Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Truman & His Trophy

2016: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Ryan Wizniak)

Heartbreaking Bravery recently went offline but all facets of the site are back to being fully operational. Apologies for any inconveniences. All posts that were slated to run during that brief hiatus will appear with this note.

In the piece he wrote for A Year’s Worth of Memories last year, Meat Wave’s Ryan Wizniak chose to celebrate fellow Chicago greats Melkbelly. For the 2016 edition, Wizniak continues to celebrates his peers, this time bringing records from Oozing Wound, Luggage, Foul Tip, and Lifestyles into the fold. It’s always heartening to see a musician lift up the musicians that surround them and this piece is no exception. Explore the records listed below and keep an eye on this site throughout 2017 for more updates on Wizniak’s various projects. Enjoy.

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Another year, another never-ending buffet of great music to consume. Below are a few albums that you may or may not have missed while filling up on extra servings of Angel Olsen or Iggy Pop.

Oozing Wound – Whatever Forever

Hearing the Ooze evolve from their excellent first tape to their flawless third full length has been a serious treat. The chemistry between Zack, Kevin and Kyle is in full force on this one as they plow through track after track of their own brand of genuinely uncategorizable, punishing noise. If this is metal, it’s certainly pushing the genre in a much more exciting and expansive direction by refusing to stick to the tropes that have been kicking around for the last thirty years, so keep your lazy Slayer comparisons to yourself. Whatever Forever is a solid addition to an already fantastic catalogue and stands out as one of the years most unique and exciting releases.

Luggage – Sun 

One of my favorite memories of 2016 was taking a trip to Madison with Joe to catch Luggage open up for Michigan legends, Protomartyr. It was my first time attending one of their shows and I was blown away by their sheer volume and force. While Sun may have its share of shoegazery post-punk rippers it also boasts long, beautiful entrancing passages courtesy of Michael Vallera’s guitar work and propelled by the pummeling and repetitive rhythm section of Luca Cimmarusti and Michael John Grant. Keep an eye out for these boys, they are already hard at work on new material.

Foul Tip – Forever Driftin’ 

On this release Adam Luksetich and Ed Bornstein stretch the idea of what a post-punk drum and bass duo can do. There truly isn’t a weak spot on this record. Even the lyrics are top notch. 10/10. Bonus: It also boasts one of the most interesting Black Sabbath covers around.

Lifestyles – Lifestyles 

Lifestyles is a grungy, no bullshit, noise rock group featuring members of Lil Tits, Foul Tip, and Touched by a Ghoul. While it’s easy to put Lifestyles under the grunge umbrella (they have mastered the genres tension and release moments to perfection), they do away the slacker sloppiness of their forebears and opt to take a more driving and cerebral route instead. It’s a fun ride filled with enough earworms to keep your mind off of the terrible political climate that has swept the country.

Truman & His Trophy – Truman Kills A Bug (EP Review)

truman & his trophy

Trust Fund, Petite LeagueShelf Life, Ghost Camp, Jackal Onasis, Ben Seretan, Sass Dragons, Toys That Kill, Naked Hour, Hardly Boys, Molar/Pale Kids, Vallens, Grey Bath, Laptop Funeral, Comprador, and Guts Club were among the bands that churned out excellent full streams in the last week and a half. Another band that added their name to that very impressive list: Truman & His Trophy. Now, several readers of this site will likely recognize Chris Sutter and Ryan Wizniak as members of Meat Wave but Truman & His Trophy precedes the formation of that band. They’re also responsible for one of the most gloriously insane concept albums of all time (the header photo’s a good indication of the band’s vision).

After the release of the aforementioned concept record — 2011’s Bottom George Pizza Planet — the band played a few shows and mostly fizzled out, rarely coming out of hiding to play a show. A new record seemed like it could be out of the question, especially in the wake of Meat Wave’s surprising (but extremely well-deserved) success. No one was expecting the band to make a power move this year but the band revels in exploiting the unexpected and gifted the world the ferocious Truman Kills A Bug EP just a short while ago.

Largely picking up where they left off, the band dives back into their seemingly alien take on the kind of punk that’s frequently tied to Steve Albini; cold, vicious, and punishingly direct. For as outlandish as the narratives can get in the land of Truman (and his trophy), the music remains startlingly effective. There’s always been a lot to love about this band and Truman Kills A Bug offers plenty of reminders over why the band became such a fiercely beloved local act in the first place. It’s raw, deceptively intelligent, and always leaves you wanting more. All you need to do to squash that longing is hit repeat.

