- The Promise Ring
Rising from the ashes of a number of groups, particularly the widely regarded Cap'n Jazz, Milwaukee's emo-pop sensation the Promise Ring has been on an amazing streak since its inception five years ago. With three albums, a handful of singles, a side project (Vermont), and a relentless road ethic (including this year's opening gig for Bad Religion -- perhaps the highest-profile shows for the band to date), the Promise Ring's popularity has been steadily rising and has only steepened with last year's critically acclaimed Very Emergency and this year's "Electric Pink" EP. Very Emergency merely reinforced the opinions of pop-punk tastemakers everywhere who had picked the Promise Ring as the band to watch, after its second album, Nothing Feels Good, made Top 10 lists all over the country, including The New York Times' Best of the Year. Produced by Burning Airlines' J. Robbins, Very Emergency cut to the heart of the emo-core sound, with the energetic tension between guitarists Davey VonBohlen and Jason Gnewikow, and the frantically controlled rhythm section of bassist Scott Schoenbeck and drummer Dan Didier. The "Electric Pink" EP, released early this past summer, served as a stopgap while the Promise Ring toured its way to its next album. Composed of a pair of tracks recorded during the Very Emergency sessions, along with a pair of newly recorded tracks, "Electric Pink" also served to keep the Promise Ring in the public eye during its recent forced hiatus (due to VonBohlen's unexpected brain surgery and recuperation). Now fully rested and recovered, the band is back on the road with renewed energy.