Entries tagged with: La Dispute
by Andrew Sacher
photo: La Dispute at Webster Hall in March (more by Mimi Hong)
How did the band pick "Polly"?Last week we heard Nothing's cover of "Something In the Way" from the upcoming Nirvana tribute, Whatever Nevermind (due 4/18 via Robotic Empire), and today we get La Dispute's cover of "Polly." Like the Nothing cover, La Dispute choose to keep it sounding like themselves rather than doing a Nirvana impression. The melody is unchanged, but the arrangements don't mimic the original (or even the New Wave version). Listen below.
La Dispute's Adam Vass: We had the option to do whatever Nirvana track we wanted, and it was daunting, because they have such a long list of really cool songs, and there was the initial struggle of deciding between a more popular song or a deeper cut that someone who only listens to the radio wouldn't have heard, and there are so many songs, and so many of them are good, we decided that "Polly" was the average between a deep cut and a popular radio song. And it's a pretty heavy song, thematically, which is something that our band is no stranger to dealing with, and with "Polly" being about a kidnapping and molestation, it was maybe a little bit farther than where we usually go, but we wanted to pick a song we could make a bit more vibe-y. The initial track is dark, and we tried to give a bit more life to it, which was a fun experiment. [AllMusic]
La Dispute were last in NYC with Title Fight and The Hotelier in late March. If you missed it, check out our pictures and review.
photos by Mimi Hong, words by Andrew Sacher
La Dispute / Title Fight
The ongoing La Dispute / Title Fight / The Hotelier tour rolled through NYC over the weekend for a show at Webster Hall on Friday night (3/27). The show had sold out months in advance, and it was already almost fully packed by The Hotelier's advertised set time of 7:30 (they ended up going on a little earlier). When The Hotelier headline, it's usually at much smaller venues, but even as the first of three bands on this bill they had a ton of the crowd singing along. It's pretty amazing to see how well they handled the big room, considering exactly a year ago they were in NYC playing what's technically someone's apartment.
Title Fight were up next, and as anyone who's been following them for a while knows, they were supporting their least heavy album yet, Hyperview. The change in sound appears to be alienating some old fans, though that's bound to happen almost any time a band changes it up this much. But every Title Fight album has sounded different anyway, and the show further helped prove that their progression on Hyperview is more natural than it may seem. Something like "Your Pain Is Mine Now" from that album might sound like an entirely different band than the one who wrote "Symmetry" from their 2009 EP (the only old song they played). But in a set with songs like "Lefty" and "Head in the Ceiling Fan" from 2012's Floral Green, it fit right in. And the Title Fight of 2015 is very good at merging their various styles at their shows. At points like "Shed" into "Chlorine" or "Numb, But I Still Feel It" into "Mrahc," Title Fight's transitions were seamless.
La Dispute wrapped up the night, and though it was billed as a co-headlining show with Title Fight, it seemed like an overwhelming majority of the crowd was there for La Dispute. It wasn't that long ago that it was normal to see La Dispute in NYC at a place like Acheron or The Studio at Webster Hall, but now it seems like these guys are on their way to something more like Terminal 5. Of all the times I've seen them, I've never seen their crowd the way it was on Friday night. They opened with "King Park," the 7-minute epic that tells the story of a drive-by shooting that killed an innocent child, which on previous tours would close their sets. But as an opener, it was maybe even more intense. The minute those opening guitars came in, something like 80% of that crowd rushed the stage in excitement. If you weren't intentionally doing that too, your body pretty much didn't have a choice.
That level of crowd energy rarely lowered throughout the night, and La Dispute delivered a set that deserved it. Like Title Fight, La Dispute have been progressing from album to album, and this show only included one song from their debut: the 12-minute "The Last Lost Continent" which they encored with. Even at their last NYC show in April 2014, I probably would've been bummed if we didn't at least get "Said the King to the River," but 7-year-old favorites didn't feel necessary to make this show great. This set of almost entirely newer material was the best I've seen of theirs yet.
The show was also their first in NYC since the departure of original guitarist Kevin Whittemore, and while Kevin was missed, his replacement fit in with the band perfectly. More pictures of all three bands, plus La Dispute and Title Fight's setlists, below...
photos by P Squared Photography; words by Andrew Sacher
Torche / Nothing's crowd
Torche put out their killer new record Restarter on Relapse last month, and last night (3/26) they brought their tour with Nothing and Wrong to NYC for a sold-out show at Saint Vitus. The new album is Torche's heaviest since In Return and possibly their most psychedelic ever, and that came across even more so at last night's show. The droning quality of much of the new record was in full effect, and Torche were in total attack mode. We got almost all of the new record, but also plenty of older favorites too including "Healer," "Kicking," "In Return" and a handful of others.
Before Torche, their Relapse labelmates Nothing put on an equally awesome set, opening with one of their heaviest songs yet, the sludgy/grungy "July the Fourth" off their recent split with Whirr. Tons of favorites from last year's Guilty of Everything LP followed ("Bent Nail," "Dig," "Get Well," etc) and they had the front half of the room in a wild mosh pit the whole time. Opening was Wrong (ex-Capsule, Kylesa, and featuring Torche's drummer), whose Helmet-y jams were a fine start to the night. Pictures of all three bands are in this post.
Torche, Nothing and Wrong are all on the upcoming Nirvana tribute, Whatever Nevermind, which Robotic Empire is putting out on April 18. That comp also includes La Dispute (who play NYC tonight), Boris, Cave In, Touche Amore, Thou, Young Widows and more. The only song that's out from it at the moment is Circa Survive's cover of "Drain You," which you can stream below.
