For most people, heartbreak leads only toward paralysis, marathon cushion-cradling crying sessions, or, at best, an uptick in unproductive activities like binge drinking and mucho Xbox-ing. For Bethany Larson, it birthed a musical career. Much like her promising debut EP from 2009, Larson's 2011 full-length album, When We Reach the City, is a series of dispatches from the land of disenchantment, where broken hearts and dashed dreams lie in wait around every corner (she acknowledges most of her songs so far are "About a certain someone that was in my life for quite a while"). In the wrong hands, this sort of heart-on-sleeve songwriting can come off as mawkish wallowing, but Larson and her backing band, the Bee's Knees, have turned her open wounds into a powerful and unshakeable album. With Charlie Parr, Gallus, Portage.
Fri., Aug. 10, 4 p.m., 2012