It’s been a great year for music from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Charlotte’s very own DaBaby is among this year’s most ascendent rappers, with his single Suge peaking at seven on the Billboard charts. He made the 2019 XXL Freshman Class and is undefeated in fights at the SouthPark Mall Louis Vitton store.
On the damn near other end of the Charlotte musical spectrum, emo band Jail Socks has quickly been building steam on the back of some killer singles and a lauded live act. The recent No Sleep Records signees have had more of a SoundCloud rap ascendence than a traditional DIY emo rise. Where most emo bands will put out a couple splits and an EP or two and then find their way on their first album before really coming into their own on their second album and ultimately breaking up after their third, Jail Socks has come up off of a small handful of really strong tracks leaving listeners looking for more. They might be the only band where the number of times their songs have gotten to the front page of r/emo is higher than the number of songs they have out.
The group started as a two piece putting out the two song No Promises EP February of last year. Following in DaBaby’s footsteps Jail Socks made The E Word’s Emo Freshman Class where Ryland of Origami Angel said that from the second he heard these two tracks he knew Jail Socks was “the best thing [he’s] ever heard”. While both songs are solid Freshman Year is the stand out. It finds a balance of being anthemic while still holding on to that emo twinkle, as singer Aidan Yoh cracks and croons about how he misses the simpler life him and his friends had back when they were innocent freshmen. His voice really does hit the perfect level of strain; he can scream without ever being abrasive, yelp without ever sounding whiny, and sing genuinely without sounding corny, which all together is damn near impossible.
Jail Socks followed No Promises up quickly with a split EP with Placeholder which has one of the most pleasant looking covers I have ever seen, with the happiest pooch in the world lounging on a love seat in front of a beautiful bed of flowers. The two songs here are decidedly heavier than the last two with PT Bruiser being the stand out, again sounding anthemic while still twinkling right through. Aidan yells that he hopes his partner goes to New York to get away from it all but then finds himself crying out for help at the end, screaming “Why am I so scared” over and over as the song breaks down and ends with the rest of the band joining him for the final yelps. They sound more angry than fearful and the track had the kind of weight that made it feel like it was closing a proper full length rather than a quick split with buddies.
If this sampling of tracks is any indication I have no doubts that these guys are headed for great heights. They’ve had limited press so far, with the only piece I could find being a quick questionnaire in The Alternative where we learned that drummer Colman, aka the only one who correctly picked Cook Out as his favorite fast food joint, is the brains of the crew. Thankfully No Sleep announced that new Jail Socks was coming later this month, and I’d imagine as more singles get released and buzz builds more press will follow. In the meantime, it would be wise to check them out on their recently announced tour sometime this summer so you can tell all your friends you were at the house show way before the Pitchfork review.