Arcadia Grey Credit: Courtesy the artist

Update: On November 5, Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly canceled their remaining shows on this tour. No replacement had been announced at publication time, and Arcadia Grey will still perform. The lineup listed below will likely change further.

It’s a fool’s errand to pinpoint the moment when fifth-wave emo became a thing in underground DIY circles—music scenes don’t work like that. But an emerging class of new bands have in fact coagulated into a notable movement, and a handful of recordings document the process. Sun Eater Records issued one of them in fall 2020, a compilation called Fatal 4 Way that features four newer acts from the east coast and as far west as Indiana and Tennessee, the home states of Arcadia Grey and Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly, respectively. Fooly Cooly sprinkle their self-released 2020 album, Soak, with samples from video games that fit their herky-jerky sound, including dramatic dialogue from Kingdom Hearts and gleeful giggling from Super Mario 64. And their brisk, athletic guitar solos bust out of the songs like they’ve used a cheat code in Mortal Kombat and can suddenly disembowel their opponents with superhuman strength and speed. Arcadia Grey favor self-conscious emo cheekiness and loud-quiet-loud shifts that draw from rock ballads of yore. They open “MonSTAR,” from 2019’s self-released Konami Code, with watery, lonesome guitar and glum, half-sung vocals that offset histrionics with self-deprecation: “I’ve never left the midwest, so maybe that’s why I can cut myself to American Football at night.” This arch awareness of their position in midwestern emo is actually a good sign—I take it as evidence that Arcadia Grey are well-suited to help steer the genre’s newest wave.

Arcadia Grey, Sunday Cruise Fri 11/12, 6:30 PM, Subterranean (downstairs), 2011 W. North, $10, 17+