IT'S A TUESDAY afternoon and Touché Amoré frontman Jeremy Bolm is not on tour, but at home in California, where he has been texting his bandmates all day.
"I'm in an extra chipper mood because we just got announced on the Primavera Sound festival in Spain," he says. "[The lineup] is insane."
Bolm is excited about seeing the National ("my favorite band for like the past six years") and Nine Inch Nails ("one of my favorite bands"). "Everyone in the band was just texting, like, 'We have to be there all three days,'" Bolm says of the May event. "We're not going home after the first day."
If Bolm sounds more like a fan than the face—and shredded, strained voice—of a fast-rising, buzzed-about band, that's in line with his general outlook on Touché Amoré's co-headlining tour with mewithoutYou.
"I have the same anxiety that I had when I was in junior high and my band would play last, where no matter what, I'm gonna forever keep looking in the venue and being like, 'Oh man, I hope people come. I hope people are gonna be here,'" Bolm says. "I'm forever that guy, whether we're playing to 20 kids or 200 kids."
The latter is more likely these days. Since Touché Amoré released its third album, Is Survived By, in September, the band has received a steady stream of attention for its bracing blend of melodic rock, punk ethos, and Bolm's starkly personal lyrics about growing older and worrying about the legacy he's leaving behind, which he delivers in a strangled, veins-bulging howl. The strength of Is Survived By has pushed Touché Amoré to the front of a crop of like-minded bands that music writers have gathered neatly into a group and cited as proof of a revival of the Midwestern emo sound of the '90s.
The generalization doesn't bother Bolm. "At the end of the day, the old phrase any press is good press [applies]. If anyone wants to talk about any of these bands at all, I consider that a good thing," he says. "Call it what you want. If we're not being called 'emo revival,' we're getting called a screamo band. If we're not getting called a screamo band, we're getting called a post-hardcore band. It's all gonna be whatever they want to say.
"The excitement is that [if] your picture's in a magazine or... on a blog that's respected, I guess, and people are talking about you, more people get to see what you're doing," Bolm continues. "That's the plus side. That's what you're hoping for."