Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You Learn Something New Every Day

I've mentioned a couple times in recent weeks that I'm really liking the new EP from The Little Ones. What I didn't mention, and what in fact I learned just yesterday when I finally perused the EP's booklet, is that two members of The Little Ones -- Ian Moreno and Edward Reyes -- were previously members of the underrated, and now defunct, Sunday's Best.

Sunday's Best were, in my opinion, one of the best of the "third wave" [FN] "emo" bands. I put the emo in parentheses because, in fact, each of the band's releases moved pretty steadily away from emo towards straight-ahead indie rock. Their first EP, Where You Are Now [BUY], was was pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a late 90's emo band. Soft/loud dynamics, big emotive choruses, clean, atmospheric guitar sound, halfway unintelligible vocals. And, in my opinion, it worked pretty well. My favorite song on the EP was probably "Truest You".

By the time the band put out it's first full-length album, Poised to Break [BUY], the band was already starting to move away from the atmospheric emo of the EP, and started rocking out a bit. "Saccharine" is a pretty good example of this. There's definite emo undertones (listen to that guitar sound), but rather than the pervasive sadness of the EP, the band sounded like they were having a good time on this album.

The band's second (and final) full-length, The Californian, pretty much completed the band's away from emo. The album mixed a number of sounds, and while it suffered a bit from being too all-over-the-place, it probably still stands as my favorite of their releases. Too bad there weren't too many other people who agreed with me. I think the "single" from the album was "The Salt Mines of Santa Monica". That song pretty much encapsulates the sound of the album.

After The Californian [BUY], the band pretty much disappeared, and I eventually found out that they'd broken up. And while I've continued to listen to their albums over time, it never occurred to me to find out what the guys in the band had done since. Now we know. If you didn't check them out the first time I linked them, go listen to some songs by The Little Ones now. Long gone are Sunday's Best's emo undertones, replaced with an unabashed love for interesting pop hooks. Great, great stuff. Go buy their debut EP.

"Lovers Who Uncover"
"Cha Cha Cha"
"High on a Hill

Now we just need to get these guys out east for some shows.

FN: My definition of "third wave" emo is extremely inexact. Wave one would be Rites of Spring and other 80's bands of its ilk. Wave two would be Sunny Day Real Estate and bands like Mineral and Texas Is the Reason. Wave three would be the late 90's/early 00's bands that expanded the emo sound a bit and added either a more straight-ahead rock aesthetic (Sunday's Best, Hey Mercedes), pop (late Promise Rung), dream pop (Jimmy Eat World's Clarity), and pop punk (Get Up Kids), i.e., the style that would forever after define popular emo. You're likely to disagree with my distinctions, and that's ok. There's no science to this type of wankery.


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