Music Lists

A Brief Intro to Emo: 10 Essential Albums

Want to get into rock's most misunderstood subgenre? Here's where to start.

American Football - Honestly? [OFFICIAL AUDIO]

Has there ever been a style of music as misunderstood as emo?

Though rock's angstiest subgenre might get a bad reputation, there's a lot of history behind it—as well as great albums. Before bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and Paramore boomed in the mid-2000s, emo fire rose to prominence from Washington, D.C.'s hardcore punk movement in the '80s. It's been a long road to get emo where it is today, but the genre wouldn't be what it is without the many bands who passed the torch over the years. There are many great albums to dive into, many of which timestamp Midwest emo's massive spike in popularity in the '90s.

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The Art of Selling Out: Green Day, Weezer, and Fall Out Boy Troll Fans with "Hella Mega Tour"

The choice to have a towering, beefed-up unicorn playing a sweet guitar solo and breathing rainbow fire as the centerpiece of their tour poster is a sign that the groups are leaning into this criticism with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

This tour poster is beautifully atrocious, and that's kind of the point.

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There Are No Greatest Hits Anymore: Compilation Albums Are a Cash Grab in 2019

With Fall Out Boy releasing another "Greatest Hits" collection, the question remains: why?

Aaron Carter

Photo by Kathy Hutchins (Shutterstock)

For decades, "Greatest Hits" albums were a necessary evil.

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American Football Proves that Emo Can Evolve

With the release of their latest album, LP3, American Football makes mature emo music for grown-ups

Over the past 21 years, American Football has amassed something of a cult following among emo and post-rock fans.

After initially releasing two projects – an EP and a full-length in 1998 and '99, respectively – the group disappeared for over 15 years, which lent a somewhat ghostly quality to their reputation as a not-to-be-forgotten emo band from another era. Fans fell in love with their fresh take on a tired genre: infusing twinkling math-rock guitar licks with vistal, open chords, and sincere, confessional lyricism, creating a sound that was as unique as it was familiar.

It wasn't until 2014 that American Football reunited and the band could finally materialize into something more than an unsung relic from a time when emo and pop punk reigned supreme. With this surprise reunion, Polyvinyl Records released a deluxe edition of the band's original self-titled album from 1999, including 10 previously unheard live recordings and demos. American Football had been resurrected and reinvigorated, leading to the release of their second eponymous full-length album in 2016, which further solidified their already established dreamy and buoyant sound. Although LP2 was by no means poorly received, it was frequently criticized for sounding more like Owen (founding member Mike Kinsella's solo project) than it did an American Football record.

On LP3, released earlier this month, it sounds as if the band took this criticism to heart. It truly sounds like an American Football record, through and through, from track one to track eight. Not only has the band managed to reimagine their trademark sound in new and exciting ways, but every song feels both fully fleshed out and necessary, creating a cohesive and dynamic album. It is always a bit risky to release an album with so few songs because each one, then, is bound to receive increased attention. It's one thing to have a skip-over song or two on a typical 12 or 13-track album, but when a band only offers up eight cuts, there is extra pressure to deliver on every single one. But deliver they did.

LP3 is one of those albums that you could jump into at any point and become immersed. Each song provides its own satisfyingly complete musical experiences and unique catharses, and each song leaves you curious to know where the next one will take you. You could play the album in its natural order, starting with the intriguingly minimalist-inspired bell motif that opens "Silhouettes," or you could happen into the album halfway through and get absolutely lost in the windswept, delay-driven guitars, and almost Morrissey-like melodic sensibilities of "Heir Apparent." Either way, you are in for a sonically satisfying experience.

Other standouts on the album, such as "Uncomfortably Numb," featuring Paramore's Haley Williams and "Every Wave to Ever Rise," assisted by Elizabeth Powell of Land of Talk, show how American Football has nearly perfected their signature sound. Whereas the American Football of the past may have allowed these songs to roll by as quietly pensive ballads, the American Football of LP3 is filling in the gaps with rich vocal harmonies and subtly complex instrumentations that result in a more mature and layered sound. In many ways, LP3 sounds like the fulfillment of American Football's long-standing potential – this is how American Football was meant to sound.

