SOUND CHECK: Post-breakup sounds
Often when seminal bands split it is a hurt similar to separating with a significant other. When Jawbreaker called it quits in 1996 there were many heartbroken fans.
Jawbreaker took a simple pop-punk formula and made it complex by adding dark elements and scathing commentary. The band was fearless in its writing style, not afraid to slow down tempos and attack all the clich’eacute;s that plagued punk rock. Jawbreaker never obeyed any conventions in sound, style or appearance, opting for a "be yourself" philosophy to go along with the do-it-yourself mantra. "Boxcar" was a song that helped define the band’s individuality with lyrics going against the norms of punk rock.
Songs like the self-loathing "Kiss the Bottle" to the post-romanticism of "Want" show the bands unique style for the time and heavy influence on many bands today.
Sweden’s post-hardcore act, Refused, took the spastic sound of hardcore and fused it with jazz. In 1998, Refused released its final album, The Shape of Punk To Come. The title was fitting, with the band itself not knowing the long-lasting effects the album would have. While many bands have attempted to carry the flag Refused helped raise, none have come close to recreating the standard that was set.
The Shape of Punk To Come was a genius attempt at taking experimentation to a whole new level – a test that passed with flying colors. While expanding its sound helped create a musical masterpiece, it also formed a wedge between band members leading to Refused demise. Frontman Denis Lyxzen formed The (International) Noise Conspiracy after Refused called it quits.
Northstar was one of those bands that just didn’t catch on. It released its debut album Is This Thing Loaded? in 2002, and after heavy promotion from labelmates Brand New and friends Taking Back Sunday, landed spots on several tours. The bands’ sound significantly matured with their sophomore effort, Pollyanna. Pollyanna was one of the most melodically inclined albums I had ever heard and is still in regular rotation for me. Some of the key tracks are "The Pornographer’s Daughter," "American Living" and "The Accident Underwater."
Post breakup, the band released The Uncomfortable Camera, a DVD of one of its last live performances. Lead singer Nick Torres and guitarist Tyler Odom have since moved on to a new folk-rock project, Cassino (www.myspace.com/cassinoband).
Further Seems Forever
This band was destined to break up since its conception. The group had three full-length albums, and each album featured a different lead singer. They just couldn’t seem to hold on to anyone. Its debut album, The Moon is Down, featured a voice who most of you are probably familiar with – Chris Carabba of Dashboard Confessional.
Immediately after the release, Carabba left FSF to pursue Dashboard Confessional full-time. In his place, the group recruited Jason Gleason, formerly of Strongarm and other hardcore acts. Gleason ended up taking an even more melodic approach than Carabba, with the release of How to Start a Fire. This album is easily one of the bands most creative and remains one of my favorites.
Do yourself a favor and check out both of these bands if you’re unfamiliar with them. Your music library will thank you later.