Los Angeles, California's Touché Amoré blend jangly post-hardcore with emotionally raw screamo to create a unique sound that turns the influence of bands like Jawbox and Converge into something strangely coherent. The band's third album, 2013's Is Survived By, reached the top half of the Billboard 200. Formed in 2007 by singer Jeremy Bolm, guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt, bassist Tyler Kirby, and drummer Elliot Babin, Touché Amoré made their debut in 2009 with To the Beat of a Dead Horse. The album eventually came to the attention of Jacob Bannon's label Deathwish, Inc., which released the follow-up, 2011's Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me, as well as their third album, 2013's Is Survived By. The latter peaked at number 85 on the U.S. albums chart as well as landing in the Top 30 of the alternative, rock, and hard rock charts. It also topped the vinyl albums chart. After finishing up a tour in support of Is Survived By, the band decamped to L.A.'s Seagrass Studio with producer Brad Wood (Sunny Day Real Estate, Smashing Pumpkins) to begin work on their fourth LP. The resulting Stage Four was released in 2016 via Epitaph. It fared slightly better on the rock side charts, reaching number 168 on the Billboard 200. In November 2018, Epitaph issued 10 Years/1000 Shows: Live at the Regent Theater. Recorded that February at Touché Amoré's 1,000th show, it made appearances on the vinyl and independent album charts. The following year saw the band re-record the entirety of their 2009 debut album, To the Beat of a Dead Horse, and release it as Dead Horse X in deference to its tenth anniversary. In 2020 Touché Amoré returned with their fifth studio effort -- Dead Horse X not included -- Lament.
© Gregory Heaney & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
© Gregory Heaney & Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 9, 2020 | Epitaph
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Lament finds Touché Amoré in an interesting position. As a post-hardcore band five albums and 10-plus years into their career—and with their 20s in the rearview mirror—they're firmly on the page of the Rock Career Calendar indicating it's time to "mature" and "branch out" and "maybe let's try something a little more accessible." Add to that the fact that their last album, 2016's Phase Four was both their most emotionally riveting (with lyrics and intensity inspired by vocalist Jeremy Bolm's mother’s death from cancer) and sonically intricate, and you have a band primed to downshift and glide into punk rock middle age. Touché Amoré, however, decided instead to hire nü-metal icon Ross Robinson to produce their latest album. Now, whether or not this was driven by some perverse nostalgia is unclear, but the results of Robinson's precise and clarified approach to production redound greatly to the band's benefit, clearly delineating it from their previous Brad Wood-produced efforts. Lament is a wiry and intense album, but also full of dynamic range (both sonic and emotional). Bolm is still explosively emotional throughout, but his diaristic approach is more inclusive and empathetic here, especially on tracks like "Exit Row" and "Feign." And while the crisp, dry midtempo romp of "Reminders" (featuring Julien Baker, who also appeared on Stage Four) sounds almost joyous, it's still quite a melancholy and angry song. The album's other guest slot is on "Limelight," featuring verses from Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra) and some steel guitar flourishes that could point the way to what an "adult" Touché Amoré would sound like. However, by the time "A Forecast" closes the album with its gentle piano/vocals opening that feels a bit self-abasing but blossoms into a melodramatic catharsis, you realize that the marginal evolution of Lament is exactly how a band like this moves into middle age: by playing to their strengths. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz
Rock - Released November 2, 2018 | Epitaph
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