Really Rad Records has released their multi-band taster titled ‘The Ultimate Emo Album’ on, well, Really Rad Records. ‘The Ultimate Emo Album’ is the first in a new series of split albums featuring rising emo artists on the Really Rad Records roster. This volume includes contributions from Portland’s Swiss Army Wife, Montreal’s Avec Plaisir, and Phoenix emo group Celebration Guns.
I really wish more labels would get on this bandwagon. What better way to introduce artists to entirely new and diverse audiences than to place them all together. Isn’t that what most concerts do? Well, now the concept is in your earbuds or, hopefully, your nice big set of Celestion cabinets.
More of an ultimate indie album than an ultimate emo album, in my humble opinion, the album is as much a celebration as it is an introduction. Diversity separates the tracks while originality introduces the artists. Listen for yourself.
About ‘The Ultimate Emo Album’
The Ultimate Emo Album is the first in a new series of split albums featuring rising emo artists on the Really Rad Records roster. This volume includes contributions from Portland’s Swiss Army Wife, Montreal’s Avec Plaisir, and Phoenix emo group Celebration Guns.
About The Bands
They don’t make them like Swiss Army Wife anymore. The Portland, Oregon, band’s particular take on emo–heavy on the math riffs, extremely gruff vocally, and fun as hell–might seem quaint in 2022/3, a time when most bands are finding ways to distance themselves as much as possible from the hallmarks of the genre. But the band’s debut full-length, Medium Gnarly, is refreshing in its back-to-basics approach, charming in a way that recalls the scrappy early work of now-iconic groups like You Blew It! or Free Throw.
Although they’ve been playing together since 2019, Avec Plaisir really came to life in 2022. With the release of their debut LP, the modestly titled An Album, they built on everything impressive about their Demos for Dave and I Don’t Really Car EPs. Throwing emo, math rock, punk, and even flashes of post-rock into a blender, the Montreal foursome have honed their craft.
Celebration Guns is preoccupied with time. It’s clear in the titles of their last two releases–2020’s On Aging Gracelessly and 2021’s The Visiting Years–and in their song titles: “Something About Hindsight in 2020,” “Old Man Yells at Cloud,” “Better Days,” “The Me That Used to Be.” The idea of a focus on time, the passing and wasting of it, isn’t anything new for an emo band. But the members of Celebration Guns aren’t teenagers pining for the good times with their ex, they’re all in their 40s, and they’ve been doing this for over a decade.
So when the words, “Can I repent for wasted years?” are choked out over a sparkling math riff, you know they mean it. There are any number of bands out there who want to be the next Algernon, the next Snowing, the next Hightide Hotel–and a lot of them rock. Celebration Guns isn’t doing that. They’re just trying to make the music they want to make. There are elements they share with bands like those, though, the bright and jaunty leads, the sticky pop-rock hooks, the wild time signatures. When it comes from Celebration Guns, it just sounds more real, somehow. Call it aging gracefully.