the Heavy Hearts
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the Heavy Hearts


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"Up and Coming"

Oct 12th 2006

(Hell's Kitchen, early) I'll give you a little credit and assume you're familiar with the Divorce's catchy new wave—influenced rock and roll, but maybe the Heavy Hearts moniker on the bill is foreign to you? Well, the Heavy Hearts have been compared to Mclusky and the Pixies, and those claims aren't far off, what with their stabbing guitars and jarring compositions of urgent and loud post-punk. It's good, and though I haven't witnessed it myself, it's said to be even better live. And should you want to take a souvenir home after witnessing their sonic assault, Heavy Hearts have just released a self-titled EP on Swingline Records, which should fit nicely between your Mudhoney and Hüsker Dü records.

- The Stranger - MEGAN SELING


As I've said time and time again, "Woe is the band that must follow the Heavy Hearts." Okay, I've never said or thought that until last night at the Sunset, while watching a perfectly agreeable set by local foursome the Purrs that couldn't have been anything but a letdown after watching the Heavy Hearts tear the stage to pieces (metaphorically speaking) just moments earlier. Still, the Purrs gave it their best effort.

"Can you put some more reverb on my voice?" one of the band's two singer-guitarists asked the sound guy at the start. "Y'know, Captain Spaceship? Put some drugs on it?" "I'll Phil Spector it up," the sound guy replied.

While not quite a wall of sound, the quartet did construct a pop-psychedelic haze with their jangle and echo — the Purrs get compared a lot to the Verve (mainly due to singer-bassist Jima's Richard Ashcroft-summoning vocals) and Galaxie 500 (their Velvet Underground-inspired guitar jams), and both of those influences are evident on ther band's recordings. But live, they mostly reminded me of '80s dream-pop icons (and Paisley Underground stalwarts) the Dream Syndicate.

Unfortunately, the music didn't really seem to captivate the chattering crowd — save for the couple of swooning women in front — which was still buzzing about the Heavy Hearts through most of the Purrs' 40-minute set. And fair enough, really — the Hearts hit the Sunset stage with enough energy to power all of Ballard, tearing through a 30-minute set like a pack of pit bulls going at a side of bloody beef.

Theirs was a mighty combination of post-hardcore and trash-punk: Singer-guitarist Brian Burnside reminded me a ton of Fugazi's Guy Picciotto — the tone of his voice, the angular chug he coaxed out of his instrument, his manic stage presence, the way he screamed into his guitar pickups. And Denise Maupin matched his intensity throughout, a blur of blonde hair and tattoos at center stage as she whipped around, howled into the mic, and added another layer of guitar fury for the first couple of songs, then strapped on a 4-string and locked in with the Hearts' stellar rhythm section for an especially propulsive barrage alongside Burnside's outbursts. It was one of those sets you wished could have gone on for another hour, quite honestly.

And, bummer enough, Burnside announced it was the Hearts' last show in Seattle for at least a few months while the quartet works on their next album. Former Catheter and Tall Bird Charles Leo Gebhardt opened the proceedings with a brief, ramshackle-but-charming set. The curly-haired, happy-go-lucky singer-guitarist — joined by two friends who played snare drum and toy piano — offered a sorta sloppy indie-blues that sometimes worked, and sometimes fell apart completely.

But with a silly grin on his face during the handful of songs he played, Gebhardt treated the performance as if he was in his basement trying out some new tunes for his pals, and at least some in the audience appreciated it.



Saturday night and I love a good bill in Ballard. For those of you not lucky enough to live in Seattle, Ballard is a great little neighborhood just a bit north and out of the way of downtown with a great town center: great bars and restaurants, and a couple of classic show venues, including the Sunset, home of tonight's bill: Shake Some Action!, the Purrs, the Heavy Hearts, and Charles Leo Gebhardt.

I was particularly excited about the Heavy Hearts, as I'd never seen the band play before and I'm a fan of their debut self-titled EP. I was also a fan of Triple X Audio (or was it XXX Audio?), the line-up's prior incarnation. Both bands were fronted by Denise Maupin and Brian Burnside, quite possibly the most rock and roll couple in Seattle. And if there's anything I love, it couples who rock together.

I arrived just in time to catch the end of Charles Leo Gebhardt's set, a quiet, kinda folksy lo-fi sort of thing. This would be unexceptional except for the fact the Charles was a member of Seattle punk band the Catheters and is a member of the Tall Birds. I do love a paradox, and I wish I had arrived a bit earlier to see more of what Charles has going on.

