To any of you who have read my Twitter bio and asked what skramz is, I finally decided to write something about it. So this is for you.
In 2005, five dudes from Redwood City (a suburb of San Fran, California) started a band called Comadre. As well as having a thoroughly unique sound, they’ve also created a distinctive visual style. Partially because no-one else really has, I thought I’d write something about both.
Although they are part of the skramz revival of the late ’90s and early ’00s, the band is hardly a neat fit with the genre. Jangly American Football-esque guitars sit alongside harsh, occasionally grating vocals, and breakdowns that wouldn’t look out of place in punk and hardcore tracks appear pretty regularly.
As with most great screamo crossover bands, much of Comadre’s brilliance is in their lyrics. Take, for example, their new track, an up tempo track in the vein of Refused (incidentally, I’m absolutely convinced that Comadre are this generation’s Refused). Cold Rain’s lyrics feel as chopped up as anything by William Burroughs and as charged with meaning as any e e cummings poem. While this makes them less easily digestible than La Dispute or Kodan Armada, it does give them a thought provoking charm.
The visual style of the band’s merchandise swings wildly between fairly standard hxcmerch.com stuff, often bearing a lot of similarities to Loma Prieta’s artwork…
…and designs that have much more to them. Take for example one of their latest shirts, bearing a quote from Beau Navire’s drummer that references Jackson Pollock, which is pretty much a deeper version of those jocky ‘what happens on tour stays on tour’ t-shirts.
I also like their Face Tats design a lot. It seems to say a lot about a scene in which people rely on tattoos and fashion to say more than they do with their mouths. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into things. As usual.
It’s kind of appropriate that in the band’s new video they’re wearing shirts emblazoned with everything from the Battle Royale logo to Rocky Votolato (a singer songwriter who’s like an edgier Chris Carrabba) to a Lord of of the Rings reference – the skramz scene is pretty much the only one that places as much stock in t-shirts as the producers of The Big Bang Theory do.
Anyway, Comadre’s new full length (their first in three years) drops in January 2013 and I’m pretty much counting down the days.