No one ever said that sad music had to be quiet, or that hardcore had to be tough and aggressive, and, actually, there’s music that exists that challenges both assumptions: Oakland’s Yearbooks.
Screamo is more than a term ruined by prolonged misuse; it’s a strain of post-hardcore known for being particularly melodic, yet chaotic and expressive. The sub-genre was realized in the early ’90s, and was pretty much on its way out by the time I knew about it. Some would argue that the movement was heavily conceived here in the Bay Area by bands like Indian Summer, Funeral Diner, Yaphet Kotto and Portraits of Past, all of which called it quits by the mid-2000s. There’s your brief sub-genre history for enjoyment — the point being, it’s awesome that this sound has come out hibernation with bands like Yearbooks.
Newly spawn from members of Monuments Collapse and Beau Navire, Yearbooks is very much celebrating screamo in the classic sense, with serious emphasis on the sad parts. The lyrics are highly personal and up for display, linked to each streaming track on Yearbooks’ Bandcamp page (you shouldn’t hide your true feelings, right?).
Last month, Yearbooks introduced a six-song EP titled See You Next Year, riddled with Star Trek references (each track name is an episode title) and a sample halfway through that Trekkies will appreciate, too. The EP is currently available digitally, and will be released on cassette via Condition Records sometime soon. So far, tracks 4 and 5 make a lasting impression on me, their descending riffs and choppy, repeating vocals combine for an overall Saetia-like feel, except that the songs are brief, as opposed to being extended melodic hardcore epics.
This Sunday, Yearbooks plays at 924 Gilman in Berkeley with Circle Takes the Square, Loma Prieta, Great Collapse (LA) and Bloodshot & Dilated ($10 with a Gilman membership, $12 without).