Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hit: Haverford’s Spirit Bear

January 17, 2014

haverford

I came of age in the early 2000s, when Brand New, Thursday, and Taking Back Sunday were all making hay. I was drawn to Brand New the most, as they tempered their blazing vitriol with (somewhat) nuanced emotionalism. Gosh, those songs still give me shivers.

Anyway, I’ve got a decade-plus crush on emo bands that try to tie artistic ideals to the frantic passion of youth. Haverford‘s Spirit Bear helped me get a fix recently. One need look no further than opener “Anxious,” which turns a quiet, American Football-esque emo-scape into a churning riffer by the end of three minutes. The rest of the album tracks the highs and lows of that sound, full of melodic textures throughout. Fans of emo revivalists Football, Etc. (what is it with football names?) will find much to love here. It’s a beautiful record that doesn’t try to make everything sound exactly perfect, which charms me all the more. You know who you are–go get this.

Quick Hit: The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die

August 8, 2013

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die is playing a quartet of dates with my early 2000s heroes Brand New soon, and that makes perfect sense. Whenever, If Ever is a volatile record, swinging from forlorn guitar/voice arrangements to all-out screaming over punk tunes to slow churners that are guilty of being under the influence of post-rock. The band pulls off the whole album with a consistent emotional ethos: even at its most turbulent, a conflicted optimism (neatly encapsulated in the band’s lengthy name) makes its way to the forefront. Just as a bonus: there are horns and group vocals intermittently. If you’re into punk-inspired ’00s emo, this a band you need to know. They’ve got a fresh take on the genre.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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