In the wake of Jawbox-gate 2009, I feel obligated to post two particular records. Two records that to my ears, are head and shoulders above what Jawbox was doing at the same time. The two greatest emo records of the 1990's; Boilermaker's "In Wallace's Shadow" and Castor's "Castor".
To the Jawbox contingent out there, if you haven't heard these, give them a listen and let me know what you think.
And in the spirit of full disclosure, after everyone seemed to unanimously come to defend the honor of Jawbox, I went back into the archives and dug up all the Jawbox I could find. I gave it a listen (without prejudice volume 1 [token George Michael reference]), and have come to the conclusion that while I might have been a little rough on the band initially today, they aren't as boring as I remembered them being, but also not as inspiring as some would lead you to believe. It has honestly been about 12 years or more since I have actually listened to one of their albums all the way through, and I only rarely would hear them by way of a compilation track here and there, so it's been awhile since I've paid much attention. Being honest, I will admit they have a few hot rockers, but the part I did remember about their records (and seeing them live) was the long drawn out boring, sterile parts. And yes, I realize that Jawbox, Boilermaker, and Castor were not always musically related, or out to accomplish the same things, but in the grand scheme of independent music of the day, I think the similarities outweigh their differences.
I did my part, now you guys do yours and listen to this and the next post.
And by the way, Boilermaker, and this album in particular are what "emo" should sound like. Melodic, yet driving, sensitive, but not sappy, and most of all, rocking. This band had it all, the musicians were pushing and pulling, creating these big dynamics, and the vocals were soaring above the whole thing, carrying the songs to greater heights. Fuckin-a, this stuff still rules after all these years.
*Originally posted 12.10.09, reposted 08.28.12