Album Ratings 349
Objectivity 61%

Last Active 11-03-23 8:26 pm
Joined 11-03-23

Review Comments 22

05.10.24 Recontextualizing Third Wave Emo Part 3 03.07.24 Recontextualizing Third Wave Emo Part 2
02.27.24 Recontextualizing Third Wave Emo Part 1 01.08.24 Artists I Have Tickets For in 2024
12.27.23 2023 Emo LP / EP Tier List and Ranking12.06.23 Emo In My Top 100 Songs of 2023

Recontextualizing Third Wave Emo Part 3: Unique

Third Wave Emo can be a difficult thing to categorize as the most successful movement within the wave was the increasingly mainstreamed Emo-Pop, much of which is still not considered “real Emo” by those in the scene. So outside of the popular side of Emo / Emo Adjacent music, there weren’t many definitive “movements” going on in the underground. However, there were some trends in Third Wave Emo, usually from Emo artists incorporating elements of different genres into their music. Though disconnected by time, geography and varying rates of internet access, Emo artists from around the world managed to keep the DIY and Basement scenes alive, even if on life support, paving the way for The Revival to occur. As a result, this will likely be the largest part, combining disparate Emo subgenres into several distinct sections.
1The Appleseed Cast
Low Level Owl: Volumes I + II

*Not part of list*

Today, we’re starting part three with one of the most distinct and influential movements in Emo. The Appleseed Cast is likely the godfather of the Post-Rock / Emo hybrid, and they released several albums to explore that combination in various ways. Rolling into the 2000s, underground and basement Emo seemed to love this powerful fusion of genres as well, prompting artists from around the world to put their own spin on that sound.

Primarily, Screamo was the beneficiary of this movement worldwide. European bands like Daitro, Japanese bands like envy and American bands like City of Caterpillar forged legendary careers through the aggression of Screamo and the atmosphere of Post-Rock. Undoubtedly, this would trickle down into the non-Screamo Emo scenes as well. Some of the greatest releases of Third Wave Emo, and perhaps the genre as a whole, can be found in this section:

Beauty in Tragedy: The Marriage of Emo and Post-Rock
2Eyes of Autumn

Hello is the sole release from Eyes of Autumn, Emos out of Washington. Influence from bands like The Appleseed Cast are immediately evident with the airy Post-Rock instrumentation, the floaty, fleeting vocals and the syncopated rhythm section. However, Eyes of Autumn often visit the jazzier side of Math Rock, which is evident in the masterful drumming performance and the soft guitar tone. The singer’s voice is on the lower end, bucking Emo’s penchant for high-pitched whiny vocals. This band may not have been treading completely original ground, but they were an early innovator in what would become a legendary pairing of genres.
The High Price of Living Too Long...

Pinebender released their debut LP in 1999, an interesting combination of Midwest Emo, Post-Rock, Slowcore and Indie Rock. Although none of those combinations were truly groundbreaking at that time, they had their unique twist on the formula. The High Price of Living compounds upon their first outing, focusing primarily on the Post-Rock atmosphere this time around. Huge, droning walls of sound meet the listener head-on while the vocalist’s soft singing voice serenades you with depressive lyrics. You’ll hear that Shoegaze influence if you listen to it long enough.

Simple acts of repetition give the songs here some sonic depth, somewhat making Post-Rock music with Slowcore as a guide, all while sticking to those beautiful Midwest Emo principles.
Leave Your Name

Denver Dalley, best known for his stint as lead guitarist for Desaparecidos (who we will get to later), created his solo project Statistics after they disbanded. These two bands are extremely different, but Emo DNA is still found in both. Dalley utilizes Indietronica techniques to create a Post-Rock atmosphere while the meat and potatoes is just Midwest Emo goodness with a soft voice.

Mixing Emo with electronic elements, especially as a solo act, seems to be quite in vogue now, so it’s pretty neat that this exact experiment was done about two decades prior. If you enjoy the electronic components and the Post-Rock soundscapes, be sure to check out Statistics’ s/t EP, which contains a fair bit less Emo.
5K.C. Milian
K.C. Milian

Italian Post-Rockers K.C. Milian could be considered silent legends in their scene, having come out with two mostly instrumental Emo-infused Post-Rock albums and a split with Italian Skramz legends La Quiete. The songs themselves are composed like Post-Rock songs with an emphasis on grandiosity, structurelessness and long instrumental passages; the actual timbre and style is Midwest Emo, including noodling riffs, trumpet and cathartic sections of vocals. This album is an interesting peek into what could have been if “Instrumental Emo” ever took off.
6The Jesus Years
Are Matthew, Mark, Luke And John

You know exactly what you’re getting yourself into as you listen to the opening salvo, a 30-second superfluous drum solo that leads into some wonderful twinkles. The Jesus Years’ sole release as a band came out mere months after fellow European K.C. Milian released their nearly completely instrumental Emo album, although the core of the band had already debuted in the Emo scene a year prior as part of The Little Explorer, who I talked about in the Midwest Screamo section.

The actual music on offer is fantastic, a combination of Post-Rock and blistering Math Rock, all while low-key defining the Emo Revival sound. Perhaps they could be considered a Proto-Revival band, but this being instrumental gives the band a huge Post-Rock feel, so that’s why they’re here.
7Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson
Unnoticeable In A Tiny Town, Invisible In The City

Youth Pictures is one of the most beloved and recognized acts in the How is Annie catalog of artists. Perhaps their best one. Unnoticeable in a Tiny Town is much more of a Post-Rock record than an Emo one, but the twinkling with which they play, as well as the more traditional moments with vocals, so the Emo influence stands out. The album is a scenic road trip in 45 minutes, showing the listener many beautiful sounds along the way. Post-Rock fans cannot miss out on this one.
Regreso a Córdoba

One of the premier Mexican Emo artists of this time, Inválido did something that a lot in this section haven’t done: they created a Midwest Emo / Post-Rock fusion that features very little in the way of extra instruments or ambient tones. Rather, Inválido is a Midwest Emo band that plays Post-Rock. Regreso is a monstrous album at over one hour in length, each song averaging almost seven minutes!

Subdued but yearning vocals add ambiance to the Midwest Emo instrumentation, often rocking out in long vocal-less sections. Inválido managed to craft something that could fit in with American Emo and something unique to their country. If this description sounds good to you, do not miss out on this one!
Our Way Back To Chaos

A short-lived Emo / Post-Rock outfit out of Argentina, Turpentine lay the Post-Rock instrumentation on thick, but not without passing through some Emo corridors on the way there. The band’s feminine vocals are delivered in a rather restrained capacity but occasionally enter a different stratosphere together. There aren’t a ton of ambient tones in this one, but rather a collection of Emo songs that comprise a Post-Rock album.

