With At The Drive In and Glassjaw returning, let's celebrate punk's more cerebral brother
Will Butler

15:39 2nd December 2015

Within two days news has broken that both At The Drive In and Glassjaw will be hitting the road on tour with the potential for new albums. Glassjaw actually dropped a new track titled ‘New White Extremity’. This is very exciting for post-hardcore fans, very exciting indeed. While a very niche group of punk fans foam at the mouths, let’s take a moment to explain the definition of post-hardcore to the uninitiated.

Born out of the hardcore tradition in Washington DC in the late eighties, post-hardcore took the rigid and caustic punk foundations of bands like Minor Threat and Naked Raygun and ran with them to uncharted territories. The ‘loud and fast’ formula of past punk was substituted for more explorative and diverse ways of creating intense and raucous environments through creative dynamics, genre-splicing, purposeful and profound lyricism as well as more skillful musicianship.

From the late 80s innovation of Fugazi through the depressing and bleak clang of the 90s with Slint and Drive Like Jehu to the fan favourites, At The Drive In, and beyond. Here is a breakdown of post-hardcore from then to now.

  • At The Drive In - Relationship of Command: The most well-rounded and renowned record in the genre, maybe, but definitely a staple for any fan of the howling arts. Relationship of Command put a wide array of influences in motion as the punk genre started to develop moss. While the music is mesmerising and gut-wrenching, it's legacy, including the infamous Jools Holland performance, is what keeps Relationship of Command in the hall of fame and post-2000 post-hardcore on the map.

  • Alexisonfire - Old Crows / Young Cardinals: On the verge of break up, Alexisonfire’s (final?) album is the collation of all the band's progress and development in 45 minutes. The single's have punch and the vocal production between Wade and Dallas is some of the best in the genre. Most importantly, as is with every post-hardcore, it has buckets of soul - if there was no more Alexis, this would be a great album to end it on.

  • Glassjaw - Worship and Tribute: With the news of new Glassjaw material, today is the perfect day to revisit this spectacle of post-hardcore. Worship and Tribute embodies the diverse influence of the genre with samples of afrobeat, jazz and funk as well as delving further into the heavier dimensions of noise-rock than they had ever gone at the time - essential listening.

  • Fugazi - Repeater: Not the first in the genre, but what Ian McKaye did for punk music has the frontman of Fugazi and Dischord records cannot be overlooked. Fugazi represent the political and DIY aspects of post-hardcore that forged the foundations of emo and future-punk. Repeater is, in all seriousness, the Sgt Peppers of post-hardcore.

  • Cap'n Jazz - Burritos, Inspiration Point, Fork Balloon Sports, Cards in the Spokes, Automatic Biographies, Kites, Kung Fu, Trophies, Banana Peels We've Slipped On and Egg Shells We've Tippy Toed Over: In short, because congratulations if you actually read the whole album title, Cap'n Jazz embody the happy and sad duality of punk music. They also want on to form seminal emo band, American Football.

  • Enter Shikari - Take To The Skies: Not the most conventional album to bit among the greats, but Enter Shikari deserve some serious credit for the diversity and quality of their debut album. Blending obnoxious dance music with imaginative punk and coming up tops overall is quite a feat.

  • Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me: While their most recent LP Daisy is a straightforward and powerful surge through the post-hardcore world, Devil and God is a different beast entirely. Winding its way through genres, the LP's tracks dramatically transform halfway through, morphing from melodic calm to explosive fury and keeping the listener firmly on their toes.

  • Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime: Treading the borders between emo and hardcore, Drive Like Jehu died as they lived, fast and unapologetically. Their music was so influential one bass and drum duo picked up exactly where they left off and named themselves Death From Above 1979.

  • Refused - The Shape of Punk To Come: One of the most influential records of it's time, the Swedish punks pushed the genre to new limits with this magnum opus. Politically charged to the gills, Shape has since become the standard of commentative punk.

  • Slint - Spiderland: Forget OK Computer, forget Unknown Pleasures - Slint's Spiderland is by far the most depressing and soul-destroying album ever created. While simultaneously innovating the post-rock framework, Slint also set the example of how punk music doesn't need to be aggressive to be intense, sometimes the slower moments are the most wretched and sometimes the most enlightening.

  • Touche Amore - Is Survived By: Despite only dropping in 2013, the California post-hardcore outfit have been releasing stellar LP after stellar LP since 2007. They are just one of many band's that are contuining the legacy of the genre, of Dischord records and of every angsty teen who wants to express the vast facets of their rage.

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Photo: Artwork