Time For A Screamo & Skramz Roundup!
Greetings from the distended belly of the internet, where depressed bands make depressing music for depressed people. Today’s tunes will take you to that dark place inside, where you’re still in high school, you have a bad haircut, and no one knows the real you. I present to you three bands with tunes so packed with pathos that I had to cauterize my tear ducts just to stop my apartment from flooding.
First up is Kelsi Grammar, a four-piece emo outfit with an indie-soaked sound as sophisticated as its semi-namesake. At its core, the band’s debut full-length probably shares more with indie rock than it does with any form of punk, but some aggressive touches serve to keep things interesting; Me and All My Friends jumps from soft-spoken, almost singer-songwriter-like rock to emotional post-hardcore without even the slightest stumble. The band pairs intimate indie with screamo in a such a balanced and tasteful way that Me and All My Friends is sure to garner some crossover love from fans of both genres.
Up next is the lengthily titled Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe and their sweetly depressing opus I Only Miss You When I Want To. This Philly quartet eschews both titular brevity and positive thinking, delivering an album that is as well-crafted and catchy as it is honest and heartbreaking. I Only Miss You When I Want To is a real record, a cohesive whole that flows naturally from one song to another – a feat worth noting in a music industry that has become inherently focused on the sale and proliferation of singles. This album is also an exercise in melancholy, lingering the in the art-provoking limbo of lost love – even its woebegone title is repeated as a doleful lyric in multiple songs. If you’re still stinging from a bad breakup, might I recommend that you skip this one?
Finishing out this roundup is Slipdiver, an exuberant skramz band from Columbus, Ohio that shares three members with the screamo band Vowel. Slipdiver’s most notable release, We’re Still Here And We’re Doing Just Fine, is a wonderfully indelicate take on the genre, fuelled by a lively mix of youthful angst and a weakness for boyish poetry; lines like “I once saw a bicycle/ It reminded me of a sunset” betray a playfulness that runs through the band’s music. Slipdiver’s sound is unpolished in the best way: We’re Still Here And We’re Doing Just Fine is the kind of stripped-down, no-frills skramz that conjures that pleasant feeling of catching a tiny show in someone’s basement – better grab a beer before the cops come.