For the pop-punk, 17-year-old in everyone, this year's Austin City Limits Festival lineup brings together an outstandingly nostalgic group of artists who are reuniting — at least with their Central Texas fan base. Where many of us were once embarrassed by the genre moniker "emo," ACL talent bookers have kindly provided us the opportunity to reembrace the term in our ripe, older age with the help of some of the forefathers of emotional indie-rock: Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, Pinback and Jimmy Eat World.
We've taken a look at these artists' recent activity and strolled down memory lane as well, pulling up our favorite songs and lyrics from 10 to 15 years ago.
Twin Forks (fronted by Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional)
"Well as for now I'm gonna hear the saddest songs
And sit alone and wonder
How you're making out
But as for me, I wish that I was anywhere with anyone
— "Screaming Infidelities" from The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, 2001
With tambourines, finger-picking, a female background vocalist and a slot at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Twin Forks is much more folk than emotional angst (see: Dashboard Confessional's "The Best Deception"). Leaving the sound of Dashboard behind for this project, Carrabba has said, “Whatever makes the audience stomp their feet and sing at the top of their lungs, that’s what I want to be doing. I want to be generating that spirit from the stage."
What's particularly nice for those of us who spent our formative years lying on our bedroom floor, listening to the So Impossible EP is that Carrabba isn't trying to hide that past with his new audience. "I love Dashboard. I love Further. I love my bandmates in those bands, and I don’t have any plans to not do those bands with those guys. I feel really, really lucky that I have the opportunity to be in another band that I care about this much."
By the time they hit ACL, the band will be in the middle of a two-month tour supporting their self-titled debut EP.
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2:30 - 3:15 pm, Austin Ventures Stage, and Sunday, Oct. 13, 2:30 - 3:15 pm, Austin Ventures Stage
"da da da da da da..... da da da da da da...
da da da dunna da da da
da da da dunna da da da"
— "Loro" from This is Pinback, 1999
Remember when Pitchfork freaked out when Pinback "emo-fied themselves" back in 2001 on Blue Screen Life? Well, it worked, because in the early 2000's, San Diegans Pinback became known for repetitive, delicate instruments on the likes of "Loro" and "Penelope," where lyrics were secondary to the general vibe the musical arrangement produced.
Masters of subtlety, Pinback released Information Retrieved in 2012 after a five-year hiatus, which flew mostly under the radar. On it, there appears to be more drive, but, still, an overall peacefulness to the music. Just when you think they might have pushed themselves into musically uncharted territory as a band, it feels like they pull in the reins to stay at a nice canter within their (and their listeners') comfort zone.
"We’ve been touring more in the last year before the record came out, more than we ever have," said Zach Smith in March. "I guess it’s nice to have some new blood in the set. Not like, 'God I've got to play 'Loro' for the 7,000th time.' Not that I don’t love the song. It’s great to throw something in like, 'Oh, great, I get to fuck up this song now. I’ve never played it!' A little challenge makes it a little more exciting in there."
Friday, Oct. 4 3:30 - 4:30 PM Bud Light Stage & Fri, Oct. 11th , 3:30 - 4:30 PM Bud Light Stage
Jimmy Eat World
"I'm not alone, 'cause the TV's on, yeah
I'm not crazy, 'cause I take the right pills every day"
— "Bleed American" from Bleed American, 2001
Ah, what 30-year-old doesn't have megamemories set to the tracks of Jimmy Eat World? (Wait, don't answer that.) Formed in the early '90s in Arizona, Jimmy Eat World has never really stopped recording albums and touring, though their heyday as a band came in 2001 with Bleed American and the now-classic loner anthem "The Middle." Surrounding that mainstream breakthrough, the band toured incessantly in support of comrades like Green Day, Weezer, Tenacious D and Blink-182.
Naturally, by now, the individuals of the band have experienced a lot more life and write about it from a new perspective. "I’m 37, and the world around me is a lot different than when I was writing break-up songs in my 20s. I tried to reflect that in what the lyrics are," frontman Jim Adkins told Rolling Stone about Jimmy Eat World's Damage, released in 2013.
Still, Jimmy Eat World recognizes that a great deal of its audience has, remarkably, grown up with them and stayed true in their fandom, so the band never shies away from playing the hits live. And fret not: The new material is just as energetic, if more mature.
Friday, Oct. 4, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, Samsung Galaxy Stage, and Friday, Oct. 11, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, Samsung Galaxy Stage