Braid, Jason Douglass Swearingen All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended

When: Sun., July 20, 4 & 7 p.m. 2014

Many misfortunes befell emo in the aughts, but I’m especially irked that it got pigeonholed as music for teenage boys with Very Important Feelings—the main point of Andy Greenwald’s ill-informed 2003 book, Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo, seems to be to reiterate that pigeonholing. For as long as I’ve been listening to emo, I’ve appreciated bands that have matured and experimented with the sound, in the process broadening the genre’s scope, and that’s partly why I’m such a fan of Braid. Their new album, No Coast (Topshelf), is the Chicago-via-Champaign group’s first full-length in 16 years; they broke up in 1999 after releasing three bristling LPs, streaked with zigzagging guitars and strained screams, that helped shape the second wave. On No Coast Braid’s energy and enthusiasm sound high, and the time apart seems to have helped the four of them evolve—these guys no longer play like they don’t know how powerful they are as a unit. The new album’s sleekly produced tunes try out different combinations of romantic, joyful, and heavy—on the combustible “Put Some Wings on That Kid,” vocalist-guitarist Bob Nanna draws inspiration from his experiences as an adoptee, singing with irrepressible vitality. —Leor Galil

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