Three years ago when AwkwardSound published its first post, it ran a feature on five bands including the likes of CSTVT (formerly known as Castevet,) Empire! Empire! I Was a Lonely Estate, Grown Ups, Into It. Over It. and Joie de Vivre who were ushering in a new age emo revival heavily influenced by the so-called second wave of '90s-era bands like indie staples Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as those who hindered the mainstreamification and unfortunate bastardization of the genre such as the Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World.
It took longer than AS expected for the newly cleaned-up scene to catch fire again, but with a rekindled interest and value for musicians who get their starts inside basements and house shows in the middle of nowhere, emo's "fourth wave" is finally seeing the new seeds planted back in 2010 sprout from the underground and back in favor with reputable examples of the press. Unlike most of their early predecessors, these bands proudly welcome the "emo" badge. Here's four more names to add to AwkwardSound's list of new hopes for the betterment of a genre that's taken far too many punches to the heart over the years, and those nights you'd rather just be left alone...
Crash of Rhinos
Crash of Rhinos don't even live on the western hemisphere, but that hasn't stopped the U.K. five-piece from familiarizing themselves the short, shifty chord progressions and waning vocals stylized by second-wave scene luminaries like Cap'n Jazz and Mineral. Doubling up on the bass and guitars, however, gives these dudes from Derby a harder shell than their influences' soft sap, which you can hear on their recently released debut full-length Knots, out now on Big Scary Monsters / Top Shelf Records. It doesn't hurt that hard-grading Pitchfork scribe Ian Cohen gave the listen an 8.1, signaling a possible truce between the popular tastemaker site with the same genre they had heavily derided a decade ago.
Despite being born out of the heart of the mid-western emo scene in Chicago, IL, Dowsing make sad pop rockers that sound more akin to might have happened if Taking Back Sunday grew up there instead of on the banks of Long Island, and never became an overproduced nightmare. Together since 2010, the quartet have been staples on venerable fourth wave Chi-town-based label Count Your Lucky Stars, having already put out a proper full-length, an EP, two splits and a B-sides comp, but their sophomore effort I Don't Even Care Anymore is the band at their most cohesive level of rounding out their equally enjoyable corners of punk, pop and rock melodies. You can hear the effort in full right now streaming over at Punktastic.
I have always suspected that emo music and Friday Night Lights share a strong kinship, and Football Etc. are doing everything to support this theory. While I've never been out to West Texas, both the theatrical and television versions of the cult suburban drama reminds me of growing up in my own Western Massachusetts surroundings where there was never anything for a shy, eclectic high school introvert to do on the weekend other than roam around shopping malls and watch your school's team score touch downs from afar wondering why exactly it is you don't fit in with the entire scheme. Football Etc. have been making beautiful soundtracks to haunt their doldrums of Houston, TX since 2009 where sports themes metaphorically represent the break-ups and life introspections culled from the diary pages of lead singer Lindsey Minton (who states a good case in her own right in helping turn her three-piece into this wave of emo's equivalent to Rainer Maria.) Their forthcoming sophomore LP Audible is due out on August 13th via Count Your Lucky Stars / Strictly No Capital Letters.
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die
The World Is a Beauitful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die rival ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead for most massively awesome-titled band making music today. Hailing from the sleepy Connecticut town of Willimantic, the six-piece collective had been one of New England's best kept secrets for the past three years and staples of the area's VFW hall and basement show scene. Yet, through word of mouth recommendation, a handful of demo tapes, EPs and splits, the band has already found themselves a large, loyal following -- one that even cracked this year's debut full-length Whenever, If Ever (out now via Topshelf Records) into the Billboard Top 200. TWIAB's fourth wave emo captures the best of all worlds with star-lit, small-spaced intimacy and roaring post-rock outbursts in the vain of Explosion In the Sky, and combined with the many warm bodies on stage creating this sound, you could say they're something like the sad-eyed Arcade Fire. Expect their long-winded name to become ubiquitous, as they've just wrapped a tour with recent AS BUZZSounds Pity Sex, Dads and post-hardcore makers Daylight, and are now set to open for genre kingpins Brand New this September.