is a genre of music
which predominantly evolved from hardcore punk, among other genres,
in the early 1990s. The term "screamo" was initially applied to a
more aggressive offshoot of emo
in San Diego in 1991, which used short, chaotically executed songs
which grafted "spastic intensity to willfully experimental
dissonance and dynamics."In the early 2000s, the genre name began
to describe a different, slower and less dissonant style that
borrowed from alternative rock
term's application to the "second wave" is controversial among fans
and practitioners of the earlier style. One musician alleged that
the term "has been kind of tainted in a way, especially in the
First wave (c. 1991 - Present)
"screamo" was initially applied to a music genre that began in
1991, in San Diego, at the Ché Café, with groups such as Heroin, Antioch
Arrow, Angel Hair, Mohinder,
Swing Kids, and Portraits of Past. These groups were
influenced by Washington D.C.
(particularly Fugazi and Nation of Ulysses), straight edge, the Chicago group Articles of Faith, and post-punk, such as Joy
Division and Bauhaus.
and Ebullition Records
released this more
and expressive style of hardcore.
The scene was also notable for its distinctive fashion sense,
inspired by mod
culture. The Crimson Curse
, The Locust
, Some Girls
, and The Rapture
. The Plot to Blow Up the
incorporated the style into punk jazz
. Much as emo was, the term "screamo" was
always controversial in the scene.
The innovations of the San Diego scene eventually spread elsewhere,
such as to the Seattle group The Blood Brothers
. East Coast
groups, such as Orchid
,, Circle Takes the Square
, pg. 99
, Hot Cross
were influential in the
continual development and reinvention of the style. These groups
tended to be much closer to grindcore
their forebears. Powerviolence
-inflected screamo is sometimes
referred to as emo violence
, a name half-jokingly proposed
The original screamo style is still practiced by a variety of
groups, particularly in Europe. Amanda Woodward, Louise Cyphre,
are prime examples of the European scene. These bands often release
their records themselves or through independent labels, often
recording splits with other bands from the same scene.
Although the contemporary DIY
screamo scene is
more prevalent in Europe, there are still many active bands in
America. Examples include Comadre from Redwood City, Off Minor
(ex-Saetia) from New York, Spires from Oakland and ...Who Calls So
Loud (ex-Funeral Diner
and I Wrote
Haikus About Cannibalism in Your Yearbook.) from San
Many first-wave screamo groups saw themselves as implicitly
political, and as a reaction against the turn to the right
embodied by California politicians, such as
. Some groups were
also unusually theoretical in inspiration: Angel Hair
writers Antonin Artaud
and Georges Bataille
, and Orchid
lyrically name-checked French new wave
icon Anna Karina
and critical theory
originators the Frankfurt School
First-wave screamo uses typical rock instrumentation, but is
notable for its brief compositions, chaotic execution, and
screaming vocals. It has been described, by music journalist Jason
Heller, as "graft[ing] spastic intensity to willfully experimental
dissonance and dynamics," indicating a kinship with noise rock
. Later groups sometimes included
synthesizers and other electronic sounds.
Second wave (2001–present)
By 2002, the genre name drifted into the music press, especially in
the journalism of Jim DeRogatis
. "Screamo" began to
describe a different, much slower and less dissonant style, like
, that borrowed from alternative rock
. These new bands
incorporate commercial elements of rock
. As the two styles are
noticeably distinct, the wide contemporary usage of the term
'screamo' has been controversial among some critics. The Sacramento
, and the Canadian group Grade
, were among the first bands to practice
this variety of screamo. The second outcropping of groups to be
given the name included Thursday
Thursday also cited post-punk
) and post-hardcore (Fugazi
) as important influences, but also took cues
from the alternative rock of Radiohead
, and The Cure
contrast to the DIY first-wave screamo groups, Thursday
have signed multialbum contracts with labels such as
Island Def Jam
and Reprise Records
. Bert McCracken
, lead singer of The Used,
stated that "screamo" is merely a term "for record companies to
sell records and for record stores to categorize them." The groups
generally prefer to be described as post-hardcore
Second-wave screamo typically makes use of dual guitars and eschews
guitar solos, and is most identifiable by its "frequent shifts in
tempo and dynamics and by tension-and-release catharses." Unlike
the first wave of screamo, these bands often compose ballads
. Second-wave screamo has been
described as "mixing the literate, poetic lyrics of emo with a
harsher and more metallic brand of sonic thrash" as well as using
screaming vocals "as a kind of crescendo element, a sonic weapon to
be trotted out when the music and lyrics...reach a particular
emotional pitch". The screams can be very low-pitch to very high
- Jason Heller, "Feast of Reason". Denver Westword, June
20, 2002.  Access date: June 15, 2008
- "A History of Emo Music", Gigwise. July 17, 2008.
