Various Artists – Emo Diaries: Vol. 1-4

Various Artists
Emo Diaries: Vol. 1-4

Buy all of these. Deep Elm is the best label out there. This is emo, what music should be all about. Each album is incredible! Some bands you may have heard of, some obscure you’ll die to find. My favorites: Rain Still Falls, Buford, Blacktop Cadence, Planes Mistaken for Stars.
Interesting. I just listened to all four Emo Diaries albums in a row, and it’s pretty fascinating to see the way that this documentation of the emo style has changed just in the past two or so years that this series has been released. It seems that the brand of music has evolved significantly, in part reverting back to its hardcore routes with bands such as Five Speed, Spy Versus Spy, Ed Matus’ Struggle, and also spreading outside of our humble home. Several of the bands on this album are from overseas, proving that America doesn’t hold the only license to powerful, emotional rock. Has emo gotten better, according to Deep Elm’s series? I don’t think any compilation album will be quite as good as the first Emo Diaries, with the second close behind. But these are 12 solid, rocking tracks from some very good bands.
Now the low-down on the tracks. Five Speed kicks it off with a powerful emo-core track that reminds me of Deel Elm’s Starmarket, only with a little more attitude. Red Animal War is similarly loud and fast, with a hit more melodicism than the first track and a bit more intense lyrics. I like this song quite a bit. The John Doe Band (a reference to X?) has a far poppier sound, complete with “do-do-do-do-do, na-na-na-na,” a highly enjoyable listen. Ed Matus’ Struggle have a good song thatt doesn’t differentiate itself from the pack, basically similar components strung together as a million other bands have, but done well. “Rolling Snowball” from Aina is one of my favorite tracks, mellow yet rocking, straight-ahead emo. Further Seems Forever rocks hard, like an old Get Up Kids song, with a great rhythm section. Keystone Sinatra have an excellent song that reminds me of Mid Carson July and some others, but it rocks hard. I definitely don’t like The Movielife. They remind me why I don’t like Sweep the Leg Johnny, with terrible vocals and mediocre rock. Spy Versus Spy, however, are amazing, and their track “Set the Spokes Alight” is the best on this compilation, showing a trend for them towards a bit more melody while still sounding Braid-ish. For some reason, Odg, in addition to having a terrible name, sound like some band out of the 80s – not their style of rock, just their voices and guitar riffs. Merrick has a fast rocking, fun song. How could it not be fun called “Milk and Lots More?” And finally, Flux Capaciter fill the instrumental emo-rock song quotia with a long track, mellow but steady.