The band would release two more EPs in as many years before calling it quits in 2007. The Post-Rock influence only grows from their first release, so if you enjoyed this one, be sure to check out their other material.
10Johnny Foreigner
We Left You Sleeping and Gone Now

*Hidden Gem*

A unique, eclectic and highly personal collection of songs, this is the one and only time the world would ever hear Johnny Foreigner this way. The UK Emo-Pop legends released this full-length demo several years before their official debut LP, and the differences in sound are stark. Noticeably, the production is more lofi and basement than their future work, which would come to sound very polished.

Catchy vocal melodies were also less of a priority, instead making way for the anxiety-inducing Post-Rock atmosphere and twinkly Math Rock noodling that permeate this release. If you are looking for an album that encapsulates the subdued dread of early Spring, please give this one a listen. Their next demo would come out two years later and feature a sound much closer to their Emo-Pop greatness.
11The Newfound Interest in Connecticut
Tell Me About the Long Dark Path Home

*Top Release*

Cold, urgent, anxious and cryptic are how I’d describe the atmosphere of a typical song on this album, which doesn’t even describe the actual music in the songs! Newfound Interest in Connecticut is one of the most legendary bands on this list, having only released one LP that has since garnered an insane cult following.

The songs are about a 50/50 Post-Rock / Midwest Emo split in terms of genre dynamics.
You will be lost in the seemingly endless sonic corridors, allowing your mind to race frantically in anticipation of the busy, mathy Emo sections. The drummer is the star of the show here, constantly performing complex and spazzy beats. The bassist does their best to keep up with the insane rhythms while at times being a lead instrument. The guitar tones are impeccable and give the band a signature sound. If that all doesn’t sound like a panic-inducing nightmare, the vocalist’s stressed-out singing style certainly will.
Infinite Motion

T-Tauri was an obscure Emo band from Colorado who formed at the forefront of the Second Wave in 1993! After releasing an album in 1997, they recorded their final work, Infinite Motion, in 1999 before disbanding. In 2006, it finally surfaced. Taking cues from early Post-Rock / Screamo combinations and utilizing some truly basement-sounding production values, they create a dark and dingy atmosphere. The vocalist belts out mysterious, longing melodies that add cryptic elements to the music. The band never quite pushes into the next gear like other Screamo contemporaries, including in the scream-less vocal performance. Overall, if you enjoy mid-tempo chaos, long, repetitive instrumental passages and lofi production, you owe it to yourself to listen to this intriguing relic of Emo and Post-Rock history.
13A Bunny's Caravan
Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures

*Hidden Gem*

Possibly the best and most well-known release from the How is Annie catalog, Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures is the band’s sole release and is legendary in the Norwegian Emo scene. And yet, it was as renowned as it was enigmatic; the band was only made up of two members who recorded this album and dropped off the face of the Earth without so much as rehearsing for a show.

“Epic” might undersell the grandiosity that A Bunny’s Caravan aimed for on this LP, and they hit the bullseye. When the band turns up the atmosphere, you can feel yourself completely engulfed in a wall of sound. They’ll then switch into a quiet, melodic passage that feels so intimate that it’s wrong to listen to. If you ever wanted a peek into the Norwegian Emo scene, this is probably the best place to start.
14The December Drive

Although The December Drive have crafted lush musical atmospheres since their inception as a band, Post-Rock was more window dressing than a truly substantive part of their sound. However, on their first and only EP Arrivals/Departures, Post-Rock influence is far more prominent. In particular, the spacey guitar tone does a lot of the heavy lifting. The music itself is a nice combo of Emo and Post-Hardcore, though I’d be hard-pressed to say anything measures up to the immense heights of their debut LP. Regardless, this is still a worthy release deserving of your time.
15Moving Mountains
Moving Mountains Demo

Before Gregory Dunn’s voice would deepen for Moving Mountains’ debut LP (and subsequently deepen again by the time they released their next EP), a young high school Greg almost singlehandedly created the prelude to the genre-defining Pnuema. Some tracks are demo versions of future songs with a select few basically being alternate versions of the main tracks, while some are exclusive to this release. If you can stomach the higher-pitched voice and the poor production quality, this is an interesting preview into what would become a legendary band.

This self-titled album is the debut LP for Rika, Austrian Emos partial to Post-Rock. Rather than employing synthesized ambient tones to artificially create a musical atmosphere, Rika utilizes time-tested Emo tropes - twinkly riffs, quiet-loud dynamics, raw production - and incorporates elongated instrumental passages, lengthy, dreamy song structures and the occasional horn section, to concoct a nearly-one hour aural experience.

Rika would go on to have a few more releases, notably a split with fellow Austrians in Everton. If you enjoy a naturally rich sonic environment filled with sadness, Rika’s s/t might be the album for you.
17Make Amends
Because Nobody's Real

With their sole release, Make Amends unleashes a forward-thinking piece of Emo. Generous usage of dreamy synths and guitar tricks makes this an airy listen but don’t confuse that with complacency. Make Amends spearheads their music with plenty of experimentation, from Indietronica influence to Chiptunes, Dream-Pop to Post-Hardcore. At times, this may feel like more of a Post-Rock album, but you’re quickly reminded that this is Emo when the depressive vocals kick in with cathartic choruses over a masterful demonstration of quiet / loud dynamics. Beware the massive 1+ hour length.
18Moving Mountains

*Top Release*

In truth, I’ve been somewhat dreading getting to this part of the series. Moving Mountain’s seminal 2007 debut LP Pnuema is special to me and has been in my rotation for almost half of my life. This album almost singlehandedly got me into Emo and Post-Rock, even if my insane affection for Emo bloomed some years later. It melts my brain that Gregory Dunn, while in high school, wrote the entirety of this album sans the drums.

From start to finish, the music captures that fleeting feeling of grief on a late night in early autumn, largely through the nature-laden allegories of the lyrics and brilliant atmosphere. In true Emo fashion, the music constantly builds to varying crescendos, only to level out in equal measure during the quiet sections. The guitar tone is perfect for the brisk yet melancholy riffs and the singer’s incredible passion seeps from every note he hits.

