Since knapsack's inception in 1993 they have worked hard to solidify their place in the music scene. During their time together they have helped establish a new genre of music and influenced a group of younger bands that have recently gained attention. Nevertheless, even while being tagged "Emo-Core" and being a part of the post-hardcore scene from the beginning, they have always been a outside of the boundaries of the Emo sound and have many other influences to their music. knapsack always places quality songwriting above everything else.
With the release of their third album This conversation is ending starting right now, knapsack have matured as a band and broadened the sound of the genre they helped to develop. The songwriting on This conversation... shows not only the development of the band but also their penchant for the experimental, all while retaining their trademark sound. Evidence of this new direction can be found in the use of Cello, Piano, Organ and even Slay Bells. Don't worry though, there's still enough of the gut wrenching vocals and driving hooks to convince even the most jaded listener to accept what their many fans already know – that this is one of the most exhilarating new rock bands out there today.
Alex Newport who has produced Fudge Tunnel, Godheadsilo, and The Melvins was brought in to record the new record in the winter of '98 with Mark Trombino mixing the record. The main difference you will notice about this record vs. the others is that each song sounds distinctly different from the next, without ever losing the continuity of the record or the knapsack sound. Some of this may be due to the introduction of Sergie Loobkoff of Samiam on guitar. Sergie has been playing live with them since shortly after Day Three of My New Life was released in February 1997, but This conversation.... is his first recorded effort with knapsack.
Sergie's guitar flourishes and grinding melodies coupled with the band's already strong hook writing skills make this a record full of songs that drag you in and leave you begging for more. At the same time This conversation….has more of the softer side that there was a glimpse of on Day Three of My New Life. Blair's howling, raspy, unparalleled voice is in rare form on the new release and as always it is the perfect vehicle for his tales of loss and love, that although ambiguous, hit straight to the heart. Melody Maker may have summed all of this up best when they said about Day Three..."They pack melodies to drink yourself to death over, furious at-the-end-of-my-rope vocals, guitars that go for the emotional jugular and choruses to shove up your neighbor's ass! Never has a shitty year sounded so good."
knapsack's labored climb into the hearts of their fans, began with the release of the 7" "Trainwrecker" on the San Diego based indie label, Goldenrod Records. Magnet deemed it "a great debut" and they were right. The band had already been touring the west coast endlessly and word of their intense live show began to spread. Alias released the "True To Form" b/w "Effortless" 7" in early 1995, about which CMJ said "The appropriately named ‘True To Form' comes popping out of the speakers with exploding tension, tight composition, and one great hook for a chorus."
The eagerly anticipated full length debut Silver Sweepstakes followed up these illustrious first glimpses with its April ‘94 release. The SF Weekly dubbed Sliver Sweepstakes "...an audacious entry into the world of college rock. Emotionally charged, infallible punk constructs coalesce with hard edged melodies to create a sound that's as compelling as it is approachable." Day Three of My New Life, their sophomore release, struck a nerve with people, propelling the band to the top of the heap as well as garnering critical accolades.
The album ended up on many Top 10 lists as well as being nominated for "Outstanding Independent Album of the Year" by Bam magazine for The 1998 California Music Awards (formerly The "Bammies") and Grid proclaimed it "the kind of rock and roll that makes every hair on your body stand on end." Between the two full lengths, they have released various singles and appeared on several comps including Crank's Don't Forget to Breath with The Promise Ring and Christie Front Drive.
How are they live, you ask? Magnet describes their live show perfectly when they say "(Singer) Blair Sheehan uses the big, grinding guitar to launch himself towards the rarefied air where these noise boys perform feats that make the crowd gasp." While the SF Weekly declared their Noise Pop performance as one of the Top 10 "Life Affirming" events of 1997. Since the release of their first 7" knapsack have had the honor of opening for Pavement, Archers of Loaf, Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu, and Jawbox as well as playing on some West Coast Warped tour dates in 1997. But probably the most fun for them was playing with contemporaries and friends such as Christy Front Drive, Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, Modest Mouse, Jimmy Eat World, Boy's Life, The Get Up Kids, Creeper Lagoon, No Knife, Sensefield, and 764 Hero to name a few.
This conversation is ending starting right now, is set to force knapsack further into your conscious... you can feel that five minutes into the record. Smart, enigmatic lyrics with vocals that are both imploring and roaring rush over barely restrained guitar intros and driving rhythms that erupt into explosions of emotional discord and sonic overflow and back again. One listen and you'll be hooked. Five listens and you can't take it out of your CD player. Twenty and you're a sworn member of the militia. knapsack will be touring starting in October on the east coast. Be sure to give this band a chance to win you over and do not to miss their live show when they come to your town. You can thank us later.
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