La Dispute has never been a band prone to settling. The five-piece from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is responsible for some of the most uncompromising, experimental hardcore music of the last decade. From their 2008 debut (in their current formation) Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, to 2011’s Wildlife, to 2015’s Rooms of the House, La Dispute have continually pushed themselves to find new ways to portray some of the most difficult and universally affecting subject matters.
What started as an outspoken hardcore band around 2013, has mutated into an angular blend of sass and spitefulness. Taking cues from bands of yesteryear such as Unwound, The Jesus Lizard, and Fugazi, we find Gouge Away pulling no punches.
Vocalist Christina Michelle comes with a deeper introspection on struggles with mental health, not holding back with this incredibly personal outpouring. Guitarists Mick Ford and Dylan Downey bring a dissonance to their sound that separates the listener from what could be expected while the rhythm section made up of Tyler Forsythe and Tommy Cantwell aggressively keep the songs in place.
Chicago's Slow Mass has a simple guiding principle: "No shortcuts." Formed in 2015, the band released their debut EP Treasure Pains, offering up an expansive new take on both post-hardcore and indie-rock. The band toured in support of the EP with the likes of mewithoutYou, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, and Pianos Become the Teeth.
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