Listen to Truman Kills A Bug below and pick it up from the band here.

2015: A Year’s Worth of Memories (Ryan Wizniak)

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As has been mentioned, multiple times over, few bands have had as large of an impact on the past several years of my life as Meat Wave. From the hundreds of listens I’ve given to their self-titled debut to their appearance at the first Heartbreaking Bravery showcase to their continued support of this site, it’s been a genuine privilege to have them as a part of my life. Delusion Moon was one of 2015’s fiercest records and the few times I got to see the band perform, I was always left floored. A large part of their draw has always been the frantic drum work of Ryan Wizniak (pictured above, bottom left). I’m thrilled to be bringing Wizniak into the fold of A Year’s Worth of Memories and I’m equally excited that he’s chosen to focus his piece on Meklbelly. Read it all below and remember to celebrate the people who continuously make a positive impact on your life.

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Of all the fantastic music that came out in 2015, and there was a lot of it, my absolute favorite track was “Piss Wizard”, by Melkbelly.  Recorded at Public House in Chicago and released via Automatic Recordings on piss-yellow and poo-brown 7”s, “Piss Wizard” is a truly unique slab of uncategorizable noise rock.  Within its just over 7 minute running time it contains every aspect of what makes Melkbelly so great: super bizarre tones, excellent guitar interplay, a range of vocal stylings, absurd drums and dynamic bass playing that glues everything together.

One of my favorite things about Melkbelly is every song makes the listener feel like they are entering a living breathing place. “Piss Wizard” is a perfect example of this. The track starts with a vocal intro from Miranda [Winters] and as soon as the rest of the instruments join in it creates the feeling of being strapped into some deranged ride that has flown straight into a tornado. Eventually the track lets up just long enough for one to regain their senses before it blasts into an explosive ending.

My band got to play a few shows with Melkbelly at the end of our long tour this fall/winter. One of them was at this place in Ann Arbor called The Metal Frat and it turned out to be an actual fraternity focused on musicians and music lovers. It was totally surreal and a lot of fun. At one point in the night we went on a beer run and noticed the frat next door doing their initiations, which involved blindfolded people being thrown into the backs of cars and some sort of all night organ playing ritual. So wild!

The last show we played with them was our homecoming show in Chicago which also featured our good friends Sophagus and Rad Payoff at our favorite venue, the Empty Bottle. Between all four bands we managed to sell out the show. I couldn’t believe it! It was great way to close out the year.

-Ryan Wizniak

Meat Wave – Erased (Stream, Live Video)

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Since this site started, I’ve been fortunate enough to make some direct connections with bands I’ve had a genuine, long-standing love for. One of the acts that stands out most, especially in those respects, is the Chicago-based Meat Wave. Back in October, we were lucky enough to host Meat Wave as part of the first-ever Heartbreaking Bravery Presents and in the time that’s followed, the band’s (unsurprisingly) been generating quite a bit of noise. A sold-out show in Brooklyn with Perfect Pussy here, one of 2015’s best EP‘s there, headlining a VICE house party in London, dropping an endearingly scrappy slasher clip for a song… the band’s had a pretty good year. Now, with new material from a forthcoming record starting to surface, it’s only set to get better.

“Erased”, the band’s latest, is a glimpse at what the band’s got in store for the future. They’ve retained their Wipers-leaning bent but transformed it into something even more tenacious. Sounding more intensively focused and bold than ever, “Erased” gets taken up a few levels thanks to one of guitarist/vocalist’s Chris Sutter’s most snarling performances (and a characteristically powerhouse turn-in from the band’s rhythm section, made up of drummer Ryan Wizniak- who also played with Sutter in the excellent Truman & His Trophy– and bassist Joe Gac). Off-kilter and absolutely unhinged, “Erased” sounds downright feral while elevating all of the elements that have made Meat Wave one of the most formidable bands in the Midwest. It’s a tantalizing step forward for the band and it remains as powerful- and as deceptively catchy- as it was when the band used it to open their set back in October. Video of that performance can be found below the embedded stream. As for the album, keep an eye on this site for any further details- they’ll be posted as they’re received.

Listen to (and watch the live video of) “Erased” below.