What happened in the last five years with emo music? There was a bit of a revival: credit bands like Algernon Cadwallader and Grown Ups that took a back-to-basics approach to the genre. They inspired a new class of emo kids, including a pack of Indy locals who reinvigorated the local skramz scene. Led by bands like Pessoa, Caelume and The Greater Good, the scene revolved around sweaty, booze-soaked basement shows and awkward all-ages venues.
This winter, however, the basements went silent when Pessoa, Caelume and The Greater Good called it quits, nearly simultaneously. While the news came as a shock to many fans, the sudden demises were a long-time coming - - and completely unrelated.
The biggest blow to the scene might have been the dissolution of Pessoa. After self-releasing a few well-received EPs, the band worked on new material but didn't release anything new for several years. Having the members split between Indianapolis and Bloomington also didn't help.
"I had told them several times that I would completely fund a new record if they could just get it done," said Jake Amrhein, former guitarist for The Greater Good and Galt House Records owner, "They just couldn't get it done, and eventually fizzled."
As for his former band, The Greater Good, Amrhein saw the end coming from off in the distance.
"We had been on the outs for a while," he said. "We just didn't want to admit it was dying."
Despite releasing a phenomenal EP - - 2012's It Takes Some Time, Sometimes - - the demise of the group was expedited when lead singer Tyler Littlejohn ran into legal troubles.
"We were already finished by that point, but that just sealed it," said Amrhein.
Caelume, on the other hand, had a much more joyous reason for calling it quits.
"Jacob Borden, our other guitarist, had a kid recently," said guitarist Kai Shabazz.
"I feel like musicians in other bands have kids and it only hindered the touring aspect of the band, but they could still record and release records," Shabazz observed, "But we weren't that kind of band. Caelume was primarily a live band. Our live show was what we were all about. Our recordings could never capture our live energy."
With live shows and touring out of the equation, the rest of the band decided to hang it up instead of shifting into a studio band.
With all three bands breaking up for various reasons, the leftover members not in jail or taking care of newborns were eager to form new projects and continue making music.
Bill Stack, guitarist from Pessoa has teamed up with Steve McAtee from Caelume to form a new project called Air Hockey.
Pessoa frontman Joshua Wold is continuing to play with his Bloomington-based project, Dead Beach.
Shabazz, Amrhein and Caelume drummer Tim Sharkey have banded together to create Wounded Knee, a screamo supergroup of sorts, along with newcomer (Editor's note: And NUVO Editorial Assistant) Jordan Martich.
"We're serious about this," Shabazz said of Wounded Knee. "We're gonna focus on prophylactics, so no one gets pregnant."
"We want to play out of state more. Our first four shows were out of state. We've got the right people and everyone's into it."
Pessoa and Caelume will play a final show this Saturday at a private venue on the Near Northside. Scavenge Facebook for more information.