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Thursday Discussion: Swan Songs That Deserve a Reunion

Posted by: Adam Pfleider (07/26/12)
The last few years certainly haven't been short on reunions. If you were in a band that reached cult status years after your disband, you may just be headlining festivals over current major selling artists who worship the stage you didn't play on for ten years. What makes us yearn for the reunion itself? Not every band went out on top to some, but some of us never even got a chance to make that judgement until years later. Still, no one can deny that a little nostalgia never hurt anyone.

I think the biggest incentive is when a band disbands after writing something so special with no follow-up. It's a Nolan film with a closer that keeps us guessing, "Well?! Is that it?! Need MOAR!" While I've been fortunate enough to see a lot of bands take to the stage again for a room overpowered with nostalgic stench, there are a still a few bands I wish would give it one last show to hopefully catch, because that last album was such a damn fine record. Here are ten "swan songs" that deserve one more moment of glory. What bands, based on their final album, deserve to give it another run, if not another record for that matter? Hit the replies and let us know.

1. Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside YouI've been pretty obsessed with Unwound for the past year or so. Not sure what it is, but I dove back in and haven't come up for air since. Unwound's final opus is cut into two parts and it's as challenging as it is intoxicating. There's a ton of things going on, but the layering and timing of the record is what sets it apart from the pack of general shoegaze, sludge and alt-predecessors. A completely different band from that of Fake Train and New Plastic Ideas, but it showcases one of the few bands that grew strongest in the decade they existed. If there's any band that hasn't reunited right now that I would kill to see - it would be Unwound.

2. Daughters - DaughtersI've seen Daughters multiple times. It's weird. It's uncomfortable. If you're on anything, it may just make you sick. While I liked a few elements off Hell Songs, it didn't stick for me. The band's self-titled - which ended up splitting the band up for creative differences - is flawless to my ears. The riffs are captivating, the vocal crooning is unnerving in the best way and the rhythms should be stripped and used as club bangers. Daughters never toured on the release, but I wish they'd put their differences aside and just jam out one last proper note of insanity.

3. Bear Vs. Shark - TerrorhawkThis is punk rock done so right that it should haunt every other band that comes in contact. Terrorhawk is an album that hides its savant playing so well in the extreme moods of the record, you don't even realize you're listening to something so refine on such a dangerously violent level. Here's the deal, I would pay a hell of a guarantee to get the band back together just to hear how loud and intense a room can get during the 3:54 mark on of "Song About Old Roller Coaster." Every moment I hear that, no other music exists.

4. Usurp Synapse - ATM Diatribe RehearsalsFound on the band's discography, Disinformation Fix, these are the final recordings of Usurp Synapse (think Dance Gavin Dance, but good, stranger and more violent). Weird vocal arrangements, sirens and chaos flood these six tracks, and it's a reminder that if done right - the ludicrously insane can rock hardest. I would love to see the band tear it up one more time and maybe give these songs a proper tour.

5. Kill Sadie - Experiments in ExpectationsWhen I generally talk to people about Kill Sadie, they're either as familiar with the band as I am or have no clue. The band's only full-length, guitarists Jay Clark and Patrick Scott create memorable turns and twists forgotten by the bulk of 2006's subpar standards. Anyone that ever got to catch a glimpse of the band live says it was quite ridiculous, and with Scott's addition of analog machines running between songs - man, I really want this to happen, and I know quite a large minority that want to see it as well.

6. The Blood Brothers - Young MachetesMany will tell you this is the band's worst record, and others will tell you its their best. Riddled with infighting of ideas, it's the band's most branched out and caustic record and one hell of building to bring down in the wake of a band who many try to reincarnate, but fail miserably at in the end. I heard a while back that a reunion may or may not have been in the works - and then nothing. I saw all the guys in the same room while watching Rocky Votolato and everyone seemed in good spirit a few years ago at SXSW. I'm not saying there needs to be another record of utter chaos, jazz and blunt tones - but maybe a 10 year anniversary tour would be a fun run.

7. Funeral Diner - Doors OpenPost-hardcore. Skramz. Screamo. Whatever crappy definition you want to give it - Funeral Diner still remain at the top of the game. On their final album, Doors Open, the band set a bar in 2007 that has finally carried well over into the next decade. "Neither Option" is a missing track from Thursday's A City By the Light Divided, and the grappling conclusion of "The Optimism" make me wish this wasn't the final curtain call. It's nice to see a band go out on top, but there are a few people that would travel a long way to catch one last 30 minute set. Probably not going to be as big as American Nightmare's reunion shows - but very close.

8. Engine Down - Engine DownEngine Down went from angst ridden hardcore to one of the best "post-" everything bands to ever exist. On their final record, they expand on the territory of the previously (flawless) release of Demure. Unfortunately label woes and touring issues were the ultimate demise of one of the most influential bands of the underground (see: Cursive, Minus the Bear, Felix Culpa). I was fortunate enough to see Engine Down on their first tour in support of the self-titled, but it would be my only. This is one of those bands that I judge people's musical tastes on quite harshly.