Pneuma is a diary, each song a painful entry that ends with catharsis.
19rest of my life
all pretty people live in airports

Rest of My Life makes another appearance in this project, five years after their debut s/t LP. In that time, Rest of My Life began to shed their Second Wave shell to reveal more modern production, more pronounced Post-Rock influences and some Indie Rock tropes thrown in for good measure. Whether you prefer their first album or this one is irrelevant as both are pretty awesome for different reasons. The band would pretty much run out of steam following this up, though, as their next album would be their final - and it’s generally not received too well.
20City Breathing
Look How It’s Snowing Upwards, Look How They Move

City Breathing falls much closer to the Post-Rock side of the spectrum, but their Midwest Emo influences - such as in the vocals and guitar riffs - are prominent enough for me to put them on this list. If you enjoy lengthy songs with ethereal atmospheres sung with a soothing yet solemn voice, City Breathing has you covered with this debut LP. This release is hypnotizing but is bereft of that edge that good Emo tends to have. Regardless, if you enjoyed this, check out their other recorded material.
21Charge Group
Escaping Mankind

Rising from the ashes of obscure Sydney Post-Rock outfit The Instant (which in and of itself rose from the ashes of Purplene, who we will see a bit later on in this list), this is heavily Post-Rock-infused Emo is about as chill as it gets, many thanks to the Slowcore influence that’s been present in these musicians since the late 90s. In addition to clean, sly guitar riffs, there is an abundance of string sections in most of the songs that create a dynamic sense of ambiance. The constant crescendoing and mellowing out of the music shows the range of volumes these Aussies can play.

Matt Blackman, Adam Jesson and Matt Rossetti should be proud of themselves for carrying the underground Sydney music scene for so many years, especially with their sadboi vibes. Charge Group would release one more album in 2012 before calling it quits.
All the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead

*Not part of list*

The international Emo scene during the 2000s kept the ethos of the genre alive and well through its Mainstream period in the Third Wave, but perhaps no country has done more for Emo’s preservation than Japan. Everyone knows what envy did for Screamo and the variety of Japanese Math Rock bands out there, but some Emo goes a step further with their Japanese influence. J-Rock was a popular mixer, but other genres such as Math Rock, Post-Hardcore and even Post-Rock were integrated with the traditional Emo sound to astonishing results. This next section features Emo songs that are most likely to be used in an anime intro.

Eclectic, Electric and Alive: Japan’s Take on Emo

ART-SCHOOL are Alternative Rock legends in Japan with deep roots playing Midwest Emo. On their first album, Requiem for Innocence, you’d be hard-pressed to find any obvious Alternative influence. If anything, this is a Noise-Pop-esque approach to Japanese Emo, carrying the flag for bands like Eastern Youth.

On this album, the production is dirty, the riffs are simple and the vocals are brimming with youthful passion. ART-SCHOOL would metamorphose, incorporating Shoegaze and Dream Pop into future releases. By 2007, Emo was in the rearview mirror for this act as they transitioned into more Alternative and later Indie Rock.
24Burger Nuds

Extremely upbeat and J-Rock-influenced, Burger Nuds debut LP Symphony is about as warm as you can get for an Emo album. The Indie Rock and Alternative appreciation is notable, but Emo seems to be among their biggest influences. Burger Nuds doesn’t do anything extraordinary here, but the tenderness with which they play is admirable.

The band would stop releasing music for over a decade until their second LP released in 2017!
9:40 p.m.

Allegedly, Balloons formed as a band in 1996, but 9:40 P.M. is actually their debut album. During all that time, the band must have been hard at work refining their sound as they’re one of the smoothest Japanese Emo bands I’ve heard so far. In large part, this is due to the Indie Rock influence, the timbre of which is reminiscent of British Indie artists of the time, as well as the proficient twinkly Math Rock riffs. The vocalist is more than serviceable but often withholds his voice for the pure melancholy of the instrumentals.

Balloons would release two more full-length albums and an EP, though the Emo influence on these releases is a lot less prominent if it exists at all.
Sono Ao Shashin

Taking influence equally from Japanese bands like Number Girl and American bands like Fugazi, Kiwiroll plays messy, noisy and disorienting Emo fused with Post-Hardcore on this record. The brooding, heavy guitar tones balance perfectly with the clean Emo passages, setting up perfect loud / quiet interplay. The vocalist belts out the lyrics with passion and carelessness, perfectly encapsulating the feeling of desperate loneliness.

The band had steadily been releasing music since 1998, but this album, translated to English as “The Blueprint,” is perhaps their best. They would come out with one other Third Wave release, and it would be the last original material the band would ever release.
無人テレビの設計図 (Blueprint for Unmanned TV)

This record could likely have belonged in the Post-Rock section; there are only seven songs, but they each average over six minutes in length and feature plenty of instrumental atmosphere. That said, there also appears to be this enigmatic force of something else, especially in the off-kilter vocal delivery that sort of just screams “Japan.”

Between melancholic sections of spacey guitar playing are fits of Midwest Emo fury, accented by noisy chord progressions and an unhinged singing voice. If you want to listen to Japanese Emo for what makes it “different” than Western Emo, this is a great example.
Question No. 13

After releasing their first album in 2000 with significantly less Emo influence, Veltpunch returned in 2004 with quite possibly the creepiest album cover in Emo history. On Question No. 13, Veltpunch provides supercharged Emo music with some fun J-Rock on the side, as a treat. The result is catchy and crude full-length that isn’t afraid to be as noisy as it is memorable. The band would still utilize Emo in their music, but would sway much closer to Alternative and Power-Pop following this release. Simply put, this rocks.
Further Shore

Japanese Math rockers He released their very first EP in 2005 with copious amounts of Post-Hardcore and Emo influence. The production is fairly raw, but the musical ideas on offer are nuanced and well-executed, especially regarding the raucous guitar playing, switching often from heavy, syncopated chord progressions to slidey, bendy and otherwise playful riffs. For Math Rock fans, this one should feel right at home.

He would go on to release several albums and a split with susquatch. Although good, I’d have to do some real hair-splitting to put the rest under the Emo umbrella.
The Book About My Idle Plot on a Vague Anxiety

First of all, what kind of name is toe?! Second of all, are they even Emo? I mean, they’re a combination of Math Rock and Post-Rock, which winds up radiating Midwest Emo vibes. This sort of reminds me of The Jesus Years in that way. Maybe we should just make Instrumental Emo an official genre, but I digress. Third of all, how in the WORLD did this band get SO popular? Like, ridiculously popular, one of the biggest bands in this entire project. Nonetheless, I think everyone needs to hear these guys at least once.

With an absence of vocals, the drummer actually takes center stage, demonstrating his otherworldly ability. However, the guitarists also get to show off with nonstop riffs and picturesque twinkles. If this isn’t Emo, it will absolutely still hit the same spot, especially if you like instrumental music. The band has several other LPs and EPs if this sound works for you.

A year after their debut LP, Blgtz would release their second LP, roughly translated as Document of the Moment by Minus Generation. The eccentric Post-Rock / Emo fusion that Blgtz played with on their first album is expounded upon; the band crafts ethereal soundscapes, encapsulating formlessness and wistfulness in the open air. The band still turns it up for those pensive moments of aggression, especially with the singer going balls-to-the-wall with his voice.

The band would only release one more studio album but would have several more EPs recorded.
32Ling Tosite Sigure

Ling Tosite Sigure makes music for Post-Apocalyptic-themed Anime Intros, and I cannot stress how much of a compliment that is. Emo, Post-Hardcore and J-Rock come together for this eclectic AnimEmo, featuring noisy instruments, blistering mathy passages, explosive youthful vocals and a wall of emotion coming at you at all times.