Torche also just put out the video for "Annihilation Affair" off their new album. That video and more pictures and setlists from the Vitus show, also below...
by Andrew Sacher
Providence's The Attending is the band led by Corey Stroffolino (who's currently the touring guitarist in La Dispute), and they're set to release their debut album, Deep Peace of the Singing Earth on March 17 via Full City Sour (pre-order). The Attending have covered The National, making them part of a growing group of post-hardcore bands taking influence from that band. But the band who sounds like the most direct comparison for The Attending is Cursive. Their knack for haunting dramatic rock and frequent dynamic shifts are all over this record. You can get a taste for yourself from new single "No Gospel," which premieres below.
The album was recorded by the band with help from Todd Mackey, who sang in With Honor and played guitar in Life In Your Way, the latter of which Corey from The Attending was briefly in too. Defeater guitarist Jay Maas mixed and mastered it. About the album, Corey said:
The record is about dealing with the loss of my best friend a few years ago. This song in particular is about when you feel like you have lost everything, it gives you an excuse to not treat other people in your life as you should. I guess you can lean into that, and reap the consequences or crawl out of it if possible. This one is more about leaning into it. For better or worse. Usually worse.The band's only upcoming date at the moment is opening the Boston stop of the La Dispute / Title Fight tour. Stream the new single, with the album tracklist, below...
by Andrew Sacher
La Dispute at Riot Fest Chicago 2014 (more by James Richards IV)
Title Fight at Best Buy Theater in November (more by Mimi Hong)
Two of best current bands in post-hardcore have announced a tour together for 2015: La Dispute, who put out the excellent Rooms of the House this year, and Title Fight, who recently put out the shoegazey single off their upcoming 2015 LP Hyperview. If that wasn't enough, The Hotelier are opening which makes for a pretty awesome triple bill. The tour hits NYC on March 27 at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show go on sale at 10 AM on Friday (12/12).
Ahead of this tour, TF is going on a run (which unfortunately doesn't hit the east coast) with two other great bands, Merchandise and Power Trip. All dates are listed, with videos from TF, LD and The Hotelier, below...
photos by James Richards IV, words by Zach Pollack & Milos Markicevic
Mineral / Patti Smith / Superchunk
Riot Fest Chicago wrapped up this past Sunday (9/14) with sets from The Cure, Weezer (playing Blue Album), Primus, Social Distortion, Cheap Trick (playing Heaven Tonight), Patti Smith, Mudhoney, Hot Snakes, Mineral, Lucero, Naked Raygun (playing Throb Throb), La Dispute, Superchunk, The Hold Steady, Kurt Vile, Bouncing Souls, The Front Bottoms, The Menzingers and many more.
I arrived at the final day of the festival to find New Jersey punk heroes The Bouncing Souls already on the Roots Stage, and NJ folk punks The Front Bottoms getting set to perform on the Rebel Stage. Having seen the former a few times, I went for the latter band and heard "Flashlight" as I approached the stage. Their early afternoon-yet-rabid crowd screamed the lyrics along to the song's stop-start chorus. The tongue-in-cheek Talon of the Hawk opener "Au Revoir (Adios)" came next, followed by mix of songs from that album and their 2011 self-titled LP. --ZP
Kurt Vile & The Violators were the next band I caught, over at the Riot Stage. Given that Sunday beared even better weather than Saturday had, opening with "Wakin on a Pretty Day" was an apt choice in full sun. The Violators proceeded to deliver a low-key and enjoyable set that touched on Wakin on a Pretty Daze, Smoke Ring for My Halo, and Childish Prodigy. After a bit of KV and co., I headed over to the Rebel Stage to catch The Hold Steady. The NYC crew kicked things off with "I Hope This Whole Thing Didn't Frighten You" from this year's Teeth Dreams, followed by the Boys and Girls in America favorite "Stuck Between Stations." The band flew by their usual M.O. -- flexing some muscle without coming off as too cheesy -- while pulling out tunes from their back catalog. --ZP
Next I went to catch Superchunk, and I arrived at the Riot Stage a bit prior to their set. In the meantime, I caught the last few songs of Billy Bragg's performance on the nearby Roots Stage. Before playing "The Milkman of Human Kindness," Bragg shared that he's out to become "the Pete Seegar of punk" and hopes to be performing into his 90s. He turned "There Is Power in a Union" into a sing-along and finished off with "A New England." Superchunk began with the No Pocky for Kitty tune "Cast Iron," followed by the one-two punch of "Digging For Something" and "FOH." It was back to No Pocky... for "Punch Me Harder," and then Mac asked the crowd to sing along during "Learned To Surf." "I'm gonna need you to repeat after me, in the age-old tradition of repeating after people on stage, he quipped. Their 11-song set came to a close with "Slack Motherfucker" into "Precision Auto." --ZP
Michigan post-hardcore crew La Dispute were up next at the far-from-everything Rock Stage. The four-piece were heavy on this year's great Rooms of the House, and began their 10-song set with "HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956," "Stay Happy There," and "First Reactions After Falling Through the Ice" from the LP falling within the first five they played. Their meditative grooves quickly won over the large crowd they had gathered at the stage. My next target after La Dispute was the Rise Stage, where whiskey-soaked Memphis crew Lucero would soon begin their late afternoon set. I only stuck around for a few songs, but I got to hear some of my favorites from the start, including "On My Way Downtown" into "Nights Like These." --ZP
La Dispute's crowd
