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Giant steps: Braveyoung soon to see returns on a labor of love

by Ryan Snyder

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As part of the core of caretakers who shepherd the Greensboro performance space known as Legitimate Business, the four men of Greensboro hardcore postminimalist band Braveyoung have always approached the business aspect of being performing artists with undeniable circumspection. They do have good reason, after all. They were forced to change their name from Giant after a cheesy, one-hit wonder of the same name from Nashville sent them the precursor to a cease-and-desist letter, despite not having released any original work in eight years. They essentially banished an entire record — the representation of years worth of work — due to lack of consonance with the producer and the resulting dissatisfaction with the final product. As strict adherents to their principal influences — classical minimalist composers like Arvo P’rt and the recently-deceased Henryk G’recki — they were especially cautious in choosing a record label, before ultimately settling with the End Records.

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“We’ve always known that when people make paychecks off of selling your stuff, they’ll make you into a goofy band just to try to sell records to younger kids,” guitarist and percussionist Ben Saperstein said.

They’re extremely hesitant to call Legitimate Business a music venue in the practical sense because no one is in it for the money, as if there were any to be made from hosting touring bands living hand to mouth, with little support network of which to speak. To Zac and Isaac Jones, Ben Saperstein and Kyle Whisenant, along with the dozen other musicians who’ve charged themselves with upholding LB’s punk aesthetic, places like that are support networks. Originally conceived as a safe space for people of all backgrounds and orientations to congregate over a shared loved of diverse music and personalities, Legitimate Business has become more than that. It’s just as much of a home to touring acts with little other resources as it is to Greensboro’s underground music scene — though its inclusiveness transcends traditional underground norms.

“When there is an out-of-town band playing, they have a meal for them and guarantee a place to stay within their community of 12 people,” said guitarist Zac Jones. “It’s an atmosphere where we want to make people feel like we appreciate what they’re going through as a touring band.”

When Braveyoung returns to Greensboro this Friday for a show after a string of mini-tours throughout the Southeast, it will be with the assurance that their own travails will soon bear fruit. After losing a member and deciding to outright scrap what was to be their self-titled album, the band went to Machines With Magnets in Providence, RI to record allnew material written during a six-month hiatus.

Titled We Are Lonely Animals, the album takes its name from a paraphrased John Steinbeck quote originally published in the hallowed prep school paper the Exonian. The band swapped the original phrasing of “lonesome” with “lonely” to give it a more contemporary feel. Sap says the quote in it’s full form — ”Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.” — is a perfect summary of what they could only hope to accomplish through music.

The album itself is a compromise between two extreme types of music brothers Zac and Isaac were initially into — minimalism and heavy music — and coalesced by the other members’ interest in creating music that goes beyond traditional song structures. At two tracks over 28 swelling minutes, their 2008 EP Bloom was a testament to the possibilities of their vision. With the new album, postponed from a late fall release to January, the band’s intention was to continue tackling pieces large in scope, without the meandering pretention that befalls many modern compositional efforts. Unlike the EP, Braveyoung will incorporate a vocal style partially-retained from their earlier sludge-metal days, invoking an overarching narrative based on aging reluctantly.

Early returns on material teased online, such as “Our Teeth Are Falling Out,” shows the band imbuing an uncanny intensity and strange sense of inner turmoil into their work through bars and bars of repeated phrasings.

“This record is the culmination of a lot of stress and a lot of time that we have been going over this material,” said Jones. “We’re more excited about it than anything we’ve ever done.”

Braveyoung will perform at Legitimate Business this Friday with Pygmy Lush, Hidden Lake Park, Velee and Butterflies.

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