Dance Gavin Dance

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About Dance Gavin Dance

Of the many post-hardcore groups to break out of the underground in the 2010s, Dance Gavin Dance are the hardest to pin down. Apart from their clean/dirty screamo vocal attack and brilliantly slithering guitar patterns, most of what the California outfit do amounts to a smashing of conventions, as though they’re a wrecking ball and post-hardcore is the building slated for demolition. This approach emerged early in Dance Gavin Dance’s career. Their 2007 debut record, Downtown Battle Mountain, showcases a young yet supremely confident band maintaining a quaking tension between sad-eyed emo melodicism and seething punk angst, and its dizzyingly complex compositions reveal a love of math rock and even old-school prog rock’s ability to balance accessibility with brainy musicianship. Dance Gavin Dance’s ensuing years have been marked by considerable personnel turnover. (Just two members, guitarist Will Swan and drummer Matt Mingus, appeared on every album recorded between 2007 and 2020.) The band hit their stride after their lineup solidified into the quintet heard across Instant Gratification (2015), Mothership (2016), and Artificial Selection (2018). On these records, Dance Gavin Dance can be heard pushing their sound in a million different directions yet maintaining a sense of cohesion: 2015’s “Death of a Strawberry” opens with angelic, indie-pop-tilted singing before unloading crunchy spasms perfect for mosh-pit flailing, and the 2016 single “Young Robot” audaciously couples jazz-fusion-esque flutes and synthesizers with R&B-inspired vocal flights and funk breakdowns. There are costs for such bold experimentation: Dance Gavin Dance have never achieved full-blown stardom like the more overtly pop-oriented groups in the post-hardcore ranks. But their ability to consistently think outside the box has been crucial to the genre’s evolution.

Sacramento, CA, United States

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