Rockets and Blue Lights - A Smashed City With Flames and Music in the Air [10-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Rockets and Blue Lights

A Smashed City With Flames and Music in the Air [10-inch] (2003)

Redder Records

I've become enamored with emo music for the better part of 12 years. It all started with At the Drive-In, who led me into that underground, independent world. The search for more and more has led me to many different paths, but I still come back to the source. I don't know what it is about this particular type of music, but it just registers so well with how my life has been. It sprouted up organically from other roots (hardcore/indie) and became anybody's music. Even those who didn't have amazing skills or talent showcased something about themselves whether it was suburban struggle, or political uproar. It was honest, truthful and free.

There isn't much known about this band from Albany, N.Y. other than this 10-inch EP from a small independent label that released records by Kind of Like Spitting and the City on Film. What's astonishing is this small collection sounds right out of the '90s, but was only released in 2003. You can base that on the quality of the recordings perhaps, but the overall tone and nature of these four tunes gives that impression much more weight. The songs quietly build up to high crescendos, then back down to murky depths of sorrowful choruses and angst. The musicianship is rough, but meaningful and sort of resembles early Cursive circa Domestica and that whole midwesty thing. The vocals are scattered throughout and not really the highlight because the long instrumentals during each track take over that aspect, but are nice and brought the Kossabone Red back to my attention. There is pain felt and heartbreak written, but told through the music itself. The notes played can be the words that are failed to be said.

This EP is very short by track numbers, but the songs themselves are all around three to five minutes in length, so it's not just a hop and skip through some old ass collection of obscurity. These findings of past artists are worth checking out because it fills in a lot of the gaps. There is this thing, and I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's a sort of mold and this music fits into that mold. It's a place where something unique happened and these sporadic releases are a result of that time and place. The inspiration that these bands long gone have left today is still felt, and many kids are trying their best to be a part of something that maybe once was…