The late 90s and early 00s saw the rise of a little label called Vagrant that churned out band after band and release after release of tuneful, essentially, power pop that took elements of emo, punk, and guitar-driven pop, mixing them together in a way that proved irresistible to many a sensitive punk who wanted something else to latch onto. Somewhere in the territory between “easycore” and Get Up Kids-style emo, the label launched careers for bands who arguably deserved a little longer in the spotlight than they received. By the time a second wave of soundalike bands emerged, the public’s appetite for such had largely subsided or moved on as did a number of the progenitors of it.
It’s been five long years; five long years since Converge, the forefathers of emo leaning metalcore, have released music. That all changed last week, however, as the band put out a 7″ with not one, but two brand new tracks. They still remain slightly controversial, with some in the Heavy Blog camp dismissing them. Here at Grind My Tears, however, those tracks are nothing but pure gold and the exact music the band should release after a five year absence. It is for exactly that reason that those tracks will be explored in depth below, putting them under an intense microscope and examining their every detail.
Summer! Putting my personal biases aside, there’s plenty of things to love about it. However, it also has its disadvantages (many of them, if you ask me) and it’s a complicated time for the music industry. Releasing material early in the year has the virtue of being fresh and standing alone. Releasing music later in the year has the virtue of being fresh in the reviewer’s ear when it’s time for end of year lists and fresh in the consumer’s ear when the holiday season comes along. But summer? Summer is caught in the middle, creating a desert of sorts; music releases slow down, people take vacations, podcasts go AWOL (I need my Night Vale fix, damn it) and there’s a sort of lethargy which takes hold of the community at large. But, of course, we at Heavy Blog must soldier on, toiling under the blistering heat to pick some great albums to recommend to you fine people! What an arduous task. In all seriousness, it can be daunting, as the constant barrage of releases we are usually faced with slows down to a more manageable battering. This, however, is when smaller bands can get their moment to shine and new music can often be discovered. Take a look at the list below for proof; except for a few entries, most of the music on this is by bands we haven’t really covered before. Thus, summer offers its own opportunities and, even if it doesn’t, we still have the internet. Can any period really be a quiet one when we have the internet? So, take a deep breath and peruse this list while we button down our hatches in preparation for September (seriously, do a little Googling of release dates to get prepared for September. Everything is being released). It has some excellent stuff from established bands but more importantly, some truly brilliant additions from bands that you might not be familiar with. Happy August. Stay cool.