The dazzling new split record from 4 American emo punk powerhouses, Indiana’s Arcadia Grey, New York’s Oolong, Tennessee’s Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly, and Florida’s dannythestreet, takes bold steps toward an exciting future with super exciting new re-inventions of the emotive indie math rock amalgam. Fresh off the release of their debut full lengths, all four bands deliver the apex of their short careers, epitomizing their excellence in 8 impassioned songs that navigate through the complex nuances of the style with remarkable style.
To celebrate this super exciting blend of melody and emotive noise, we have teamed up with all 4 bands to give you a special track by track rundown, revealing a bunch of exciting insights about each and every track on the record. Play it loud and have fun!
FATAL 4 WAY split os out now via Open Door Records.
Braum, by Arcadia Grey
Braum is the first song we’ve put out on the topic of gender/identity. I (cori) wrote the song from the aftermath of my first serious attempt in coming out to my family and honestly myself. The hard part about being trans, for me at least, wasn’t the coming out, but coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to ahave to keep coming out over and over again for the rest of my life. My goal for the song sonically was a mix between anime intro and Guitar Fight song and I feel we nailed that on the head.
Wildmutt, by Arcadia Grey
At the time of writing this song, my relationship with my father was far from perfect. I was really struggling to figure out what got us to that point in our lives, so I wrote the lyrics as honestly as could. Trying to capture the nostalgia of our best moments, and the dread of our lowest. The sonic theatrics of the song, we’re meant to portray the melodrama of the conflict, and how utterly ridiculous things could get! I named the song wildmutt, cause it was our favorite Ben 10 alien growing up. I felt it captured the chaotic energy of the song well!
Dippin Daniel, by OOLONG
For this song, we really wanted to put out a basement banger. We really focused on bringing as much energy as we possibly could. Lyrically this song focuses around a specific night where me and our bass player Jesse went to a bar with some old high school friends. By the end of the night, they ended up ditching us at the bar with no ride home. That night really showed the true colors of the people we went to school with. Jesse and I spent that night wandering around drunk. I specifically remember Jesse being mad at the whole thing, so I wrote a song about it. Originally the song was called Convinience, but was changed to Dippin Daniel the last minute. The reason we did this was because Dippin Daniel is an expression we use when someone is leaving somewhere. For example, if your leaving your friends house, you become dippin daniel and must gather your dippings in order to leave. We thought this was a fitting title.
Guts, by OOLONG
For Guts, we didn’t really have any specific goal with this song. I actually wrote this one 3 weeks before we recorded it. Lyrically this one focuses around my hyper-competetiveness. The reason the song is called Guts is because alot of people view people who are highly competitive as Gutsy people. I play on the idea that I have Guts for doing the things I do, while simultaneously portraying the problems of being a highly competitive person. This song is definitely really important to me.
Lite Wotus, by Guitar Fight from Fooly Cooly
We actually weren’t gonna use lite wotus, it was gonna die in the demo dump. That was it’s fate until we decided to play it 30 bpm faster than we wrote it at. Lite wotus is a short track about changing your exterior to avoid internal problems. It was also the first song we added a breakdown into. It holds a special place in all of our hearts and we’re glad it got to see the light of day.
Seasalt Ice Cream, by Guitar Fight from Fooly Cooly
Seasalt is a cute sounding track about despising shitty people. There’s a very limited pool of nice people in the backwoods we live in, so we have plenty of fuel for tunes like this. It’s okay to be angry when people do you wrong, and we hope this track embodies that.
Mystery Faded, by dannythestreet
While walking the streets of downtown Gainesville, Florida during The FEST 18, dannythestreet members Jordan Bermudez (singer/guitar) and Adam Abulkheir (bass) stumbled across an unlabeled glass bottle with some unknown, near indistinguishable liquid in it lying on the sidewalk. Naturally, it prompted one to ask the other what the consequences of drinking it could be, ergo becoming “Mystery Faded.” Consumed by power pop energy and an emotive spell, the trip of a lifetime began. With Deafheaven’s ‘Sunbather’ being the anthem of that weekend, dealing with the grievances of growing up and facing rejection, the nonstop, energetic song that is Mystery Faded was born. From the first strum of its aggressive opening the song keeps pushing forward, packing a harder punch with each passing measure until its abrupt end, mirroring the constant barrage of trials and hardships that’s inevitable of young adulthood, but certainly one that we’ll all grow to miss when we realize how quick it’s over.
