It's difficult to toss a headful of artfully mussed hair nowadays without hitting a band passing off generic broken-heart metaphors and sing-song shrieks as art. Thanks to visceral, controlled-chaos ragers that explored desire and regret, SoCal screamo stalwarts A Static Lullaby became one of the first post-hardcore wavemakers to surpass their oh-so-tortured peers with the release of 2003's breakneck ....And Don't Forget to Breathe. But even more difficult than breaking big is maintaining relevance after being dropped by your label (Columbia Records) and replacing three out of five original members. Now October's self-titled effort ups the angst ante, with the telling first single "Hang 'Em High" detailing a car-crash survivor's decision to give up everything he very nearly lost in order to continue on with "the Revolution." Seattle's The Classic Crime, meanwhile, picks up where all those mold-breaking Pacific-Northwest bands left off in the late '90s: producing churning, progressive-leaning rock that aims to shake up both the music industry and the mind.
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