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February 7, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Touché Amoré finds poetry in emotion | Concert preview

Touché Amoré

The Southern California band Touché Amoré plays Neumos in Seattle Sunday. Photo courtesy of Deathwish, Inc.

For a guy who screams his head off for a living, Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm seems curiously shy — at least when he first picks up the phone.

Speaking from his home in Los Angeles, the vocalist-lyricist is admittedly weary from a day’s worth of interviews, but begins to perk up when asked about his musical upbringing.

“My parents listened to Elvis and country,” he remembers, “which I hated. Hated. I think that subconciously pushed me to find aggressive music at an early age, because it was the complete antithesis to what I was raised on. I was eight when Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ and Pearl Jam ‘Ten’ came out. That was such an awesome time to be exposed to actual alternative music, because it wasn’t hidden. It was right in front of you.”

While Bolm’s band isn’t operating on that large of a scale yet, it’s on the bubble. The quintet — which also features guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt, bassist Tyler Kirby and drummer Elliot Babin — performs live at Neumos Sunday.

Touché plays a certain strain of emotional hardcore — emo, if you insist — better known for its blazing blastbeats, downcast riffs and abrasive howls than its commercial viability.

The group’s third and latest LP “Is Survived By” (listen) challenges that notion, however. Produced by Brad Wood (Hum, Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate), it’s got a punkish urgency, and sonic clarity to match.

As Stevens and Steinhardt crank out deft, intertwining melodies, Kirby and Babin lay down rhythms that build, then crush. Bolm, meanwhile, employs an alternately gruff, choked-up delivery, tackling tough subjects with disarming self-awareness.

Mortality is the 12-song album’s lyrical motif — but not so much a fear of death as a feeling of anxiety about leaving behind a legacy worth remembering.

“I just turned 30,” Bolm explains, “so I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection… wondering what I’m doing to potentially impact others… if I’m living life the right way.”

Career-wise, he appears to be. Recent arena tours with AFI and Rise Against helped introduce Touché to mainstream audiences. At the same time, it’s connected with the indie crowd, gathering accolades from Pitchfork and a coveted spot at this summer’s Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona — alongside The Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel and Nine Inch Nails.

Still, reflecting on his group’s rapid rise, it’s clear Bolm remains a fan first.

“Nine Inch Nails was the first band I ever saw live, with David Bowie in 1995. Now we’re playing a fest with them. How is this happening? It’s absolutely insane.”

Touché Amoré, mewithoutYou, Seahaven, Drug Church
8 p.m. Sunday at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $15 (206-709-9442 or neumos.com)

0 Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: emo, Los Angeles, Neumos

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