Elle are a four-piece screamo band from Oakland, California that began in 2015. They share members with other Bay Area legends Beau Navire, Loma Prieta, and Yearbooks. With such an incredible lineup, there's bound to be high standards for this new project, and holy shit do they deliver. It's a little difficult from their other projects; most notably they've pulled back on the chaotic, shrieking nature of it and let a little melancholic light in it. They have a bit more in common with bands like Raein or Suis La Lune than their past work. The guitars incorporate a lot of shimmering tones and melodic chords, while the vocals are shouted with a desperate exuberance and emotional exhaustion. Both their self-titled EP and recently released She are absolutely incredible, and definitely recent screamo highlights. Enjoy.
Carry On were a five-piece straight edge hardcore band from Atascadero, California that formed in 1996 and broke up in 2005. They released three EP's (two of which were later included in a single compilation) and one LP, which was one of Bridge 9's earliest releases. A Life Less Plagued is an undisputed classic, and still holds up today as one of the most notable hardcore releases since the turn of the century. They played an incredibly fast and aggressive style of hardcore similar to bands such as contemporaries American Nightmare, No Warning and In My Eyes, with a ton of Youth Crew influence from bands like Floorpunch and Chain Of Strength. Another notable thing about them is one of their guitarists, Todd Jones, who has since been active in a ton of other incredible bands, particularly Nails, Terror, Betrayed, and Internal Affairs. Enjoy.
Judiciary are a five-piece hardcore band from Lubbock, Texas that formed in 2014. After making a significant mark in the hardcore scene with a demo, EP, and split, they're finally gearing up for the release of their debut full-length, which is slated for release this year on Closed Casket Activities. Before that dropkicks everyone, check out their material to date if ya haven't yet. They play a two-step friendly style of hardcore, with heavy riffs and a thrash influence comparable to the work of fellow Texans Power Trip. Enjoy.
Young Mountain are a five-piece screamo/post-rock band from Gothenburg, Sweden that have been around since 2013. Since then they've been fairly prolific with consistent solid releases. The band takes the base of their sound from the atmospheric, rise and fall post-rock influence of bands like This Will Destroy You (whose debut album Young Mountain presumably get their name from). On top of that they throw in hard-hitting screamed vocals, haunting sung vocals, reverb-washed melodic guitars, and the ability to produce dynamic-shifting tracks of dark, emotional catharsis. Fans of the post-rock/shoegaze and screamo/post-hardcore blend will dig this, since it brings to mind other titans of the genre such as Envy, Deafheaven, or early Pianos Become The Teeth. Their most recent release, Lost Tree is an absolutely immense record, and probably their best to date. If you're new to this band, I'd suggest starting there, though We're Drowning in Slowmotion is also incredible. Enjoy.
The Shyness Clinic were a four-piece emo/indie band from Boston, Massachusetts that began in 1995 and (presumably) ended in 1999. They were on many incredible bands to come out of the underground emo scene, which means they utilize clean arpeggios and climatic octave chords, and make full use of the loud/soft dynamic. Their sound will definitely appeal to fans of bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Cross My Heart, The Gloria Record, and so many more. Not to be dismissive of their sound as being similar to many, The Shyness Clinic were masters of their craft, and wrote some incredible songs that hit amazing highs and transitioned into quiet lows flawlessly. Though their output was pretty minimal (as expected from a band in this scene), it was incredibly solid and worth a listen. Plus putting a split with Everyone Asked About You is a thing of legend. Enjoy.
Graduating Life are an emo/indie/punk band Fresno, California. They consist primarily of Bart Starr (vocals/guitar) and drummer Logan Jensen, along with numerous other collaborators. They're a Counter Inuitive Records band, thus are one of the most notable acts in the modern emo scene, along with other notable bands like Prince Daddy & The Hyena and Mom Jeans. (who Bart is also a part of). If you're familiar with those bands, you might have a slight idea as to how Graduating Life sound. It's upbeat, energetic music, with vocals singing poppy melodies with a gruff voice, and lyrically detailing the abyss of sadness while rocking the fuck out on the surface. I don't know how to describe it, most people are probably familiar with this band anyway (because they get requested to death). If you're new though, both their full-lengths (particularly their most recent one, Grad Life) are solid front-to-back. Enjoy.
I'm happy to bring you two of the four new tracks off this new split from two incredible bands, Vancouver, Canada's Diva Plavalaguna and Morioka, Japan's MEIAN. The other half of this split is being premiered over at Open Mind / Saturated Brain. Check out one track from each band below, then head over to OMSB to hear the rest. The split pairs an eclectic, high octane synthcore band with a crisp, Japanese screamo band, which makes for an interesting and rewarding mix. This project has been a long time coming, with one band overcoming personal hardships and the other being birthed from the ashes of a previous project, but both bands are finally here. This entire split will be released digitally and on cassette through the always-fantastic Emo Cat Records tomorrow (Sept 14th), which will be linked below and active tomorrow. Enjoy.
