Tag Archives: at the drive-in



Previously on the Top 100 emo songs of all time…….

100 – Reggie and the full effect – Thanx for stayin

99 – Roadside Monument – Sunken Anchor

98 – Boilermaker – Slow Down

97 – Hundred reasons – If I could

96 – Jets to Brazil – Chinatown

95 – Coping – F For now

94 – Inside – Ray Brower

93 – Basement – Grayscale

92 – The Jazz June – Viva La speed metal

91 – Everyone Everywhere – I feel fine by Everyone Everywhere

90 – Hunter Gatherer – Low standards for high fives

89 – Football, etc. – Safety

88 – Race Car Riot – Raincheck

87 – Taking Back Sunday – Bike scene

86 – Leiah – Tiglio

85 – Brandtson – Still life

84 – Polar Bear Club – Bottled wind

83 – Starmarket – Losing track

82 – Sunny Day Real Estate – Guitar and video games

81 – Grade – Stolen bikes ride faster

80 – Bob Tilton – September

79 – The Autumn Year – Little lost words

78 – Koufax – Going to happen

77 – Wavelets – Julio won’t get out of the car

76 – The Get Up Kids – Forgive and Forget

75 – Hot Rod Circuit – At nature’s mercy

74 – The Appleseed Cast – Steps and numbers

73 – Stapleton – International departures

72 – New End Original – Lukewarm

71 – Hundred Hands – A Replay

70 – Knapsack – Cellophane

69 – Elliott – Dionysus Burning

68 – The Lapse – We Must Move Backwards To Progress

67 – Owls – Everyone Is My Friend

66 – Suis La Lune – Quiet, Pull The Strings!

65 – Sunday’s Best – Winter Owned

64 – CSTVT – Hiccups

63 – Vitreous Humor – Sharin’ Stone

62 – Beezewax – Dead End Kids

61 – Death Cab For Cutie – A Movie Script Ending

60 – Grown Ups – Three Day Weekend

59 – Funeral Diner – We Become Buried

58 – Snowing – I Think We’re In Minsk

57 – Imbroco – You’re My Lionkiller

56 – Maritime – Tearing Up The Oxygen

55 – Engine Down – The Offer Of Something

54 – Boy’s Life – Sight Unseen

53 – Benton Falls – All These Things

52 – Further Seems Forever – Madison Prep

51 – The Casket Lottery – Ever Since Sulfur

To read more about these tracks click HERE for numbers 100-91, HERE for no’s 90-81, HERE for no’s 80-71, HERE for no’s 70-61, HERE for no’s 60-51. And for some background as to why I’m doing this list click HERE

50 – Ghosts and Vodka – Sex Is Popular

Emo verges on so many other musical styles, hardcore, indie, pop punk and sometimes most interestingly post rock. Ghosts and Vodka veer that way with a mix of instrumental mathy indie rock from members of Cap’n Jazz, Owls and Joan of Arc. Luckily, as with Cap’n Jazz, they released a complete anthology of all their releases on one cd ‘Addicts and Drunks’, which is a big help to lazy people like me who are a bit slow off the mark.

49 – Transit – Footwork

A lot of the bands that are helping bring emo back with this new revival are either from the more indie or screamo ends of the genre, Transit are heading up things from a pop punk perspective. Their latest album, ‘Listen & Forgive’, leans more to the emo way of things but on their previous effort, ‘Keep this to yourself’, there is a brilliant pop punk energy all the way through the album. ‘Footwork’ is a belter of a track, the part where it breaks down in the middle of the song is emo gold.

48 – Jejune – Solar

Beautiful indie emo from the late 90’s, ‘This afternoon’s Malady’ by Jejune is an album full of well crafted, catchy as hell pop songs. ‘Solar’ is slow paced, dreamy and gorgeous, the kind of music that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling by the end as it escapes into a mass of feedback and distortion.

