Ah, to be a high school student in the early 2000s. When finding great new bands was as easy as turning on Steven’s Untitled Rock Show, waiting patiently for your parents’ dial-up internet to load their Purevolume page, gushing about them on AbsolutePunk, then making them your new Myspace profile song.
Fast forward to 2016. Suddenly I am 28 and recently swapped Spotify playlists with a close friend (sorry, no mix CDs – maybe next time). We shared influential bands and songs throughout our lives – some I still listened to regularly, others I hadn’t heard in over ten years. The process sent me digging through a bunch of artists who influenced me back in high school, and now they either: A) made my ears bleed or B) struck me by how well they still hold up even a decade or more later.
So I decided to bring you a list of bands from category B – artists you may have seen on Warped Tour, Fuse, Purevolume, or some place you can no longer remember. They either broke up long ago or have been inactive for many years, but all are extremely talented and deserve to be remembered. Welcome aboard the nostalgia train – I hope you enjoy the ride.
A band of many skills and genres, New York’s Anadivine could bring you pop-punk and emo in one song with metal riffs and indie-rock melodies in the next. They topped it all off with three members doing vocals, making them a highly memorable listening experience. Their first and only full-length album Zoo, released in 2004 via The Militia Group, met a mixed reception from critics but was adored by fans. For a long time it was unclear how or why the band disappeared so soon after Zoo‘s release, but a radio interview here with vocalist Sean-Paul Pillsworth explains what happened (just as they were due to tour with Bowling For Soup who had just released a new single called “1985”).
Anadivine did play a one-off reunion show in 2012 with Matchbook Romance and in 2014 remastered Zoo in honor of its 10-year anniversary, but sadly there is no hint of a full reunion or a new record.
Emo/punk quartet Subseven were staples of the Christian hard rock scene in the early 2000s, during which they released two EPs and two LPs. The best known of these was the 2005 full-length Free to Conquer, released on Flicker Records. Revered for their highly energetic live shows (and crowds to match), the band reunited a for a few shows in 2015 and since then have vaguely hinted at the possibility of new music. Fingers crossed!
Classic Case (2002-2007)
Bringing together members from Glassjaw, Saves the Day, Beloved, and Jared Draughon on vocals? Surely such a lineup was destined for greatness, yes? Classic Case was, well, a classic case of enormous potential that went largely unfulfilled. The band’s stellar debut LP, Dress to Depress, was unfortunate to be released on Fiddler Records just as the label was going under in late 2005. They later signed with Fearless before releasing the inexplicably poor Losing At Life LP in 2007 and disbanding not long after.
Letter Kills (2002-2006)
One of the few bands here that received widespread airplay and signed to major label Island Records, California emo-punks Letter Kills had everything you could’ve wanted from an early-2000s rock band: heavy enough to please the scene kids, catchy enough to satisfy Top 40 listeners, and a highly talented and charismatic frontman to lead it. They even appeared on the 2004 Nintendo Fusion Tour with the likes of My Chemical Romance and Anberlin. Very sadly, Letter Kills only turned out one full-length record, 2004’s The Bridge, before disbanding in 2006, citing a lack of artistic freedom from the label.
In a 2012 interview, vocalist Matt Shelton stated that there is no possibility of a Letter Kills reunion.
If you Google “Aphasia band” now, the results reveal an all-female metal act from Japan. Ten years ago however, the band name Aphasia belonged to a group of California kids making waves with their radio-friendly brand of grungy alt-rock. Influenced by Foo Fighters, Incubus and Deftones while touring with the likes of Blindside and Trapt in their “Headstrong” heyday, the band released their lone full-length LP Fact & Fiction in 2005 before drastically changing their sound to an indie-soul vibe and renaming themselves Downdowndown.
(If “Flatline” sounds familiar, you probably recognize it from the 2005 film War of the Worlds. How’s that for nostalgia?)
The Vincent Black Shadow (2003-)
Every once in a while a band comes along that, for no discernible reason, doesn’t hit the big time and ends up labeled as “underrated”. Meet (or remember) The Vincent Black Shadow. This incredibly talented pop-rock-with-a-touch-of-horror-punk quartet toured with various popular artists from Joan Jett to Halifax and featured the Gwen Stefani-esque vocals of Cassandra Ford leading the way. 2006-2008 saw the band release two excellent LPs, Fears In The Water and El Monstruo, before Ford’s departure in 2010.
TVBS is still somewhat active on Facebook but has not released any material since 2011’s The Finest Crime EP, which featured keyboardist Nikki Hurst on lead vocals.
The Beautiful Mistake (2000-2006)
Another act from the ever-impressive Militia Group roster, San Diego post-hardcore outfit The Beautiful Mistake accomplished quite a lot during their six-year existence. Releasing two EPs, two LPs and a little-known but excellent split EP with Ettison Clio, the band also toured with heavyweights like Brand New, Fall Out Boy, Every Time I Die and Copeland. They had quite a reputation but sadly you don’t really see their name mentioned anymore. If you love post-hardcore and you’ve never heard them before, you’re welcome.
An absurdly gifted Tooth & Nail Records band that far too few people knew. Much like Anadivine, Far-Less’ sound spanned a wide array of genres, including post-hardcore, melodic rock, punk, alt-rock, and later indie rock. Their first full-length on T&N, 2006’s Everyone Is Out To Get Us, displays this eclectic diversity that with most other bands would be a complete mess, but Far-Less somehow melded it all together perfectly. 2007’s A Toast To Bad Taste saw them soften their sound and expand further into indie-rock before they called it a day in 2009.
Unfortunately the band endured some serious struggles behind the scenes throughout their tenure, as frontman Brandon Welch opened up about in this September 2015 Tumblr post.
Are you an old-timer like me and recognize some of the bands on this list? Or perhaps you’ve found a new band or two to love? Is there someone I missed who should be remembered on here? Let us know in the comments below!