Investing in Nostalgia

Last Sunday, a small group of friends gathered at the home Andy Lee, a friend and fellow Gen-Y’r who matured musically through the late-90’s and early-00’s. This period, for many of my friends, was dominated by a dedicated interest in punk/indie rock and hardcore records released by then-little known Tooth & Nail Records. During that time, the bands on Tooth & Nail were the musical equivalent of filmmaker Wes Anderson, each release garnering near-cultlike status the likes of which Anderson’s Bottle Rocket saw shortly after it debuted in 1996. The burgeoning “scene” that attached itself to these records was the profound little secret that, in the ensuing years, allowed me to meet and befriend the dominate percentage of those I continue to share life with even today.

Brandon Ebel, founder of Tooth & Nail, in the label’s early years.

Andy surprised a few of us last week by unshelving a vinyl copy of Beloved’s Failure On, a melodically brutal record released in 2003 that pre-dated much of the Hot Topic-infected “hardcore” that would signal a steep decline in the quality of the scene’s output in the following years. It turns out Failure On is part of a select few records recently reissued on vinyl by Broken Circle Records, a small shop that I hope continues to recover this era of music in pristine 180-gram style.

Thanks to Andy, I had to have my own Failure On, which brought on weeks of rediscovery. I also picked up Zao’s Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest and Hopesfall’s epic No Wings to Speak of. On vinyl. Circle-pit anyone?

Sitting here, these records spinning one after the other, I’m taken back to:

Indienet’s dark caverns, Nashville, 2000 - 2002; Furnace Fest, Birmingham 2000 - 2001; the Thunderdome, Tallahassee, 2001; Cornerstone Fest, Illinois 2000 - 2003; Embraced’s East coast mini-tour w/Underoath + Beloved, 2002; the Greenhouse, Atlanta, 2000; St. Andrew’s Community Center, Panama City, 2001 - 2003; Doug’s final show with Hopesfall, Charlotte, 2002; Embraced’s spring break tour with Copeland, Midwest, 2001; Making friends at Lipscomb and Belmont, Nashville, 2000; Atonal Spiral opening for Hopesfall, Java Pit, Destin, 1999 (met Ryan Parrish, Ben May and re-met Emily Hardesty); and almost dying when Embraced flipped its van in rural Kansas on tour with Underoath + Love is Red after multiple all night drives coming back from the West coast, 2003.

The constant weave of the “friend-constellation” was born during these years in my life and continues to bless me daily. The list of friends, places and memories could go on and on and on. Some will never understand; others can’t forget:

Note: Hopesfall’s ‘No Wings to Speak of” was pressed on vinyl by One Day Savior and is being distributed by Broken Circle.