Pianos Become the Teeth - Le Poisson Rouge

If you’re like me, you’ve spent countless nights in dimly lit rooms, blasting your favorite emo anthems and wallowing in the exquisitely melancholic and angsty vibe only this genre can provide. Emo, an offshoot of punk, rose to prominence in the mid-90s, and has since been a poignant voice for the disenchanted and heartbroken. In the 21st century, it took on new layers, embracing indie, pop-punk, and hardcore influences. However, while some bands like My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy found massive success, others stayed in the shadows, often unheard and underappreciated. But no more! Let’s dive into the unseen depths of emo and uncover the best bands of the 12 Best Undiscovered Emo Bands You Need to Listen to NOW.

The Criteria: Defining the “Best” and “Never Heard Of”

First, let me explain how I picked these bands. “Best” is, of course, subjective, but I looked at creativity, lyrical depth, unique sound, and their influence on the scene. “Never Heard Of” means they’re not topping the charts, they’re not selling out arenas, but they’re producing compelling, heart-rending music that deserves a wider audience.

The Golden Era: Hidden Gems from 2000-2010

1. Brandtson

Starting off our list is a band from Cleveland, Ohio. You might have overlooked Brandtson, but their brand of emo, tinged with pop-punk, is too good to ignore. Their album “Send Us A Signal” still resonates with its emotional honesty. I remember listening to “Who Are You Now?” on repeat during my college years.

2. On The Might Of Princes

Long Island has been a hotbed for emo, but few shine as brightly as On The Might Of Princes. Their raw, explosive style, combined with surprisingly tender lyrics, set them apart. Their album “Where You Are and Where You Want to Be” is a must-listen.

3. Northstar

Straight from Alabama, Northstar’s emo-pop sensibility showcased a more melodic take on the genre. Songs like “Rigged and Ready” from their album “Pollyanna” are filled with catchy hooks and heartfelt lyrics. Their music was a balm during the turmoil of my early twenties.

Emo’s Second Wave: Overlooked Bands from 2010-2020

4. Pianos Become The Teeth

As emo grew darker and more introspective, Pianos Become The Teeth offered a potent blend of post-rock and screamo. Their album “The Lack Long After” grapples with loss and grief in a gut-wrenching way. I still get chills when I hear “I’ll Get By.”

5. Citizen

Citizen is a band that beautifully blends emo, punk, and grunge elements. Their album “Youth” provides an introspective look into the challenges of growing up. “The Summer” is a track that still gets me nostalgic about feeling lost at times during the teenage years.

6. Touché Amoré

Touché Amoré combines post-hardcore with emo, creating a sound that’s as cathartic as it is emotionally challenging. Their album “Stage Four” navigates the pain of losing a loved one with brutal honesty.

Emo in the New Decade: Rising Stars in the 2020s

7. Origami Angel

Representing the new wave of emo, Origami Angel’s brand of twinkly emo-pop is as catchy as it is emotionally resonant. Their debut album “Somewhere City” captures the uncertainty and restlessness of modern youth.

8. Dogleg

Dogleg’s music is a blistering mix of emo and post-hardcore. Their 2020 debut “Melee” is a high-energy exploration of frustration and determination, perfect for when you need that extra push.

9. Retirement Party

A staple of the 2020s emo scene, Retirement Party combines catchy hooks with emotionally complex lyrics. Their sophomore album “Runaway Dog” is a heartfelt exploration of anxiety and self-doubt.

Emo Around the World: International Bands Making Noise

10. Muncie Girls (UK)

Emo isn’t confined to the States. UK’s Muncie Girls deliver emotionally charged punk with insightful social commentary. “Fixed Ideals” is an album that speaks to the collective angst of our generation.

11. Heaven In Her Arms (Japan)

Japan’s Heaven In Her Arms offers a unique blend of screamo, post-rock, and emo. Their album “White Halo” is a masterpiece of emotional intensity.

12. The Smith Street Band (Australia)

From Down Under, The Smith Street Band’s punk-driven emo is both raw and poignantly relatable. Their album “More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me” covers mental health struggles with heartbreaking honesty.

Honorable Mentions

This list wouldn’t be complete without some honorable mentions: Fireworks, Turnover, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and La Dispute.

So there you have it. A deep dive into the often overlooked corners of emo. These bands each bring a unique voice, a poignant story, and a testament to the genre’s power and versatility. Please explore their music and keep an ear open for other underappreciated talent. Emo is far from dead, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Recommended Tracks Playlist

Check out this curated list of songs from the bands highlighted in this article:

Thanks to all the bands and their fantastic music, and to my fellow emo fans who have shared their own underrated favorites.

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