Wednesday, April 04, 2007

When Emo Was Good: The Promise Ring

It was you know. Good that is. Once emo wasn't a dirty word, a disgusting, filthy, badly applied word used to describe bad pop-metal bands. Once it was a rather silly name for a very wide spanning and interesting scene that overlapped with the post-rock scene in America and throughout the world to embrace a number of bands who wanted to make a more cerebral and affecting version of punk rock than the more masculine exponents of the genre were so badly making.

Yes it was a bit silly, a bit self involved and sceneish, but some of the music produced was so stunningly wonderful that I couldn't help but love it. Even today certain records by Braid, Cap'n Jazz, Promise Ring, Spy Versus Spy, Jawbox, Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate are some of my favourite albums of all time, and it's a DAMN shame that the name has been stolen by such an irritating genre; and stolen is has, as there's very little musical or even lyrical connection between the new emo and the old. The new is dumbed down, usually rather sexist and macho in its anti-female stance, and is musically pedestrian. The old was the exact opposite of those things.

Here are a few early songs from The Promise Ring, a band who oroduced four stunning hook+emotion filled albums from 1996 to 2002, the best of which are probably 1997's Nothing Feels Good and Very Emergency. These songs come from the early singles compilation The Horse Latitudes. Enjoy.

The Promise Ring - Watertown Plank
The Promise Ring - A Picture Postcard
The Promise Ring - Saturday

After listening to those you might like to check out my friend Lyle's new blog, j├ęcoutedelamusiquedemerde (if you can speak French of course). As it is, i'm just happy to look at the pretty pictures.

Oh! and finally there's a new episode the Contrast Podcast online, featuring little old me. This week the theme is Song Chain and my song is by The Weakerthans!


Anonymous Destroyer said...

You should not mention Jawbox or include them with the likes of Promise Ring and etc... They were in a totally different category, whatever that could be called or different planet maybe...

9:30 pm, April 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when the crossover happened; when the label Emo was stolen by the theatre-rock bands. I was very confused and frustrated for a good 6 months when half the 'emo' shows I turned up to were decent post-punk stuff, and the other half were fashion shows full of drama students. Shocking. Also, I agree that Jawbox should be in the same category, as should the likes of Quicksand and Samiam and Sensefield, sure they're more punky and rock out more and wear less glasses, but I think the feeling that comes from them is the same as bands like Promise ring, Sunny day and The Get Up Kids etc.
I'm also glad Spy vs Spy got a mention. Awesome band, they worked so hard, great name, great guys, huge shame they weren't around longer.
Anyway, great post, there's been alot of backlash against the name by a lot of the faithful recently, is it time we took the name back?!!

11:29 pm, April 04, 2007  
Blogger David said...

good post.
sunny weather and mid-western emo go well together.

3:18 pm, April 05, 2007  
Blogger Wiggles said...

I don't usually like getting into the whole pigeonholing thing, but Jawbox, emo?

9:15 pm, April 05, 2007  
Blogger Theo said...

Thanks for the tracks, i know exactly what you mean about emo!
Rites of Spring (the 'original' emo band) remain one of my favourites.

Can i put in a request for the Flying Saucer Attack peel session if you have it? Would be much appreciated

Thanks again

10:00 am, April 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funniest My Chemical Romance Parody EVER !!!!!

I'm not Emo (I promise)

10:26 am, April 19, 2007  
Blogger Geoffrey M. Golia said...

Came across this on the Jade Tree site, & followed the link here.

It's funny how so many people find them polarizing, or found them, because they're sort of not discussed anymore - which makes me sad.

Anyway, this is a nice, little write-up & I enjoyed it ... I'm gonna go listen to The Horse Latitudes now!

6:41 pm, July 29, 2008  
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