After Lucero, it was back over to the Rock Stage for reunited Austin emo band Mineral. The band quietly took the stage and delivered an excellent set that was split evenly between their 1997 debut The Power of Failing and 1998's EndSerenading. Highlights included their heavier moments found within the brief "Five, Eight, & Ten," "For Ivadell," and "Gloria," and also the more subdued offerings like "Love Letter Typewriter." Mineral were one of the best emo bands out there, and it's great to see them return sounding great. --ZP
One of my most anticipated sets of the three-day fest was Patti Smith's 6PM performance on the Riot Stage. Patti was born in Chicago not all that far from the stage she occupied, and spoke about coming to the park with her mother as a very young child. She and her band opened with "Dancing Barefoot" into the Horses tune "Redondo Beach." A cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" came next, followed by "Pissing in a River." Along with a select few others, Patti Smith fully embodies the spirit of Riot Fest. --ZP
While Zach was over at Patti Smith on the Riot Stage, I was at the Rise Stage for Mudhoney. The grunge grandfathers ripped through their set and barely stopped to catch their breath. Drummer Dan Peters was a beast on drums throughout the set, and at one point the band even made way for a brief drum solo, bringing in the fuzz at the climax. You would think Mark Arm's vocal style would have wrecked his pipes after all these years but the guy sounded just as good as he did on the band's debut album. The definite highlight of set was the band's classic "Touch Me I'm Sick" which left everyone floored. --MM
If Patti Smith carries the ethos of Riot Fest, then Primus serve to represent the festival's large carnival presence. Les Claypool was transfixed on the ferris wheel he faced from the stage and spoke at length about how beautiful it was and how lucky they were to be performing near it. He later prompted guitarist Larry LaLonde to do a solo inspired by the wheel. Unlike when I saw them in 2013, Primus shed their jammy approach of late for the tighter feel of their early material. This shift was aided by stand-in timekeeper Danny Carey, who delivered a fast-handed, rigid performance. The trio opened with the Sailing the Seas of Cheese cut "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers," followed by the driving LP number "Here Come the Bastards." The tweaky Brown Album song "Over the Falls" was also played, as well as more favorites like "My Name Is Mud," and set endcap "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." --ZP
Weezer were one of the albums billed to play a classic album (The Blue Album), but first they warmed up with some of their more recent singles, steadily going back in time with each song. The band played "Pork and Beans," "Beverly Hills," "Island In The Sun," "Hash Pipe," "El Scorcho" and others before getting to 1994, the year of The Blue Album. Everything prior to The Blue Album's performance felt like filler as everyone, including myself, sang along to every Blue Album song, most loudly to "Buddy Holly" which some fans begged to be played again. Weezer performed flawlessly while their stage lights bathed everyone in blue light, keeping in theme of the album's color. It was amazing seeing the band perform The Blue Album-- one of my favorite 90s albums-- in its entirety. I only wish they could've squeezed in Pinkerton right after. --MM
by Andrew Sacher
Touche Amore @ Revolution in July (more by Mimi Hong)
No Sleep Records is putting out a new compilation this week, A Comp For Mom, which is a tribute to label founder Chris Hansen's mom who recently passed away. Here's what Chris had to say about it:
A Comp For Mom is a special project i planned over the past month of my mom's life, to release in her honor and to help raise funds for her medical bills. Now it will be released in memory of her. 100% of the proceeds will be going towards any medical bills/other expenses incurred after her passing, after that 100% of the proceeds will go into a Linda Hansen Memorial Fund.The comp features rare and unreleased tracks by La Dispute, Into It. Over It., Now, Now, Run Forever and more, as well as covers such as Allison Weiss taking on The Beatles' "In My Life," Daisyhead doing Jimmy Eat World's "Work" and, recorded special for this compilation, Touché Amore's version of The National's "Available" that they played at Revolution last month. The song, which is a digital-only bonus track, mostly features singer Jeremy Bolm using clean vocals until the song's end when he brings back his trademark scream.
I love you Mom, say hi to Dad for me.
You can pre-order A Comp For Mom now. A full stream of the compilation premieres in this post and can be listened to below.
Riot Fest Chicago 2014 is set to take place from September 12-14 throughout Humboldt Park. The 10th anniversary of the festival features Jane's Addiction, Slayer, The Offspring, Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova & Masha Alekhina), Mastodon, The Murder City Devils, Failure, Title Fight, The National, The Flaming Lips, Wu-Tang Clan, Descendents, The Cure, Weezer, Social Distortion, Primus, Patti Smith, and many more across seven-stages. The fest has now shared daily lineups, which you can scope out at the bottom of this post. Three-day and two-day passes are still available, and single-day tickets are on sale now.
RFC 2014 daily lineups lie after the jump...
The annual two-day FYF Fest is returning to LA from August 23-24 this year, and the lineup was just announced. It includes The Strokes, Phoenix, the reunited Blood Brothers who haven't played sine 2007 (!), Slowdive, Slint, Flying Lotus, Grimes, Blood Orange, Darkside, Jamie xx, Haim, Little Dragon, Future Islands, Death Grips (we know FYF is a festival they actually play), Ty Segall, Deafheaven, La Dispute, Joyce Manor, Against Me!, Built to Spill, Murder City Devils, The Bronx, Angel Olsen, Four Tet, Earl Sweatshirt, Joanna Gruesome and many more.
Tickets go on sale May 22 at noon PDT. Full lineup below...
