Emo is genre of hardcore punk music started in the mid eighties by a band called Rites Of Spring. Their lead singer had been a big fan of the band Minor Threat, and after their breakup, had decided to start his own band. It was similar in the musical sense, however the lyrics were different. Instead of spitting about politics and anti-capitalist themes, the lyrics were more personal, and hateful towards themselves. This new music managed to drive away many old punk fans, and attract many new ones.
The DC emo scene exploded and became excessively popular amongst the underground. However, it fizzled out almost as fast as it had begun.
In the early 90's, two new bands, Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbreaker, started the new wave of emo music. SDRE started the "post indie emo" genre. Bands that can be categorized under this genre could be Texas Is The Reason, Taking Back Sunday, Mineral and other music following those lines, that are often confused for emo.
Jawbreaker were the new wave of emo revival, although still remotley underground, the music continues to be popular with the people who can search it out.
Thanks to MTV, the perception of what real emo is has been completely changed and most people do not understand what it is, automatically assuming that DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL or anyone else with an acoustic singing about breakup is emo. Emo isn't pussy music, it's heartfelt, and hardcore at the same time. An angry emotional release of self loathing and self depreciation.
The style of music that band played was pretty similar to the emo stuff that Rites did.