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Posts Tagged ‘screamo

Started with a screamo sound close to San Diego style back in 1995, Standstill themselves wouldn’t probably think that they would become, through the years, the influential and respected band they are nowadays. So what happened, why is Standstill not another average hardcore, later post- and nowadays ex-hardcore band?

Besides the fact that they´re from Spain and that you still can reach at least an exotic touch with this origin in that genre, it was in first line their ability to play hardcore music in an aggressive AND melancholic way, with no lack of power. Their debut from 1997 was good and reached attention outside Spain, but their second full length “The Ionic Spell” from 2001sent shockwaves around Europe. That record put a start to the next era of Standstill, when they started to play continuously around Europe, causing a strong influence over a number of british, french, german and belgian bands who wanted to have the same punch, attitude, sound and songs that Standstill was showing successfully wherever they played. The post-hardcore/screamo scene in Europe pulsated and Standstill were on of the leading bands. “The Ionic Spell” awarded like best spanish album of the year by Rock Sound and Mondo Sonoro and highlighted by most of the main spanish specialized magazines. It showed how the rage of the screamo roots can fit with the beauty of the instrumental landscapes, using samplers and keyboards with dexterity.

But one year later, 2002, the next album “Memories Collector” did go one step beyond with the addition of trumpets, vibraphones, upright basses and other instruments really uncommon in the “hardcore” scene. Like 4 years ago with “the shape of punk to come” from Refused hardcore-music was reinvented (or killed? to invent something new?), last time the storm came from Sweden, this time from Spain. And for me it came at the right time, once again I thought that hardcore was dead. Refused legendary last release from 1998 became something like a blueprint, hundreds of bands just copying them, hardcore music (with all its different subgenres) once again was trapped into stagnation. Standstill´s “Memories Collector” broke up that stagnation and the record title was perfect: the music collected all the tendencies and developments that took place over the last years and transformed the whole into a new sound. Hardcore (and of course Punk) has a long history of that kind of important records (we can argue if Standstill´s “Memories Collector” is one, in my eyes it is, especially for the european hardcore scene), that ended stagnation (and hardcore is full of stagnation and conservative nostalgia), aggregated and evolved new directions (and since some years I´m waiting for a new milestone in hardcore music or did I just miss it? tell me if you think so!)

With the addition of Carlos on second guitar and Damià on the saxophone Standstill added a touch of experimentation to their emotional sound, losing agressivity but not power. Surprising from the very first breaks of “Ride down the slope” until the Black Sabbath inheritance of “Memories Collector”, passing through the quiet lyricism of “Dead man picture” or the apic intensity of “Always late” or “Not the place”, this record simply broke up with anything else done before in the international post-hardcore scene, left impress also in the indie scene.

The following releases, all on highly respected spanish indepentend label BCore, led Standstill more into a quieter, smoother sound rather than the explosive output of their previous stuff. Their same titled third record from 2004 is their most mature, profound and eloquent album ever, as it is the first release they have sung in spanish. A few weeks ago they released “Viva la guerra” continuing on that way.

“Memories Collector” is until today one of the most important european hardcore records, that broke up with typical hardcore sounds and arrangements, completed a musical development that was on the rise for years in the european scene.

Ride down the slope!

Youth desperation and life in the suburbs (a place where a teenager really can find out how nice it is to own a guitar) always have been a drive for melancholic and desperated music, Trip Fontaine mixed this desperation with an angry attitude and intermitted melancholic melodies by forward looking moments of hope. Screamed vocals sometimes destroy this hope and the complex song structures are rebuilding it step by step. It´s rock music, but Trip Fontaine break open the boundaries of the genres, post-At-the-Drive-In, Fugazi influenced post-rock with screamo remnants and the will to explore new shores – you can´t categorize their ecstatic music with one of the typical key words. After three demos and good responses in their region around Frankfurt/Germany the band – named after the person from Jeffrey Eugenides´ novel “The Virgin Suicides”, which gained mainstream interest with the film adaptation by Sofia Coppola – released their debut “lilith” on a very very small independent record “company”, which today even any longer doesn´t exist. But even with a insufficiently promotion the record recieved good critics and soon the small, but in comparison much bigger indie “Redfield Records” rereleased the “lilith” record. From that re-release on Trip Fontaine got more and more attention in Europe, touring in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland extended their fame as a good live band. In spring 2008 Trip Fontaine are going to release their second record.