Chicago has The Cure, Jane's Addiction, The National, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Social Distortion, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Descendents, Tegan & Sara, Metric, the reunited Samhain (!), Cheap Trick, Pussy Riot (Nadya Tolokonnikova & Masha Alekhina), Patti Smith, Taking Back Sunday, Mastodon, Afghan Whigs, Naked Raygun, Cock Sparrer, Superchunk, Lucero, Murder City Devils, Mudhoney, Failure, Hot Snakes, Thurston Moore, Get Up Kids, Kurt Vile, Wavves, ALL, Mineral, Title Fight, Samiam, Menzingers, Front Bottoms, Pianos Become the Teeth, Bouncing Souls, Buzzcocks, Gogol Bordello, Stiff Little Fingers and many more. Tickets are on sale now.
Denver also has The Cure, The National, Weezer, Social Distortion, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, Taking Back Sunday, Lucero, Failure, Hot Snakes, ALL, Mineral, Menzingers, Pianos Become the Teeth, Bouncing Souls, Buzzcocks, Gogol Bordello, Stiff Little Fingers plus Primus, TV on the Radio, Glassjaw, Bob Mould, Violent Femmes and more. Tickets are on sale now.
Full Chicago and Denver lineups below...
Kevin Whittemore (right) w/ La Dispute at Acheron, 2010 (more by Samantha Marble)
La Dispute just wrapped up their tour in support of this year's excellent Rooms of the House in Cleveland last night (4/14). (We caught the tour in NYC a few days earlier at the sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg.) It's now been confirmed by the band's publicist that those were the last shows for guitarist Kevin Whittemore, who has chosen to leave the band. Kevin co-founded La Dispute along with current vocalist Jordan Dreyer and current drummer Brad Vander Lugt back in 2004, and this is the band's first lineup change since before the release of their first album. UPDATE (4/18): Official statement released. Read it below.
In other "New Wave of Post-Hardcore" news, Title Fight played Coachella over the weekend, much to the confusion of some in the crowd who weren't ready for a mosh pit to break out. Check out our full set of pictures from Friday at Coachella for more from their set.
Watch La Dispute's video for "For Mayor In Splitsville" from the new LP, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Mansions/La Dispute/Pianos Become the Teeth @ MHOW - 4/10/14 (via Erin OGrady)
Though it hardly feels like it anymore thanks to "Nirvana," there were other shows happening in NYC last night (4/10), including the sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg stop of La Dispute's tour with Pianos Become the Teeth and Mansions. I arrived there about halfway through Mansions, whose grungy power pop was sounding pretty good last night. I like them on record, but sometimes it's a little polished for my taste and I thought they really benefited from the absence of studio shine in a live setting.
Up next were Pianos Become the Teeth, who I've caught a couple times before but last night's show was easily the best I've seen of theirs. As much post-rock as they are post-hardcore, Pianos are an intense band to watch even if moshing and rushing the stage aren't your thing. Last night they previewed some material from an upcoming album (details TBA) which had vocalist Kyle Durfey singing as opposed to the harsher screams of their earlier material, not unlike he did on "Hiding" from their 2013 split with Touche Amore. The new stuff sounded great and "Hiding" had the crowd shouting along louder than any other song. Keep an eye on the new stuff from these guys.
Finally La Dispute took the stage, and though the venue had been full all night and each band definitely had fans in the room, they clearly felt like the "headliners" (which is still kind of amazing considering it wasn't long ago they played that same venue as openers for Hot Water Music). They've earned it though. La Dispute are an ever-evolving band who have cut their teeth relentlessly touring for years, and their newest Rooms of the House LP has some of their strongest material yet. The band mostly stuck to songs off that album, and though the new songs are less likely to induce moshing/screaming along, when the old favorites did come they actually felt overshadowed by the band's new direction. (Not that the crowd didn't freak out for "Andria" and "Said the King to the River.") And as with most post-Wildlife La Dispute shows, set-closer "King Park" remains a highly emotional live-show moment that still few of their peers are capable of.
La Dispute's setlist from MHOW and a video of "Woman (Reading)" from their Toronto show three days earlier, below...
Post-hardcore shapeshifters La Dispute release their third album, Rooms of the House, next week (3/18) via their own Better Living label. We said:
They're now three for three in terms of making a remarkably different album each time, and at this point they're more similar to a band like The Mars Volta -- not musically, but in the way that they're a heavy band ignoring all trends in heavy music, pushing boundaries, and ultimately just doing their thing.You can now listen to the album in its entirety, via Noisey, below...
by Bill Pearis and Andrew Sacher
still from Kevin Drew's "Good Sex" video
It's been a while since we've done one of our video roundups, but there were just too many good videos this week to pass up the opportunity. (Plus, in honor of Valentine's Day, there's some v-day-themed ones worked in here.) We already posted a bunch this week, like Little Dragon, Thurston Moore, Metronomy, The Notwist, Thundercat, OFF!, Marissa Nadler, Arctic Monkeys covering The Beatles, Mission of Burma covering The Beatles, Polica, DTCV, La Femme, The Marked Men's return to NYC, and more, yet there were still plenty of cool ones we didn't get to. Check out recent videos from Kevin Drew, The National, Ariel Pink & Jorge Elbrecht, Phantogram, La Dispute, The Front Bottoms, Guided by Voices, Blouse, Chelsea Wolfe, S. Carey, Death Grips, Quilt, Shellshag and Twin Shadow & Samantha Urbani covering The Smiths, below.
by Andrew Sacher
As discussed, La Dispute are set to release their third album, Rooms of the House, on March 18 via their own Better Living label (pre-order), and they've just released its first single, "Stay Happy There." And don't call this one "emo revival" because especially on this album, La Dispute are nothing of the sort. They're now three for three in terms of making a remarkably different album each time, and at this point they're more similar to a band like The Mars Volta -- not musically, but in the way that they're a heavy band ignoring all trends in heavy music, pushing boundaries, and ultimately just doing their thing.