Letterboxd, by dannythestreet
Sitting forgotten in the limbo of an old email attachment, “Military Super Oven” was a song sent to close friend Andres Bonnet back somewhere between 2013-2016, crafted during the writing period of our debut LP My Greatest Adventure. Upon assembling all of the homies together to get this split LP effort under way, we had come across this old acoustic bit again. Hearing the aggression in the vocal melody, constant tempo changes, and signature short length, it stood out to the rest of the band who had never heard its original form and left us an immediate urge to bring it back. This emo/punk track is a personal outcry upon the dealings of distance and anxiety, and although written years ago it still held gut-wrenchingly relevant when rediscovered. Renamed to ‘Letterboxd’ and made a full-band effort, the track comes in with energy that truly feels like a punch to the face before the swells lead guitarist Miguel Hernandez delivers for the later half leading to the distorted and modulated words of wisdom on magic & quantum physics by the great Grant Morrison via Jaguar pickups and countless effects pedals.
Review by EarCoffee:
Arcadia Grey kicks things off with an eruption on “Wildmutt.” The quartet dives deep into the volcano and swims around in the lava of chugging riffs, self-deprecation, and one of the most stirring conclusions I’ve heard on an emo song in a while. It’s a reminder of the cathartic power of music, and it’s only the first track. Humor is a coping mechanism that the band used across their 2019 debut Konami Code, and Arcadia Grey haven’t lost a step. They toe the line between over-the-top and genuine easily; it’s something to scream along to just as much as it’s something to laugh along with. They pivot with expertise, launching off into a new direction like a teenage bottle rocket.
Oolong is a band with its own gravity. The riffs fly by so fast you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was an asteroid and the sky is falling. Chaotically good musicianship is the name of the game for the Long Islanders, and their two contributions to FATAL 4 WAY are ineffable. No wonder they were accused of r/emo payola. “Dippin Daniel” and “Guts” are infuriating songs — not because they’re bad (they’re actually very good), but because no one can lose their minds to them while moshing in a basement. It’s a bit cliché to praise an emo band for evoking a house show; I can’t help it. Oolong are too fiercely good at what they do to not mention it.
GF3xC have had a wild past few months, releasing the incredible Soak just this past August. “Lite Wotus” and “Seasalt Ice Cream” would have fit snugly alongside the stormy twinkle-riffs of that record. The trio flaunts two variations on their combustible theme — the former track makes you want to punch a hole in a wall and fight the first person you see on the street (that’s a good thing), the latter chooses to make some breathing room rather than detonate a riff-bomb. With GF3x3C, you get the best of both worlds.
FATAL 4 WAY was my first introduction to the final competitor, Miami’s dannythestreet, and what an introduction it was. They take up the least amount of runtime (only four minutes), so they make every second count. The sparkle-punk genre tag makes sense — these songs are like finding a unicorn at the end of your journey. dannythestreet is probably the poppiest of the four groups, which could be a turn-off if someone were expecting the more frenetic side of Midwest emo. Here’s the trick: the band stuffs their songs with singalong melodies and unhinged shredding. They bring the split to a surprisingly gradual ending. I’d argue that it’s for the best, since you’ll probably tired after moshing in your bedroom for the last 20 minutes.
A split is a snapshot. They (unfortunately) tend not to have the staying power of an album or even an EP. They become a poorly-kept secret, buried beneath a few layers of solo releases but still revered by anyone that hears them. But in the moment, something like FATAL 4 WAY burns brighter than the hottest sun. Four of the best damn bands working at the moment teamed up for what might be one of the most fun listening experiences of 2020. Keep it close, it’ll be worth it.
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