Behind the music is a trio of musicians, two of whom switch off between masculine and feminine vocals. Though they released three demos prior, #4 is their debut LP and they absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one. They’d go on to have a prolific career, some of which might be covered a bit further down…
Plan Infiltration

*Hidden Gem*

Beloved in the Emo community due to its remastered rerelease in 2011, Plan Infiltration was originally released as a six-song EP all the way back in 2005! With strong Japanese Math Rock roots, this Emo album was forward-thinking and is among the greatest Proto-Revival releases of all time.

Combining proficient guitar twinkling with exploding passion results in some of the best songs to come out of the Japanese Emo scene. The band would go on to have splits with artists like Empire! Empire! and Into It. Over It., the latter of which was released in 2022.

*Hidden Gem*

On their debut LP, Yamagata natives Akutagawa unleashed unto the world a minor Emo masterpiece. The little-known self-titled album greatly diversifies its sound by integrating multiple genres: the dark, heavy Post-Hardcore guitar tones, the near-Screamo bouts of insanity, the grandiose Post-Rock soundscapes, the mindbending time signature shenanigans of Math Rock, all of these combined with the very best of Emo songwriting to craft nearly an hour of unique music.

Not one song on this album sounds alike, each taking cues from different genres while maintaining that air of catharsis that only Emo can provide. There’s a lot of instrumental-only time on this one, but the vocalist is more than capable of keeping up with the ever-shifting dynamics.
35Ling Tosite Sigure
Feeling Your UFO

Feeling your UFO showcases a top-notch band evolving and maturing in real time; although cut from a similar cloth to their acclaimed debut LP, this EP replaces some of that youthful energy from #4 with world-weariness and a better-developed sense of songwriting. The five-song record is still quite boisterous, but the noisiness is cut down slightly in favor of melodic interplay, though the vocal performance is perhaps more unhinged than ever.

The overt J-Rock influences are less severe on this album, allowing the raw Emo and Post-Hardcore to flourish with little distraction.
Have a Nice Day

On their debut LP, Pegmap delivers scathing Emo goodness with noisy, dissonant guitars, pounding drums and passionate vocals. All of the Midwest Emo tropes that we love are present here, so when the band quiets down for a softer song or section, it stands out particularly nicely against the noisier dynamic. Elements of J-Rock pepper this release, giving some parts a certain anime intro vibe.

Even though the first couple of tracks are the main attraction here, this album is filled with really good Emo from top to bottom.
Water Plant

*Hidden Gem*

With four years between this EP and their first demo, susquatch has shifted direction quite drastically on Water Plant. The distorted guitar tones of their demo, which borrowed heavily from that Second Wave sound, return, juxtaposed by twinkly guitar tones that would go on to define the Emo Revival just years later. Heavyhanded elements of Japanese Math Rock make their way onto this EP, showcasing the band’s playful side quite often. The vocalist’s passion is evident, even in all of the lyrics, which, if you’re having trouble discerning what they say, are actually in some broken English/Japanese fusion.

The group would find their biggest success right at the forefront of the Emo Revival with their 2009 debut LP In This World. The LP would ditch the rawer, distorted guitar tones for cleaner, more Indie-leaning ones, so if you like your Emo to have some crunch behind it, check this one out!
See You

Pegmap returned after their debut LP one year later with another stellar full-length outing. All of the scintillating musical elements from Have a Nice Day return with a renewed sense of balance. The cacophony of distorted guitars, powerful drumming and fiery vocals are juxtaposed next to twinkly riffs, a restrained rhythm section and quiet, somber singing. Midwest Emo tropes? Yes, but that’s really why we’re all here, right?

The album as a whole is more refined than their original: whereas Have a Nice Day opened up with the two very best tracks on the album, See You is a far more even sonic journey through waves of crescendos and comedown. The band would release another album and an EP in 2012 before calling it quits.
39Ling Tosite Sigure
Inspiration Is Dead

*Top Release*

After seemingly capturing lightning in a bottle with their explosive debut EP and refining their Emo songwriting abilities on Feeling your UFO, Ling Tosite Sigure returns with an absolute banger of an album. Taking even more cues from Post-Hardcore, Inspiration is DEAD cranks the mania of their first album up to the stratosphere. If it were not for the prominent J-Rock elements keeping the general tone of the music upbeat, this would be quite the dark album, somewhat reminiscent of the Progressive Post-Hardcore bands of yore like Fall of Troy. Hell, some tracks would have what I dare would call a “dancey” rhythm section!

This band’s monumental popularity during this time was warranted as they were the crown royalty of J-Rock / Emo. Fans still debate which album of theirs is best, and that includes pretty much every future release from this band. I highly recommend checking out at least one album from this group.
Kinder Book

Bronbaba play depressing bummer Emo with heaping spoonfuls of Indie Rock and Slowcore influence, somewhat in the same vein as bands like The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up. The leisurely tempo, lower-register vocal performance and the overall depressive nature of the songs belie how beautiful and evocative the tracks are. Nothing on this album will set the world on fire, and that’s okay - Bronbaba is perfectly content to sit on the ashes and share their story.

Beginning life as a Screamo band in 2003, Sora would drop pretty much all screaming in favor of melodic vocals on this debut LP, roughly translated to Tinnitus and Its Reasons. Though Sora lost some of their edge in the transition, they retained the melancholy, the aggression and the dynamism, pushing these in even further directions at times. I get reminded of Empire! Empire! while listening to this: the grandiosity, the range, the technicality, all of it falls into place exactly as it’s supposed to.

Sora would come out with another marvelous album in 2012 before calling it quits. Bands this good are only meant to last so long…
The Curve Causes a Shiver

This album arrived right at the forefront of the Emo Revival in late 2008, and it was released at the perfect time. The Curve Causes a Shiver is a very familiar album to Emo Revival fans, featuring glorious guitar twinkles, syncopated Math Rock drumming and somewhat whiny vocals. If you’re tired of hearing all of this Third Wave stuff and really can’t wait for the Fourth Wave, give this a listen.
43Saves the Day
Stay What You Are

*Not part of list*

Perhaps controversially, I’ve decided to cover Emo-Pop in this section. After all, much of the Emo-Pop movement is uniquely Third Wave, and many artists stayed relatively obscure. Besides, there’s no other part in the series that could reasonably contain this information, and Emo-Pop deserves its fair share of attention. Many artists on this list have incorporated elements of other genres into their music, including Pop Punk, Alternative, Indie Rock and Post-Hardcore, which speaks to the genre-invading nature of Third Wave Emo.

The very essence of this particular section may betray everything else I’m trying to do here, but I wanted to be comprehensive in my coverage of the genre. Besides, more Emo has never really been a bad thing, has it?

