Moss Icon was an Annapolis, Maryland emo band from 1986 to 1991. The original members were Jonathan Vance, Tonie Joy, Monica DiGialleonardo, and Mark Laurence. Moss Icon are most known for their influence on the splinter genre of punk known as Emo, and affiliation to the original DC bands born in the so-called "Revolution Summer" of 1985, including Rites of Spring, Gray Matter, Embrace, and Maryland's The Hated.
The band's identifying characteristics, and those that distinguish them from their contemporaries, include noticeable and abrupt transitions from loud to quiet, Joy's distinct arpeggiated guitar (often undistorted and picked), and Vance's esoteric, sometimes meandering lyrical content. Earlier recordings of the band are reminiscent of early Joy Division, particularly in guitar style, while later songs embodied a less blunt approach, noted by some detractors as making Moss Icon "like Grateful Dead for punks." The band championed, among other issues, the plight of indigenous peoples in the Americas, and opposed the US Government's involvement in Nicaragua and Guatemala.
Moss Icon recorded their debut 7", "Hate in Me", in January 1988 and entered the studio several months later to record their second 7", Mahpuia Luta. Their "Lyburnum Wits End Liberation Fly" LP was recorded by Les Lentz and Tony French throughout 1988 and released in mid-1994 by Vermiform. In 1990 a splinter project of Moss Icon was formed called Breathing Walker, containing all four members of Moss Icon plus Alex Badertscher on bass, Zak Fusciello on percussion, and Tim Horner on violin; Breathing Walker released a cassette that was re-released in 2001 by the Vermin Scum label along with live tracks. Moss Icon's third 7", entitled "Memorial", was recorded in January 1991 along with a split LP with Silver Bearing. In 1994 Ebullition Records released the It Disappears LP, compiling several songs from "Memorial" and the split LP along with live versions of several songs.