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Monday, July 11, 2005

The Shape of Punk to Come

Even though each book chapter is named for one band/label, I don't exclude other bands/labels/etc. that I feel are pertinent. In the case of the Promise Ring chapter, Cap'n Jazz and Jade Tree are given extensive coverage. In the case of the Get Up Kids chapter, I mention Weezer, Dashboard Confessional, Napster and Vagrant Records. Sounds a little far-flung, but it will make sense.

A topic that I feel is necessary to talk about/pay homage to is a piece that ran in Alternative Press back in 1998. Dubbed, "Hardcore's Evolution," there was considerable coverage to all sorts of bands considered "hardcore." From Agnostic Front to Converge to Four Hundred Years to Cap'n Jazz, all sorts of bands are mentioned. Since the Get Up Kids get a nice mention with their split 7" with Coalesce, I feel I should elaborate on AP's piece in my book.

The late-90s saw lots of great hardcore come out (like Snapcase, Dillinger Escape Plan and others), but the one that I think should get top-billing is Refused's The Shape of Punk to Come.

Refused's final album still holds up incredibly well today. Taking aspects of politically-bent punk, pummelling hardcore, math-rock, traditional jazz and electronica into a cohesive work, The Shape of Punk to Come still scorches. Too many hardcore bands stay in the rut of screaming vocals, detuned guitars and angular rhythms, but Refused successfully stepped out of those boundaries.

I appreciate this kind of stuff when it's done very well (like Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge), but I don't listen to this stuff all the time. Listening to The Shape of Punk to Come again reminds me of how awesome Refused was. I look forward to this long in-the-works documentary that may finally come out in September. Hopefully people will understand me bringing up a band like Refused in a chapter devoted to one of the poppiest post-hardcore bands of the late-'90s.

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