Oh, I am going to take a beating for posting this.
This Years Model formed out of the ashes of the band In Transit in late 1999. Steve Gache and Karen Ciaffone formed This Years Model while Scott Altmann and Mark Pernice formed Come Down. Steve brought in singer Neil Rubenstein from Sons of Abraham, both of whom had played together in Irony of Lightfoot. They added Joe Corbo from Last Days of August on drums and Joe Hess on second guitar.
Joe Hess left after they released "A Very Special Demo" on Fadeaway Records in 1999 and the track "One Million Volumes" on the Fadeaway "Best Comp in the World." They continued on with a really amazing EP, a 6 Song CD entitled "Wanted: New Best Friends" as well as a split with Hot Rod Circuit, both of which released on Law of Inertia records the following year. While I've often heard the band referred to as a hardcore band, their music was really closer to dischord bands like Blue Tip and Nation of Ulysses. Heavy, scream-y indie rock.
In 2001 they parted ways with Neil and acquired Darrin Tarruli who was previously the drummer in The Paste Junkies. It was also the quickest turnaround I ever saw from a band losing one singer and playing shows with an entirely new singer and completely new songs. It may have taken a month and they had shows booked and 5 or 6 new songs. Darrin brought a completely different type of singing style and stage presence to the band. His voice was more melodic and recalled Chino from the Deftones. They released a self-titled 3-Song CD and filmed a music video for "Burning Sensation." They eventually changed their name to Bravado to firmly separate the first version of the band from the Darrin-incarnation, released a second 3 song sampler and then called it a day. Their music had substantially changed at this point as well, as they were far more rock than hardcore with absolutely no apprehension in showing an appreciation for Rye Coalition and AC/DC.
No matter the case, the songs were all great.
So, I may take some heat from the members of the band because I do count them all as friends, even going so far as to say that 2 of them are really good friends (even if I'm a fairly shitty friend in return who doesn't call.) They probably don't want this kind of praise heaped on them, but they were a great band. Unfortunately they were criminally ignored. A perfect example of this was when I saw them play with At the Drive-In at one of Long Island's biggest storied shows at the Garden City Bowling alley. After they played an amazing set, which blew away the two preceding bands (one of which was Taking Back Sunday, btw) I remember Steve saying to me "Dude, do you know how many kids are here? There are over 700 kids. Do you know how many CDs we sold? TWO." I think that they sold one more CD that night. I would have bought one but I already had it... and I didn't pay for mine.
They were routinely awesome, I never saw them play a bad show. There were many shows that had some combination of This Years Model, Come Down, With Every Idle Hour and The Cotton Weary or all 4 bands together and those were definitely some of my favorite memories from that time; being in a band and seeing my friends play really good music. Whether it was Neil or Darrin singing, the band was always super-tight, and that can definitely be attributed to the rhythm section of Joe Corbo and Karen Ciaffone who were totally solid. Steve Gache was also a master of getting the most out of his guitar, there were great riffs whether it's in the more complex early stuff or the minimalistic force in the later Bravado recordings.
Steve and Karen formed SpeedSpeedSpeed with Josh Chaplinsky of Irony of Lightfoot, Last Days of August and December Grey on guitar and Dan Komis on drums. Neil joined These Enzymes. Joe Corbo joined Krylls and later SpeedSpeedSpeed. Darrin went on to LushLifeKills.
As for the recordings, the first batch is the Neil era and the second batch is the Darrin era which also includes 4 unreleased songs which are untitled. Untitled #1 was one of my favorite tunes they had, next to "God's Gift to Old Tricks" from the Hot Rod Circuit split. I'm pretty sure everything was recorded by Don Fury except the two tracks from the Hot Rod Circuit split that were recorded by Brian Lane from Brand New.
Also, check out the video for Burning Sensation below. It's got a who's who from the old scene. You'll pick out Antonio from Scarab and Taking Back Sunday as one of the fighters, as well as Mike from Shallows of the Mundane as one of the others, Rich Jacovina from Silent Majority/Heads Vs. Breakers as "the godfather" and Joe Rubino from Tension/Dearly Departed/Jett Black Heart Attack as his right hand man. I'm in there briefly during the fight scenes and bouncing around like a fool in my blindingly bright yellow shirt during the concert shots.
A Very Special Demo, One Million Volumes, Wanted: New Best Friends and Hot Rod Circut split:
The two 3 Song CDs and Unreleased songs:
Go the band's myspace page here: http://www.myspace.com/thisyearsmodel99