Post-Hardcore

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Intro

A genre of music that is derivative of the Hardcore Punk music genre, itself an offshoot of the broader Punk movement.

Like Post Punk, Post-Hardcore is a term for a broad collection of groups. Many of which emerged from the Hardcore Punk scene, or took inspiration from Hardcore, while emphasizing a greater degree of expression.

The genre took shape in the mid-to-late-'80s with releases from bands that grew out of cities that had established Hardcore Punk scenes, in particular from the scenes in Washington, D.C. such as Fugazi as well as slightly different sounding groups such as Big Black and Jawbox that stuck closer to the Noise Rock roots of Post-Hardcore.

Originating

Groups such as Saccharine Trust, Naked Raygun, and The Effigies, which were active around the early 1980s, are considered as forerunners to the Post-Hardcore genre. Chicago's Naked Raygun, formed in 1981, has been seen as merging Post Punk influences of bands such as Wire and Gang Of Four with Hardcore, while author Steven Blush notes the band's use of "oblique lyrics and stark Post Punk melodies". Similarly, The Effigies, who also hailed from the Chicago scene, released music influenced by the Hardcore of Minor Threat and the British Post Punk of bands like The Stranglers, Killing Joke, and The Ruts.

During the early to mid-1980s, the desire to experiment with Hardcore's basic template expanded to many musicians that had been associated with the genre or had strong roots in it. Many of these groups also took inspiration from the '80s Noise Rock scene pioneered by Sonic Youth. Some bands signed to the independent label Homestead Records, including Squirrel Bait (as well as David Grubbs-related Bastro and Bitch Magnet) and Steve Albini's Big Black (just as his subsequent projects Rapeman and Shellac) are also associated with Post-Hardcore. Big Black, which also featured former Naked Raygun guitarist Santiago Durango, made themselves known for their strict DIY ethic, related to practices such as paying for their own recordings, booking their own shows, handling their own management and publicity, and remaining "stubbornly independent at a time when many independent bands were eagerly reaching out for the major-label brass ring". The band's music, punctuated by the use of a drum machine, has also been seen as influential to Industrial, while Blush has also described the Steve Albini-fronted project as "an angst-ridden response to the rigid English Post Punk of Gang Of Four". After the issuing of the "Il Duce" single (and between the release of their only two studio albums, Atomizer and Songs About Fucking), Big Black left Homestead for Touch and Go Records, which would later reissue not only their entire discography, but would also be responsible for the release of the complete works of Scratch Acid, an act from Austin, Texas described as Post-Hardcore, that, according to Stephen Thomas Erlewine, "laid the groundwork for much of the distorted, grinding alternative Punk rockers of the '90s".

Outside the United States, the genre would take shape in the works of the Canadian group Nomeansno, related with Jello Biafra and his independently run label Alternative Tentacles, and that had been active since 1979. A reviewer noted that the group's 1989's release Wrong was "one of the most aggressive and powerful opuses in Post-Hardcore ever made".

Washington D.C. scene

During the years 1984 and 1985 in the "harDCore" scene, a new movement had "swept over". This movement was led by bands associated with the D.C. independent record label Dischord Records, home in the early 80s to seminal hardcore bands such as Minor Threat, State of Alert, Void and Government Issue. According to the Dischord website: "The violence and nihilism that had become identified with Punk, largely by the media, had begun to take hold in DC and many of the older Punks suddenly found themselves repelled and discouraged by their hometown scene", leading to "a time of redefinition". When The Faith put out the EP Subject to Change in 1983 it marked a critical evolution in the sound of D.C. harDCore and Punk music in general. During these years, a new wave of bands started to form, these included Rites of Spring (which featured The Faith former guitarist Eddie Janney), Lunchmeat (later to become Soulside), Gray Matter, Mission Impossible, Dag Nasty and Embrace, the latter featuring former Minor Threat singer and Dischord co-founder Ian MacKaye and former members of The Faith. This movement has been since widely known as the "Revolution Summer". Rites of Spring has been described as the band that "more than led the change", challenging the "macho posturing that had become so prevalent within the Punk scene at that point", and "more importantly", defying "musical and stylistic rule". Journalist Steve Huey writes that while the band "strayed from Hardcore's typically external concerns of the time -- namely, social and political dissent -- their musical attack was no less blistering, and in fact a good deal more challenging and nuanced than the average three-chord speed-blur", a sound that, according to Huey, mapped out "a new direction for Hardcore that built on the innovations" brought by Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade. Other bands have been perceived as taking inspiration from genres such as Funk (as in the case of Beefeater) and 60s pop (such as the example of Gray Matter).