47 – Hey Mercedes – Quality Revenge At Last

I read recently that Bob Nanna formed Hey Mercedes because loads of bands in the early 2000’s, who were clearly influenced by his former band ,Braid, were suddenly getting big and making a lot of money, money that Braid had never made. Whether that is true or not, I hope he got what he deserved because Braid are a legendary band. Hey Mercedes, which featured 2 other Braid members, were a more straight forward, streamlined emo rock band with a talent for knocking out instantly likeable tunes. ‘Quality revenge at last’ is the opening track of their 2nd album, ‘Loses control’.

46 – Jeremy Enigk – Lewis Hollow

Taken from an album that I guess is not strictly ’emo’, more an acoustic folk fantasy, Jeremy Enigk as part of Sunny Day Real Estate introduced me to the genre and so his fragile, amazing voice will always give me that emo connection. ‘Return of the frog queen’ was his first solo record, recorded after Sunny Day’s first break up in the mid 90’s. ‘Lewis Hollow’ is just under 2 minutes of delicate beauty, basic tender guitars with a hint of cello and vocals that could melt any heart. A gentle masterpiece.

45 – Cursive – The Radiator Hums

We had a pretty great scene in Margate, I left it in 2000 to go drama school on the outskirts of London and I feel like I missed out on a great deal. One of the biggest times I was reminded of this was on easter break in 2002 when Cursive played a joint headline show with the Appleseed Cast at the Lido in Margate. I was there and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, not only did I get to hang out with the beautiful girl who would a few years later agree to marry me, both bands completely rocked that night. I bought ‘Domestica’ that night on CD, an album so good someone actually stole it from me sometime later, and it will always remind me of that blissful night. ‘The Radiator hums’ is my favourite song by this great band.

44 – Joan Of Arc – Post Coitus Rock

I have a friend that said that he loved Joan Of Arc because it would help him get to sleep every night. I guess you could take that the wrong way but I can see what he means because the albums can have an almost dream like quality, although that samples and weirder bits would freak me out if I tried to do as he did. ‘Post Coitus rock’ is one of the more regular songs in Joan Of Arc’s back catalogue but it’s far from ordinary. Perfectly twinkly guitar topped off with Tim Kinsella’s brilliant indie lo-fi voice.

43 – Pianos Become The Teeth – Cripples Can’t Shiver

Sometimes the term emo is misused or under played, used to describe any band singing about a broken heart. Sometimes a band can make music so packed full of emotion and intensity that ’emo’ hardly does the band justice. PBTT do something no other band does to me, I know I have gone on about their magnificence in a lot of my previous blog posts, they leave me exhausted. Seeing them live nearly brings me to tears, the gloriously heavy music with the touching lyrics and the intense vocal delivery combine to make a very special band indeed. I literally cannot say enough how much I love this band. They are also very approachable which I found out to my delight last week in Tunbridge Wells.

42 – The Get Up Kids – Coming Clean

One of the first emo albums I ever bought, little did I know as I stood alone in Tower Records in Picadilly Circus what a profound effect this would have on my life. I had heard people talk about them a lot before I got it but I was still unprepared that they would instantly become one of my favourite bands. ‘Coming Clean’ is a mammouth way to open an album, they hit the ground running with some of the best emo pop punk committed to tape. I remember getting completely swept up in the crowd during this song when I saw them at the Garage in London and loving every second.

41 – At The Drive-in – Heliotrope

I was first introduced to At The Drive-In by my friend who was sat in his flat holding ‘In/casino/Out’ on vinyl and proclaimed them to be the best emo band out there at the moment. At the time we were organising our European tour with our old band and there was a big hope that we were going to play some of these shows with At The Drive-In. Unfortunately, because of college dates, we had to go when it was the Easter holidays and the At The Drive-In dates were about a week before. We weren’t too worried and we had a great time on that tour but now when I look back I can’t believe we missed out and all because of some college play I was taking part in. Just to see At The Drive-In play on that tour just before they broke massive would have been an honour enough let alone actually getting to play and maybe meet the band. At The Drive-In are now a legendary band, their records make me wanna get up and jump around whenever I put them on. I promise my wife that I’ll stop telling this story of what may have been, maybe now I’ve put it here I will, it’s too painful.

