Punky emo pop quintet Hawthorne Heights came to life in the summer of 2001. They built their fan base on a demo recording and a series of self-booked national tours. 2004 marked the release of their powerful full-length debut, The Silence in Black and White. While the bandmates relentlessly toured behind it, the album became their label’s highest-selling debut, and its lead single, “Ohio Is for Lovers,” invaded rock radio. Hawthorne Heights’ second album, If Only You Were Lonely, arrived in 2006 along with a DVD titled This Is Who We Are. Lonely debuted at number three on the charts and continued to sell well, eventually going gold. Hawthorne Heights issued a third album, Fragile Future, in August 2008 and in 2010 issued Skeletons, their fourth album. Also in 2010 the band formed their own label, Cardboard Empire. Along with touring, they began work on a series of EPs beginning with Hate in the summer of 2011, then Hope in late 2012. The following year the band showed their ambitions with Zero, a post-hardcore concept album about a group of rebels in a dystopian, near-future America.
One of the few screamo bands to land a Top 40 pop hit, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus formed in 2003 in Middleburg, Florida. After writing and rehearsing for 18 months, the bandmembers were urged by several friends to pursue their music seriously. In 2005, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus began crafting their full-length debut. The resulting Don’t You Fake It appeared in July 2006 and was certified gold by the year’s end, propelled by the success of the Top 40 single “Face Down” and the band’s stint on the summer-long Warped Tour. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus play melodic hard rock that makes room for punk and power-pop influences. Frontman Ronnie Winter’s emotional vocals get the band classified as emo by some, but their brand of earnest, angsty rock is more closely aligned to that of groups like Hoobastank or Linkin Park.