When: Sat., Aug. 9, 6 p.m. 2014
Lately critics have been reappraising former Thursday front man Geoff Rickly, largely because he’s done so many different things since his third-wave screamo band went on hiatus in 2011. Last year he released a creepy, eccentric lo-fi solo recording called Dark Matter: Mixtape 2, and this summer he debuted No Devotion, a goth-pop group with former members of Lostprophets (last month it released a single via Collect Records, Rickly’s recently resuscitated label). Chief among these projects is United Nations, a bristling, political posthardcore outfit with a taste for smart-ass satire; they formed in the mid-2000s, and since then Rickly has anchored a constantly shifting lineup. United Nations started as a sort of squirting lapel flower aimed at everyone’s eyes: the artwork for their self-titled 2008 debut is a mirror image of the Abbey Road cover with the Beatles engulfed in flames, and it includes a logo that looks so much like the actual UN logo that the band received a cease-and-desist letter. Over the past couple years United Nations have started acting more like a working band—they’ve played more shows since last year than between 2005 and 2013—and they’ve kept their satirical bite in the process. The title and cover of their new album, The Next Four Years (Temporary Residence), refer to Black Flag’s The First Four Years, and the art includes copies of the cease-and-desist. On “Serious Business” Rickly belts out “This is serious business” over and over again, propelled by a rush of spiky guitars—and his bitter lyrics indict the inhumanity of the “industry” part of the music industry, which he presumably got a front-row look at during his time in Thursday.
In April, when Topshelf Records began streaming Frameworks’ debut album, Loom, Tom Breihan at Stereogum wrote, “It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to lump the band in with the current emo revival.” This seems to imply that fourth-wave emo (the “revival” in question) has a sound that’s sufficiently singular and well-defined to constitute a “lump.” The sounds of the 90s midwestern scene have certainly influenced current artists, but lots of bands have demonstrated that you can play emo without crushing on the Kinsellas’ back catalog. Frameworks meld vitriolic screamo barking, starlit postrock guitar, and nervy posthardcore drumming for a sound that’s colossal yet weightless, torn up yet lovely—the downcast, calm-before-the-storm guitars in the lumbering intro to “Familiar Haze” stop me in my tracks every time I hear them. —Leor Galil