In this day and age of instant gratification and Spotify playlists, it’s easy to forget that there’s much more to music than just songs. In punk music especially, there’s a heavy culture closely attached to the scene, one that’s very much about and rooted in community. For decades now, split releases have been the physical embodiment of that ideology, and just because technology and listening habits among the mainstream have changed doesn’t mean those ideals have been diluted.
As if to prove that point, Houston four-piece Overo—formed by members of emo outfit Football, etc. and politically-minded emo punks Perfect Future—has teamed up with Tokyo hardcore band Asthenia for a split 7-inch single. Each band contributed two songs to the split, and you can hear them all below—the soul-crushing, heart-wrenching emotional torment of Overo’s “Haunted By Heat” and “Near the End” and the jaded-but-blistering fire of Asthenia’s “Humans” and “Ghosts.” The bands had planned to tour Japan together, but that was cancelled in the wake of the pandemic. For now, this split release serves to commemorate what should have been—and what hopefully will be in the future.
“I don’t know how I hadn’t seen Asthenia or crossed paths with them before,” says Overo guitarist/vocalist Lindsay Minton, “but as soon as I found out about them, I reached out to [vocalist Hiroshi Sasagawa] right away.”
“I was a fan of both of their former bands,” shares Sasagawa, “so I already knew they started this new band called Overo and I really liked them before they contacted us. Then one day I got a message from Lindsay on Facebook and found out she liked our band—it was so mind-blowing! We then talked about doing a tour or split, and decided to do both.”
While the bands come from two different countries, the two sets of songs complement each other incredibly well, offering up a brief but incredibly cathartic reflection of and reprieve from the world at large and its personal and universal tragedies. “Lyrically, both of these songs are focused on loss of some sort,” says Overo guitarist/vocalist Brendan Stephens. “‘Near the End’ is about relationships and how there can be a loss despite love. ‘Haunted by Heat’ centers around coming face-to-face with mortality, which acts as a loss of innocence.”
“The lyrics of ‘Ghosts’ are influenced by Paul Auster’s novel of the same name,” says Sasagawa about the first of his band’s songs. “It’s about repeating the same routines every single day and losing that feeling of living a life. We can fall into that lifestyle so easily of just making ends meet in this fully capitalized society, and it’s depressing as hell. We have to change our way of thinking to let ourselves live in a different way. ‘Humans’ is more like various punchlines thrown together, kind of like At the Drive-In style. Musically it’s our shortest, and one of the only two songs of ours that doesn’t have any arpeggios.”