Compared to their 2008 debut and their contemporaries, you can hardly call Rooms of the House a post-hardcore album -- it's more indie rock with a singer who just happens to yell a lot more than he sings. And while their last LP, 2011's Wildlife, saw the band's ambitions at their highest, this one sees them like Titus Andronicus on Local Business or The National on Trouble Will Find Me, stripping things down a bit and just being themselves but still ending up with a killer record. Take a listen to "Stay Happy There," along with the album's tracklist, below. That's the artwork above.
As discussed, La Dispute will also be going on a tour with the similarly great post-hardcore band Pianos Become the Teeth and Mansions, which hits NYC on April 10 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets for that show are still available.
Song stream and tracklist below...
by Andrew Sacher
Michigan progressive post-hardcore band La Dispute picked the wrong year to stay on the quiet side, but fortunately that won't be true next year. They've announced that they'll follow 2011's Wildlife with their third long player, Rooms of the House on March 18 via their own new Better Living label in partnership with Staple Records. They recorded the album with Will Yip (Title Fight, Balance & Composure), and it will be released with a 48-page book, Yesterday's Home, which was written about the process of making the album and includes all of the lyrics as well. Some of the proceeds from the new record will benefit "causes advancing and encouraging youth involvement in the arts and music, such as all-ages spaces, creative workshops, programming, and education." No music has been revealed from it yet, but stay tuned. Album artwork below.
La Dispute have also announced that they'll be heading out on the road in the spring with the likeminded Pianos Become the Teeth, plus alt-rockers Mansions. That tour hits NYC on April 10 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All dates are listed below.
Pianos Become the Teeth haven't announced any solid details on their own new album, but from the looks of their Facebook page we might be able to expect new stuff from them soon too. And if it sounds anything like their song on their split with Touche Amore (who are also touring), that'll be something to look forward to.
And meanwhile, you can catch Mansions in NYC this week when their tour with Their/They're/There and Birthmark hits Knitting Factory on Thursday (12/19). Tickets for that show are still available. Their newest LP, Doom Loop, came out recently and you can stream a track from that below.
All dates are listed, along with streams, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Title Fight at Europa in 2012 (more by Rebecca Reed)
"Emo is a style of rock music characterized by melodic musicianship and expressive, often confessional lyrics. It originated in the mid-1980s hardcore punk movement of Washington, D.C., where it was known as "emotional hardcore" or "emocore" and pioneered by bands such as Rites of Spring and Embrace." [Wikipedia]If you've been closely following along with the blogosphere lately, you've probably noticed talk, especially amongst the indie rock community, about an "emo revival." Some sites, like Stereogum and Buzzfeed, have directly written about the "revival," whereas others like Pitchfork -- a site which has previously derided even the most classic albums of the genre -- didn't explicitly call it a revival, but offered a valuable spotlight on the modern emo scene. NPR weighed in, asking, "Is Emo Back?," but still some, like Noisey, claim, "There's no emo revival, you just stopped paying attention." A writer at NYU Local agrees. Meanwhile, bloggers and local papers, like OC Weekly and Baltimore Sun, are running with this.
All of this attention is only doing the genre a service. As Chad Jewett points out on Half Cloth, "How did you find out about Diary, person born in 1988? Because you would have to have been preternaturally cool to have picked up on it in 1994 when it came out." In other words, maybe in 19 years someone will hear Is Survived By, and they'll thank their lucky stars for all these listicles and thinkpieces that pointed out that record and so many other great records. But does the increased attention for these bands (many of which have been around for years) in indie rock circles warrant calling it a revival? Maybe it's that people are realizing these "emo revival" bands have a lot more in common with indie rock bands than a lot of people thought.
For one reason or another (perhaps because kids who grew up on Drive-Thru Records comps are forming bands now), emo has been sneaking its way more and more into accepted indie rock. Nobody was screaming "emo revival" when Japandroids went from a well-liked indie rock band to one of the genre's most beloved with 2012's Celebration Rock, a record full of heart-wrenching lyrics, youthful spirit, and fast, catchy power chords -- all common descriptors of emo. (Not to mention it was released by Polyvinyl Records, home to such emo classics as Frame and Canvas, American Football, Look Now Look Again, and more.) Likewise, no one said it when Cloud Nothings' 2012 LP Attack On Memory got tons of love from indie rock critics upon its release and went on to appear in multiple year-end lists, including Pitchfork, Stereogum, Spin, and more. It's an indie record, but one with a heavy resemblance to early Sunny Day Real Estate and similarly emo lyrical themes ("I miss you 'cause I like damage / I need something I can hurt").
Japandroids at Bonnaroo 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
These records had all too much common with the great emo releases of that year, including Title Fight's Floral Green and Joyce Manor's Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired. Both of those albums embraced raw production, honest, innovative music, and were not geared towards a radio-pop fanbase, but yet were largely ignored in indie rock circles. It's essentially what indie rock is, and a far cry from what pop bands tagged as emo like Panic at the Disco, Hawthorne Heights, and Senses Fail were doing. Those pop-emo bands, and countless others, dominated rock radio, MTV, and a major part of the conversation on emo during the mid-2000s, scaring away many indie rock fans and critics from the genre all together. The two weren't always enemies. Emo kids and indie rock kids both hold equal claim to bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Cursive, Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, Rilo Kiley, and others. Perhaps part of the split was because it was somehow cooler to look like this than like this.
