Take Five: Sleepmakeswaves' Top Five 90s Post-Hardcore Records

Written by Clodagh Mangan on 10th April, 2024
Take Five: Sleepmakeswaves' Top Five 90s Post-Hardcore Records

Sydney instrumental post-rockers sleepmakewaves have been making waves in the music scene since the release of their debut EP in 2008! Since then they have toured the globe consistently, released critically acclaimed albums and garnered dedicated fans with their heavy bombastic tunes and invigorated melodic performances. We are stoked to sit down with the bands' bassist and founding members, Alex Wilson as he takes us through his favourite 90s post-hardcore records.

Keen to see sleepmakeswaves live? Catch them on Sat 27 Apr at Manning Bar, Sydney and Sun 28 Apr at The Triffid, Brisbane. Score your tickets below!

Words by Alex Wilson:

I still spend lots of time listening to this style. It's still a touchstone for how I write songs - post-hXc is best m8s with post-rock - and what I value in music. Albums like these are 10ccs of rose-tinted nostalgia for a time when my most severe problems were high-school maths homework, volcanic acne and no gf. Dreams of being in a cool band and playing along to records in my bedroom were life.

Seam - The Proble With Me (1993)

Remarkably ahead of its time, managing to sandwich ideas from post-rock, grunge and hardcore into set of well-written breakup songs. Hearing this for the first time, I thought: "oh, that's where Death Cab for Cutie got the interlocking clean guitar thing from!" Like an emo advent calendar, every track is its own little work but stacks up into something bigger: rock music that is dreamy, propulsive, sad and triumphant all at once.

Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart (1994)

This band copped a lot of flak back in the day for signing to a major label before dropping this album - I kinda wish that contempt for the powers-that-be was still in the scene, but OTOH it's hard to hate a record this good. Just great rock 'n roll done the 90s way. The clear standout is "Savory", a minor hit that combines inventive, textural guitar work and a hooky melody with unsettling lyrics about the male gaze.

The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I (1999)

A beguiling chameleon of a record that manages to take the basic framework of experimental hardcore and make it... fun and whimsical? Cheerfully burbling synths and danceable beats combined with sheets of noise, creating music both thrilling and disorientating. The lyrics ruminate on the passage of time and the frailty of human relationships. Sometimes it's devastatingly forthright ("The City") and at others bizzarely endearing ("You Are Invited"). This album feels like becoming a young adult in all its exhilarating, neurotic confusion.

Quicksand - Slip (1993)

An album of gloriously punishing two-note Drop-D riffs. But as locked-in musically as this quartet was, it's Walter Schriefels' melodic yelling that took this a cut above, skywriting the space above the rumbling rhythm section with genuinely infections hooks. "Dine Alone" is the manifesto for their style but the whole album slaps. I saw them a few months ago at Crowbar Sydney and I'll be glad if I can lay it down so well when I'm an aging rock-dad.

Texas Is The Reason - Do You Know You Are? (1996)

The most perfect of all the records on this list. From the opening drum fill of "Johnny On The Spot" to the lilting grandeur of "A Jack With One Eye" this is, for my money, the masterclass in emocore. Honorable mentions as well for the record's climax: the beautiful, instrumental title-track leading seamlessly into the yearning rush of "Back and to the Left". The band broke up after only this record, leaving this perfect time capsule of a very short-lived group.