a strong few days for this particular category. A large handful of the songs contained in the list below the song in the headline would have been featured on any given day over the past handful of months. That, of course, also bolsters the strength of the song that can lay claim as this post’s focal point: Dilly Dally’s fierce “Purple Rage”.

Over the past year, Dilly Dally have established themselves as a serious force, becoming one of this site’s most celebrated acts in the process. After coming dangerously close to topping the year-end list for 7″ releases, the band immediately set about crafting a debut full-length to capitalize on a shockingly strong statement and lay waste to the notion that whatever magic they tapped into for those first two releases couldn’t be sustained. Just about everything the band’s released this year has earned serious praise here and “Purple Rage” arguably tops them all. From the coy title- a winking nod towards the Prince classic- to the total embrace of anger (an aspect that informs and drives a lot of the band’s music), “Purple Rage” has all the makings of a knockout blow. In its execution, it exceeds those elements and becomes a jaw-dropping showstopper that showcases the band at their most relentlessly bruising.

Even its mechanics are notable; anger’s an emotion that rises and guitarist/vocalist Katie Monks’ vocals mirror that rise at the song’s outset, growing (subtly) more impassioned as the song progresses. Once again, the lead guitar tones seem to cut through the mix with a vengeance, all at once occupying a space that feels vibrant, eerie, and menacing. The rhythm section’s practically required to be frighteningly propulsive considering the song’s subject matter and it elevates the song to a higher level by both adhering to and subverting those expectations throughout the song’s three minute run-time. Every element acts in perfect complement to the others, conjuring up a foreboding, and maybe even threatening, atmosphere. It’s the kind of song that pierces immediately and then gleefully rips open the wound it created. Manic, wild-eyed, resilient, and unforgiving, “Purple Rage” is another meticulously crafted and deeply felt examination of base human instinct, allowing it to reside comfortable in an already shockingly brilliant discography. Should the rest of Sore live up to its previews, the band may have a viable Album of the Year contender on their bloodied up hands.

Listen to “Purple Rage” below and pre-order Sore ahead of its release date here. Below the player, explore a long list of some of the week’s most notable songs.

Saintseneca – River
Big Air – Vibe Patrol
Greys – Repulsion
Blessed Feathers – Wyoming/Dakota
Cold Sweats – Waste of A Day
Shunkan – The Pink Noise
Wildhoney – Laura
The Beverleys – Visions
Carroll – Green Acres
Season of Mist – Night Drive
Kisses – The Nile
Long Beard – Hates the Party
Language-Arts – Neighbor
Cuntz – Chinese Dream Boat
Sweet Talk – Witness
Shadow in the Tracks – Timeless
Braided Veins – A Means To An End
Little Fevers – Can’t Get Enough
Zola Jesus – Circles
Mansionair – Speak Easy
Fresh Snow (ft. Damian Abraham) – Don’t Fuck A Gift Horse in the Mouth
Beach Slang – Young Alive
Shmu – Pictionary
Youth Lagoon – Rotten Human
Hinds – Garden
Inheaven – Better Town
Chromatics – Shadow
Hiccup – Fuckup
Amy Bezunartea – Something To Show You
Roger Harvey – Lovers Can Be Monsters
Amanda X – Quilted
The Cribs – Wish I Knew You In the 90’s
Driftoff – Straphanger
The Mantles – Police My Love
Run Forever – Weight Under Me
The Diamond Center – Messenger of Wonder
Operator – I, Banana
Obnox – See Me
Chvrches – Clearest Blue 

2014: A Pictorial Review, Pt. 3

Swearin'

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. Enjoy!

NXNE: Day 1 (Pictorial Review, Video)

nxne

And so it begins; the photographs are undergoing their respective editing phases, the videos are being uploaded, and the countless thoughts pertaining to this year’s NXNE are being organized. There will be a lot of coverage that gets run here in various formats: video features, summaries, pictorial reviews, full reviews, and more. Virtually all of it will be posted immediately after the final edits are made so expect a wealth of daily content to close out this week and throughout next week as well. With all of that out of the way, let’s move on to the photographs and video that got captured during Day 1 of NXNE 2014- and the summaries to help give them some context.

Day 1 began with a stunning contrast; the manic post-everything insanity of Guerilla Toss vs. their unusually elegant surroundings (The Great Hall). Arriving a little bit late to Guerilla Toss’ set didn’t prove to be too much of an issue- the crowd that had gathered for them was abysmally small- but they played like they always do, unleashing virtually everything they’ve got (and showcasing some very promising new material in the process). It wasn’t too long before at least one band member had lost an article of clothing (though they’re notorious for losing much more) and were coercing everyone up onto the stage. With the crowd now split, half on the stage and half still in the standing area, the band instructed those that were on the stage to promptly get off of it, then join hands and surround the audience members who didn’t come up in a circle. From that point forward, the hand-held circle was now instructed to run counterclockwise at the start of their next song, increasingly tightening around the audience in the middle in an effort to force them out and onto the stage. This somehow lasted for close to three songs before it dispersed- and Guerilla Toss left soon after, looking visibly spent and more than a little ecstatic.

After Guerilla Toss’ well-intentioned shenanigans, The Great Hall was abandoned for Toronto’s best sweatbox: Smiling Buddha. Arriving just after a dispute of some sort had broken out inside the venue caused a brief delay while the police were called to the scene. After everything had fallen back into pace, people were admitted once again- and just in time for Mexican Slang. It may have been due to whatever the disturbance was (no one seemed to know the specifics) but Mexican Slang wound up playing the shortest set of the festival. While they weren’t NXNE’s most engaging or energetic live band, it’s worth noting that their sound was very tight-knit and the last song of their set was one of the very best of Day 1.

Greys took the stage soon after that, tuning and setting up as usual before doing something very unusual: they announced they were done before they played a single song. Instead of starting their set, they cleared the stage for their labelmates The Beverleys and allowed them a couple songs. There were many speculating this was a reaction to NXNE’s problematic “radius clause” that prohibited several bands from participating in conflicting non-festival shows (this clause was, thankfully, lifted before the festival came to a close). The Beverleys took full advantage of the opportunity and played with genuine heart making for the festival’s first truly great moment.

Greys then took their mantle back up and guitarist/vocalist Shehzaad Jiwani delivered a heartfelt speech which addressed the young musicians in the audience, making sure they remembered that they didn’t work for the music industry- that the music industry worked for them. Following that, the band tore through a blistering set that leaned heavily on their extraordinary just-released Carpark debut If Anything. All of the songs seemed to melt into each other, giving the whole thing a feeling that was as relentless as their music.  It was easily the best set of Day 1 and even found time for a ferocious cover of Mission of Burma’s “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate”. By the time their set had come to a close, it was evident that more than a few people would be making sure to see them at least one more time before the festival came to a close. Packaged with everything else, it was a fairly strong start to what would prove to be an incredibly memorale festival.

Watch a slightly blown-out sounding video of Greys performing “I’m Okay” below and look through the photo gallery of Day 1 beneath the video.