Title Fight, who didn't appear on Pitchfork until the-year-of-the-revival despite notable album releases in 2011 & 2012, cited many of the same influences as modern indie rock bands for Floral Green, including Sebadoh, Hum, Nirvana, and Sonic Youth. And Joyce Manor did the same, namedropping Guided by Voices and Weezer's Pinkerton in interviews. It makes sense that fans who latched on to Japandroids/Cloud Nothings would gravitate towards Title Fight/Joyce Manor. So what makes them so different? Ian Cohen says in his 2013 Pitchfork review of the new Title Fight EP, "You're more likely to hear electro-pop or major-label bands such as Chvrches or Haim called "indie" more often than Title Fight. How is that? Is it because most of time, genre tags are used to described the perceived fanbase than the music itself?"
The question Ian poses in that review seems to be a huge factor in the need some have to cite an "emo revival." If Japandroids and Cloud Nothings are your kind of indie rock, or punkier indie-approved bands like Titus Andronicus and Fucked Up, or classic bands like Dinosaur Jr, Built To Spill, Superchunk, and Archers of Loaf, chances are you're going to (or already do) find a lot to like in Title Fight, Joyce Manor, Pity Sex (essentially a shoegaze band), Cloakroom (sludgy slowcore), Placeholder (fuzz rock/'90s-style indie/etc), and many more. And as certain people, like Jaded Punk Dan Ozzi in his Noisey article pointed out, these bands didn't come out of nowhere. This comparatively underground scene of emo has been co-existing with the mall-emo scene for years, and perhaps it's getting called a "revival" because of the sudden interest for it from a fanbase who, for the most part, previously ignored anything associated with that three-letter word.
I do think, to some extent, that at one point the "emo revival" tag meant something. Now-defunct bands like Algernon Cadwallader (who have a new band, Dogs On Acid, in the works and whose guitarist Joe Reinhart is now a sometimes-member of Hop Along) and Snowing/Street Smart Cyclist (whose singer John Galm now fronts the excellent garage punk band Slow Warm Death) revived a very specific type of emo in the late 2000s -- the math rock-influenced kind done (perhaps most notably) in the mid-'90s by Cap'n Jazz. That sound, which some people bafflingly call "twinklecore," can be heard in late-2000s bands Castevet, Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), 1994!, and bands who rose more recently, including The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Dads, and Prawn. But that's only a small sect of the genre as a whole. I recently said that Brand New's 2006 LP The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me is my favorite emo album since Diary, and Devil and God only came out two years before Algernon's first, 1994!'s first, and La Dispute's first. Thursday's final record, No Devolucion, came out in 2011 and in my opinion it's one of their best. The genre had a rough period as it entered the mainstream (but so did so many other genres) but it never vanished.
Touche Amore at Riot Fest 2013 (more by Kirstie Shanley)
Why is it all happening now though? Perhaps with "indie rock's tuneful death rattle" and "the decline of guitar rock" in effect, with artists like Haim, Chvrches, Icona Pop, The 1975, and Lorde currently dominating the indie rock discussion, there are still people yearning for raw, scrappy guitar rock with DIY ethics and an alternative mindset. And a lot of us are finding that those cravings are satisfied by this large, thriving group of "emo" bands. In his "indie rock death rattle" piece on Grantland, Steven Hyden welcomed indie turning pop as a natural progression, but did point out some may be seeking something less pleasant, which he finds in Touche Amore's latest LP, Is Survived By.
Touche's record, another getting extra attention now thanks to the "revival," is one of the finest releases of this year, and embodies so many of the key factors of "underground rock." Its aggression is raw and unpolished, but it's melodically and dynamically exploring new ground for rock music. Lyrically, the themes won't be unfamiliar to indie rockers, exploring existential uncertainties ("To swallow mortality is enough of a task / And leaving your mark is just too much to ask") that aren't too different from a band like Titus Andronicus ("Okay, I think by now we've established everything is inherently worthless / And there's nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose"). They also happen to be musically and communally connected to post-hardcore bands like Converge and Thursday who have influenced forward-thinking underground rock bands, just as Pavement and the Pixies have.
At The Drive-In at Coachella 2012 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
It's not only newer bands though. Many now broken-up bands have been reuniting, and getting welcomed back very warmly. It's no surprise that the much-loved At the Drive-In caused excitement when they reunited, but in case there was any doubt how large that excitement would be in indie circles: They got huge spots on major indie rock festivals like Lollapalooza and Coachella, and the reunion also got notable coverage on many indie sites, including Pitchfork, who weren't too kind to their classic Relationship of Command LP upon its release but scored it significantly higher upon its April 2013 reissue.
The fact that the idea of "indie rock" is so vague and encompasses so many things, many of which are not "indie" or "rock," is a great thing, but there are still kids who can't settle for Chvrches when a past generation got Fugazi. And luckily those kids won't have to worry. In addition to many of the bands mentioned above, there's Speedy Ortiz, Waxahatchee, Swearin', A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Courtesy Drop, Little Big League, Frameworks, Calculator, Iron Chic, Big Eyes, Single Mothers, Sundials, Aye Nako, Worriers, Caravels, Pianos Become the Teeth and so many more that all satisfy a similar craving, whether or not you call them "emo," "indie," or a "revival."
