While driving to the SFR offices the other day, I click-wheeled my iPod to shuffle. Usually I listen to music I make (because I’m stuck up like that), but shuffle took me on a journey of song genres that aren’t around so much anymore. This got me thinking that a lot of bands I used to love played styles that have died—unacceptable. I narrowed it down to a handful of genres, so read this thing and go find these bands.
Screamo: For those unfamiliar with screamo, this mathematically charged and passionate music borrowed heavily from metal and math-core while lyrically sticking to girls and stuff. Popular from the late ’90s to the early ’00s, the style bordered on hardcore and emo. Screamo predated the metalcore movement. It’s not because they head-banged as hard as, say, Between the Buried and Me or The Black Dahlia Murder, but because they didn’t have a word for what they did and, like their ancestors, employed irritatingly nonsensical band names like The Prisoner’s Dilemma from Indiana. A few stalwart bands remain (Arkanas’ Mexico Mexico is a fantastic example), but the whole genre seems to have devolved into a pretty disgusting mix of asymmetrical haircuts and way-too-tight shirts from Hot Topic.
Emo: Even though it’s a dirty word today, emo stands out as a genre I most miss. And I’m not talking about Death Cab for Cutie, radio-bitch, your-mom-likes-it-too crap. Long gone are fliers reading, “The Get Up Kids with Elliot and Small Brown Bike.” Here was a generation of pseudo punk bros and hos who sung about feelings beyond anger (mostly sadness and lamentations involving rejection) with kick-ass and beautiful music as the backdrop. Before long, the lines between emo and just plain sad started to blur, and those of us who witnessed emo’s genesis were forced to put up with The Promised Ring wannabes and Piebald rip-off artists. Nowadays, you’re lucky to hear a single “may-hay!” where the word “me” should be, and emotion-filled ballads have been replaced with self-centered ramblings and idiotic songs about dead girls. Guess what, My Chemical Romance? You suck. And pass that message along to your pal Fall Out Boy!
Riot grrrl: Yes, I’m a dude. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love throwing Bikini Kill on (the stereo) and hating on our phallo-centric society. In fact, I’ve never been prouder of my girlfriend than on a recent trip to Seattle during which she reclaimed some long-lost Team Dresch 7-inch records that a former roommate had cruelly appropriated. No, you won’t be seeing Bratmobile anytime soon, and Heavens to Betsy isn’t sending out any press releases. What happened to pissed-off women, and why can’t I pick up a riot grrrl record anywhere? Long gone are the Tribe 8s and the Lunachicks (technically more punk than riot grrrl, but whatever), and it’s a real drag. DJ Schmeejay spins some of these jams on Wednesdays at The Matador, but I’d rather see Seven Year Bitch come and play for realisies. No offense, Schmeejay—you’re awesome, but I think you’d agree that would be the shit. Even us wang-owners have a hard time remembering a dude band that rocks as hard.
Third wave ska: People are always telling me that they love any music with a horn in it, so why the hell is third wave ska dead? Latin-shmatin, fools—gimme that upstroked guitar, semi-punk elements and upbeat songs about dancing and stuff. Missouri’s MU330 hasn’t released an album in ages, Less than Jake and Reel Big Fish turned into rock bands, and we can’t get a goddamned Unsteady show around here to save our lives. Here’s something to think about: If you love horn music, quit being so stuck up and go buy one of the first Gadjits records already. Jeeze!
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