Tag Archives: La Dispute

Album of the Day: La Dispute, “Panorama”

La Dispute are—without a doubt—the most significant, divisive band associated with the New Wave of Post-Hardcore (aka “The Wave”), for one reason, and one reason alone: they’ve got one hell of a way with words. Whereas their peers galvanize the subgenre’s requisite anguish into big-tent brutalism (Touché Amoré), turgid grunge-gaze (Pianos Become the Teeth), and wide-eyed alternative rock (mewithoutYou), the Michigan band play what is essentially the emo equivalent of spoken word—slam poetry at its most sullen. Listening to frontman Jordan Dreyer’s tense, eloquent monologues on 2008’s Somewhere At the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, with their tight prose and copious references to Japanese folklore, Edgar Allen Poe, and Kurt Vonnegut, one might swear they’d stumbled in on a depressive creative writing workshop. Despite this literary bent, La Dispute never force sentiment in their stories; they simply lay out the scenery, leaving us to read between the lines.  Continue reading

Exploring La Dispute’s “Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair” Reissue

La Dispute

You would be hard-pressed to find a debut album with as much nerve as Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, the inaugural album from the Grand Rapids, Michigan post-hardcore band La Dispute. Originally released in 2008—and newly rereleased in an altered version to mark its 10-year anniversary—Somewhere had goals as lofty as the full title is wordy. The album uses folklore and literature to steer 51 minutes of hardcore and metal into dramatic tales of lost and failing love, summing to an epic narrative involving kings, rivers, seraphs, and tempests.  Continue reading

A Guide to Spoken Word on Bandcamp

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Tanesha the Wordsmith

In May 2018, The Last Poets celebrated their 50th year with a new LP, Understand What Black Is. Back in the late ’60s, the group used politically charged raps and militant rhythms to raise black consciousness and spread awareness throughout Harlem, Manhattan. At the same time, in a different part of the city, Gil Scott-Heron was using his own barbed verse to attack consumer culture, mass media, and systemic racism, setting spoken word poetry to steady-boiling free jazz. And while spoken word verse had been around for centuries—think back to the storytelling of 13th century griots in the Mandé Empire of Mali, West Africa, or even further back to the original wordsmiths of Ancient Greece—Heron and the Last Poets were among the first to see its value as a popular art form, and a way to comment on the turbulent world around them.

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