Origami Angel Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Emo’s fourth wave re-energized indie rock in the 2010s, but by the end of the decade many of the genre’s most promising bands had quietly broken up or seemed about to, playing only the occasional show with no sign that they would make more music. But the era lasted long enough to ensure the emo of the new decade would be in good hands—hands like those of D.C. band Origami Angel. Guitarist-vocalist Ryland Heagy and drummer Pat Doherty got the idea to form a two-piece after catching a set from young fourth-wave emo duo the Obsessives. As Origami Angel have figured out their rambunctious, progressive style over the past few years, they’ve also built a network of like-minded emo misfits from their hometown (such as Commander Salamander) and others they’ve found through Twitter and Reddit (including Iowa’s Stars Hollow and North Carolina’s Jail Socks). The knowledge, confidence, and support that have come out of those relationships helped Heagy and Doherty develop, and in turn Origami Angel have become a boon to the rest of the scene. Their debut album, November’s Somewhere City (Chatterbox), is one of the best emo albums of 2019, which is no faint praise in a year that also gifted us with a rare crossover emo record that actually won over critics (Oso Oso’s Basking in the Glow) and an ambitious acid-trip rock opera (Prince Daddy & the Hyena’s Cosmic Thrill Seekers). Heagy and Doherty use their instrumental skills to work flamboyant, sometimes playful parts into neat, hook-filled songs, lending emotional resonance to what might otherwise seem like merely athletic displays. On “24 Hr Drive-Thru,” Heagy punctuates harmonized blocks of chanted vocals with quick hammer-ons to make a song about the small joy of late-night drives to fast-food joints feel full of possibilities.   v