Six songs from Rites of Spring’s classic LP that were recorded before the band even played a show (they only played a handful in their short life), here we get early versions of some of the best emotive post-hardcore ever conceived. The sound is excellent, far from the muddy, muffled demos that plagued the ’80s, and of course the songwriting is top notch. Subtle differences from the LP versions exist here, though the impact of these classics is as evident as ever. When it comes to unearthing lost/rare recordings, it doesn’t get more essential than this.
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Now a band for a decade, Senses Fail have far surpassed the shelf life for a post-hardcore band and in that time have penned some classics of the genre. Here 16 tracks of their prior work are collected, ranging from punk-spirited buzzing melody to metallic/hardcore thundering. With a thick booklet of photos and explanations of each song as well as a bonus EP (limited to 10,000) with some of their best work to date, this is how a ‘Best Of’ disc should be.
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Deep Elm, 2012
Deep Elm is well known for putting out records saturated with emotion; this debut from Accents is no exception. A glance at the track listing will tell you that Growth And Squalor is not going to make you leap for joy – see “Sorrow”, “The Low”, “The Fog” and “Storms”- but it’s not all angst and pathetic fallacy. Delicately picked acoustic melodies are blended with subtle instrumentation; the effect is soothing and occasionally uplifting. Perhaps this can be seen as a stepping stone between emo and indie-folk… Iron and Whine, anyone?
Missing Alexisonfire since their breakup last year? You might do well then to give A World Defined’s promising debut EP a go. The Derby quintet go for an energetic and melodic post-hardcore sound, mixing up the clean singing and screaming – which, granted, isn’t the most original, but they manage to catch the ear with a sound more accomplished and slicker than the majority out there. Plus they’re giving away the EP for free on their website, so there’s no excuse.
Better Days, 2011
Formerly known as Coastal (legal issues forced them to change their name), a quick EP at their inception put them on the radar, but this first album solidifies Placeholder as one of the best in the area of blistering post-hardcore. The band don’t waste any time, getting right to business with driving energy and memorable riffage from the first chord struck. The tempos are constantly shuffling, no two songs sounding the same, as the wordplay addresses personal issues of suicide, the meaning of life and the general disappointments everyone faces. There is a tremendous amount of sincerity and emotion here, and at times the singing almost comes off as pleading, though there’s little doubt the music and words come straight from the heart.
Despite not avoiding the numerous tropes of the youthful emo-rock genre, Stoke-On-Trent quintet The Hiding Place show just enough potential character on their second EP to make it worth a spin (or, uh, stream). The three tracks have a demo-ish hint about them, but that’s natural enough for a band barely older than a year and still exploring their sound.