Posted on October 12th, 2015
Arizona Landmine had us fighting over "who heard them first" by their first Weezer reference. This band is all that reminds you of what it's like to hear something fresh and new, and we absolutely cannot wait to share them with you! Their first listen is up at New Noise Magazine now!
In the 1990s, “emo” described a quality of music rather than its genre. A song was emo in the same way it could be classified as heavy or hardcore, and all it meant was that it possessed an emotional intensity or depth. This ambiguity made emo an exciting, almost mysterious idea—the music could be spontaneous, delicate or chaotic, raw or dense—but it also spelled its death when tastemakers tried to define it as a genre.
It’s exciting, then, when a band like Arizona Landmine emerges and embodies what emo meant before its meaning was distorted. Their first release, a five-song EP titled When Will I Ever Learn?,displays a young band whose powerful, explosive power pop seems to disregard genre and deny the listener the luxury of predictability.
“This Ain’t My First Rodeo,” the record’s second song, is rowdy and belligerent and rages like a beast cooped up too long, but breaks into awkward cartwheels at the beginning of each phrase, its guitars tumbling in time with playful drum fills. Singer Griffen Clark’s voice strains above the stampeding beat, competes with the clamorous chords as the song veers into a noisy, dissonant bridge. “Too High” is similarly thunderous, though straighter, simpler, and more melodic. But it’s during the song’s shushed verse, as the bass wows beneath the stippled toms, that Clark offers his lyrics like scattered snapshots: “Senior year of high school,” he sings, “We would count the days till we could hang / Drive to Steve’s apartment / the streets would echo with the Weezer songs we’d sing / Wear my black hoodie / at night so I’d feel invisible / The stray cat on the corner / was nothing short of being incredible.”
There are lithe, intricate moments as well. On “American Spirits,” guitars glitter and ring and sway like wind chimes in a fall breeze. Clark’s voice is quiet, velvety and vulnerable, threading between the tangled guitars. Juxtapose this with “Method Acting,” the record’s wildest track. On it, the guitars squirm and scamper across tantruming drums, and Clark’s howl cuts through the chaos.
Of course, it’s all these descriptors—rowdy, awkward, thunderous, lithe and intricate, vulnerable and wild—that makes When Will I Ever Learn? a satisfying and surprising emo record. Arizona Landmine isn’t afraid to exhibit emotional honesty in whatever form it escapes them, regardless of how it sounds and regardless of how it’s classified.