9. Crime in Stereo - I Was Trying to Describe You to SomeoneI've always been curious if this band was done before its release, or the fact that no one really understood the workings and stretch of Crime in Stereo's final album. Neither here nor there, there wasn't much of a tour cycle following its release, and if I can remember a few of the set-list I saw, not much support of the tracks either. I can see Crime in Stereo playing Fest 2020 possibly. Look, you guys can play all of The Troubled Stateside to please the majority. All I'm asking is to plug into three stacks before you encore with "Exit Halo" and just deafen the room with that outro.

10. Botch - An Anthology of Dead EndsOkay. Along with Refused and At the Drive In, a Botch reunion would be placed third - easily. I know the last thing the remaining members want to hear at a Russian Circles or Narrows or Minus the Bear show is you shouting "Frequency Ass Bandit!!!!" over and over again while they're trying to kick out some great new jams. FOR WHATEVER REASON, if this did happen, An Anthology of Dead Ends' key tracks overpower We Are the Romans as a whole. The timing in "Japam" makes me sad for most the Rise-core bands out there, and the best moments of "Framce" sound like someone's digging a quick tunnel to the center of the Earth. For now, I'll watch the final show DVD and just let a moment in time lay to rest. Hey, who knows what will happen in 2013, right?
  
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 133
03:28 PM on 07/26/12
#2
zachff
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DAY AT THE FAIR


DAY AT THE FAIR


DAY AT THE FAIR


The Rocking Chair Years was a phenomenal pop-punk album.
03:29 PM on 07/26/12
#3
Rysker6
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Very interesting read, really well done. Whenever thinking about reunions all I ever think about is Hopesfall. I'm a gigantic fanboy, and I'll admit it. After Magnetic North, they fell apart and Jay tried to keep the band going with hired guns. It wasn't the same and they disbanded (thankfully). But if they were to regroup, I mean Jay, Josh, Dustin, Mike, and Adam, I'd be there in a heartbeat, singing every lyric of "It Happens".
03:30 PM on 07/26/12
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Jason Gardner
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I immediately thought Blood Brothers. Good write up though.
03:31 PM on 07/26/12
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zachff
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Also:

The Format
Southcott
Houston Calls
Midtown
Park
Fall Out Boy (but they had plenty of success, so IDK if they qualify here)
03:33 PM on 07/26/12
#6
AShannon04
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This Day & Age
Park
03:36 PM on 07/26/12
#7
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Also:

The Format
Southcott
Houston Calls
Midtown
Park
Fall Out Boy (but they had plenty of success, so IDK if they qualify here)
qualify is based mostly on their final record. but i can see this turning into a general discussion of who hasn't reunited yet.
03:36 PM on 07/26/12
#8
_veges_
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I back Crime In Stereo so much, first band I immediately thought of when I saw this thread. Someone last year said they had talked to someone in the band who said they were getting back together but obviously that didn't happen

And Thursday, I would love to hear how they would build upon No Devolucion
03:38 PM on 07/26/12
#9
Xiegfried
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Set Phasers To Stun was a local-ish band that I wish would get back together. They only had an EP released, but it was pretty solid pop punk, in my opinion. Would've loved to hear more. Aside from that, I wish Harvey Danger would get back together. They put out an awesome album with Little by Little and I really wish they would do something more.

Still really psyched and surprised that The Fratellis got back together this year.
03:39 PM on 07/26/12
Cody Nelson
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What about a solo artist that's stopped making music? Do they count?
03:40 PM on 07/26/12
swboyd
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I totally agree with you one hundred percent on Bear vs. Shark and Botch. Didn't get into them until too late but they both are incredible bands. I'd also probably include Modern Life Is War in there too. Still probably my favorite hardcore band of all time. I'd love to see what they could have possibly done after Midnight In America because I loved the progression between that and Witness.
03:42 PM on 07/26/12
InaGreendase
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A lot of fans seemed to tire on the Bloods by Young Machetes but I thought that album killed it. Just behind Piano and MAYBE ahead of Crimes in their catalog. Just vicious and unrelenting.

Agreed a bunch with Daughters. Bummer I only got to see them once, and it was in support of Canada Songs (which, still, ruled).

That last CIS album is wildly overlooked. They got weirder and more experimental and naturally everyone clamored for the older songs, missing out on a very cool swan song.

A Bear vs. Shark tour would be wonderful. Would lose every ounce of shit to "Catamaran".
03:44 PM on 07/26/12
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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What about a solo artist that's stopped making music? Do they count?
oh yeah. totally. haha. we're not cutting hairs here.
03:45 PM on 07/26/12
swboyd
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I would also probably include Planes Mistaken For Stars in this, but I'm seeing them in a couple weeks....haha.
03:46 PM on 07/26/12
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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I would also probably include Planes Mistaken For Stars in this, but I'm seeing them in a couple weeks....haha.
would have included Harkonen, but they're playing a few shows as well.
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