After a solid decade as the go-to soundtrack for disaffected youth, emo has pretty much suffocated itself beneath a mountain of asymmetrical haircuts, metalcore breakdowns, and barely sublimated misogyny, and few people are in mourning over it. However, there’s a growing wave of young musicians who are throwing out the subgenre’s recent history and returning to the core values that defined it in the ’90s (before it was absorbed by Hot Topic), fusing punk’s energy and DIY ethos with the swooning romanticism of a teenage Smiths fan and the delicate melodies of a ’70s singer-songwriter.
Philly’s Modern Baseball is at the leading edge of this movement, and may be the most accessible to pop fans who don’t know or don’t care that there’s even an emo revival happening. Their latest single, “Pothole,” foregoes the pop-punk tendencies that define much of their material in favor of lightly fingerpicked acoustic guitar and nakedly raw vocals, to subtly powerful effect. The video, made largely out of footage filmed on one of their tours, highlights the energy that the band and their community of fans produce together at their shows, as well as the monotony of life on the road.