February 22, 2014

Richter scale

Music topography fault lines can often be as unstable as the San Andreas, swallowing bands and labels into a chasm of debt, corporate influence and popular opinion. The Richter Collective, an Ireland-based epicenter, refused to succumb to those constant rumblings before forces beyond its control necessitated self-implosion in 2012.

The aftershocks of that temblor are still being felt. Instrumental transforms And So I Watch You From Afar and Enemies have ruptured normal tectonics, creating new, impassable boundaries. Stabilized by guitarist Rory Friers and drummer Chris Wee, ASIWYFA’s groundbreaking Gangs shook the indie world in 2011, and last year’s All Hail Bright Futures made just as big an impact.


Enemies touched off similar seismic events. Guitarists Eoin Whitfield and Lewis Jackson and bassist Mark O’Brien converged with the math rock mechanics of Oisin Trench on 2010’s We’ve Been Talking, which was the precursor to an immense tremor. Embark, Embrace (2013) hit harder than any of their prior releases, reverberating around the globe during tours that spanned Europe, Asia and the U.S.

Both groups’ earth-shattering live shows have generated a tsunami of support and reduced many of their peers to rubble. Richter might be buried, but it triggered two of the most powerful megathrusts to ever crack the surface.