Braid, “No Coast”
As with punk, emo developed in two stages: first, as the organic output of disenfranchised American youth, aligning itself with hardcore and, later, into a more palatable version that would be embraced by suburban teenage mallrats. As the Clash begat Green Day, so we have Fugazi to partially thank for Fall Out Boy. The first bands of this second wave came out of the gate in the early ’90s, including the creative (and relatively obscure) Braid. Fifteen years after calling it quits, the group is back with a thrilling new album that captures their original essence, while adding fresh textures that show how much above the pack the Illinois-based quartet were over a decade ago—and still are today. The twelve tracks on No Coast crackle with thoughtful syncopation, churning guitars, and earnest, plaintive vocals. The genre may have lost its backbone over the last two decades, but Braid shows us how straight and strong it once was.