 Access date: July 18, 2008.
- Jan, "Yellow is the new pink", 18-04-07
- "A Day with the Locust", L.A. Weekly, September 18,
2003  Access date: June 19, 2008
- Local Cut, Q&A with Aaron Montaigne.  May 14, 2008. Access date: June 11,
- Ebullition Catalog, Portraits of Past discography. 
Access date: August 9, 2008.
- Swing Kids covered "Warsaw"; Justin Pearson discusses Joy Division's
influence in an interview on Skatepunk.net,  Access date: June 13, 2008
- Trevor Kelley, "California Screaming". Alternative Press 17
(2003), pp. 84-86.
- Interview with Justin Pearson on Skatepunk.net,  Access date: June 13, 2008
- Matt Schild, "Going to Extremes", Aversion, May 19,
2003.  Access date: June 16, 2008
- Matt Schild, "Heaven's Pregnant Teens" review,
- Sub Pop biography, 
Access date: June 16, 2008.
- Joel Caris, Concert Review, Blogcritics Magazine, February 21,
2005.  Access date: June 17, 2008
- Matt Schild, "Bleeding Hearts." Aversion.com. March 3, 2003.
 Access date: June 15, 2008.
- "Orchid always was, and always will be the quintessential
screamo band of the late 90s, as they encompassed everything people
like me love about the genre, and throw their own unique spin on
it" - Anchors; Review of Orchid's Totality, December 27,
2005. Access date: June 16, 2008. 
- Nick Catucci, The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, 2004.
 Access date: June 17, 2008.
- Ryan Buege, "Circle Takes the Square is in the Studio".
Metal Injection, June 15, 2008.  Access date: June 17, 2008
- Nick Greer, Ampere review, Sputnik Music, August 29,
2005.  Access date: August 9, 2008.
- "Another interesting sub-sub-genre was this strange crossover
of first-generation emo and grind. Bands like Reversal of Man or
Orchid may not have stood the test of time, but it was a pretty
cool sound at the time and one that was pretty uniquely American. -
Greg Pratt, "Altered States," "Grindcore Special," part 2,
Terrorizer #181, March 2009, p. 43.
- Jason Thompson, Violent Resignation review,
PopMatters.  Access date: June 17, 2008.
- Kevin Jagernauth, PopMatters, November 29, 2004.
 Access date: July 28, 2008.
- "Altogether, our music certainly still is 'screamo'." - Sven,
interview with Julien, "ShootMeAgain Webzine", 06-11-2006. 
- Orchid, Dance Tonight, Revolution Tomorrow.
Allmusic Guide.  Access date: June 17, 2008.
- Jim DeRogatis, "Screamo", Guitar World, November 2002
 Access date: July 18, 2008
- San Diego Weekly Reader, November 22, 2006. 
Access date: June 16, 2008
- Interview with Thursday on The PunkSite.com,  Access date: June 13, 2008.
- Andy Greenwald, Nothing Feels
Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo, New York: Saint
Martin's Griffin, 2003, p. 153
- Greenwald, p. 149.
- Andy Greenwald, "Screamo 101", Entertainment Weekly,
no. 738, Nov. 21, 2003. Access date: August 2, 2008.
- Corey Apar, A City By the Light Divided review,
Allmusic,  Access date: August 2, 2008.
- "Plus, what screamo band doesn't have ballads?" -Troy Davis.
San Diego Weekly Reader, November 11, 2006. 
Access date: June 16, 2008