According to Eric Grubbs, a nickname was developed for the new sound, with some considering it "post-harDCore", but another name that floated around the scene was "emo-core", the latter, mentioned in skateboarding magazine Thrasher, would come up in discussions around the D.C. area. While some of these bands have been considered as contributors to the birth of Emo, with Rites of Spring sometimes being named as the first or one of the earliest Emo acts, musicians such as the band's former frontman Guy Picciotto and MacKaye himself have voiced their opposition against the term.

In the nearby state of Maryland, similar bands that are categorised now as Post-Hardcore would also emerge, these include Moss Icon and The Hated. The former's music contained, according to Steve Huey, "shifting dynamics, chiming guitar arpeggios, and screaming, crying vocal climaxes", which would prove to be influential to later musicians in spite of the band's unstable existence. This group has also been considered as one of the earliest Emo acts.

Further Into the '80s

The second half of the 80s saw the formation of several bands in D.C., which included Shudder to Think, Jawbox, The Nation of Ulysses, and Fugazi, as well as Baltimore's Lungfish. MacKaye described this period as the busiest that the Dischord Records label had ever seen. Most of these acts, along with earlier ones, would contribute to the 1989 compilation State of the Union, a release that documented the new sound of the late 80s D.C. Punk scene. Fugazi gained "an extremely loyal and numerous global following", with reviewer Andy Kellman summarizing the band's influence with the statement: "To many, Fugazi meant as much to them as Bob Dylan did to their parents." It has also been noted that the group's "ever-evolving" sound would signal a more experimental turn in Hardcore that paved the way for later Dischord releases. The band, which included MacKaye, Picciotto, and former Rites of Spring drummer Brendan Canty along with bassist Joe Lally, issued in 1989 13 Songs, a compilation of their earlier self-titled and Margin Walker EPs, which is now considered as a landmark album. Similarly, the band's debut studio album, 1990's Repeater, has also been "generally" regarded as a classic. The group also garnered recognition for their activism, cheaply priced shows and CDs, and their resistance to mainstream outlets. On the other hand, Jawbox had been influenced by "the tradition of Chicago's thriving early-'80s scene", while The Nation of Ulysses are "best remembered for lifting the motor-mouthed revolutionary rhetoric of the MC5" with the incorporation of "elements of R&B (as filtered through the MC5) and avant Jazz" combined with "exciting, volatile live gigs", and being the inspiration for "a new crop of bands both locally and abroad".

Expanding

The late 80s and early 90s saw the formation and rise to prominence of several bands associated with earlier acts that not only included the examples of Fugazi and Shellac, but also Girls Against Boys (originally a side-project of Brendan Canty and Eli Janney, which would later incorporate members of Soulside), The Jesus Lizard (formed by ex-members of Scratch Acid), Quicksand (fronted by former Youth of Today and Gorilla Biscuits member Walter Schreifels), Rollins Band (led by former Black Flag singer Henry Rollins), Tar (which raised from the ashes of a Hardcore outfit named Blatant Dissent), and Slint (containing members of Squirrel Bait). Acts such as Shellac and Louisville's Slint have been considered as influential to the development of the genre of Mathcore, with the former featuring "awkward time signatures and trademark aggression" that has come to characterize "a certain slant" on Mathcore, while the latter presented "instrumental music seeped in dramatic tension but set to rigid systems of solid-structured guitar patterns and percussive repetition". According to reviewer Jason Arkeny, Slint's "deft, extremist manipulations of volume, tempo, and structure cast them as clear progenitors of the post-rock movement".

