Midwest emo

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Midwest emo (or Midwestern emo[1]) refers to the emo scene and/or subgenre[2] that developed in 1990s Midwestern United States. Employing unconventional vocals stylings, distinct guitar riffs and arpeggiated melodies,[3] Midwest emo bands shifted away from the genre's hardcore punk roots and drew on indie rock and math rock approaches.[4] According to the author and critic Andy Greenwald, "this was the period when emo earned many, if not all, of the stereotypes that have lasted to this day: boy-driven, glasses-wearing, overly sensitive, overly brainy, chiming-guitar-driven college music."[5] Midwest emo is sometimes used interchangeably with “second-wave emo”.[6]


According to The Chicago Reader critic Leor Galil, the second-wave bands of the Midwest emo scene "transformed the angular fury of D.C. emo into something malleable, melodic, and cathartic—its common features included cycling guitar parts, chugging bass lines, and unconventional singing that sounded like a sweet neighbor kid with no vocal training but plenty of heart."[7] Incorporating elements from indie rock, the genre also features "gloomy chord progressions"[8] and arpeggiated guitar melodies.[3] Midwest emo is also commonly associated with the use of math rock elements.[9]


Cap'n Jazz in 2010

The Midwest emo scene came into prominence in the mid-1990s with bands such as American Football,[7] Chamberlain,[10] The Promise Ring,[1] Cap'n Jazz,[11] Cursive,[12] Mineral and The Get Up Kids.[13] Braid has been regarded as an important act to propel the Midwest emo sound across the United States.[14][15] Some of the acts to practice the sound were originally not from the Midwestern United States as well, with Sunny Day Real Estate being from Washington and Mineral being from Texas.[13]

Midwest emo has seen a resurgence over the late 2000s with the labels such as Count Your Lucky Stars Records,[16] as well as by the bands such as CSTVT,[14] Oliver Houston,[11] Into It. Over It.,[17] Algernon Cadwallader and Snowing.[7] Revival bands such as The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die mixed the Midwestern emo sound with genres such as post-rock and orchestral music.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Trefor, Cai. "13 Beautiful Photos of American Football At Shepherd's Bush Empire, 11/02/2017". Gigwise. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  2. ^ https://fansided.com/2018/08/15/fourth-wave-emo-revival-bands-tours-definition-music-songs/
  3. ^ a b Lowe, Robert (February 14, 2013). "Funeral Advantage - Demo (staff review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  4. ^ http://feckingbahamas.com/history-math-rock-pt-1-guess-black-flag-math-rock-now
  5. ^ Greenwald, pp. 34–35.
  6. ^ https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/articles/features/is_emo_revival_really_a_thing-64327
  7. ^ a b c Galil, Leor (August 5, 2013). "Midwestern emo catches its second wind". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  8. ^ Perry, Cameron (February 8, 2017). "Melbourne Artist Fractures Channels Midwest Emo On "Time Frame"". The Fader. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  9. ^ http://feckingbahamas.com/history-math-rock-pt-1-guess-black-flag-math-rock-now
  10. ^ Cohen, Jonathan. "Chamberlain - Fate's Got a Driver". AllMusic. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Gaca, Anna (January 23, 2017). "New Music: Oliver Houston Embrace Classic Midwestern Emo on Whatever Works". Spin. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  12. ^ Bruno, Franklin (August 2000). "Cursive - Domestica". CMJ (84): 56.
  13. ^ a b Raymer, Miles (August 9, 2013). "On Mineral and midwestern emo's second wave". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Osmon, Erin (October 24, 2013). "Chicago Has a New Emo Rock Scene (Again)". Chicago. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  15. ^ Green, Stuart (March 1, 2000). "Braid - Movie Music Vol. 2". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  16. ^ Gotrich, Lars (July 22, 2014). "Song Premiere: Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate), 'A Keepsake'". NPR. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  17. ^ "I Went to High School with the Leader of the So-Called Emo Revival". Noisey Vice. April 4, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  18. ^ Cohen, Ian (April 29, 2014). "Don't Call It an Emo Revival". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 5, 2017.

Further reading[edit]