Thank you for reading. Keep the comments coming either here or on twitter (@alex_itto) and feel free to share the link. Cheers again x


The Spotify playlist has been updated as best I could, click below for the link.

Emo 100 (100-41)

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Not so dead and now operational, is there anyone left?

Well, would you believe?, the rumours were true.

This week 2 bands have announced their much anticipated returns, At the drive-in and Refused are both back and will both be playing this years Coachella Festival, California in April.

Both bands had been rumoured to reform in some capacity for a long time, mainly because people were so desperate for them to. There has been a big trend for bands to reform over the last few years, all with varying levels success, you could say that it’s been done to death but if you asked anyone with an interest in post hardcore what band would you still love to see come back you could bet good money on them saying either of these bands. In many people’s eyes, At the drive-in and Refused had both finished before their time and had left everyone wanting more.

‘Relationship of command’ broke At the drive-in big, but also broke them up. Just as soon as everyone knew who they were, they were no more. Refused, on the other hand, have been far more successful since they ended than they were when they were together, ‘The shape of punk to come’ is now the stuff of legend. It’s these reasons that people have been so keen for them to reform, When you fall in love with a band post their existence it’s hard to accept the fact that you weren’t there when it all happened. Getting them to reform and then getting to see them play isn’t the same as seeing them first time round, but it is the next best thing.

So will this signal the end of the trend for old bands to reform? We’ve tolerated it for some time and we’ve now got the ones we all wanted. Or will this trigger a whole new wave of comebacks? Are there anymore bands left to come back?

Here are five bands I would still love to see reform for my own selfish reasons:

5. Sleater-Kinney

The first time I saw Sleater-Kinney was in London in 1998. They were, of course, awesome but the gig was somewhat ruined by Jarvis Cocker! We watched from the balcony and he was stood next to us with, what can only be described as, a bunch of twats in suits, who all spent the gig talking as loudly as they could. The more he ignored the gig the more annoyed I got, the more the ‘suits’ emitted smug laughter the more furious I got. Of course, I did nothing about this, apart from the odd evil glare that I directed in their general area.

I saw them again a few years later, at Koko in Camden, just after they had released ‘The Woods’. They were incredibly loud, indescribably loud. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, they were completely on fire that night. I would so love to see them play again, Wild Flag and the Corin Tucker Band aren’t enough for me, they need to all be in the same band again.

4. Q and Not U

Q and Not U were a very special band. Equally as good when they were punking it up as when they were funking it out (if they are actual things). Every album was different, yet they always completely fitted with being on Dischord, they were constanly evolving and seeing the amount of different instruments they played when we saw them live was a joy. The music press seems to liken a lot of bands to Q and Not U these days, it would be so good for the originators to come back and show how it’s done.

3. Beezewax

Beezewax have got to be the quintessential indie emo pop band. Each album had songs on that could compete with any other songs ever written as some of the best slices of pop perfection that you could find. And they felt like our band. I don’t know how many times they ended up playing in Margate/Canterbury but it seemed so many they may as well have been a local band instead of from Norway. Everyone in our scene had a soft spot for them. I don’t know what happened to Beezewax in the end but would love them to come visit us again. One listen to ‘The snooze is on’ or ‘Dead end kids’ and I could be instantly in a good mood that will last for the rest of the day.

2. Smart Went Crazy

Does anyone else still listen or ever listen to Smart Went Crazy? Their 2nd album, ‘Con Art’, was one of the albums that I listened to most when I was at college in the late 90’s. It’s so interesting, they sounded like no other DC band, or like any other band for that matter. More experimental than your average post hardcore band they included lo-fi musical interludes in between songs and brilliant use of cello throughout the record. Can’t resist some good cello use. All of which was surrounded by brilliant song after brilliant song, the epic 2 part ‘DC will do that to you’ sounds just as good today as it ever did. They showed so much promise but broke up not long after the release of ‘Con art’, the Dischord site states “internal disintegration’ as the reason. A damn shame.