H2O at Roseland Ballroom in 2011 (more by Keith Marlowe)
NYC punks H2O have been on a tour supporting Alkaline Trio and New Found Glory, which just hit H2O's hometown on Sunday (11/10) for a big show at Terminal 5. But if you want to see H2O in a smaller venue and not opening for two big pop punk bands, you're in luck. About a month after the tour ends, H2O will be playing an all ages holiday show at Gramercy Theatre on December 27. Also on this show is LA punk vets Youth Brigade (who open for Bouncing Souls at their holiday show a day earlier), plus Cruel Hand, Angel Dust and ShitKill. Tickets to that show go on sale Friday (11/15) at 10 AM with Live Nation/Mobile App and Music Geeks presales (password: "musicgeeks") starting today (11/14) at 10 AM. There's also an ongoing Rocks Off presale (password: "OLOC").
All dates, including Belgium's Groezrock 2014 with The Offspring, NOFX, The Hives, Modern Life Is War, The Menzingers, Doomriders, La Dispute, and more, are listed along with the Gramercy show flyer and a live video, below...
photos by Jonathan McPhail, words by Andrew Sacher
Hot Water Music at MHOW - 1/24/13
Hot Water Music took their tour with La Dispute and The Menzingers through Brooklyn last night (1/24) for a sold out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, their first headlining date in NYC since the release of 2012's comeback album, Exister. Being that it was a sold out show for a long-running band like Hot Water Music, I was pleasantly surprised that the (much newer) openers got great feedback from the crowd too, with people singing along, moshing, and crowd surfing to all three bands.
About three seconds into The Menzingers' opening set, they had a false start on their first song, "Good Things," but the crowd had already yelled along, "I've been having a horrible time!" before the band realized they were out of tune and had to restart. From that moment on, the crowd anticipation never died and the band looked genuinely happy (and a little surprised) at how many people knew their songs. Their set drew mainly from 2012's On the Impossible Past and 2010's Chamberlain Waits with songs like "Gates," "The Obituaries," "Deep Sleep," and more. They were a perfect fit to open for Hot Water Music, hearkening back in more ways than one to the glory days of pop punk, before the genre was totally wrecked on MTV. The band jumped around on stage, were smiling for most of it, and members who weren't singing were yelling the words at the crowd in a way that was soaked in genuine nostalgia and certainly didn't feel like something you'd see in Brooklyn. But that said, the band said multiple times how happy they were to be back in Brooklyn and dedicated their last song, "I Was Born," to anyone who had ever seen them at 538 Johnson.
They were followed by La Dispute, whose poetic post-hardcore fit in less with the other two bands, but were still totally into it the whole time and so was the crowd. They mainly played songs off of 2011's Wildlife like "A Departure," "Harder Harmonies," and the Radiohead-esque "Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan." It was a solid set throughout, but the crowd really went wild for the stuff off their debut, Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair, like "Said The King To The River," which opened up the floor as all the kids rushed to the stage to scream along. But as with most of their post-Wildlife tours, the highlight of the set came during the closing song, the life-questioning story of "King Park." It's the kind of song that's more powerful to just listen to than try to sing along, but of course the whole front half of the crowd joined in on the song's closing lament, "Can I still get into heaven if i kill myself?"
Then Hot Water Music finally took the stage, kicking right off with "Remedy," and continuing to rip through a great career spanning set. I'd never gotten the chance to see Hot Water Music back in their prime, but last night's show was as genuine and high-spirited as I could have asked for. They don't at all come off like a band cashing in on their success of yesteryear with a reunion, and the urgency with which they played songs off of their comeback album, Exister, is a great signifier of that. The band thrashed around on stage and are still totally in top form (especially the insanely talented bassist, Jason Black). In addition to the newer material, their was no shortage of old favorites either. We were treated to other Caution tracks like "Trusty Chords" and "Wayfarer" and the band dug deeper into their late '90s period for classic cuts like "Freightliner," "Rooftops," and "Manual." Obviously most of the songs are in the 2-3 minute range, but it still felt like their 19-song flew by and I think it's safe to say almost everyone was wanting more.
HWM member Chuck Ragan will return to NYC in March on his Revival Tour, which features a revolving lineup of acoustic musicians.
More pictures from the show (unfortunately none of the openers), some videos, and Hot Water Music's setlist below...
by Andrew Sacher
Hot Water Music
Post-hardcore/punk mainstays Hot Water Music have been revealing some dates they'll play this January, which will likely be part of a full tour. (UPDATE: full tour dates below.) Those dates include a NYC show which happens on January 24 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. That show, and others on the tour, will have some pretty solid support from La Dispute and The Menzingers, both of who have toured with HWM in the past. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (11/2) at noon.
The Menzingers at Riot Fest Brooklyn 2012 (more by Gretchen Robinette)
It's no secret that I think La Dispute are one of the best young post-hardcore bands out there, and if you're headed to the show it's worth getting there early to catch their classic rock riffage meets early-mewithoutYou poetry. But I have to admit, I had been a little iffy on Philly's The Menzingers in the past, but more recent listens to their 2012 LP, On The Impossible Past have finally won me over. The band play a similar kind of post-Bouncing Souls (who they've toured with) punk to The Gaslight Anthem, Titus Andronicus, and (more lyrically than musically) The Hold Steady. The opener on Impossible Past, "Good Things," starts soft and kicks into anthemic punk rage in a manner Patrick Stickles would be fond of, if it's not a bit more simplistic than he may have handled it. And with lyrics like "Gettin drunk around back of the Lion's Club/waiting for the shitty bands to finish up/and some kids played hacky sack while the others just got high" on "Gates," it's hard not to think of a young Craig Finn. You can stream some of the tracks off On The Impossible Past below.
