When: Sun., Dec. 20, 6 p.m. 2015
Delaware indie label Jade Tree helped steer second-wave emo to unprecedented heights in the 90s. After a recent dormant period, the label restored its focus on releasing new music, much of which is being made by the fourth-wave upstarts indebted to Jade Tree’s legacy. Among the great fare the label has introduced this year is the self-titled debut from Dogs on Acid, a Philadelphia outfit featuring members of two of the current scene’s most important bygone bands: Snowing and Algernon Cadwallader. The furious and fun songs bashed out by both bands suggested they had worn out their respective copies of Cap’n Jazz’s Analphabetapolothology, but, unlike their predecessors, Dogs on Acid don’t buckle under the pressure of their own energy. They charge ahead through sky-opening rock tracks built out of easy hooks that land hard. Emo still gets unfairly maligned as an ill-fated expression of adolescence, but it’s now in its third decade and Dogs on Acid are among the great bands that can mine the hard-to-define feelings of a post-quarter-life crisis. On “9 Times,” front man Peter Helmis sings about stubbornly holding your ground even though you know you’re on the wrong side of an argument. The obstinate conviction in his voice reminds me of the inner turmoil I’ve experienced in fights. Whatever wisdom I’ve accumulated that might help me best deal with a disagreement squares off with my pig-headed desire to never give up—and Helmis captures all that confusing tension with pop solemnity.