The Explosion of Emo-Pop
Is This Thing Loaded?

Is This Thing Loaded? invokes that special early Vans Warped era, the time of Taking Back Sunday and Brand New starting to take over the industry. The youthful energy is captured in the rough production values with the guitar being a particular highlight. The very first song on the album is an instant classic, so even though the rest of the album fails to live up to those expectations, it’s still a super solid Emo-Pop album.

As a side note - Rigged and Ready supposedly really influenced TBS’s Cute Without the E, so perhaps we can at least partially attribute the immediate growth of Emo in the Third Wave to this band.
45The Newfound Interest in Connecticut
Less Is More or Less

Before compelling the world with their frigid take on the Post-Rock / Emo formula, Newfound Interest in Connecticut released a four-song EP in 2002. Unlike the brilliant soundscapes found on their LP, Less Is More or Less utilizes the Midwest Emo formula to craft Emo-Pop music. The vocals are more restrained and attempt poppier melodies, though the guitarwork and masterful drumming that the band would be known for is previewed on this EP quite nicely. If you’re looking for a Second Wave-esque Emo-Pop record or are just curious as to what the band used to sound like, look no further.
Are we Really Happy with who we are Right Now?

*Hidden Gem*

An adopter of the early Emo-Pop sound, Moneen as a band has a fascinating history as it relates to Third Wave Emo. The band came together in 1999, released a demo EP in 2000 and released their first full-length album in 2001. Perhaps this would mean they should be in the Second Wave section, but their forward-thinking Emo formula sounds fresh and “2000s,” for lack of a better term.

Emo-Pop influences on this album are subtle and mostly for the catchy verses and choruses. The production is reminiscent of a 90s Second Wave Emo record, giving Moneen a raw vibe on this album. Still, dynamic and time signature shifts occur regularly, showcasing the band’s penchant for writing a good Emo song. If you want to hear one of Canada’s very best Emo bands, please give this a listen.
47The Movielife
Forty Hour Train Back To Penn

A fairly standard Pop-Punk / Emo-Pop combo from the fabled Long Island / New Jersey scene, The Movielife released music sparingly throughout the years but had only one release in the Third Wave officially. In the same vein as early Second Wave Emo artists, The Movielife consists of Hardcore kids who are trying to make non-Hardcore music but simply can’t escape their roots. This, of course, is only a huge positive as the spirit of Hardcore ensures this doesn’t become generic dreck. It’s a good album, but the bigger, faster songs tend to be the best on this record.
48Breaking Pangaea

Breaking Pangaea is a little-known Emo band from Philly that came together at the turn of the century. After releasing their first LP in 2001, a traditional Midwest Emo affair, Phoenix would be the band’s final release. On this EP, Breaking Pangaea infused their sound with equal parts Emo-Pop, particularly in the guitar tone's crispness and the vocal melodies' poppiness. The results are infectious and feel distinctly 2000s.
Quarto dos Livros

Simply put, Fresno is the biggest artist to come out of Brazil’s Emo scene. They’ve amassed 10 studio albums, numerous EPs, several live albums and tons of other recorded material. They are undoubtedly in that Jimmy Eat World position of playing Alternative after getting famous with Emo-Pop. Perhaps a band THIS BIG shouldn’t get coverage on this list, but even I’d never heard of Fresno before researching for this list, so I’d wager a lot of others need to know, too.

Their debut LP features a much rawer production sound than anything that came afterward, pairing their infectious Emo-Pop with Midwest Emo and Post-Hardcore elements. Notably, there was a dearth of Emo in Brazil when they formed and released this record, so it was groundbreaking in some ways. This is a rather auspicious start to a prolific career.
50Hey Mercedes
Loses Control

From the ashes of legendary Midwest Emo band Braid comes Hey Mercedes, an Emo-Pop band that flirts with Power Pop. If you’re expecting Braid with catchier choruses, I’m sorry to disappoint. However, the melodic vocals will worm their way into your ears. Hey Mercedes’ second and final full-length album is a testament to the tortuous path Emo bands partake in; even with everything going for them, the band just never reached the heights they deserved.
It Won't Snow Where You're Going

*Hidden Gem*

Listening to Park in the context of Third Wave Emo is bittersweet; with their radio-ready melodies, combination of popular genres and high average song quality, they could have and should have reached mainstream popularity in the US. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop their existing music from kicking ass, and very few songs in their discography kick as much ass as the opening track to this LP.

This album takes the raw instrumental tones of Post-Hardcore and wraps them around a Pop-Punk skeleton with Emo as the connective tissue. Is that too artsy of a description? Maybe, but once you hear this album, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
52Halfway To Holland
Halfway To Holland

Peter Helmis and, to a slightly lesser extent, Joe Reinhart are absolute legends in Emo, not only for the sheer massive quantity of bands they’ve been a part of but for the consistently good quality each of their releases possesses. The two are primarily known for Algernon Cadwallader, The Cap’n Jazz of the Emo Revival, but have participated in numerous other excellent acts. The first of which, however, was Halfway to Holland, started all the way back in 2001!

After a demo LP, they came out with their self-titled album in 2003, mixing the youthful energy of Pop-Punk, the catchiness and structure of Emo-Pop and the rawness of Midwest Emo into a fairly straightforward package. Vocalist Peter Helmis sounds exactly as you’d think, though the guitarwork is more focused on quick chord progressions and easy leads rather than anything twinkly or mathy.

*Hidden Gem*

After their heralded debut album, Northstar would release their second and final album in 2004 - Pollyanna. This album is likely legendary among Emo fans of this era, truly in a tier only below albums like Tell All Your Friends, Deja Entendu and …Is a Real Boy. Northstar took everything that worked on their first outing and made the entire album a consistently good journey. The Pop-Punk is balanced very well on this album, taking a backseat at times for softer songs.

Sadly, the band broke up after this album was released, depriving the world of more good jams.
54Slingshot Dakota
Keener Sighs

Slingshot Dakota was founded by Carly Comando and two members of Emo-leaning Punkers Latterman in 2003 before releasing their debut album a year later. Keener Signs is heavily influenced by Rainer Maria’s take on the Indie and Emo combo, especially in the dual masculine/feminine vocals, though Emo-Pop is the dominant force on this record. Gorgeous piano riffing is accompanied by admirable drumming and a dynamic guitar that goes from chord progressions to Emo twinkles.

Following this album, the two former Latterman members left the band, leading to a fundamental change in the band’s sound. Their next album wouldn’t be released until 2008, though the Emo influence would diminish exponentially across each subsequent release.
New Ruins

New Ruins sees THE Kidcrash in an unrecognizable light compared to their other legendary LPs Jokes and Snacks. Prior to becoming a legend in the Screamo genre for their complex and technical music, The Kidcrash was another Emo-Pop hopeful reminiscent of bands like Underoath, but with a critical ear, you can suss out the subtle intricacy of the layered guitars and the mathy syncopation of the rhythm section. The vocals are admittedly underwhelming, especially when you know what the singer is capable of later in his career. Besides, these vocals were in vogue around the mid 00s, so it isn’t too unexpected.

