Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Artist of the Day: La Dispute

With a post-hardcore edge and a poetic delivery, Michigan powerhouse La Dispute distance themselves from their contemporaries. In addition to dual guitars, bass and drums, they incorporate synths, bongos and even recorded coin drops to add a unique depth to their progressive experimental music. Falling somewhere between Thursday and a spoken word monologue, La Dispute is a band that you must listen to. Now.

The band has been making waves throughout the underground hardcore scene for quite some time now. After releasing a few 7"s and their debut Vancouver, the Grand Rapids quintet busted through all barriers with the genre-bending masterpiece Somewhere At The Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair in 2008. If the title didn't give it away, the album is a modern day epic. As a telling of an ancient Asian folktale through hardcore riffs and countered through slow mesmerizing reflections, Somewhere at the Bottom… is also a sonic journey. "Bury Your Flame" is a perfect fusion of blues, post-rock and hardcore that will make you wonder how they conceived its structure in the first place while the twelve-minute pinnacle of "The Last Lost Continent" will take you through an adventure of sounds that you'll never forget.

The band builds upon their art and poetry with their Here, Hear releases. These short burst of tracks each contains several songs that are more stripped down and raw. The first two Here, Hears feature performance readings of book excerpts that you may have heard before. Followed up with a split with Touche Amore in 2010 and another split with Koji in 2011, La Dispute released their much anticipated second LP titled Wildlife in 2011. The album takes the concepts from a fictional author and pins them to a storytelling force. Clocking in just under and hour, Wildlife takes the band's personal experiences and delivers them in unbridled emotion and honesty. Though the vocal approach is more direct and less poetic, the album still features Jordan Dreyer's harsh vocals that have become quite a topic for discussion about fans and non-fans alike. Check out "King Park" for an emotional roller coaster about a drive-by shooting or "I See Everything" about a teacher's struggle as her child slowly succumbs to cancer. "Edit Your Hometown" is heavy on the riff side if you prefer the more hardcore vibes of Somewhere at the Bottom… while "The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit" capitalizes on sex which slowly gains momentum as the song goes on.

Though considered a part of the musical movement "The Wave" amongst Make Do and Mend, Touche Amore, Pianos Become the Teeth and Defeater, La Dispute have crafted their own sound and honed it with extreme precision on each subsequent release. If you like any of the aforementioned bands and have either not listened to La Dispute or have had a hard time connecting with them before, I urge you to sit down and listen through each of their records one by one. The vocal approach may be a barrier to some, but the music becomes that much better when you can relate the emotional delivery to the story. Overall, it's a sound that few can replicate and most no one else can master. Listen to La Dispute and get lost in pure art.

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