LP3 is the answer to the question, what would an emo band sound like if they truly allowed themselves to grow as individuals and musicians? The result is an emotionally resonant collection of honest meditations on love, loss, and loneliness without any of the gimmicky teenage angst or three-chord simplicity often associated with the genre. American Football is at their best here. Hopefully, fans won't have to wait another 15 years to hear the next iteration of their sound.

American Football (LP3)

Dustin DiPaulo is a writer and musician from Rochester, New York. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Florida Atlantic University and can most likely be found at a local concert, dive bar, or comedy club (if he's not getting lost somewhere in the woods).

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Joe Scarborough Finds the Funk and More New Music for Your Weekend

Plus new music from Yola, The Mowgli's, Molly Chapman and more.

RELEASE RADAR is here to give you the breakdown of the top singles, albums, and videos of the week, so you can head into your weekend with a new list of killer tunes.


Independent Counsel of Funk | "She Ain't Got You Yet"

Independent Counsel of Funk, the brainchild of Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, takes a funk-infused stand in their latest single. Scarborough wrote, arranged, and produced the track as a teaser for more singles to follow in partnership with Sony's RED MUSIC.

You Might Also Like: The Black Keys, Jack White, Band of Skulls

Follow Independent Counsel of Funk on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

American Football | "Every Wave To Ever Rise" (ft. Elizabeth Powell)

Indie outfit American Football paired up with Land of Talk's Elizabeth Powell for the latest track off their forthcoming album. "We were all crazy about her voice already," said frontman Mike Kinsella. "The melody and some fill in lyrics were already written and demoed but once she was on board I thought it'd be fun/add some depth to her 'character' by having her sing a line in French."

You Might Also Like: Owen, The Promise Ring, Beach House

Follow American Football on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Molly Chapman | Not Yo Bitch

Molly Chapman - Not Yo Bitch (Official Music Video)

Molly Chapman is over toxic masculinity, and she makes that abundantly clear in her cheeky video.

You Might Also Like: Cardi B, Meghan Trainor, Dua Lipa

Follow Molly Chapman on Facebook | Spotify | Instagram


Yola | Walk Through Fire

British soul queen Yola teamed up with Dan Auerbach for the release of her first solo album. Yola puts a soulful spin on traditional country, carefully assembled to set her apart from other Nashville hopefuls.

You Might Also Like: The Long Ryders, Dan Auerbach, The Raconteurs

Follow Yola on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Pacific Northwest artist Mike Edel paired up with Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla for his latest studio album. Edel takes the concept of "radio friendly" music and adds his own flair, effectively raising the bar for everyone in the Seattle music scene.

You Might Also Like: The Wallflowers, Nada Surf, Rogue Wave

Follow Mike Edel on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Bobby Long | Sultans

In his fourth album, British singer-songwriter Bobby Long opened himself up and and added a splash of unfiltered honesty. "Vocally this album was different for me," he said. "I was really inspired by John Lennon's vocals and the rawness he would get, especially on early Beatles records or his solo stuff. Letting emotion get in the way and kind of showing my true colours. I wanted to be brave, especially on the deeply personal songs so I just left it all out there."

You Might Also Like: Marcus Foster, Johnny Flynn, Sam Bradley

Follow Bobby Long on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

The Mowgli's | American Feelings

California indie collective The Mowgli's infuse their latest EP with their signature breezy style and heart warming lyrics. "This EP speaks to the youth of America," says vocal/guitarist Josh Hogan "Being a person is hard, and we're all just trying to be people here."

You Might Also Like: Youngblood Hawke, Atlas Genius, Vinyl Theater

Follow The Mowgli's on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Allie Delyanis is an award-winning and losing freelance journalist based in New York City. She likes bands, books, breakfast food, and would love to be David Sedaris when she grows up. You can find more of her work on

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