If you want to hear the humble beginnings of a band that would go on to be legends in the scene, check out this artifact of Emo history.
O Rio, a Cidade, a Arvore

Brazil’s biggest Emo band continues their search for a core identity on this album, featuring significantly better production values and the slow shedding of their Midwest Emo and Post-Hardcore influences. While this is a fine album and the volume dynamics make this a great roadmap for Emo-Pop, it’s lacking that little something; their first album took advantage of the raw recordings and infused them with youthful energy. Their next album…well, let’s wait to talk about that one.
They Liked You Better When You Were Dead

Whilst Charlie Simpson was performing as one of the poster children for UK boy band Busted, he began to write some Post-Hardcore music to scratch his rock itch. However, he got REALLY involved and would leave Busted in 2005, a month before this debut EP was released. Prominently showcased is Simpson’s strong voice, showcasing an entirely different side than what fans of his were used to. Moody Post-Hardcore is the basis of the music, but most melodic elements are derived from Emo-Pop. If for nothing else than novelty, I’d suggest checking out this stellar debut EP and the LPs that would follow.
58Gatsby's American Dream

With more than their fair share of Pop Punk seeping from the album, Volcano is one of the slickest Emo-Pop albums around. Gatsbys American Dream has reached their final form on their third LP, eschewing the more frenzied Pop Punk concoction to forge the perfect Pop Punk / Emo-Pop mixture. The production values, particularly in the sleek guitar tones, are quite polished and allow for both distorted and clean moments to shine. With several other albums that all came out during this time period, I’d recommend you check these Seattle natives out, though be aware this is probably their truest Emo-Pop effort.

*Top Release*

Fresno has never sounded so confident, so sure of themselves as songwriters and performers than on this third full-length album. Traces of Midwest Emo and Post-Hardcore remain, but only as over-the-shoulder guides that ensure Fresno doesn’t stray too far from the very ethos of the genre. The melodies on offer here will get stuck in anyone’s head, regardless of what language you speak. Each note of the singer’s voice seems meticulously crafted around the enormous anthemic music, yet confusion, loneliness and anger seep through the euphony.

Simply put, this is what Emo-Pop is all about: taking the emotional catharsis of Emo and blending it into a palatable product. Indeed, this album launched Fresno into Brazil’s stratosphere. Fresno would start incorporating more and more elements of Alternative Rock into their music, effectively making this their last pure Emo-Pop album. It sure is one Hell of a way to go out, though.
Building a Better ________.

Park gives it one more go on their final studio album, flirting with experimentation along the way. This is perhaps their most varied album as a result, but also one that lacks the strength in identity as their other releases. Still, Park produces some of their very best songs on here.

Building a Better is a monument to the wonder of Emo, showcasing a band with all the talent, songwriting and opportunity to jump into superstardom, only for obscurity to be their fate ultimately. Bands like this are why I write about this amazing music scene.
The Red Tree

Following up on two acclaimed LPs, an EP and a Split with Alexisonfire was never going to be an easy task for Moneen, but after signing with Vagrant Records, Moneen released a cohesive album that’s at least as good as their previous stuff. The beautiful combination of Emo, Emo-Pop and 90s-era Post-Hardcore remains a winner for Moneen, but the lack of a true standout track amongst a sea of really good ones does mean this album isn’t quite as memorable as it should be. Regardless, this is Canada’s best Emo band for a reason.
62The Graduate

When The Graduate was around, there were comparisons made to Jimmy Eat World - and rightfully so! The band oozes melody and catchiness like no other, especially in the earworm choruses. Their second and final LP, Only Every Time, was analogous to Bleed American, so does that make Anhedonia this band’s Clarity? Not quite, failing to capture the magic of Only Every Time, but as a debut album goes, The Graduate really swung for the fences. If you enjoy extraordinarily captivating vocal performances or Emo-Pop with Alternative and Pop Rock influences, check this one out! Be warned that there’s very little edge to be found on this record.
Super Amusement Machine for Your Exciting Heart

Early Emo-Pop from Connecticut, Counterfit only released one full-length album in 2002 after a few EPs before calling it quits in 2004. However, we should all be so grateful that they released anything at all! Simple and dirty Emo-Pop / Midwest Emo with just enough edge to capture the hearts of those fans of the early 00s era of Emo. There isn’t anything you haven’t heard before on here, but worthy of a listen nonetheless.
64Johnny Foreigner
Waited Up 'til It Was Light

*Top Release*

Exuberant, youthful, manic and catchy are just a few of the many descriptors that can be said about Johnny Foreigner’s exemplary debut LP. Three years after their first demo showcased the band’s Post-Rock writing chops, this release illustrates the band’s evolution into a premier Emo-Pop band. The dual male-female vocals greatly add to the diversity on display here with strong hints of Indie Rock, Pop Punk and even Math Rock. No two songs are alike, proving the songwriting in this band is exceptional.

Johnny Foreigner would go on to be one of the most prolific Emo / Indie artists in the UK, having released four more studio albums, numerous EPs and lots of other material. However, despite this legendary Emo-Pop output, the band would never quite reach the lofty heights of this debut LP. If you’re going to check out any Emo-Pop on this list, you should let it be this one.
Full Collapse

*Not part of list*

Finally, I’ve reached the point where I’m all out of clever sections and cute titles. These last few releases are all Emo releases that defy categorization based on what I’ve already written about. Simply put, this final section of Part Three is entitled:

Other Uncategorized Emo
Read Music/Speak Spanish

Many probably know the story of Bright Eyes’ frontman Conor Oberst’s OTHER band, but I’ll give you the quick and dirty if you don’t; Conor intended Desaparecidos to be his secondary band before Bright Eyes unexpectedly took off like crazy, dashing those plans. And it’s a shame since Read Music/Speak Spanish is cooler and more Emo than any of Conor’s other music. Emo with strong Punk leanings, Desaparacidos plays with anger pumping through their veins, to a level just below that of someone like Cursive.

Oberst’s vocal delivery carries strength and rage, highlighted by the frantic guitar riffs and active rhythm section. This doesn’t sound like a lot of other Emo music that came before it, even if it doesn’t do anything particularly innovative. If political-leaning Emo is your thing or you’re just pissed off about the United States, give this a listen.
Huckleberry Eater

Kickball, a trio of Olympia natives, released their eclectic first album in 2003, combining docile Indie Rock with very subtle elements of Math Rock. The Emo influence on this one isn’t as pronounced as it is in future releases, but Huckleberry Eater radiates with awkwardness and depression from every corner. If you enjoy offbeat, slightly downer Emo with very little in the way of hard structure, check this out!
68Bear vs. Shark
Right Now You're in the Best of Hands

I know what you’re thinking: Bear vs. Shark isn’t an Emo band, they’re Post-Hardcore! Well, they are Post-HXC, but they infuse it with a generous heaping of Emo, reminiscent of 90s At the Drive-In. The messy, noisy Post-Hardcore moments are perfectly juxtaposed next to the cleaner, more melodic Emo-leaning sections.