1. Mineral

Mineral, it has to be Mineral!!

This band, on top of any other, is the band I would absolutely love to reform. The ultimate emo band for any self confessed emo boy/girl. ‘End serenading’ is perfect, it’s faultless. It would be heaven to see them play live, I can just imagine standing there with a few hundred other 30 somethings, tears streaming down our faces, our arms out like a scarecrow singing in unison.

Mineral have achieved an almost myth like status. They are the actual stuff of legend. The penultimate song from their second album, ‘&serenading’ could well be my favourite song of all time. It certainly has the best ending of any song, EVER. When the 2nd chorus finishes and the build up starts with the layered vocals, singing about the “sound of the driving snow, that drives me home to you”, it sends chills down my spine. Breathtaking. They were a genre defining band. If they ever decide to give it another go I would cross heaven and earth to be there front row, centre.

Who would you like to see make an overdue comeback? Or is there any band that should definitely never reform?

Let me know, and as always: cheers guys x



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Is this thing on again?

“Hello again”

Yesterday twitter delivered some exciting, if mysterious, news. The band who spearheaded a scene, made some of the best albums of the 90’s and gave me the name for this blog, The Promise Ring, announced themselves on twitter with one simple tweet “hello again”. And with that a shot of excitement was sent tingling down my spine.

So far, this remains the one tweet from the band. What can it mean? What is it we should be getting excited about?

Well, as the Promise Ring remain one of my all time favourite bands, it could mean anything and I’d be happy. There has been a trend in recent years for bands to reform and either do a few shows or give it another go and make a new album. Most can be taken with a pinch of salt but as Sunny day real estate proved last year, sometimes nothing beats seeing a band you never thought you’d ever see reforming and playing the hits for your nostalgic pleasure.

There has got to be a reason for a band to reform for it to work. Maybe some unfinished business to attend to. Some bands come to an end far too early for whatever reason and leave a longing amongst their fans. Take At the Drive-in for example. They release ‘Relationship of command’, an explosive album that still blows me away to this day, and within months they are no more. It was gutting to know that you would never get to see them live if you hadn’t already. I don’t think anyone who was a fan would begrudge them playing together again.

The same can’t be said of other bands that have taken it upon themselves to make a come back. Take Smashing Pumpkins for example. A once great band that fizzled out way before they called it a day. Then Billy Corgan takes out a full page advert in a newspaper announcing the return of the ‘Pumpkins’ before checking to see if any of the other members wanted to do it. So now you have an ego trip of a band made up of who cares who with just one remaining member.
I guess there are people that still care that they’re still going but I certainly don’t, and that’s unlikely to change regardless of how many special edition versions of old albums they may release.

Back to the Promise Ring and to me they definitely left me wanting more. I was lucky enough to see them live but in a way it was heartbreaking. I saw them supporting Jimmy Eat World at Brixton Academy in 2002. The crowd of nearly 6000 youngsters were there to hear JEW play the hits and nothing else, they didn’t give the Promise Ring a second thought. As the band had just released Wood/Water the set was mainly made up of songs from that but they did play some old songs in between. Just before playing ‘Red & blue jeans’, singer Davey Von Bohlen announced “We’re gonna play some old songs, as if you care” and had a cheeky laugh with the rest of the band. I cared, and I tried to make myself heard to the band as much as possible much to the annoyance of the people around me. It didn’t work, the band looked defeated when they left the stage. Maybe it was times like that that brought an end to the band, which would be a true shame.

In recent times there has been the odd flicker that they were coming back. A reunion show in 2005 and then talk of a best of album to be released a couple of years ago. That, as yet, has not surfaced. In the meantime, Davey has been making some great music with ‘Maritime’, who are certainly worth checking out.

So, if the Promise Ring are reforming and touring, I sincerely hope they play here in England. I would truly love to stand in a room with other fans, screaming our lungs out and showing much deserved appreciation to a band that changed music for the better.

Hassle them on twitter, @ThePromiseRing, or come and bother me @alextb3. A couple more reviews will be posted this week. Thanks for reading xx


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