I went up to Baltimore on Friday for a night of good old fashioned American indie rock. The kind of early to mid-90′s, DIY-fueled, noisy indie rock that produced local legends like Ian MacKaye and J. Robbins. I guess it’s what music historians are calling post-hardcore these days. Emotional rock music with hardcore’s heart but with a compositional sophistication that punk could never pull off. This music has got guts and up tempos and expresses deep emotion without ever sounding limp or boring. It is music that can keep a room full of people moving or just as easily soundtrack your loneliest moment.
The big draw for me on Friday was finally seeing Office of Future Plans headline a show. This is J. Robbins’ new project that he has been incubating for almost two years now. Anything new from J. Robbins of Jawbox (et al.)* is going to peak my interest, but I had been hearing great things about his latest group and I wanted to check them out in the right setting. A special bonus on the bill was SPRCSS, a mysterious post-punk band with minimal internet presence, who surface like a submarine surprise attack every few years to blow audiences away with their select performances. Kicking things off was Baltimore’s own psychedelic freak-out heroes, Whoarfrost. Watching this spastic, noisy triple bill in The Wind-Up Space really took me back to my first days in DC, back when almost every other night offered great shows full of sonically interesting, passionate, local indie-rock bands who mixed power and emotion perfectly.