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Sad, but not lonely

Several bands come to Le Voyeur with songs that both fight and celebrate heartache

Family Video is one of the bands descending on Le Voyeur with driving, emotional pop. Photo credit: Noah Bender

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I've thought a lot about that pivotal moment in my life -- around the age of 13 or 14 -- when I started emerging from my cocoon of detached emotions, spurred on by my increasingly frequent connections with other people, and became a person capable of possessing overwhelming feelings. There was now a balance of fear, joy and sadness that suffused my daily activities, which had previously been marked by boredom and apathy. Hand-in-hand with this evolution came a change in the type of music I listened to, and the way in which I listened to it. Songs I had always passively listened to gained greater meaning, and new bands were passed down through the holy tradition of friends passing mix-tapes to each other.

Suddenly, I was inundated with groups like Belle & Sebastian, Neutral Milk Hotel, Death Cab for Cutie, Okkervil River, Rilo Kiley, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, the Smiths, and many others -- an experience so clichéd that it's likely everyone reading this has gone through an almost identical period. Rote as this may be, though, it was an invaluable time in my life, where the state of being sad suddenly was not also accompanied by a feeling of loneliness. These bands, these friends, all celebrated sadness, to one degree or another; even when they wallowed in it, there was a fight and a vigor to their wallowing. It meant the world to know that heartache wouldn't kill me.

Next Thursday finds Le Voyeur hosting an all-ages show filled with bands that tickle that part of my brain that feels nostalgic for being young and in the middle of an emotional transformation. Local outfit Trust Fall features the perfect combination of defiance and vulnerability. Led by Erica Leshon, formerly of Olympia favorites Margy Pepper, Trust Fall wryly tags their music as "sad girl songs," but there's a universality immediately on display with "Wild Fire/Flowers," the first track on recent EP Giants of Love. Beginning with just Leshon's sweet vocals, the song builds and builds over its two-minute length, ending up with a cacophonous, cathartic eruption of distorted guitars and pummeling drums. Trust Fall excel at buoyant noise-pop that works in concert with wistful, personal lyrics.

Also on the bill is Family Video, a trio out of St. John's, Newfoundland, up there in Canada. Led by Jen King (AKA Jam King or J. King), Family Video live up to the intimacy suggested by their name, offering supremely open-hearted indie pop. Their most recent LP, Long Time Listener, First Time Caller, is full of lo-fi melodic gems, full of bruised odes to loves lost and gained, and ones you struggle to hang on to. Like Trust Fall, Family Video don't make it terribly easy to find out nitty-gritty information about themselves -- preferring, it seems, to keep this a low-key affair -- but I do know that the band is rounded out by Noah Bender and Jake Nicoll, with songs written by King.

Remambran finish out the bill, along with a brand new group called Lark. Hailing from Santa Barbara, Remambran dials down the driving momentum of the previous bands, leaning instead on a lightness and warmth that feels like a healing salve on whatever wounds we may be experiencing at the moment. Mallory Watje's cooing voice leads the charge, resulting in a soothing delicacy that may be just enough to get you through to the other side of a long night. For those who cry during commercials, or hole up in their apartments for months, or are prone to extended group hugs with dear friends, these bands may just be the thing to keep you company.

TRUST FALL, w/ Family Video, Remembran, Lark, all ages, 7 p.m., Thursday, March 15, $5-$7, Le Voyeur, 404 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943.5710,

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