Torches Together: A DIY Tribute to mewithoutYou

Twenty-two years after forming—and on the heels of their farewell tour—mewithoutYou is being honored by their very own tribute compilation, curated by Outcast Tape Infirmary. Regardless of how you feel about the polarizing post-hardcore outfit, there’s no denying that they have been an incredibly important band for a large number of artists across their career.

The magnitude and expanse of that influence are shown plainly here, with 33 artists contributing tracks culled from every portion of their catalog. The obvious hits are here—”January 1979,” “Gentlemen,” and “Torches Together” are scattered across the track list alongside more recent singles like “Red Cow” and “Julia (or, ‘Holy to the Lord’ on the Bells of Horses).”

But the choice of deep cuts are surprising: G.D. Brown offers up a cover of “Chapelcross Towns,” a track from the Appendix of Pale Horses while Every Promise Kept’s version of “Flamethrower,” which could be argued to be their very first hit, appearing on Blood Enough For Us All, their mostly-forgotten debut EP befoe being rerecorded for I Never Said I Was Brave. Oddly, a number of songs appear twice: “Kristy w. the Sparkling Teeth,” “Bullet to Binary,” and “King Beetle on a Coconut Estate” (“Kristy” is a pretty deep cut as well). However, the interpretations are slightly different, which makes for an interesting listening experience.

Like every cover compilation, some artists offer faithful performances of the original songs while others offer radical reinventions. Crimehaven’s chiptune version of “Torches Together” strays the furthest from its source material, but it’s an absolute delight (imagine Crystal Castles covering it, and you won’t be far off). Faithfulness aside, the sheer variety of artists involved makes for a varied and exciting listen.

The contributors range from metalcore to Raffi-esque twee folk, which is as representative a demonstration of mewithoutYou’s influence as I can think of. The Philly quintet has an influence like an impact crater, stretching far beyond their actual size. They’ve explored plenty of ground in their career, from ravaging post-hardcore to atmospheric post rock to Neutral Milk Hotel-esque folk, but their influence is somehow even larger than the sum of those parts. One thing I’ve always appreciated about being a mewithoutYou fan is that everyone has a different set of favorite songs. If you ask two die-hard fans to rank their albums, you’ll likely end up with two very different lists. That mercurial characteristic has always defined mewithoutYou—even in their most straightforward punk offerings. So it only makes sense that a compilation honoring them would be just as chameleonic.

Torches Together is available August 19th on dual cassette through Outcast Tape Infirmary.

Follow Outcast Tape Infirmary on Twitter, Instagram, and Bandcamp.

1. Soul Sacrifice – Bullet to Binary
2. Steve Gender – O, Porcupine
3. i, the Ghost – Elephant in the Dock
4. Old Friend Fox – Aubergine
5. Slurm Flirty Worm – January 1979
6. Song of Salmon – Cities of the Plain
7. Hunter/Seeker – Gentlemen
8. The Anniversary Effect – New Wine New Skins
9. The Forebearant – Wendy and Betsy
10. Cor De Lux – Red Cow
11. Every Promise Kept – Flamethrower
12. Elijah Batson – East Enders Wives
13. Lowe Cellar – The Ghost
14. Texas Tire Fire – Kristy w/ The Sparkling Teeth
15. John Chaffee – The King Beetle On A Coconut Estate
16. Leevy Skeevy – Allah, Allah, Allah
17. Lilith Two – Every Thought a Thought of You
18. Crimehaven – Torches Together
19. G.D. Brown – Chapelcross Towns
20. Caregiver – Disaster Tourism
21. Reverie Foster – Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses)
22. Counterexpressive – Nice & Blue Pt 2
23. SPACESHIPS – Son of a Widow
24. Ryan Pennell – The King Beetle On A Coconut Estate
25. Without Sound – Winter Solstice
26. Sterling – Yellow Spider
27. Heated – Bullet to Binary
28. Friends Made In Factories – Timothy Hay
29. The Moderner – Kristy w/ The Sparkling Teeth
30. Maximilian Vaughan – Orange Spider
31. Sherwood Forest – All Circles
32. Contrary to Popular Belief – Rainbow Signs
33. NTVTY – In A Sweater Poorly Knit (digital only)

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