Jan 162018

why nona

When I first wrote about songwriter Sam Wiehe last year, I compared his music under the acoustic solo moniker Concrete Jumpers to Dashboard Confessional and asked how he felt about his music being labeled (and not just by me) as emo. He was fine with it. “I know it has a certain stigma and can be attached to ‘sad boys’,” he said at the time, “but to me, emo music just means music that is emotional.”

The 21-year old’s new project, the four-piece band Why Nona, is still emo. But it’s less Dashboard Confessional and more Jimmy Eat World, loud and rocking and insanely, outrageously catchy. Or, for the generation who weren’t yet born when Bleed American came out, Modern Baseball might be the more relevant comparison. He says his new bandmates – Julian Cunningham (guitar), Mason Robertson (bass), and Rajit Sachdeva (drums) – bring in influences he wouldn’t have otherwise, from atmospheric indie to heavy metal. Continue reading »

Mar 242017

concrete jumpers

In the early 2000s, “emo” was a label that few musicians wanted stuck to them. Even Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carraba – as much the poster boy for the genre as anyone – disavowed it. “I didn’t think it was an appropriate name for grouping us together, but it stuck,” he said a few years back. “It’s like the term ‘hipster’ that was very cool but is now meant as an insult. That’s what happened with ’emo.'”

Carrabba prefers the less charged “singer-songwriter,” which would also apply to Vermont musician Sam Wiehe – but he doesn’t mind if you call him emo. “I know it has a certain stigma and can be attached to ‘sad boys’, but to me, emo music just means music that is emotional,” Wiehe says. “And that really is all I wanna make.”

The 20-year old Wiehe records as Concrete Jumpers – or, rather, recorded. His new album Dear Madison is his last under that name. It’s a breakup album filled with heart-on-sleeve emotion and sometimes devastatingly personal lyrics. So…emo. Continue reading »