Allmusic has noted that younger bands "flowered into Post-Hardcore after cutting their teeth in high school Punk bands". In Washington D.C., new bands such as Hoover (as well as the related The Crownhate Ruin), Circus Lupus, Bluetip, and Smart Went Crazy were added to the Dischord roster. Hoover has been cited by journalist Charles Spano as a band that had "a tremendous impact on Post-Hardcore music".

In New York City, in addition to Quicksand, According to Eric Grubbs, a nickname was developed for the new sound, with some considering it "Post-harDCore", but another name that floated around the scene was "emo-core". The latter, mentioned in skateboarding magazine Thrasher, would come up in discussions around the D.C. area. While some of these bands have been considered as contributors to the birth of Emo, with Rites of Spring sometimes being named as the first or one of the earliest Emo acts, musicians such as the band's former frontman Guy Picciotto and MacKaye himself have voiced their opposition against the term.

In the nearby state of Maryland, similar bands that are categorized now as Post-Hardcore would also emerge, these include Moss Icon and The Hated. The former's music contained, according to Steve Huey, "shifting dynamics, chiming guitar arpeggios, and screaming, crying vocal climaxes", which would prove to be influential to later musicians in spite of the band's unstable existence. This group has also been considered as one of the earliest Emo acts.

The second half of the 80s saw the formation of several bands in D.C., which included Shudder to Think, Jawbox, The Nation of Ulysses, and Fugazi, as well as Baltimore's Lungfish. MacKaye described this period as the busiest that the Dischord Records label had ever seen. Most of these acts, along with earlier ones, would contribute to the 1989 compilation State of the Union, a release that documented the new sound of the late 80s D.C. Punk scene. Fugazi gained "an extremely loyal and numerous global following", with reviewer Andy Kellman summarizing the band's influence with the statement: "To many, Fugazi meant as much to them as Bob Dylan did to their parents". It has also been noted that the group's "ever-evolving" sound would signal a more experimental turn in Hardcore that paved the way for later Dischord releases. The band, which included MacKaye, Picciotto, and former Rites of Spring drummer Brendan Canty along with bassist Joe Lally, issued in 1989 13 Songs, a compilation of their earlier self-titled and Margin Walker EPs, which is now considered as a landmark album.

Champaign, also in Illinois, was known for an independent scene that would give way to groups like Hum, Braid and Poster Children.

The American Northwest saw the creation of acts such as Karp, Lync and Unwound, all hailing from the Olympia, Washington area. The latter's music has been considered by critic John Bush as a combination of "the noise of Sonic Youth's more raucous passages" with a "rare energetic flair which rivals even that of Fugazi".

Texas saw the formation of groups such as The Jesus Lizard (later to be based in Chicago) and ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead in Austin, and At the Drive-In from El Paso. This last band was known for their energy in both performances and music, and for their "driving melodic Punk riffs, meshed together with quieter interlocking note-picking".

The genre also saw representation outside of the United States in Refused who emerged from the Umeå, Sweden music scene. The band, which made itself known earlier in their career for its "massive Hardcore sound", released in 1998 The Shape of Punk to Come, an album that saw the group take inspiration from The Nation of Ulysses while incorporating elements such as "Ambient textures, Jazz breakdowns", metal and electronica to their Hardcore sound.

Some Bands

Sonic Youth

Sleeping with Sirens

Hoover

Fugazi

Fall Out Boy

Bring Me The Horizon

Of Mice & Men

Pierce the Veil

A Day to Remember

Asking Alexandria

We Came as Romans

Rites of Spring

The Devil Wears Prada

Alesana

The Nation of Ulysses

My Chemical Romance

Blessthefall

Thrice

Brand New

At the Drive‐In

Thursday

Silverstein

Letlive

Underoath

Alexisonfire