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The Death of a Party

The Rise and Fall of Scarlet City

(Double Negative; US: 22 May 2007; UK: Unavailable)

Oakland’s Death of a Party exist entirely because of the Blood Brothers, the hardcore band that screamed their way all the way to the big leagues. Party comes off like a Blood Bros. tribute band without the layers of distorted feedback. The stop-start song structures? The cabaret-styled chord changes? The wild vocal yelps? It’s all there, riding on a total been-there done-that quality. The group excels when they put down the guitars: the piano-lead “Emerald Crowns” is an exquisite gem of minor-key pop, and “The Fucking Ocean” reinvents My Chemical Romance as the unofficial muse’s for the Decemberists’ epic sea-chanteys. Single “Weekend” builds off of Tool-like bass riffs before collapsing into its muddled chorus, just as hook-less as the rest of the LP. As of now, the group’s influences are suffocating them like a tight straightjacket. Until they shake that off, you’ll see why the band earns its name.


Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album (available for free at, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.

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