I'm standing in The Boardwalk in Orangevale, California. The crowd allows me to wander somewhere between six and ten feet from the stage. More than one hundred minds exist here and the only thought amongst them all is of the music. Emery, of the Greater Seattle Area, is on stage. Following is Silverstein, but I don't even care. No one does. The set is winding down and the fan favorite, Walls, has not been played yet. Devin, Toby and the guys are giving a pre-last-song goodbye. Tension fills the crowd.

/Are you listening?/We'd write a thousand pages.

Screams shred the air apart, as though it were a solid. Devin's voice is discernable even though he's giving it all he's got. Toby steps in some 20 seconds later as lead.

My head seemed/to deceive me/when I'm nervous or when I'm healthy.

An echo is heard throughout the room. I feel like I am in heaven. Each line shows the spring-like nature of the crowd: compress, rarify, sing and compress, rarify, compress, repeat ad infinitum. Each person echoes Toby's singing, trying their best to outdo those around them. Everyone sings, though. A common goal is silently agreed upon and the crowd acts upon it. We are as one, again. Slowly, the voices pull into some odd, organic harmony. Though each person had sung before, we only just now fall into line and form a wall of sound that is nigh-deafening.


Emery was introduced to me at the hOle @ KBS, a few years back when the hOle still existed. I saw them play twice and the second time around, I bought their first CD, The Columbus EEP Thee, if I remember correctly. (At the moment, I don't have it on hand. I ripped the CD before leaving for college, but some monkey entered the Album into Gracenote as, "Emery," rather than the proper title.) At the time, they were composed of Toby on vocals and guitar; Devin on backup vocals and guitar; Matt on keyboard, guitar and vocals; Seth on drums; Joel on bass. They were fresh out of The South and had just broken into the local music scene here in Kitsap County. I was hooked instantaneously.

The track listing is as follows:

  1. it always depends
  2. to whom it may concern
  3. the walls
  4. while broken hearts prevail
  5. the weak's end
  6. secret

Seventeen times I listened to that CD on one road trip alone. Seventeen. And I could stand to listen to it. The first CD was bass-laden, with the keyboard being used to a dark, but excellent effect. It wanted to be more towards metal than standard rock, but stopped short. It was about as hardcore as a local band could go and still be listened to by all those emo kids. They weren't afraid of doing things differently, that's for sure. Emery was widely respected and some group even gave them the "Best new Emo band" award.


Some time after the hOle had shut down, Emery appeared on the list at The Roxy in Bremerton. Now, you have to understand that The Roxy is about a million times better on sound quality than the hOle ever had been. Josh put his life and soul into the hOle, but it just never sounded great. Emery sounded, frankly, like crap that time around.

Since I had bought their first CD, I had heard that there would be new material soon. Their website offered a few downloads: Walls remixed and two other songs (one of which made it to The Weak's End and one which did not). I would not figure out why they sounded so horrid at The Roxy for quite a while yet.

Given a year and a half, they finally set a countdown for the new album. I was at the site every day, listening to the new tracks as they were put up on their Flash-based player. It took me a good couple months after it was out to get the money to order it with a shirt. The package had a due date of two weeks, it arrived in less than a week just to spite the mail system.


Titled, "The Weak's End," the second CD carries a very different sound than the first. Here's why they sounded like crap the third time around: They were trying to take their older songs and play them in their newer style. See: Ford Thunderbird, Chevrolet Malibu, etc. In the intervening time, Matt picked up a second keyboard and integrated it into the performance more. (Though the keyboard is apparent on The Columbus Day EEP Thee, it was used much less at shows back then.) Walls is the perfect first track: For the carryover fans, it demonstrated their new sound wasn't entirely alien to the name. For new fans, it is a great song. The track listing is as follows:

  1. Walls
  2. The Ponytail Parades
  3. Disguising Mistakes With Goodbyes
  4. By All Accounts (Today Was A Disaster)
  5. Fractions
  6. The Note From Which A Chord Is Built
  7. Bloodless
  8. Under Serious Attack
  9. As Your Voice Fades
  10. The Secret

I find it hard to point out one single great song from the album, as it would be denying the greatness of any of the rest. I'll still do it, since most of you would ask, "Which is your favorite?" As Your Voice Fades is awesome: Its opening is almost haunting, then it explodes into Devin's screaming lyrics, transitions to Toby's singing, and finally settles into Toby and Devin singing duet. Along the way, the music lightens up to form a great complement for Toby's voice.


The band's website lists a guy named Josh as being in the band as well, but no role is listed and I don't remember having seen him at The Boardwalk. He is definitely a recent addition. Emery is currently on their third tour 'round the lower 48 and has a fourth cycle starting up fairly soon, as this one is nearly done. If they're in your neck of the woods and you like good music, I'd recommend them. The start of this node is a description of my experience in Orangevale from this spring, during the second tour. They've only been headlining for part of the second tour and this third tour, as The Weak's End had to gain some momentum before they could take the spot. They never, to my knowledge, did a tour for The Columbus Day EEP Thee.

You can check their site out at {http://www.emerymusic.com/}. They have some MP3s up to download on PureVolume or some such site (it seems to switch around, so I won't say for certain, but they do keep an updated link on their site). A word of warning: Lynx is not welcome on their site, nor any browser that can't handle Shockwave or Flash (I'm not sure which the site runs off).


Update: Emery is alive and kicking and on their way to fame. At current, they're headlining their seventh tour of America, with Gatsby's American Dream, Gym Class Heroes and As Cities Burn. This is their first time headlining. Since I created this node, they went on tour once with a few other local bands, played Warped Tour (a very large, very well-attended tour of the USA) and released The Question, their third album. The track listing is as follows:

  1. So Cold I Could See My Breath
  2. Playing With Fire
  3. Returning The Smile You Have Had From The Start
  4. Studying Politics
  5. Left With Alibis And Lying Eyes
  6. Listening To Freddie Mercury
  7. The Weakest
  8. Miss Behavin'
  9. In Between 4th and 2nd Street
  10. The Terrible Secret
  11. In A Lose, Lose Situation
  12. In A Win, Win Situation

I've given it a few dozen listens and have to say I like it. If you're planning on buying The Question, be forewarned there is some sort of re-release in the works due in Fall. And as with each new album, Emery brings a new sound to the table - this one is definitely leaning more towards screamo in places, but still keeps the rock around for good measure. Hopefully once this year's Warped Tour ends, they'll finish redoing The Question and start on a new album.

Em"er*y (?), n. [F. 'emeri, earlier 'emeril, It. smeriglio, fr. Gr. , , , cf. to wipe; perh. akin to E. smear. Cf. Emeril.] Min.

Corundum in the form of grains or powder, used in the arts for grinding and polishing hard substances. Native emery is mixed with more or less magnetic iron. See the Note under Corundum.

Emery board, cardboard pulp mixed with emery and molded into convenient. -- Emery clothpaper, cloth or paper on which the powder of emery is spread and glued for scouring and polishing. -- Emery wheel, a wheel containing emery, or having a surface of emery. In machine shops, it is sometimes called a buff wheel, and by the manufacturers of cutlery, a glazer.

 

© Webster 1913.

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