Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: The Empty Bottle

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 5

Johanna Warren I

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 3

Idle Bloom

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

 

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 2

Girlpool I

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

2015: A Visual Retrospective, Vol. 1

Radioactivity

Throughout the course of 2015 I’ve been fortunate enough to attend upwards of 100 shows, festivals big and small, and spend approximately half a year living in a city that hosted a mind-boggling amount of quality shows on a nightly basis. To that end, it’s probably unsurprising that I wound up taking over 10,000 photos this year alone. Over the course of the next few days, this site will be running seven volumes of the shots that stood out as personal favorites, whether that was due to their composition, sentimental attachment, or an intangible emotional or intellectual response. It’s been an honor to be able to take even the smallest part in the ongoing sagas of the artists in the photographs below and an additional thanks is due to the venues that allowed me to shoot (as well as the people who encouraged me to keep shooting).

Enjoy the gallery.

Splitting at the Break: A Visual Retrospective of 2015’s First Half (Pictorial Review, Live Video)

Krill II

Over the first course of the year, I’ve made several major life decisions with the largest being a move to Brooklyn. Saving up for that paired with a work schedule that at one point had me logging roughly 75 hours a week meant sacrificing a lot of the things I love. None of those things hurt more than the severely limited number of shows I was able to attend. However, it was likely that same scarcity that made the shows included in this piece so memorable. From conducting an artist profile on Johanna Warren for Consequence of Sound (where a few of these photographs were first printed and where you can also find auxiliary video of Warren performing) to finally seeing a few site favorites- like Saintseneca, Krill, and Vacation- for the first time after years of waiting.

While it may not be much, this is still a collection that has deeply personal value. It’s a reflection of a region I called home for the entirety of my life and it’s a place I will miss when I leave it in just over a week. I’ll always be grateful that I was provided the opportunities to attend the shows contained in the multimedia portion of this post- and for the friends I made who were connected to those shows in literally any way. Writers, bands, editors, promoters, venue owners, label execs, or even just fans, they helped make some of these places feel like home. So, take a trip below with shots (and some videos) of: NE-HI, Oozing Wound, Protomartyr, Perfect Pussy, TRITA, Disasteratti, Buildings, Adron, Johanna Warren, Mutts, Two Inch Astronaut, Krill, Speedy Ortiz, Fox Face, The Midwest Beat, Mexican Knives, Vacation, FIDLAR, METZ, Saintseneca, and Murder By Death. The regional focal post of Heartbreaking Bravery may be shifting drastically in the months to come but a large part of its heart will always be lodged in the Upper Midwest.

Hope you enjoy.

NE-HI // OOZING WOUND // PROTOMARTYR // PERFECT PUSSY

 


TRITA // DISASTERATTI // BUILDINGS


ADRON // JOHANNA WARREN

MUTTS

TWO INCH ASTRONAUT // KRILL // SPEEDY ORTIZ



FOX FACE // THE MIDWEST BEAT // MEXICAN KNIVES // VACATION

 




FIDLAR // METZ

SAINTSENECA // MURDER BY DEATH


Music Frozen Dancing at The Empty Bottle – 2/28/15 (Pictorial Review)

Perfect Pussy XXXV

Last Saturday outside of The Empty Bottle, the temperatures were below 20, the stage lights were on, and a crowd of people was gathering at the lip of the (tented) stage in nervous anticipation. A free festival, Music Frozen Dancing, was set to take place and be carried on the backs of four artists occupying varying corners of the DIY punk landscape: NE-HI, Oozing Wound, Protomartyr, and Perfect Pussy. The former two held down for vicious wall-of-noise basement pop and aggressive hardcore while providing some impressive local representation. The latter two brought in their hard-won figurehead statuses, respectively, and continued to demonstrate a fierce dedication to the DIY ethos that facilitated their growing reputations. Every band brought something unique to the small, makeshift stage and every single one of them saw the audience (much of it inebriated, thanks in part to a Goose Island sponsorship and their accompanying tent) react in kind. It was a small festival that lived up to its name: there were bitingly cold temperatures, there was dancing, and- most of all- there was music. Amps blew (NE-HI), bass drum pedals collapsed beyond repair (Oozing Wound), tension was raised (Protomartyr), and everything was brought to a close with a violently raucous, noise-heavy finish (Perfect Pussy, doing their best to thrash their equipment into oblivion). Photos of the memorably unique show can be found below.

 

PUP – PUP (Album Review)

PUP cover art

Toronto punk upstarts PUP have been building buzz steadily over the past year and they finally seem set to explode with the release of their self-titled debut. Prior to being PUP, the band had been playing out and releasing music under the name Topanga, so named after the character in Boy Meets World. After Disney acquired the rights to that particular show and planned a revamp, the band put the name to rest and became PUP. The re-branding seems to have ignited a fire in them that’s shown no signs of coming close to being put out.

After receiving coverage from nearly every major independent-music publication, continuing to make all the right connections, and releasing the year’s best music video, PUP has finally arrived (albeit currently only in their native Canada). PUP, like METZ before it, continues a trend in fiercely aggressive Canadian noise-punk imports. Unlike METZ, however, the band reigns things in every now and again throughout the record’s ten tracks, displaying enviable songwriting prowess and an unexpected vulnerability. That vulnerability is part of what makes tracks like “Yukon” so memorable; they’re distinguishable moments that add up to a substantial whole.

PUP‘s staunch refusal to present a collection of tracks that bleed into each other is admirable and helps the band stand out from many of their counterparts. This refusal allows them to put an emphasis on their lyricism, which is another one of the band’s more unique traits. Even with all the standard “Oh-oh-oh” sections peppered throughout PUP, the band manages to deliver memorable couplets like “and when my eyes were closed/you left me miserable… in the morning” before the explosive chorus on “Cul-de-sac” and the almost threatening “I guess you live and you learn/I guess you’ll get what you deserve” on “Reservoir”,  as well as entire songs of memorable and intelligent lines (“Dark Days” is particularly strong).

While PUP is undoubtedly formidable when the band’s gang mentality is on full display, it’s at its best when it flies off the rails and is spearheaded by a single personality. “Reservoir”, the lead-off single and album highlight, is the strongest example of this. There’s a ferocious and manic energy driving that song throughout its verse sections that make the brief group vocals on the explosive chorus even more resonant and effective. PUP’s untapped a rare kind of magic with that formula and they utilize it smartly throughout the record, accelerating and easing off at will to create a frenzied and somewhat chaotic pace that suits PUP perfectly.

“Factories” brings the record to an effective close, providing a sense of completion while also being energetic enough to leave listeners anxiously waiting for more. PUP is one hell of a first entry in what looks to be a promising career. Despite not currently being available in the US, you can stream the whole thing over at the band’s bandcamp. For those looking for a briefer introduction to the band and their aesthetic, the video for “Reservoir” is posted below and, as hinted at earlier, it’s fucking incredible. Keep an eye out for a US release sometime soon and make sure to check out the band when they swing through Chicago on 11/25 to play the Empty Bottle with Heartbreaking Bravery favorites Audacity and Hunters.