Although Emo and Post-Hardcore was a popular combination during the Second Wave, this band eschewed tradition with this release and crafted something far more modern and 2000s-sounding, for lack of a better term. From the production to the songwriting choices, this album represents a tiny window in 2000s history.
69Desert City Soundtrack
Funeral Car

*Hidden Gem*

From the first few seconds of this album, you could be forgiven for thinking this was some generic piano-driven Indie Rock, but you’ll reward yourself for continuing to listen as Funeral Car is an unexpectedly unique slice of Emo history. The piano lulls the listener into a false state of peace, but the piano doesn’t define the music found here, it’s the other way around; the piano is merely a tool to emphasize the tone, tempo and volume dynamics at play in this eclectic combination of songs.

The softer, Indie-leaning sections often give way to frenetic Post-Hardcore sections comprised of screaming and total instrumental upheaval. Following this up may be a serene trumpet melody or subdued vocal passage. If you like this, they also have an EP from 2002 that is a tad heavier overall.

*Hidden Gem*

Purplene’s self-titled LP is also their final one, but they prove themselves to be quintessential OzzEmo (I hope the Australians don’t kill me for that…). Somewhat reminiscent of The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up due to their combination of melancholy Midwest Emo and smooth Slowcore, Purplene also adds in elements of Math Rock with shifting time signatures and Post-Rock with extended instrumental passages. What’s left in the rubble is a uniquely-crafted work of Emo history.

If you like your Emo to be more on the bummer side of the spectrum and love really polished guitarwork, this is definitely one that you can’t miss.
Welcome the Problems

*Top Release*

To Chicago-area Midwest Emo fans, Colossal is the faint but familiar name of a legendary band that came and went during Midwest Emo’s lowest period. Comprised of Chicago Punk royalty, Colossal’s debut LP is an experience unlike any other. Some of the most virtuosic guitar playing in the entire genre of Emo can be found on this album, enough to make any Kinsella brother blush.

Speaking of Kinsella, Colossal sounds like American Football if they actually rocked out instead of sticking to the softer Indie Rock-influenced stuff. Pat’s singing voice is also quite distinct among Emo, showcasing a lower register than average. If you enjoy Midwest Emo, proficient instrumentals and incredible songwriting, this is a must-listen.
72The Progress
Golden State

The original band for Chicago-based Emo legend Evan Weiss (of Into It. Over It., Their / They’re / There and Pet Symmetry fame), The Progress released one fairly rough s/t EP in 2001 before coming out with Golden State in 2004. Traditional Midwest Emo with noticeable Pop Punk influences, this EP is the evolution of Second Wave Emo, especially in the vein of bands like The Get Up Kids. Though it isn’t anything wholly original or an essential release, the volume dynamics and amazingly catchy vocal performances will ensure this stays with you for a while.
73Reubens Accomplice
The Bull, The Balloon, and The Family

With geographical ties to bands like Jimmy Eat World, Reubens Accomplice released Emo music that wasn’t nearly as popular as their contemporaries, though that didn’t stop the band from releasing some real hidden gems. Reportedly starting as a band as far back as 1994, they released a few songs at the turn of the century, including on The Emo Diaries Chapter Five. After an inauspicious 2001 debut LP, the band released what is arguably their masterpiece in 2004.

Combining Midwest Emo, Emo-Pop and hints of Indie Rock to fill the gaps, The Bull, The Balloon, and the Family is an eclectic album with 13 songs that are all distinct. Small bits of Alt-Country make their way onto this album too, giving the music a very slight folksy feel at times.
Herostratus vs. Time

Shinobu is an interesting artifact of time; One of the founders, Matt Keegan, is a frequent friend and collaborator with Jeff Rosenstock, even having him on a Shinobu album at some point. They are also seen as a very influential band to artists like Joyce Manor and PUP, in no small part due to their debut album’s eclectic and somewhat depressing combination of Slacker Rock and Midwest Emo.

This LP never quite takes off to the races, but the constant bummer tempo, combined with the sunny facade that fails to convince the listener that anyone in this band is a happy person, ensures their place in Indie Punk history. Though Shinobu would release a fair few more albums, including another wonderful LP in 2006, the Emo influences would be hit or miss from that point onward.
75Slingshot Around the Moon
This Is Who We Are

The importance of music preservation is often diminished, especially when it comes to niche, local or otherwise unknown stuff. However, I think that’s what’s so beautiful about it; take Slingshot Around the Moon as a prime example. For a long time, most of the very few listeners of this band assumed they’d only released five songs total. However, including demos, remixes and live performances, the band has over three hours of stuff!

This Is Who We Are is the cleanest, most complete release of everything discovered so far. Taking Midwest Emo and adding in bleak elements of Post-Hardcore, this album is as jumpy as it is brooding. If you prefer faster-paced chord-heavy Emo with a 2000s feel, check this EP out, as well as this band’s other material.
76Eniac (TX)
All That's Left Of Us

To most Emo fans, Eniac is an unknown, a band name in a nebulous sea of band names. To Emos of the early 2000s in Denton, Texas, Eniac are local legends. Though their first and only LP was released in 2005, they’d long been disbanded by then and the record had already been recorded years prior. The style and production owe quite a bit to Second Wave Emo, but there’s something a little more “modern” about them, for lack of a better term.

The lyrics might be a bit shallow, the instrumentation slightly simple. However, like any good Emo, you can always feel the passion emanating from their music. To those with special memories of Eniac playing under a starry Texas night, these songs will always hold a special place in their heart.
I Was Born At Night

Formerly named Sheryl’s Magnetic Aura, a pretty standard Midwest Emo band, they changed their name in 2004 to Meneguar and never looked back. After a demo that same year, they released their first full-length LP - I Was Born At Night. Cohesively fusing mid-00s Indie Rock with twinkly Midwest Emo like the genres were long lost brothers, Meneguar perfect this combination. Dancey songs with beautiful Emo riffs and volume dynamics populate this 30-minute release.

Sadly for us, their Emo influence would fade significantly on subsequent releases, making this their best. However, I’d still highly recommend giving at least this album a listen and their future works if you’re into Indie Rock.
78Million Dead
Harmony No Harmony

Before becoming a certified Folk legend, Frank Turner found himself in a UK-based Post-Hardcore band named Million Dead. After a noisy and chaotic first album that saw them dip their toes into Emo waters, Million Dead returned in 2005 with their second LP with significantly more Emo influence, I’d say 50/50 with Post-Hardcore. The boisterousness found on A Song to Ruin remains a fixture on this album, but the Emo influence allows for more contrast with moments of clean serenity.