MEIAN's track "Move On Up" opens up the split, and it hits the ground running with all instruments in play. They utilize very bright, glossy guitars that really shine in the mix, but never sound too polished. The guitars play with these incredibly melodic lead lines, and if it hasn't been made obvious, the tone of them is something to die for. It's the rhythm section that contrasts this melodic sheen with aggressive d-beats and tom hits to drive the song, along with some incredibly visceral and emotional screamed vocals. They close out with a unified post-hardcore influenced rhythm, which leaves a lasting impression in this track's wake. Sonic comparisons could be drawn somewhere between the bright, melodic aspects of Suis La Lune and the pummelling, commanding sound of Sans Visage, or something of the sort.
Diva Plavalaguna contains members of Emo Cat alumni Terrifying Girls' High School and Black Knight Satellite. They close out this split with fourth and final track, "Diva Protocol". They utilize triple vocals, pervasive weird synth lines, pounding drums and frenzied guitars that come together in an onslaught of noise. This track hits hard with a frantic yet calculated chaos. The vocals just topple over each other with these yelping screams, while the instrumental speedily rips through the first half of the track. It takes a sudden turn with a clean, tremolo-effect laden guitar, which builds into a full gang vocal chant as the song begins to crescendo. The buzzing synth, warbling bass, and vicious blast beats leave the track off in a sense of torment, with sharp guitars and devilish vocals howling to its end. This band's got a unique sound to say the least, and this track really hits out of left-field (in the best way possible).
On a side note, Diva Plavalaguna have launched a comic series titled "Diva! Digital Desert Duchess" in collaboration with illustrator Breanna McGowan. It follows the band as the protagonists in a post-apocalyptic future, with a storyline running adjacent to their musical releases. You can check that out here, along with Breanna's other work here.
Counterculture are a four-piece emo/punk band from Kansas City, Missouri that began in 2016. They play a mesh of pop punk and emo, which means energetic instrumentals and steady rhythms, and the occassional noodle-off with the guitars. Their first album (Teenage Relevance) contains mostly slow, morose material, with shimmering Americ anFootball twinkletown guitars all over it. On their most recent EP, I Think You Didn't they get a little punchier, and the results definitely stand out more, but both releases are solid overall. The vocals are fairly sullen and whiny (which I mean as a positive), since they match up perfectly with the lyrics, which tend to touch upon feeling lost and looking back, the cornerstones of a nutritious emo track. Fans of bands like Modern Baseball, Free Throw and You Blew It! probably something they like in this. Counterculture were only recently introduced to me, but I really dig what I'm hearing, and would suggest you try 'em out as well. Enjoy.
La Bella are a four-piece screamo/hardcore band from Los Angeles, California that formed in 2011. They've only two albums in that time, but both come pretty damn close to perfection. They play a style of screamo that incorporates jazzy, off-kilter rhythms, particularly in their interludes. La Bella makes excellent use of dynamics, utilizing the loud/soft interchange without having to go through massive build-ups. They still hit hard, but give their chords enough room to breathe, which allows the drums and bass to indulge in their jazz spasms and to create unique rhythms. The band takes influence from a lot of classic acts, such as The Kodan Armada and Off Minor, but have also crafted a sound truly their own thanks to their background in a multitude of other genres. Enjoy.
State Of Alert (often abbreviated as S.O.A.) were a four-piece hardcore punk band from Washington, DC that were around from 1980 to 1981. They were one of many early hardcore bands to take over the DC scene, which yielded some incredible, ferocious, and raw punk that laid the foundation for the sound we all know and love today. Though the band's existence was brief, they don't tend to be overlooked in the pages of history because of how notable the band's members were. The obvious one is their lead singer, who at the time was Henry Garfield. Post-S.O.A. you might know him better as Henry Rollins, the longest-running singer of Black Flag, and later of the Rollins Band and a billion other non-music projects. Their other members were active in a litany of other projects, particularly The Faith, Embrace, One Last Wish, Iron Cross, and Manifesto.
S.O.A. put out one 7" during their time, which became the second release ever put out by Dischord Records (with The Teen Idles' Minor Disturbance being the first). It's a solid release by a young band and definitely worth checking out out of pure enjoyment, in addition to its obvious importance in the punk rock timeline. They also recorded a demo, which Dischord finally released years later in 2014, and a few compilation tracks that appeared on the classic Flex Your Head. Enjoy.