Few labels are as synonymous with emo as Jade Tree. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s the independent Delaware label released pivotal albums by the Promise Ring, Jets to Brazil, Pedro the Lion, and Cap’n Jazz, among others. The scope of Jade Tree’s catalog isn’t confined to emo, though, and you can find the evidence on the label’s brand new Bandcamp page. Owners Tim Owen and Darren Walters launched their Bandcamp yesterday following a lengthy quiet period for Jade Tree, which has been in the news again since Brooklyn Vegan said the label “is back” in a throwaway blog post from a couple weeks ago—Walters referenced that post in a Billboard story he wrote about Jade Tree’s history the following week.
The new Bandcamp page offers a good opportunity to brush up on all things Jade Tree. Yesterday I found myself gravitating towards Swiz, a D.C. posthardcore outfit that formed in 1987—just a couple years after the Revolution Summer took hold of the city’s underground punk scene and birthed emo. Swiz is one of many D.C. bands that built on the early emo sound and helped expand it simply by adhering to its own vision rather than a specific sonic rubric—take a quick listen to the band’s career-spanning compilation No Punches Pulled and you can hear bristling hardcore on one track and some strange punk-funk on another (provided by bassist Nathan Larson, who made some seriously out-there tunes in Shudder to Think). Today’s 12 O’Clock Track is “Sunstroke,” a slow, severe burner with huge guitars that cut through the air like knives. Stream it below and then go down the Jade Tree rabbit hole.