And while we're talking about music paradox, tonight's lineup was all over the map. After Gebhardt's quiet, folksy set came the Heavy Hearts, with a full-on garage rock assault. The four-piece thrashed their mop-heads and bounced around and clearly took great pleasure in rocking the ample crowd at the Sunset. The band just completed an intense west coast tour for the past few weeks: it started at the High Dive in Seattle on February 23, took them on four stops through California, and then back for four more shows through Washington before concluding tonight at the Sunset.

If the band were fatigued from the road, it didn't show. They pummeled their instruments through the set, and Denise and Brian seemed to delight in trading off vocal duties (which included some pretty intense screams from Denise).

Also of note: before the show, I was catching up with some friends at the venue and sharing stories about our recent adventures at SXSW. Each of us commented on bands that had used two drumkits during their shows. To that end, I officially imaginarily proclaim that two drumkits is the new violin (which was the new keyboard).

It's apparently the thing to have — and sometimes to great effect. The Heavy Hearts might be spearheading a new indie-rock trend — distinctive to their sound was the use of the double bass. Denise traded off between guitar and bass duties and Slice Kraft provided consistent bass playing throughout the set. When they both hit their four-strings at the same time, the music took on a particularly sinister, thudding sound — definitely to great effect.

You read it here first: double bass is the next double drumkit.

And while we're on the subject of drums... the Heavy Hearts don't need a second drummer, as there's so way they could ever find drum art cooler (and more fitting) than theirs: a clear drum with a realistic and vivid painting of an anatomical heart. Each time drummer Lee Taylor pounded the kit, the drum (and the heart) beat, literally.

(Also amusing was the number of times I had to take this photo without my flash in order to get a non-blurry one, the drum was thumping so much during the show).

I was pleased that the band ended their (short, but fast and hard) set with my two favorite songs from their EP so I could sing along: "On the Breaks" and "Spit When You Say My Name." "You're the one! You're the one!!"

When their set ended, a pal of the band magically (and instantly) appeared at the stage with Jager shots for all. Too bad Liz wasn't there to partake.

The Heavy Hearts are taking a several month hiatus from live shows while they work on their full-length, due out in August on Seattle label The Swingline. Wahoo!


"The Heavy Hearts"

“Mixing equal parts My Bloody Valentine, McLusky, and Pixies, the Heavy Hearts are dark, chaotic, and intense - just what you'd expect from members of such seminal Northwest bands as Engine Kid and the Bali Girls. Live, the Hearts pull you into their punishing world, leaving you pleasantly dazed and confused when it's all over.”

"The Heavy Hearts Get Some Love From Down South"

“Spit When You Say My Name,” the opening track to the Heavy Hearts’ debut, self-titled EP, reminds me of those old Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam cartoons: a jabbing, staccato B-note on Brian Burnside’s guitar string is the spark that ignites the gunpowder trail leading straight to poor Sam’s patootie, and the throaty, snarling rhythm assault that follows is the inevitable, winding burning of the powder. There is a wonderful, raw energy in the Hearts’ debut effort, and the primal jungle roll of the rhythm section — led by the lovely Denise Maupin and Brian Kraft on bass and Lee Taylor on drums — while echoing the ultra-tight drum and bass lines of the Dead Kennedys, shares more common ground with Washington, D.C., hardcore band Fugazi.
It is a shame that the adjective “heavy” does nothing to describe this band’s sound. While listening to the EP, I thought of other, more biting names to compliment the sharp, angular guitar lines and Burnside and Maupin’s spitting vocal assaults. Roget’s Thesaurus is no help at all here as the synonyms for “heavy” suggest such ridiculous names as The Weighty Hearts, The Hefty Hearts, or The Ponderous Hearts. The point is the word “heavy” does not carry the depth and the precision of the Hearts’ music and talent. The band’s EP will undoubtedly remind noise aficionados of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation — not shabby praise for such a young band.
Of the six songs included on the EP, five of them have unpleasant titles and oft-unsettling lyrics, save for the song “Hope,” which is sandwiched between the paced, nightmarish lumber of “No” and the truly excellent, yet punchy “The End.” “Hope” is a bit of an anomaly on the disc — it possesses the same conjoined-at-the-hip rhythm section, and as per usual, Burnside manages to make his guitar sound like a collection of airplanes taking off and landing. It does not have the übercatchy chorus lines of “On the Breaks,” and it does not have the slinky, slutty, layered guitar tracks of “Leeches.” At the end of it all, though, coming in at just under 23 minutes, the Hearts’ live up to their heavy promise with a frighteningly original and astonishingly melodic debut - The Weekly Volcano

"The Heavy Hearts - KEXP"

“Raucous and sexy, you'll catch hints of legendary bands like Fugazi & The Pixies, yet they stand solidly on their own . Their live show will give you a smack in the face that will leave you wanting more.”

