The Six Best Hardcore Acts Gone Acoustic
  • THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2015

  • Posted by: April Siese

Those familiar with City and Colour have undoubtedly delved deeper into solo musician Dallas Green's discography outside of his brilliant solo work only to find music so far off the beaten path from the acoustic sounds that made him so famous. Green's vocals are damn near unrecognizable juxtaposed against a hardcore backdrop with Alexisonfire. And his stark genre dichotomy isn't the only sonic rift when it comes to band work versus personal projects. We've rounded up five other musicians whose primary outfits sounds so different from their solo acoustic sound, you'd have to make a full loop through your record store to pick up albums from both.

City and Colour -- Alexisonfire

Singer-songwriter Dallas Green otherwise known as City and Colour had a far different sound as the clean vocalist and guitarist for post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire. The Ontario quintet's solid decade long run in the new millennium had them reuniting for a short tour culminating in a set at Chicago's Riot Fest to much fanfare. Even back when their breakout LP Crisis was just getting airplay, it was evident that Green's strong voice did more than just elevate the melodic depths of Alexisonfire's sound. City and Colour is a brilliant departure playing on Green's world-building, vibrato-soaked vocals in the most natural of ways.




Dustin Kensrue -- Thrice

SoCal rockers Thrice were a healthy part of my hard rock diet coming of age at a time when hardcore and emo were making sweet musical love together. Even sweeter, Dustin Kensrue's solo career has run just up to the line of harsher tones, proving his versatility and setting a clear path of where solo acoustic rockers can take their sound as they set their sights on deeper personal projects. 2015's Carry the Fire adds in the electrics while upping the fragility substantially in a tightrope walk of contrasting sentiments. His debut LP, 2007's Please Come Home, follows the bandit stylings of MxPx's Mike Herrera; also on this list. Kensrue's Ennio Morricone melodies and lovelorn laments ring out like a coyote crying into the night.






Anthony Green -- Circa Survive

Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green picked an avant-garde path when laying down the tracks for solo debut LP Avalon. The twinkling staccato of a xylophone accents stripped down guitar in "She Loves Me So" like a dulcet lullaby a far cry from the aural assault of Circa Survive classics like "Act Appalled" and "Sharp Practice." Green's incorporation of piano in his later solo works pushes him in a more progressive, almost cinematic direction. Sure, Circa Survive thrived on the denser production of mid-aughts hardcore surge, but Green's surreal experimentation on Young Legs is damn near unrecognizable.




Mike Herrera's Tumbledown -- MxPx

The fun-loving quintessential adolescent angst band, MxPx is what set the rosier sections of my own troubled teen years. Hell, I still hum "Responsibility" whenever I actually feel like changing my sheets or making my bed. With that kind of verve, you'd think frontman Mike Herrera would choose a solo career reflecting something more akin to Ted Leo's aggro acoustic jams a la his Living With The Living LP. Instead, Herrera veered further west with his solo outfit with Mike Herrera's Tumbledown, an outlaw country band that would fit right in next to the rockabilly of Social Distortion and the sheer stylistic solemnity of the Bronx's mariachi outfit [Ed. Note: Mariachi El Bronx!!!]. As with MxPx, Herrera delivers his country croon with earnestness and believability. "The Right Thing To Do" is a perfect example of this, almost startlingly so.




J Mascis -- Dinosaur Jr

Dinosaur Jr's noise rock laments prompted unique solo shifts from both frontman J Mascis and bassist Lou Barlow, both of whom have gone the one man acoustic band route to much acclaim. J Mascis especially broadened his horizons with a Hindu-inspired 2005 LP and dreamy minimalist jams culminating in 2014's Tied To a Star. The video for "Every Morning" culls faux cult footage featuring Fred Armisen showcasing J Mascis' biting wit seen more in Dinosaur Jr than the searching lyrics of his solo material. Barlow, meanwhile, elevates that vulnerability thanks to a front and center vocal production approach. Melding the two could easily make for the best night drive mixtape out there, each pluck of a guitar string and legato arpeggio propelling you forward as the miles fade away.




A Rose by Any Other Name -- Josh Scogin/The Chariot

Josh Scogin has made some substantial shifts since turning his Christian metal outfit Luti-Kriss into metalcore powerhouse Norma Jean. His next band, the Chariot, kept up the energy and upped the experimentalism by questioning the very religion he'd seemingly broken from. His self-proclaimed side project, A Rose By Any Other Name, has only put out one album but has captured the imagination of downtempo acoustic fans just the same. Scogin's sensitive side is on par with Bon Iver with the same commanding presence as his vocal mastery with the Chariot. A Rose By Any Other Name is as hauntingly beautiful as it is unexpected.

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