This mixtape is called Felt emo... might delete later

When I was younger and knew way more stuff I believed I had a strong grasp on 'genre'. Specifically, the genre of music that I was into. At the time what this boiled down to the bands that I was most into, the record labels they were on and the region that they hailed from. My hometown was a bit of an island at the time. UCSC did it's best to import as many kool kids as possible but it was small and out of the way enough to make it a real dice roll for touring bands.

This is all to say that I liked the following

  • punk rock (my scope of 'punk' did not hold space for bands like The Offspring and their ilk)
  • riot grrrl (Rebel Girl is amazing but have you listened to Excuse 17?)
  • bands from up north, down south and Washington DC (Olympia over Seattle, San Diego over Orange Country and Fugazi over Minor Threat)
  • 'oldies' (In August 1995 K-Ocean 105 moved from 104.9 MHz to 105.1 MHz And changed its format to oldies. The ratings went from number #4 to #1 in the market (source))

Also I religiously watched MTV while outwardly turning my nose up at the corporate rock machine. I gave passes to bands like U2, R.E.M. and was kinda ok with the fact that every so often you might be able to see a Dinosaur Jr or Sonic Youth video. Hiphop and Rap was also given a pass (likely due to me not understanding that indie/underground scenes for this music existed as well). Everyone else was a sellout... and I watched hours of it.

So that was my musical taste. It seemed super clear to me and I would likely talk at you on the nuances given the slightest chance. Terms like grunge and alternative had seemingly given way to college rock and just below that the term 'indie' began to gain traction. If you'd asked me at the time what 'genre' of music I listened to I likely would have said 'indie' which is weird because that seemingly describes an ethic and not a style.

I however was enamored with what I felt was the clarity of this genre. So much so that when I went to my freshman orientation for UCDavis and was asked to create a login for my email address I chose...


I was officially indieboy and now everyone would know all they need to know about me by my sick ass login. Now my email address was something like llholgers [at] but you could also email indieboy [at] and it would come my way. A fact I was all too pleased about (and maybe flexed a bit) when discovered.

Now back to the word 'emo'. I'm really not sure when I heard it first. I may have heard reference to 'emotional hardcore' at some point but hardcore was never my thing. My earliest memories of 'emo' are surrounded by confusion of 'what is emo?'... a question that I still ask today. As I didn't consider myself a fan of hardcore I could only assume that this music wasn't truly seen as 'hardcore' (an opinion I believe held firmly by actual fans of hardcore). So what's left... 'emotional'? Does that not describe all music?

I remember a friend at Davis telling me that Modest Mouse* was an emo band. I don't think I was arguing with him that Modest Mouse were or weren't 'emo' I just remember thinking "this is not a really helpful way to describe a band". Side note: it appears that Modest Mouse is not emo (source)

I think my distaste for genres in general started around this point as in my experience I found them unhelpful or misleading. I realized that 'indie' was even less of a genre than 'emo' (which in my opinion was a non-genre). I also began to stop pretending that I didn't enjoy the music that was on MTV. Just like what you like...

So here's a mix of songs I like. Are they emo? There's probably at least one...


*checkout this article I found about a Modest Mouse show that I saw in the fall of 1997 at the Actors Theatre... also please note the use of indie-rock in that article

P.S. This interview with Guy Picciotto (from Rites of Spring & Fugazi) is a fun interview that touches on the idea of Emo. Rites Of Spring (a band I love) has often been listed as one of the earliest 'emo' bands.

Sign on up!

Album / Compilation
Neverending Story: People With No Hopes
Bartees Strange - Mulholland Dr.
Farm to Table (2022)
American Football - Never Meant
American Football (1999)
Jets To Brazil - Wish List
Perfecting Loneliness (2002)
Ex-Void - Boyfriend
Bigger Than Before (2022)
Cataldo - Lifer
Older EP (2022)
Future Islands - Inch of Dust
In Evening Air (2010)
Neverending Story: Why Are You So Sad
Fabolous - Into You (feat. Tamia)
Street Dreams (2003)
VIC MENSA - SHELTER (feat. Wyclef Jean & Chance the Rapper)
I TAPE (2021)
Alvvays - Not My Baby
Antisocialites (2017)
Manatee Commune - Second Guess ft. Marina Price
Manatee Commune (2016)
BROODS - Like a Woman
Space Island (2022)
Tinashe - The Chase
333 (2021)
Neverending Story: I will Not Die Easily
Tegan and Sara - Hop A Plane
The Con (2007)
Rainer Maria - Save My Skin
A Better Version Of Me (2001)
Paul Westerberg - Tears Rolling Up Our Sleeves
Suicane Gratification (1999)
Modest Mouse - Little Motel
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank (2007)