"The Heavy Hearts - Seattle Sound Review"

“The Heavy Hearts’s swaggering, distortion-filled punk is similar to that of other acidic-axe-weilding local acts like the Lights, but with heavy dueling bass lines at the forefront, this quartets debut is an obsenity laden breath of fresh air. Loud, calamitous rhythms and blistering male/female vocals dominate this six song EP justifying comparisions to The Pixies ..... a stellar debut.”

"The Stranger Artists To Watch in 2007"

“Ferociously delivered rock that boasts double bass, dueling male and female vocals and influences from Pixies, Mclusky, and really early Pretty Girls Make Graves (in that it's both catchy and unpolished). You might remember them as the band Triple X Audio, but the Heavy Hearts shed their old moniker, cranked up the amps, and threw in some Fugazi-ish guitar, which makes their songs both jarring and haunting .”

"Speakers Push The Air"

I was listening, as I often do, to the Seattle-based radio station KEXP yesterday. It's pretty much the greatest radio station you'll come across if you're an indie rock geek like myself, and it's completely non-profit so you don't have to worry about rubbish major label-approved playlist tracks in between the good stuff. Plus, they play Neutral Milk Hotel on their morning show. What more could you want?

Anyway, Rachel (apparently surnames totally aren't cool for DJ's) played a track on her Variety Mix show called 'Spit When You Say My Name' by an unsigned Seattle band called The Heavy Hearts, which I've instantly fallen in love with. There's definitely an obvious Fugazi influence in there, but the guitars have a much looser, sexier sound to them, which makes me think of Hot Snakes or Pretty Girls Make Graves.... should have their debut record out by the Summer. Good news all round, then...
- Speakers Push The Air

"Capitol Hill Block Party 2008: The Heavy Hearts @ Capitol Hill Block Party 2008"

The body-crushing rock and roll slam of The Heavy Hearts ended the first night of the 2008 Capitol Hill Block Party for me, and completely blew away what I thought of the band from their record. On their last EP, post-punk and rock were created with incredible discipline and energy, but the sheer immensity of the two bass (Denise Maupin and Slice Kraft) juggernaut is a whole other animal on stage.

Maupin in particular is an awesome sight, her blonde hair being thrown by what seems like pummeling waves of rhythm from her own bass, Kraft's, and the expert explosions of drummer Lee Taylor. Coming right after the Pleasureboaters, it was an awesome juxtaposition of two powerful sounds and styles. I have to admit that I admire Pleasureboaters, but love The Heavy Hearts, who seem like veteran mercenaries of the punk rock wars, as if the singing of Brian Burnside and the playing of his crew are the final last blast of marginalist rock before the corporate boot stamps us all out. No, more than that, the band's name is right -- the band seems to give enough of a shit about what they're saying and playing, against the alienation and anomie of mundane existence, that their emotions spill into a noise they can't help but make.

"On The Breaks" with its incredible percussion, the burning "Revolution," and the pissed-off-beyond-belief "TV" were all high points in what was basically an entire set of full on peaks. I know some Pleasureboaters fans left, and in their defense it was getting pretty late, but I couldn't help but wonder how anyone could have turned away from the Heavy Hearts mid-set. For me, it was like seeing the breath-sucking energy of the Ramones in Seattle in the early 80s -- I was pulled deeper into the conversation than I had been with the less serious and more arty Pleasureboaters. Brilliant way to line up the bands, Block Party and King Cobra! I love ending the night on the very best show I'd seen that day.

-Chris Estey, July 26, 2008
- Three Imaginary Girls


The Heavy Hearts Ep released 2006 - The Swingline Records
A Killer of Snakes released April 2008 - Selector Sound



The Heavy Hearts released "A Killer of Snakes" in April 2008. It has reached #10 on KEXP, #1 on KEXP NW Bands Chart, #17 on KSCU Santa Clara, and charting elsewhere on college radio. When the band shout, "I got the will to fight on," in the chorus of fist-pumper "Attrition," you want to rush the stage and scream along, says Megan Selling of The Stranger Magazine/Seattle. Saying that The Heavy Hearts are a new band is sort of a misnomer. Brian Burnside (gutair/vox), Denise Maupin (guitar/bass/vox), Slice Kraft (bass) and Lee Taylor (drums) have been playing together in various forms for years, (most recently as Triple X Audio). Separately they've been gracing NW stages for decades as members of The Delusions, Black Panties, Engine Kid and The Bali Girls. They still write incredibly catchy rock songs, they just pushed the volume knobs as far to the right as they would go. With their throbbing dual bass, screaming guitars and unmatched intensity seeing the Heavy Hearts live is a little like getting your ass kicked by your 12 year old paperboy then having him buy you a beer after. You'll be shocked, sweaty and a little bruised, but still smiling.