Music » Music Stories & Interviews

San Antonio Band Medusa Complex Bringing the Sound of '90s Emo Into the 2020s


  • Facebook / Medusa Complex
After moving to San Antonio four years ago to attend art school, singer and guitarist Javier "Javi" Pena started writing songs for a band he would assemble in 2019 called Medusa Complex.

Now, the trio — comprised of Pena, bassist David "Grotto" Lizarraga and drummer Jared Felan — is now ready to drop an EP called Dissociation early next year. A release show for will take place at Imagine Books on Friday, January 4.

If the rest of the EP is as good as the two songs so far posted online — “Scared of Sleep” and “Growing Pains” — Dissociation might be one of the best releases coming out of Saytown to channel ‘90s, second-wave emo.

And when we say "emo," we're not talking about whiny, pop-punk songs, Hot Topic jewelry, Good Charlotte shirts and side-swiped bangs. We mean jangly guitar riffs, fierce punk drumming and vocals that vacillate between yelling and singing.

Medusa Complex has drawn comparisons to bands like Cap'n Jazz and Pageninetynine, which came out of emo's second wave. But, while it captures that era’s sound, the band still has its own identity.

“This EP is about struggling with depression and anxiety — things like that,” said Pena, who adds that the songs were written when he first moved to San Antonio and needed an outlet for his feelings of loneliness and isolation.

In true emo form, “Scared of Sleep” opens with a melodic, major-key guitar riff before drums, bass and vocals shift things into a more anguished vibe. Emotional as fuck, the song is full of clever dynamic and engaging melodies that draw listeners deeper into the band’s dreamy depression.

“Growing Pains” pivots around happy-sounding riffs while carrying an undertone of uneasiness and regret. Watch the lyric video the song below to see what we mean.

More information on Medusa Complex is available at the band’s Facebook page. More of its music is available on Bandcamp.

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