The Menzingers will also be in NYC to open for Taking Back Sunday at their first of two sold out shows at Terminal 5 (11/23), where TBS will be playing Tell All Your Friends in full.
Those Menzingers song streams and a list of all tour dates are below.
After teasing folks with a few names here and there -- like Run DMC most recently -- Austin's annual Fun Fun Fun Fest (Nov 2 - 4) has revealed it's full line-up, including Public Image Ltd, De La Soul, Superchunk, Santigold, Refused, X peforming Los Angeles, and lots, lots more. 3-day passes go on sale at 10AM CST.
Full FFF Fest lineup is below.
DOWNLOAD: Hot Water Music - "Drag My Body" (MP3)
Gainesville, FL raspy punks Hot Water Music recently finished up work on their first new album since reuniting in 2008 and since 2004's The New What Next. The album is called Exister and its out on May 15 via Rise. The album's first single, "Drag My Body," premiered on Rolling Stone last month and you can grab it above, or stream it below. Also stream a second album cut, "State of Grace," below. You can also get another taste of Exister with their first in a series of teaser videos they'll be posting leading up to the album's release. The first video came out yesterday and is available to watch below. The album artwork and tracklist are also below.
The band have a few North American shows scheduled surrounding the album's release in May including their previously mentioned slot at Bamboozle on May 19 in Asbury Park, NJ and two since-added NYC shows, which will go down on May 21 and 22 at Gramercy Theater. The first is with Daytrader and Iron Chic and is sold out, and the second is with The Menzingers and Luther. Tickets for that show are still available.
All dates, videos, album art and tracklist below...
The Fest is back for round 11 (!) adding bands from across the spectrum of punk rock for the multi-day Gainesville, Florida extravaganza. The Fest announced its initial lineup earlier this month but has doubled that number, bringing the total tally to a whopping 217, and there are more to go! The lineup includes Lagwagon, Naked Raygun, Baroness, Red Fang, Off with Their Heads, Torche, Valient Thorr, 7 Seconds, F.Y.P., Braid, Titus Andronicus, Toys That Kill, Underground Railroad to Candyland, Frank Turner and many more (see below). Tickets are now on sale (and sold out quick last year).
Full lineup is below, expect to see some surprises at The Fest as well; Sleepytime Trio reunited there last year.
by Andrew Sacher
La Dispute at the Acheron in 2010 (more by Andrew St. Clair)
La Dispute will be going on a headlining tour of the US and Canada in support of it this spring. The tour will be supported by Sainthood Reps, All Get Out, and Balance and Composure. All dates and the tour flier are below.
The tour hits NYC on April 29 at Bowery Ballroom. Artist presale tickets are available now for all dates. Presale tickets come with a poster (pictured below) designed by the band's bassist, Adam Vass. Ticketmaster tickets for the Bowery show go on sale Friday (2/10) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (2/8) at noon.
In somewhat related news, La Dispute's friends Pianos Become The Teeth have a few upcoming shows including two in NYC. They open for post-rockers Caspian at The Studio at Webster Hall on February 24 with Tidal Arms and also open for Converge at MHOW on April 14 with Git Some. Tickets for the Studio show are on sale now and tickets for the MHOW show go on sale Friday (2/10) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (2/8) at noon.
All dates, album stream, flier, and poster below...
by Andrew Sacher
La Dispute at The Acheron in 2010 (more by Andrew St. Clair)
Genre bending post-hardcore outfit La Dispute will release their sophomore LP Wildlife on October 4 via No Sleep Records. Though the album title isn't nearly as epic as their 2008 debut Somewhere At the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, from the driving drum patterns of album opener, "A Departure," it's clear that Wildlife is no simpler affair. While their debut was very much an album about relationships, on Wildlife we hear frontman Jordan Dreyer frantically contemplating heavier topics such as life and death. The album's longest track, "King Park," ends with Jordan pleading, "Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself?" Musically, the album's got less riffing going on than their debut, but the band finds appeal in other forms. "Safer in the Forest/Love Song for Poor Michigan" opens with an arpeggio that recalls The Bends-era Radiohead, "A Broken Jar" is an acoustic track not unlike the material on the band's Here, Hear EPs, and "St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church Blues" takes on a quasi-funk punk vibe. The album is currently streaming on La Dispute's website and can be pre-ordered from the No Sleep Webstore. The album art, tracklist, and a stream of album single "Harder Harmonies," is all below.
Though La Dispute can get pretty progressive on their albums, they don't tone down the aggression at live shows. I caught them at The Studio in May with Defeater and they delivered the whole show in classic hardcore fashion with nonstop moshing and crowd shoutalongs. They're about to kick off a tour opening for Thrice in support of the new album, which unfortunately won't bring them to venues as small as The Studio. It will hit the NYC-area on two separate occasions though. First on October 14 at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ and then on October 16 at Irving Plaza. Tickets are available for the Starland show and the Irving Plaza show.
Speaking of Defeater, they're about to head out on a tour with Bane that kicks off in NYC on October 12 at Santos Party House and hits Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin. Dead End Path and Miles Away are also on the tour.
All dates, song stream, album art and tracklist below...