Considered the forefathers of emotionally charged punk rock, D.C.’s Fugazi had a raw, straightforward sound and no-nonsense fashion to match. The band members’ neutral aesthetic, which consisted mostly of plain T-shirts, jeans and Chuck Taylors, was a direct manifestation of the group’s vehemently anti-corporate stance.
Like it or not, Seattle’s Sunny Day Real Estate was an early purveyor of grunge’s flannel-clad fashion sense that was already having a moment when the band’s debut record, Diary, landed in 1994. Bundled into grunge at the time, perhaps because it was released on Sub Pop. Diary has since become an emo touchstone given its raw emotion channeled through woolly guitars and crashing dynamics.
As internet file sharing decentralized tastemaking, the math-y, off-kilter sound of bands like the Anniversary, Braid and American Football put college towns like Lawrence, Kan., and Champaign, Ill., on the map. The scene’s preference for vintage Western shirts and striped sweaters was due mostly to the wide availability of these items in Midwestern thrift stores, but it wouldn’t be long until the tousled, shaggy haircuts and slim-fit jeans that rounded out this preppy look would be taken to the extreme, bastardized by the mainstream.
Seemingly innocuous to mild-mannered kids with a taste for screaming, post-hardcore groups like Glassjaw and Thursday ended up doing irreparable harm to emo’s legacy in pop culture. Fueled by Hot Topic and Myspace, straightened hair, girls’ jeans from Hollister, and deep V-necks from American Apparel became the new norm for fans of “screamo,” as it’s now pejoratively known.
As the Warped Tour was overtaken by the preening jock culture that punk music has rebelled against for decades, sensitive kids turned to the jazzy twinkling of American Football’s 1999 self-titled record as their Rosetta stone. And thus, Tiny Moving Parts, which plays the Analog Cafe on Saturday. The plaid-and-Levi’s look of the Midwest is once again the new norm, while East Coast bands with deeper hardcore roots often accessorize with Gerber multi-tools and regionally appropriate NHL jerseys.
SEE IT: Tiny Moving Parts plays the Analog Cafe, 720 SE Hawthorne Blvd., with My Iron Lung and Glacier Veins, on Saturday, Nov. 12. 6 pm. $13 advance, $15 day of show. All ages.