People nowadays seem scared to label their music taste as “emo”, because the perception and genre definition has been so massively, massively skewed for so long. I first got into (what I define as) emo music through American Football, which is a great place for anybody to start into this genre – the true pioneers of modern emo/math rock.
American Football are oddly underappreciated despite the legacy they have left behind. The band define themselves as “Indie Rock”, but are known popularly as emo/alternative or math rock. With songs such as “Never Meant”, “Honestly?” and “I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional” being true classics of the genre, it’s really quite hard to grasp the influence this band has had on this genre. And when someone mentions American Football, other band names such as Braid, Texas Is The Reason and Mineral are all followed swiftly in suit – and rightly so.
So, now that we have the classics of the genre named, I can uncover the best bands of the “emo revival” that will most probably cite a few, if not all, of the aforementioned bands in their list of influences. These are 9 of the best emo revival bands that I have come across; and there’s probably a lot more that I have wrongfully left out and/or I haven’t even discovered yet.
Dads – Dads are are a great emo/alt band from New Jersey, and to me, epitomize the emo revival. Their debut LP American Radass (This Is Important), is actually one of my favorite revival albums. Tracks like “S*** Twins”, “If Your Song Title Has the Word “beach” In It, I’m Not Listening to It” and “Big Bag of Sandwiches” are the pinnacle of the emo scene to me. A duo that sounds like a fully fledged 4 person band making such great emo music is something that should definitely not be ignored. Dads have captured the essence of emo music and the emo revival so perfectly; it’s actually quite hard to get across my appreciation and love for this band.
TWIABPAIANLATD – The emo band with the longest band name ever (The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die) *exhale*. It has been said that TWIABP are the “Flagbearers of the 2010s emo revival”, which is a fairly accurate statement to me. They released their first full length Whenever, If Ever in 2013, following a few EP releases and a split with Dear Leep. The first song I listened to by TWIABP is a song called “Picture of a Tree That Doesn’t Look Okay” and it really is an emo masterpiece; they picked up where American Football left off, and hurled emo out of the 90s and into the 2010s so seamlessly, and with great impact too. Songs like “Lioness” and “If And When I Die” from Between Bodies reminds me a lot of La Dispute/Hotel Books and the post-hardcore scene, which shows the diversity of not only this band, but the genre itself.
Joie De Vivre – An incredible emo band formed in 2008 whose line up has changed over the last 7 years, but the standard of music that they produced remained constant. The melodies produced by this band are so nicely akin to American Football’s, it would be borderline offensive to leave them out of the emo revival list. With each of the other bands, I’ve tried to name a few tracks that would be great to start off with each one, but with Joie De Vivre, I’m finding it a lot harder to pick a select few. Each one is such a perfect demonstration of the emo revival. The 2012 release We’re All Better Than This is just such a great emo album with stand out tracks like “High School Me Would Have Been Pumped”, “Maybe People Do Change” and “Who Cares”. But going further back to 2009 and their first release Summer Months, there are gems like “That’s The Hot Part”, “It’s Fiction” and “Sundays”. Joie De Vivre are the ultimate emo revivalists and anyone who is interested in this genre needs to listen to their entire discography ASAP.
You Blew It! – You Blew It! are honestly one of the best emo bands about at the minute, and with each new record they release they blow me away even more than when they did with the last. Songs like “Better To Best”, “The Fifties”, “The One With Marc” and “Grow Up Dude“, really show off You Blew It!’s capabilities in reviving the emo music that American Football brought to life in the 90s and it’s wholly refreshing. Their newest EP Pioneer of Nothing shows You Blew It!’s talent is still alive and well, producing 3 well rounded emo tracks, my favorite being “Your Side”. It would be a crime to leave You Blew It! out of this list as they are continuing to uphold the emo revival, and they do it so incredibly.
Title Fight – Title Fight’s latest release Hyperview has completely catapulted them to the forefront of modern emo music with unbelievable tracks like “Your Pain Is Mine Now” and “Dizzy” being particular favorites of mine. I have always associated Title Fight with harder, post hardcore stuff, but the track “Head In The Ceiling Fan” totally changed that, and definitely brought more hype around the band; especially because there were only 3 softer songs on the album Floral Green. While they still maintain the harsher sound they achieved in previous releases, it’s hard to ignore the strong emo vibes Title Fight have presented to the world, which is why I feel they are an essential part of this list despite how heavy they can be.
Tiny Moving Parts – This band are honestly unbelievable. They released their first full length, This Couch is Long and Full of Friendship in 2013, and followed it with the release of their 2014 album Pleasant Living. This Couch Is Long… is a truly beautiful album on which it’s very difficult to skip any song. The vocals are harsher than what you would find on an American Football track, verging on spoken word at times (especially in This Couch Is Long…), which adds another dimension to this already flawless band. I believe that Tiny Moving Parts are integral to the emo revival with both of their releases, and they are finally beginning to become almost a household name in the genre.
This Town Needs Guns – If the fact that This Town Needs Guns have an album called Animals and have named each track after a different animal (so cute!) doesn’t entice you to listen to these guys, the fact that they have an amazingly well rounded emo sound going on probably will. Their complex guitar riffs coupled with the typically strained emo vocals make This Town Needs Guns unmissable in the emo scene today. Their latest release 184.108.40.206.0 has beautiful throwbacks to American Football in it too with tracks like “Nice Riff, Clichard” and “Havoc In The Forum”. Smith’s vocals bring an odd sense of pop-punk whiney-ness to the band, which works insanely well. Definitely a must listen to.
Prawn – Formed in 2007 and releasing their full length You Can Just Leave It All in 2011, Prawn seem to have taken the emo genre by storm with their homage to the emo greats. Tracks like “At Dawn We Left”, “Why You Always Leave A Note”, “Absurd Walls”, “Praxis” and “Old Souls” being my favorite across the bands discography. Prawn are also a band capable of mixing emo with post hardcore breakdowns, which reminds me of Title Fight, again showing the diversity of the genre.
The Hotelier – Previously named The Hotel Year, The Hotelier (one of my favorite name changes ever) were formed in 2009, releasing their first album, It Never Goes Out in 2011, with their, now seemingly iconic, newest release Home Like No Place Is There, being released in 2014. Home Like No Place Is There is by far the superior album, in my opinion. The Hotelier blend emo and post hardcore so well in that album with stand out emo songs like “Among The Wildflowers”, “An Introduction To The Album” and “Housebroken”, and more upbeat post hardcore songs like “Your Deep Rest” and “Life In Drag”. Christian Holden (vocals) said this after the release of Home Like No Place Is There; “….apparently we are emo now”. And it was a great idea to switch genres because they are now completely adding to the emo revival immeasurably.
FDRMX Eyes: Pacovolume is a French Indie Rock artist from Paris. Check out his video “Cookie Machine.”