The measure of a good band – and I mean a really good band, the type of band that you tell your friends about and keep listening to religiously between their major releases – is if they sound better live than they do recorded. It’s a simple measure, and it’s why it’s worth going to a concert early to see the openers.

And that’s exactly how Oso Oso sounded right before a Knuckle Puck show. They came on in knit sweaters and beanies, but their show was substantially more animated than their LL Bean aesthetic suggested. You can tell that they feel the music, turning to form a loose circle and just jamming together. You can tell they love what they’re doing, because the drummer is singing alone even though he’s not providing any vocals and the rhythm guitarist is smiling to himself even when he’s not playing.

Their lyrics are distinctly emo (“Cause I was wrong and this is my repent/Things sped up, I stopped making sense) and delivered in a chilled out lilt that builds momentum through their choruses. It’s not something to headbang to, but there’s a bouncy feel to the music that makes you want to keep moving. It’s a more indie-focused version of the sound Dashboard Confessional pioneered in the early 00’s.

Oso Oso are not new to the scene: they’ve got the depth of a two-LP discography, and they already sound sure of themselves and their sound. They formed in 2014 and quickly put out an album in 2015. Their second album, the yunahon mixtape, was put out in 2017, but was rereleased in 2018 when they signed with Triple Crown – hence their current tour schedule.

Highlights to check out are Reindeer Games, The Walk, and gb/ol h/nf (which, after listening through a couple dozen times, I think means goodbye old love, Hello new friend). Of course, with two albums and a handful of singles, there’s some depth to dig through as well.