Music Reviews
The Emo Diaries, Chapter Ten

The Emo Diaries, Chapter Ten

Various Artists

Deep Elm

Deep Elm’s The Emo Diaries has been a staple of the indie/emo scene for quite some time, having showcased such up-and-comers as Jimmy Eat World, Samiam, The Movielife and Further Seems Forever long before the majority of them were household names in even the most pretentious indie rock circles. With Chapter 10, The Emo Diaries comes to a close at long last, and, as expected, it ends not with a bang but a whimper; a more fitting end is unimaginable.

Although not every sad, whiney, self-destructive entry committed to The Diaries over the past few years has been memorable A-List material, one certainly has to admire Deep Elm for putting together a series that so very much embodies the true DIY spirit of independent music. The Diaries have been, and always will be, a fantastic showcase of what the world of indie music is capable of without corporate sponsorships, without expense accounts, without glossy press kits. The bands collected here are making music without all of this, and they’re doing it because it’s what they want to do, it’s what they’re about. And the fans who have been picking up these discs are music fans in the truest sense, for whom much of the joy of music is the joy of discovery. This is indie rock, damnit!

Chapter 10 is not all that different from what has come before. Musically, some of it is fantastic, and some of it is mediocre. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who loves every single track on this disc, but on the other hand, it’d seem almost impossible to not find at least a couple gold nuggets here. For me, on this particular album, it’s My Name Is Nobody and A Month of Somedays that stand out from the pack, making the listen worthwhile. The former marries hardcore, punk and emo in a distinctive way that makes one immediately realize just what is wrong with all the other bands that try to do this and fail so miserably. The latter reminds me of Lonesome Crowded West-era Modest Mouse, if guest vocals were provided courtesy of a certain Eels frontman. It’s beautifully sad and awkward, yet whimsical and fun at the same time.

The rest is the rest. Lock and Key has tons of power and energy, but they sound just a little too much like Hot Water Music. Lukestar, The Holiday Plan and Latitude Blue are pretty good. The Silent Type is okay. But that’s just the thing: not all of this is for everybody, and although I don’t love some of the artists here, somebody will. The point of making a compilation of unsigned bands is to bring together these different acts and put them all together in one place, hoping that if you draw from a deep enough talent pool you’ll find a number of emerging artists that many different listeners will enjoy, Google up, maybe buy a record from their website or catch a show if they come through town.

You might not find the next generation of rock superstars here, and you won’t find them in the first volume of This Is Indie Rock (Deep Elm’s next compilation series), either. What you will find is honest, hard-working, meaningful music. And although The Emo Diaries have finally come to their end (shed a tear!), one can only imagine that Deep Elm will continue putting out great compilations of unknown artists well into the future.

Emo Diaries:

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