Edit: wow just realizing two weeks later this is actually Entry#17, oof. I'm sorry that I fucked up
Hello everyone, and welcome back to another Soundslikesunday, the series where I highlight the many overlooked emo bands from the past. Today’s band is honestly one of the reasons I started this series; they existed in that ever-forgotten early 90s period between Moss Icon and Sunny Day Real Estate, they were from the midwest, and they had an excellent sense of melody and dynamics. Not only that, but they were one of three bands during this era to have a split with the legendary Indian Summer (perhaps the only band of this era that gets any recognition), and every single member was simultaneously in an early screamo band called Ottawa.
That’s right, today we are talking about motherfucking Current. Funnily enough, my friend and fellow mod Sarcastasaurus pretty much already summed up my thoughts re: this band and this era of emo four years ago,
which I actually didn’t know until I started this write-up and searched for Current here on the subreddit and found like 3 relevant results. That sentiment about early 90s basement emo being totally underrepresented is, as I already stated, precisely why I began this series in the first place. So let’s dive in and give this band the exposure they deserve.
Current officially formed on July 1st, 1992 in historical Dearborn, Michigan, a part of Detroit, and was fronted by Matthias Weeks who - along with guitarist Josh Labo - had previously been in a moshy hardcore band called Relapse.
Barely a week after forming the band, the members went into the studio to record eight half-improvised songs, four of which would become their first 7”, which was self-released on the band’s label, Council Records
in October. The band spent the whole back half of the year playing Detroit shows and getting exposure, circulating their self-titled 7”, colloquially referred to as the Could I 7”
after the opening track. Right off the bat, the band displays a pretty strong melodic sense, writing simplistic but catchy guitar lines, and infectious shout-along parts that just beg you to join in. “Could I?! Could I?! Could I?!” The second song, Silvered Lead, features some early 90s basement twinkle, with Fugazi-style rhythms and grooving bass lines over sparse and thin guitar flourishes. Track three is much more upbeat, emocore-style, reminiscent of early Revolution Summer hardcore a la Embrace or Gray Matter, but with an octave chord guitar hook that refuses to leave your head. The vocals on the record range all over your typical early emo, from low, near-unintelligible talking (although I must say Current are one of the most easily understandable early 90s emo hardcore bands), to singing and full-on shouting and yelling. This band was so good at crafting memorable hooks that even their vocalless fuck-off tracks from this session, like the Star Wars-sample-ridden SW,
will absolutely stick in your mind. Perfect balance of syncopated chugging and airy strumming.
Early in 1993, Current’s hard work began to pay off when they were first offered a spot at the inaugural More Than Music Fest
in Dayton, Ohio, and then got an offer from Doghouse Records
to help them record their full-length album. Feeling wary at the thought of signing a contract, they declined and opted to self-release. And so on June 18th, 1993, Current released their sole LP Coliseum
before embarking on a summer tour alongside names like Rorschach, Second Story Window, Greyhouse, Sinker, and Heroin, during which they would put out a split with Indian Summer
which is just all-around chilling, and was very likely influential to early Jimmy Eat World
. The full-length features a lot more of the stereotypically ‘midwest emo’ melodic guitar parts and twinkles, although they are delivered over a still very much hardcore backdrop. The band had clearly gotten much tighter together and improved at playing techniques in the span of less than a year. You can really hear the soft-loud crescendos and midwest twinkles in tracks like Dial
or the bouncy She Can’t Write.
This is some primo emo, folks, criminally underrated to the max. Later in the year, Current played fellow midwest emocore band Chino Horde’s
last show before releasing a split
with them in early 1994.
Current went on another summer tour in mid 1994, contributing tracks to now-legendary 90s emo/hardcore benefit comps such as Food Not Bombs
and Land of Greed... World of Need
(the latter being an Embrace cover compilation). Over the course of touring, however, tensions began to arise between bandmates, as is prone to happening after years of touring with the same people. By the time the band came back, they were just about ready to break up, but not before recording a final seven songs, four of which would be released in 1995 as a 7” entitled Is 4.
These tracks are indubitably the band’s most dynamic material -- and perhaps a reflection of the state of the band, also seem to be the moodiest, most desperate and frantic songs they ever wrote. The lyrics are screamed with such fervent passion pretty consistently throughout, and every song is under three minutes, showing hints of the group’s much more intense alter ego Ottawa leaking in. After breaking up, all the members of Current minus Matt, the singer, formed a somewhat softer emo band called Gregor
, fitting in more with the contemporary midwest emo of the day. They only released a two-song 7” single originally, despite recording 6 songs, but literally like just two weeks ago as of writing this, drummer Derek Brosch (who is also in midwest indiemo supergroup Broken Hearts are Blue
which just put out a new album on the 12th) posted the rest of the songs on bandcamp.
What’s really awesome about Derek is that he’s been running the Current Facebook page, and has managed to compile the previously-unreleased tracks from all their recording sessions as well as various songs from comps and re-release the band’s discography on streaming services. So for the first time ever, the band’s full, entire discography is available for anyone to listen to. Council Records had previously released a discography CD
in 1998, but now every individual release is on Spotify containing the remaining songs from its corresponding recording session. So, fuck yeah! Another win for old school emo thanks to modern technology. Now if we can just get a vinyl pressing of that completed discography, perhaps from good ol’ Numero Group…
Thanks for tuning in, and I’ll see you all next week. Current - Resources
band to band
Council Records website