I’ve always felt that there is one band out there for everyone — the one band that awakens something in your soul — changing you at your very core. Maybe that’s a little too deep for a morning tune to get you through your commute to work, but stay with me.
Today, I bring what I’ve long marked as that band for me, and they just happen to hail from my home state of Michigan: La Dispute. I first came across them in the music scene many, many, many years ago. And I’ll admit, I initially had a hard time getting into it, partly because I had yet to really put my foot into the hardcore scene. I blame that on my lack of having listened to La Dispute’s albums before that encounter. Luckily, the band I worked with through that summer (Island View Drive), would occasionally end up on the same bill as these guys, so we ran into each other from time to time. I would get around to listening to the entirety of their latest album at the time, Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair.
One play of that album, and I was enraptured in their art. Until that point, I constantly found myself drawn to the pop and indie songs featuring certain chords and progressions, but it was La Dispute that would change the game.
There’s something special to the music these guys make. Each album tells a story, painted with intense and delicate notes, changing key signatures, all framed with singer Jordan Dreyer’s poetic lyrics. It’s unlike anything I have ever heard, and bands that are similar in that unique sound, with all the intricate details they are able to weave together, are hard to come by.
Anyways, today’s song, “Bury Your Flame” is from that album. While there are so many other songs I could introduce you to, including “The Last Lost Continent,”of which I have a tattoo sharing its lyrics — “Bury Your Flame” was always and still is a crowd favorite, raising any venue’s energy to peak level.
La Dispute did a special show for Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair’s first birthday in 2009, where they played the entire album from beginning to end. The booking company I worked with hosted this show at an opera house in town. Luckily by then, the old downstairs of that opera house had been remodeled, with the floors reinforced, as I had seen bands like La Dispute and Portugal the Man perform there before and nearly put holes in the floor.
I wish I could find video from that night (I did find these ones), but even then, it wouldn’t convey the experience. The kids, adults and just overall fans of the band encircled the stage, creating this intimate, but incredibly energized bubble around the band. It was just them and us. When “Bury Your Flame” came up in the queue, the entire venue erupted.
The guys of La Dispute, like the rest of its young fans, all grew up and went about their lives, but while the band has members now living around the world, they are still making music. In fact, this year, La Dispute is celebrating the 10th Anniversary of its Wildlife album, which is incredibly crazy to think about. The band has been on tour to celebrate, and because I haven’t seen them play in years, I have two tickets to say hi to these incredible guys, and relive my youth in just a couple of weeks.