For decades, the Midwestern music scene always stuck out in the crowd with its distinct and infatuating qualities that seem to bring together the continuing rise of genuine bands, which are inspired to play heartfelt and emotionally-driven music today. While many influential bands like The Get Up Kids, Alkaline Trio, and Braid helped pave the way for newer acts in the scene to carry the torch, Trash The Dress is another upcoming band to look out for on this particular radar. With the release of their debut full-length, Empty Basements, this passionate Indiana six-piece definitely brings to the table a heartfelt and emotionally-driven album that stays true to the optimism and sincerity of the pop punk genre.
While optimism and hope are aspiring messages that fuel the fire for many pop punk and emo bands, what stands out the most from a release like Empty Basements is the comforting feeling that listeners can gain from getting hung up on relatable lines that compliment beautifully with the emotional intensity that certain songs provide. "My Best Days", for example, is in an opening track that introduces a promising sense of reflection in which the song's catchy chorus, "I'm not as young as I once was/I'm not as old as I'm gonna be/But I can't let fate decide whether I have good years ahead of me", might sink into the mindset of listeners who hold on tightly to their past; while contemplating on where they want to be in life down the road. Transitioning next into another song, titled "Awkward Phases", this track blends in extremely well with this hopeful and inspiring theme to the album. Some individuals who begin to adjust into their mental transition into adulthood may find it difficult to find the courage in becoming comfortable in their own skin. With all of these factors in mind, a song like "Awkward Phase" could possibly become a new anthem for these individuals to cling onto, as this song champions the general conclusion that nobody experiences this uncomfortable rite of passage alone. Thanks to the soothing chorus "My whole life has been an awkward phase, but I can finally say that this feels right", listeners can grasp a new-found sense of acceptance and confidence within themselves.
Crossing towards the halfway mark of this record, there are a couple of songs on Empty Basements that grasp onto the idea of finding comfort through reflecting back on the past. "Delorean 88" and "Make It A Double" are perfectly catchy songs that hold true to this sense of nostalgia. These are the kind of songs to listen to that would fit the mood when catching up with old friends on a late night drive where you would constantly reflect back on old memories that have brought up a billion times over and over again.
Finally bringing it all home to the remaining stretch of the record, we get to see every single ounce of heart and intensity come together in full circle. The title-track of this album is a passionate song that significantly hits close to home, especially for listeners who have held music dear to their hearts throughout the darkest times of their life. To those who have spent long nights screaming their hearts out and living in the moment at sweaty basement shows, or even inside packed VFW halls, the line "Empty basements find out who I am inside", may serve as a symbolic crutch for making connections with music through reflecting back on certain aspects of your life. With the release of Empty Basements, Trash The Dress clearly prove that they are a passionate and heartfelt band, driven and motivated by nostalgia; along with making the strive to inspire others to move forward in a positive direction.
While some people experience many emotionally draining transitional phases in their lives, music is a crutch that many individuals turn to in order to help move forward throughout the day. These individuals in particular, may look into the lyrical context of a particular song in order to find a significant connection to correlate to their current mindset. While some on the other hand, reach out for emotionally-driven anthems to let loose some steam in order to help vent out their sorrows and anxieties. Regardless of how you chose to connect to listening to any record, Empty Basements is an album to definitely keep in mind, as Trash The Dress brings to the table the key aesthetics to look out for when discovering the qualities of a passionate and relatable band. From its heavy-hitting chords to the heart-clenching lines, Empty Basements is that "shoulder-to-lean-on" record you can turn to when you are feeling down. Even if you need a pick-me-up, each song will lift your spirits and help you put a smile on your face.
2. My Best Days
3. Awkward Phase
4. Make It A Double
6. DeLorean 88
7. Martinsville Sunburn
9. Gut Check
10. Empty Basements
RIYL: Even On The Worst Nights by Mixtapes, Everyone That Dragged You Here EP by Real Friends, ...But I Have To by Bellwether, Get Stoked On It! by The Wonder Years
Written by Ryan McGrath