Alkaline Trio, with Pretty Girls Make Graves and Pitch Black

The Alkaline Trio is Blink-182 with the Promise Ring's guilty conscience; they're the kid next door who leaves flaming shit on your porch but makes mulch in the morning. This band is as good as three chords and a sneer gets these days, when rap-metal's self-flagellating crunch is making the pursuit of boobs and beer look downright insensitive.

It makes sense that the Trio's brio, full of capital-A angst, would resonate in a way no one else's in the post-Green Day camp does anymore. Maybe I'll Catch Fire, the band's 1999 album, first caught us off-guard as an impressive continuation of the diary-shredding blare Bay Area heroes Jawbreaker honed on a series of stellar albums in the mid-'90s. That band's front man, Blake Schwarzenbach, became a sort of poet laureate for kids with chain wallets, thanks largely to his ability to make things like boxes of old photographs sound like black holes and his Cobain-like knack for marrying pop's sweet yearning to punk's gruff confusion. Matt Skiba, the devil-locked ne'er-do-well who fronts the Alkaline Trio, has so far proved himself the perfect man for the job Schwarzenbach left when he broke up Jawbreaker. Good luck finding pop-punk as warped as this on the Warped Tour.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mikael Wood