Frank Turner does belt out some gnarly screams on this album, but his use of melody and bombast has significantly improved, previewing why he’s attained such a large cult following over the years. Check out both of these albums - they’re both worth it, even if their first is only questionably Emo.
79The Progress

If you enjoyed Golden State by Chicago’s own The Progress, you’ll enjoy this one. The traditional Midwest Emo elements - mixed in excellently with Pop-Punk influence - are all written and performed beautifully. What Merit does as an album is showcase how you can have memorable melodies in a radio-friendly framework without dipping into the increasingly popular Emo-Pop well. If you’re looking for some really solid Emo to add to your collection, check this one out.
80Desert City Soundtrack
Perfect Addiction

Perfect Addiction is a perfect example of what many in the Indie Rock scene would call “maturity.” The songwriting is generally softer and more focused, though at the loss of some truly unhinged musical moments. The piano is more prominent as ever, flaunting the Indie influences highly on this album. The batshit crazy stuff found on Desert City Soundtrack’s debut LP is mostly lost in translation, though some heaviness still remains. Overall, I’d say this isn’t as good as their first album, but more of something this unique is always a good thing.

*Hidden Gem*

After releasing their mellowed-out debut LP with questionable amounts of Emo influence, Kickball followed up with a Midwest Emo album that’s simultaneously more experimental and more straightforward than Huckleberry Eater. This album features more fun Emo riffs, intricate drum patterns and overall a more dynamic song structure. If you weren’t a fan of the more subdued first album, this one utilizes a more traditional approach to Emo songwriting.
82The Vermicious Knid
Smalltown Devotion/Hometown Compulsion

Smalltown Devotion is the sole full-length album from The Vermicious Knid, offbeat Emos from Ontario, Canada. The band is named after an obscure species in the works of Roald Dahl, so you can expect that sort of wackiness in the music as well. With dual-male vocalists, relatively raw production and a dancey backbone, this album really has to be heard to be believed. The band also has an EP they released in 2002 that previews the weirdness to come.
838-Bit Revival
Under the Fairweather

Four years after their debut EP Up & Atom, which we covered in the first part of the series, 8-Bit Revival returns with their first full-length Under the Fairweather. While perhaps this could also have belonged in the same section, I found this to be a bit more unique and “2000s” so I’m putting it here. The dingy Post-Hardcore vibes remain but are accompanied by fresher songwriting and a generous use of synths.
At Home With Owen

*Top Release*

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most important figures in Emo history in this section: Mike Kinsella. For those who don’t know, Mike Kinsella’s legacy is crucial to the development of the genre; he was the drummer for Cap’n Jazz, the lead singer and guitarist of American Football and is a featured member in bands like Joan of Arc and Their / They’re / There. However, his most prolific series of work is as a solo artist under the name Owen.

Now people can argue all they want about whether or not this music is truly Emo, Indie Rock, Indie Folk or anything else, but I’m an AcousticEmo believer and this release is its quintessential album. Mike’s jazzy approach to instrumentation creates interesting and dynamic interactions between multiple instruments. At Home With Owen is perhaps his best and most memorable work, but he’s also released countless other LPs, EPs, splits and compilations over the years, including in the Third Wave.
85Dear and the Headlights
Small Steps Heavy Hooves

*Hidden Gem*

Perhaps Equal Vision Records doesn’t count as “Underground,” but Dear and the Headlights might just be the biggest and best band that no one has heard of. Combining Midwest Emo with Indie Rock and Folkish elements proves to be a refreshing, original and poignant take on the Emo formula; the usual loud-quiet dynamics that characterize Emo are here with a vocalist that scales with them. Ian Metzger serenades the listener with soft vocals during the cleaner, lighter parts of the album while the crescendos showcase how powerful his voice can get.

The warm, bittersweet tones create a sense of longing, accompanied by lyrical content revolving around heartbreak. While not groundbreaking, it’s done with earnestness and passion, not to mention some quality melodies. If you wanna sing your post-breakup feelings with all of your heart, learning these songs is a must.
This Is My Ship

One thing before I start - has anyone seen Dartz! and Bloc Party in the same room? Or do all British Indie-Adjacent bands sound like “that?” Either way, Dartz! takes that British Indie Rock formula, mixes it with a healthy dose of Math Rock and produces unique Emo goodness. The Mathy riffs almost make this one feel like Proto-Revival stuff, but the Indie Rock structure and tone keep this from sounding too similar to other such UK acts. Much like Bloc Party, vocalist William Anderson injects his lyrics with tons of melody and catchiness. Overall, this is an interesting take on the Emo formula and is worth your time if you think it sounds good.
Everything is a Miracle Nothing is a Miracle...etc

Is there a more idiosyncratic Third Wave Emo band than Kickball? Huckleberry Eater in 2003 was a soft-Indie Midwest Emo project and ABCD was a slightly off-kilter Emo release, so where does that leave this, their final album? Believe it or not, Everything is a Miracle balances the two dominant sounds quite well while radiating with more emotion than on either of their previous records. The eccentricity reaches new heights with experimental production techniques, oddball instrumental sections and an admirable carelessness that allows the songs to flow naturally together.

Kickball would cease releasing new music after this, right before the Emo Revival rolled around. The band existed entirely in Emo’s Third Wave, embracing the kind of sounds that would characterize some Fourth Wave bands. They missed their chance to be a hidden gem of the Emo Revival, but I hope that you listen to at least one of their albums.
88Dear and the Headlights
Drunk Like Bible Times

Following up on Small Steps Heavy Hooves was never going to be easy - Emo bands LOVE coming out with an amazing first album before either dropping off the face of the Earth or create a poor, unmemorable follow-up album. Dear and the Headlights, however, does an admirable job staving away this stereotype with Drunk Like Bible Times, releasing only a year after their debut. Is it as Emo as their previous LP? Not quite for the album leans slightly more into its Indie Rock influences this time around. However, the passion and the emotion is present in spades on this record and that alone is worth a listen.

Unfortunately, the group would disband some time after this album, never releasing another record aside from their two legendary outings.
Tren camino a casa, mis errores y el número 7

Hailing from Mexico, Kumarenino is an obscure Emo band that came about during Emo's rise to prominence in the 2000s. They play traditional Midwest Emo with generous infusions of Indietronica. Their experimentation with electronic elements could be tied to the Emo-Pop explosion in Emo's mainstream period, but they are played in a way that reminds me of Fifth Wave Emo or Brave Little Abacus. Give these experimental Emos a listen!
Show/Add Comments (24)


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy