Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Make Emo Great Again": Your unofficial guide to 80s and 90s american emocore. Introduction plus my long lost personal emo mixtape.

 Note: 90s EMO Philips approves this entry.

Coucou, les! We're back once again with our most recent special post. This was supposed to be published two days ago but it wasn't possible because I had some technical issues. I'm deeply sorry if you had to wait so long. Also, I've been quite busy with some affaires in the real world and they have demanded me a lot of time. So, this "unofficial guide to" was the most voted in a poll I did through our Facebook fanpage (in fact, only 3 people voted and 2 were the majority haha). Thank you for participating!. I'll make more mechanics of this type in the near future for trying to have more interaction with you, les   

Now, you may be asking yourselves: why did you dare to make this kind of special post? Well, firstly, it was something I wanted to do long time ago because many people still have an incorrect notion of what emo subgenre truly is about and, secondly, I was getting out of ideas and this quickly came to mind during some of my "(sometimes not so) lonely drunken (meta)philosophical nights" haha. So, I'll explain you quickly the history of the most loved/hated hardcore punk subgenre, presenting you the structure of the special post and one long lost personal mixtape I made almost 12 years ago containing most of the bands that will be featured in this special post.

 Rites of Spring, arguably the first emo band ever.

Originally, emo (a shortened term for emocore, that means emotional/emotive hardcore punk) was born in the mid-80s within the Washington D.C. hardcore scene. At the time, many hardcore punk kids were beginning to experiment with other sounds and attitudes that weren't necessarily associated with the most important punk rock subgenre, for example, hardcore was getting tougher and more aggressive and many musicians were adding elements of heavy metal to their repertory. 

But, we also saw the other side of the coin: many musicians were also starting to get unsatisfied with the fact that hardcore was getting violent and narrow-minded and explored less aggressive sounds and attitudes. For example, Ian MacKaye (owner of Dischord Records and Minor Threat's vocalist) and Guy Picciotto would make new musical propositions that would be influential for the whole emo subgenre such as Rites of Spring and Embrace, and even also for post-hardcore subgenre with Fugazi.

From this trend, a new movement within the D.C. hardcore scene was born and it was known as Revolution Summer. Many bands associated to this movement are Rites Of Spring, Embrace, One Last Wish, Three, Shudder To Think, Fire Party (one of the first female-only hardcore punk bands in the U.S.), Soulside, and even Dag Nasty, among others. The music was less aggressive and the lyrics were getting more abstract and personal. Also, many people were starting to coin the term"emocore" because these bands were getting "emotional" during the live performances and even people started to cry since, you know, DA FEELZ you get with such an inspiring music. And, as you may expect, these artists despised the term, for example, Ian MacKaye said in one of Embrace's live performances that "Emocore is stupid".

Policy of Three. Photo taken by Scott Bilby.

In the early 90s, just when hardcore punk was getting a new fresh air and most of its variants started to be shaped, emo was no exception. In fact, we see more bands that took the original Revolution Summer style to the next level with a more experimental and complex approach. Indeed, many bands added different guitar chords (the infamous "emo octave"), deeper bass lines, more screamed vocals, slower and introspective moments with violent changes (notably crescendos) to more fast-paced tempos, among other minor elements. Also, most of these bands were highly political and with an enviable DIY spirit. In fact, many of these bands were short-lived sideprojects of other more "traditional" hardcore punk outfits and didn't release more than one EP, either on vinyl or tape formats. CD format was despised and only used for entire discographies of some of these bands. Finally, many of these musical groups used a particular imagery for their releases, for example, using old and rusted machinery, little children and old men black and white photos, no details about their whereabouts nor lyrics and, sometimes, they used to write pamphlets about any random subject (also known as the infamous "emo writing", for example, Ebullition Records' owner, Kent McClard used to do it in many releases). Some bands related to this style are Julia, Portraits of Past, Still Life, Policy Of Three, Indian Summer, Ordination Of Aaron, Current, among others.

Antioch Arrow 

Next, some emo bands would get more heavier returning to their original hardcore punk roots. Most of these bands were San Diego-based, for example, Angel Hair, Heroin, Swing Kids and Antioch Arrow and most of Gravity Records catalog, among others. This is by far my favorite emo subset. These bands made short and fast-paced songs, but still had a complex and experimental touch in some stances, for example, using more distortion, unorthodox guitar chords with both complex and minimalistic tunes, overwhelming bass lines, the pressence of noise, static and feedback produced by low-cost amplifiers, among other elements, and, most notably, the shows were shorter due to the burst of energy and the physical effort these bands had to make during their intense live performances. Some people have also labeled this style such as "hardcore emo" or even "chaotic emo".  And, these bands also had the same political and DIY sensibilities like most of the straight emo bands of the time. Finally, things would get a lot more intense with the birth of both screamo and emoviolence subsets, the natural evolution and the most aggressive styles of emo subgenre, but we'll talk about them in other special post because we'll only tease some of these bands.

Sunny Day Real Estate 

Last but not least, during the mid-90s and late 90s it would start to happen the reason why many people hate the whole emo subgenre: indie emo subset started to arise. Indeed, most of these bands were basically post-hardcore bands with more sensibilities to alternative, math and even indie rock, making greater the schism between "hardcore emo" and "indie emo". Some notable bands of this trend are Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, Texas Is The Reason, Rainer Maria, The Promise Ring, Christie Front Drive, among others. Once again, DA FEELZ were getting priority and some lyrics were corny as fuck. And, yes, as many reviewers of the time precisely stated, hardcore kids (including myself haha) used those songs for making love. Also, these bands were getting media attention because their music was more appealing to the mainstream. In fact, many of these bands, for example, Texas Is The Reason disbanded after discussing if they would eventually release one record through Capitol Records, a major label. They remained true to their hardcore roots and splitted-up for good after their first european tour. Finally, when emo word started to appear more often and every band with "emotional content" was being labeled as emo, for example, those 00s shitty pop punk bands we all know, making forget people that originally emo subgenre was another hardcore punk subgenre full of rage, despair and, above all, passion before degenerating into generic lousy and frivolous mainstream rock music.

Finally, I'll let one old mixtape I made almost 12 or 13 years ago (I don't quite remember, though). This isn't the original photo of the tape because I lost it long time ago. It also had one extended CD version (I was my own record label, you know haha) that contained skramz and emoviolence bands but I'll only feature you the first wave of emo and "hardcore emo". These featured bands will come back in this special post, as well as other surprises that I'm certain you'll fell in love with. Also, the special will be a little quite different this time because I'll only feature the most essential records of each emo subset and I'll try to make 3 or 4 entries. I'm also trying to explore new formats for the site so, this will be the first experiment. We'll wait and see...Anyways, click on the image below for downloading it. It's one of the most personal treasures I cherish the most. I told you I'll share with you les more personal stuff here hehe. Enjoy and until next time. Kisses and hugs!!W4xFzKgb!r9jJEDtdn79JV6MIKJfExJ86pOV86e87OiaBUBZnbyE
01. Rites of Spring - For Want Of
02. Rain - Rivers
03. Moss Icon - Gravity
04. The Hated - Everysong
05. Indian Summer - Orchard
06. Julia - Our Last Song
07. Honeywell - You And Me
08. Swing Kids - Forty Three Seconds
09. Mohinder - Numb
10. Portraits Of Past - Implications Of A Sinkhole Personality

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