Despite the fact that all of this keeps me waking up every morning, there’s plenty of people who have never heard of a single band I mentioned above. There’s people who only listen to the radio. Recently, I even met a girl who had never heard of blink 182. I know.
All jokes aside — there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those people. Other than the blink girl. Listen to the radio, listen to dubstep, listen to whatever the fuck you want, but if you’re going to associate yourself with the same music scene that I associate myself with, then I want you to take full advantage of it.
Bands like The Wonder Years, Bayside, blink 182, Yellowcard, Saves The Day, Taking Back Sunday, The Used, and Say Anything are great. Beyond great. It’s cliche, but my life would not be the same without every band I mentioned, along with many more. But people that limit themselves to these “big name acts” is foolish (and “big name” is relative — All Time Low shits on all of the aforementioned bands as far as stardom goes, and they’re a speck in the universe of music across all genres). There are a lot of CDs that have impacted me just as much as ones such as “…Is A Real Boy” and “Enema Of The State”. That’s what this list is all about.
This list is unique due to the fact that some of you may have never heard a song off of any of these releases, and some of you might have every one of these CDs in your car right now. Either way, this was a fun list to make, and I hope you give some of this music a shot, if you haven’t already (and if you have, then I hope you listen to a few of these on your way to work tomorrow). These are 10 (mostly) under-the-radar releases that made a permanent impact on my life.
Here’s the playlist of all the songs mentioned below:
Page Avenue — Story Of The Year
Story Of The Year was huge at one point in time, and rightfully so. I’ll never forget them playing “Anthem Of Our Dying Day” on Pepsi Smash. They’re one of the best live bands you’d ever see, and I was lucky enough to catch them on Warped Tour last year. I promise, Page Avenue will make you feel better about loving someone. On a side note, if anyone ever finds this CD anywhere, I will buy it from you.
Until the day I die, I spill my heart for you.
Notable Tracks: Anthem Of Our Dying Day, Until The Day I Die
If These Streets Could Talk — Just Surrender
Just Surrender is by no means an important band in the grand scheme of pop punk. However, these songs are. This release is a prime example of what I call “The 2004 Curve”. Just Surrender released this in 2005 and it had decent success, but I really think if they put this exact CD out today, in 2014, it would make nearly every AOTY list. Oh, how times change.
I’d take a bullet for you, you’d put a bullet through me
Notable Tracks: In Your Silence, Our Work Of Art
The Future Is Cancelled — Captain, We’re Sinking!
I’m a little biased, because these guys are from my hometown, but this is a really well written CD. Lyrically, this ranks up there with Bayside’s self titled in my eyes. I tried to pick music that embodied what I define as “the scene”, and this was one of the first releases that came to mind.
Maybe I’d be happier if I didn’t think this way.
Notable Tracks: The Future Is Cancelled, Beer Can
Separation — Balance & Composure
Separation is what all emo music should sound like — empty, but somehow full, depressing, but somehow optimistic, lonely, but somehow accepting of the loneliness. Not a day of my junior year of college went by without me spinning this entire CD.
Even though you’re always on my mind, there’s more to me that I have yet to find.
Notable Tracks: More To Me, Separation
The ‘59 Sound — The Gaslight Anthem
Some have labeled The ‘59 Sound as the perfect CD. Some have labeled The Gaslight Anthem as the perfect band. I don’t fall under either of those categories of people, but I sure do come close. The Gaslight Anthem is single handedly keeping rock and roll alive inside of this music scene.
Ain’t supposed to die on a Saturday night.
Notable Tracks: The ‘59 Sound, Here’s Looking At You Kid
Something To Write Home About — The Get Up Kids
This is probably the most well-known and most well-respected release on this list. It’s definitely not an under-the-radar release, but again, that’s relative to how deep in the scene you are. 90s emo is the king of music genres and nothing will ever come close. The Get Up Kids were at the forefront of that scene and everything about this release shows you why that was the case. Eventually, you’re gonna need to learn how to be alone, even if only for a short time, and I really believe STWHA does the trick.
I’m lucky if we’re speaking on the holidays.
Notable Tracks: Holiday, Long Goodnight
Tigers Jaw — Tigers Jaw
Tigers Jaw is another band from my hometown of Scranton and another band that has received incredible success in recent years. I saw them with like 20 people once and last year they went on a tour in the UK. Astounding. Their self titled release is far and away the most important CD in the entire timeline of my existence. It always will be. Tigers Jaw is the band that holds my friends together and I never want to lose that feeling. If you aren’t already on the TJ bandwagon, hop the fuck on.
I learned a lot about falling in love when I fell out of love.
Notable Tracks: I Saw Water, The Sun
Forty Hour Train Back To Penn — The Movielife
I struggled between which Vinnie Caruana release to put here — this one or “Avalanche United” by I Am The Avalanche. I settled on The Movielife release because I think it’s more important. Avalanche is *probably* better written, and you should definitely check that out as well, but FHTBTP is the epitome of punk. Vinnie’s scratchy vocals over some heavily distorted guitars and fast progressions. Not to mention that chorus on “Ship To Shore”.
Doing all the things I never thought I’d do, and I did them with you.
Notable Tracks: Ship To Shore, Scary
Wrecked — Pentimento
Pentimento is one of my favorite bands. Up there with Bayside and Saves the Day and The Wonder Years. That’s a lot to say about a band after only discovering them about 2 years ago. They’re probably the realest dudes playing music right now and it shows in their music. Everything about “Wrecked” is amazing. Pentimento is blowing up quickly, and they deserve every ounce of success they ever receive. They could become the most popular band in the world and I’d still want them to have more.
Please uncross your fingers.
Notable Tracks: Walking Calmly In Your Wake, Isn’t It Obvious
Winter Forever — Seahaven
Winter Forever is one of those releases that I think is pretty big to those of us who are deeply rooted in the scene, but I’m not really sure. I know it’s terribly important to me, and I’ll never forget the first time I heard it. “It’s Over” was the first track I heard and I was hooked within 2 seconds after Kyle sang “It rained today / Inside of me”. And that’s only the beginning. Seahaven is an incredible band with a lot of potential to do incredible things in the future.
God I need you, because I’m familiar with the devil.
Notable Tracks: It’s Over, Goodnight
Listen to music.