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Standout Track:

No. 4, “The Sea and the Hills,” is an example of nauticalcore—post-hardcore music evocative of an ocean journey—at its finest. A deep bass groove and tumbling 6/8 rhythms conjure thoughts of restless seas, billowing winds, and the heyday of Quarterstick Records. “I’ve seen the broken bodies drifting through the water/I’ve learned the names spoken by sons and daughters,” screams vocalist/guitarist Joao da Silva during the song’s noisy crescendo.

Musical Motivation:

According to bassist Brian Lombardozzi, a policy analyst for the AFL-CIO, the song’s meter was the first element to come into focus. “When we started off, we had this riff that went on and on—this epic postrock-type thing based on the rhythm of a Rudyard Kipling poem,” he explains. But the lyrics steer clear of Captains Courageous territory. When da Silva sings about voices coming from the ocean, he’s referencing Argentina’s desaparecidos, political dissidents who “disappeared” in the ’70s and ’80s.

Practice What You Screech:

Back in ’04, you couldn’t walk into a D.C. group house without knocking into a group of sweaty guys pairing hardcore punk with slowly evolving soundscapes. But rising rents and the dearth of potential practice spaces have made volume a rare luxury. Lombardozzi doesn’t let it get him down, though. “Times are just difficult as a band,” he says. “We live in apartments, and you can’t have band practice in an apartment. But we’ve lucked out and been able to practice at friends’ houses and decent studio spaces.” His band, at least, will keep cranking it. “D.C. hardcore is sort of burned into our frontal lobes. We’re not looking to make it big; it’s something we all just want to do.”