Why The At The Drive In Reunion Matters
  • THURSDAY, JANUARY 21, 2016

  • Posted by: Don Saas

Let's circle back to 2012 for a minute. That year, the big reunion story was At the Drive-In getting back together after a decade of being broken up. Their set at Coachella was the story of that year (alongside the Tupac hologram) and the band toured for around a year before calling it quits again. Of course, in the year 2012, there were plenty of young people who saw the words At the Drive-In and had no clue who these legends were. At the Drive-In never quite broke into the mainstream conscious to the degree as the Mars Volta which formed afterwards from ATDI's two break-out talents, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez. And today, At The Drive-In shared news on Facebook and Twitter that they are not only going on a massive world tour but they'll be recording new music. And that leads to the simple question: why do At The Drive-In matter in 2016?



One of the most exciting trends of the 2010s is that post-hardcore has become a genre that means something again. Cloud Nothings, Japandroids, Yuck, Wavves, Beach Fossils, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Dum Dum Girls, Girls (R.I.P.), Titus Andronicus...these are all bands that in one way or another were influenced by the iconic post-hardcore bands of the late 90s/early 2000s. Fugazi, Refused, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Drive Like Jehu, Slint, and At The Drive-In. I'm a total poptimist, but we have a resurgence of bands today that I f***ing adore who are using dissonance and "noise" and raw, vital energy to explore darker sounds and themes because At The Drive-In exists.

And if you know those contemporary name bands and you love them the way we do and you're now curious about At the Drive-In but don't know where to start in their discography, don't worry. We've got you covered. Start with Relationship of Command, the band's last record which was released in 2000. Either you'll hear "One Armed Scissor" and start freaking out in public wherever you are or you'll immediately realize the record isn't for you. And maybe that's the better way to start. Toss on "One Armed Scissor." If that machine gun of a guitar riff doesn't make you want to break shit and throw your body all over the room, you aren't going to be into At the Drive-In. If you can see yourself giving yourself whiplash headbanging to the record, it's time to move onto the rest of Relationship of Command.

And once you've dived into Relationship of Command, you'll immediately figure out why At the Drive-In can still matter in 2016. Thanks to the presence of the Mars Volta guys, At the Drive-In were among the most ambitious of the prog acts. There are proggy elements to the guitars on these tracks. They find a way to create walls of dissonant noise without sacrificing melody. At the Drive-In were the Zeppelin of the post-hardcore movement...constantly moving the goalposts of how much a band could combine the beautiful and the intentionally ugly. And considering it's been 16 years since we've heard new music from the group, we wouldn't be surprised if the new At the Drive-In record moves the goalposts again.


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