In their own, not very serious words:

Trip Fontaine invented themselves by accident a while ago and are a) very close, b) very shambolic (in a tight-as-rude-things sort of way, though), and c) very shouty. They are a ROCK BAND – yes – they are NOT urban. An iconic, five man strike force on twenty-first century apathy, undoubtedly. If you book them at your ethnic-soulful-funk fest they will scare the chickens and rape your ears. Be warned. Petite Müller, Louis Kahn and Gilbert Saar are Trip Fontaine (among others). And Trip Fontaine are your musical salvation darlings. Just like the original pop star himself, they come from the Holy Land, have killer charisma and are gonna take you down. In a beginning they were mainly inspired by dancemusic and their fantasies about huge clubs where nothing was forbidden. Fantasies because they were too young to be allowed into to most of the cool clubs. They were left with the radios weekly dancemusic-feature bootlegged to cassette-tapes. You could hear that in their 2002 promo. Yet somehow the music lifts the mundane teenage neuroses into something strangely grand, beautiful, and universal. A twelve-legged whirlwind of glitter-punk riffs and aviator shades. They have already amassed a rock’n’roll charge sheet to die for, but more crucially, they’ve given rock’n’roll a much needed shot in the arm without resorting to heroin chic or cosying up to the media. Trip Fontaine love to write promo sheets.

Nummer 5 lebt!

No, we didn´t go to the kindergarten to let kids hold our records, it´s just the only pic large enough I found from this album and I´m too lazy to scan the cover myself. And all you hip hop kids and jazz lovers, next posting will be again something you have to love, in the meantime open your mind & try this one, it´s awesome.

In the mid-nineties in Germany evolved a liveliness and diverse emo/screamo/hc scene with a lot of really good bands, some also reached international success, like Yage or Enfold, others were less lucky, but also played fantastic music. Tidal are from southern Germany and part of the second wave of screamo bands. This release is from 2000 and whatever you’re going to call these 7 songs, it will be anything but average. Calm parts are interrupted by nervously driving riffs, and from time to time the vocalist starts to sing and the guitars play melodies so urgent and touching that you’ll be left entirely stripped and exhausted after listening. Their sound is extremely catchy, intense and gripping. They draw influences from early ’90s emo and update it with a powerful driving force and plenty of creativity.

2005 Tidal played their farewell show, with a dancer´s smile. (file is down, leave a comment if you wish a reup)

An important time of progression for hardcore music were the 1990s, when several bands created new sounds and hardcore music changed fast and finally split up (once again…) in diverse scenes, from tough-guy-metal-bullshit to a innovative, political scene all around the world, which transformed the music into new spheres and kept the original punk spirit alive. One of the epicentre of this movement was San Diego, with the Swing Kids as one of their important bands. But not only outstanding for San Diego, Swing Kids created a whole new sound and brought the progressions of the last years to the point, Screamo (built up from the words scream and emotion) was born. Chaotic song structures, screamed vocals, melodic guitars – no one did it in this intensity before.

Swing Kids only released a debut 7inch and a split 10inch with Spanakorzo, 8 tracks (one a Joy Division cover version!) that took the world by storm (plus one previously unreleased song on the discography) and made an impressive mark in the little time that they existed. They broke up 1997, but the impact they left and the sound they pioneered & inspired can be heard in many bands until today.

Eric Allen, who committed suicide in 1998, played also with hardcore band Unbroken, other members later went on to acts such as The Locust, Some Girls, Sweep the Leg Johnny, Bread and Circuits and Yaphet Koto. If you are into hardcore you know how good all this bands were/are.

Clean Shade of Dirty.


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