Formed in 1999, Rise Against has been one of the most revered and influential #punkrock bands of the last 20 or so years, often singing about political injustice, animal rights, environmentalism and other social issues. That being said, I got to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of their music. It is usually too hardcore for me. This is why the fact that I liked their latest single –and first since 2017–, Nowhere Generation, so much actually means something. I guess longtime fans of the band will consider it too mellow or ‘mainstream’ for their liking, but one person’s loss is another person’s gain.
Don’t get me wrong though, Nowhere Generation got plenty of oomph. From the moment frontman’s Tim McIlrath starts singing the overture to the moment the full band starts playing, the song’s energy level is never too low. The track is a tribute to the current generation, which despite technological prowess , does not have the same opportunities previous generations had for achieving the ‘American dream’. The combination of the song’s message with the catchy melody results in a powerful track well worth a listen. Perhaps even on repeat mode.
Ryan Sizemore and Derek Gilreath from Winston-Salem, North Carolina –also known as “The Camel City”–with a shared love for punk rock and having a good time. This prompted them to form their own band in 2015, The Camel City Blackouts, with their debut album being published in late 2019. This year, they released an EP titled 13 that consists of 2 tracks: Angels and Another Night, plus an acoustic version of the latter. All in all, this EP showcases what The Camel City Blackouts are about.
Another Night is a fun and energetic punk song about being addicted to something (alcohol, in particular) and not being able to keep it under control. The Camel City Blackouts grab your attention from the start with this track and never let it go. What I really like about Another Night is that the band found the right balance between a vibrant rhythm and noise (which is something many punk songs don’t achieve), and the result is quite an enjoyable rock song delivered flawlessly. In addition to that, as you can perceive in their self-made music video below, it is evident that they have lots of fun playing music and that has a positive impact over what they do. Also, is it just me or there is a hint of The Strokes in this song? Anyway, don’t sleep on this fun band.
To me, there are two sides to Sum 41: a lighter, punk-rock embracing one and a darker, guitar-heavy, metal-flirting side. They used to oscillate from one side to another with each album but after switching to the darker side on the album that followed 2009’s excellent Underclass Hero, they seem to have decided to stay there. This coincides with the return of lead guitarist and founding member Dave Baksh to the band in 2013, after a 9-year break. They have released a handful of songs that I like during this time, but the above mentioned Underclass Hero was their last album I truly loved. What can I say? I don’t enjoy metal that much.
That record includes several standout tracks but I’ve decided to feature today one that I didn’t love right away. I don’t know why though, because With Me is truly a great song. As with a few other tracks from Underclass Hero, it’s likely based on frontman’s Deryck Whibley failing relationship with Avril Lavigne, his wife at the time. Besides Deryck’s ability to transmit his raw emotions, what sets this song apart is the great drum part from former band member Steve Jocz. It’s really hard to get those drums out of your head.
Anyway, here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: With Me by Sum 41.
Pop-punk is far less popular today than 15 years ago but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t young artists exploring that genre. We have featured a few here already and today’s artist is another example. Mystery Rose is a 17-year-old indie artists from L.A who writes and records her own music, which ranges from Amy Winehouse-style blues ballads to the genre mentioned earlier. Unlike most teenagers in the music business today, she is not interested in fame, which is why she chose the Mystery Rose moniker. She can show her face from time to time but, for the most part, she prefers to remain largely a mystery.
Mystery Rose‘s debut album, the cleverly titled Socially Distant, will be released this year and its first official single is Stability. A catchy tune about feeling vulnerable after a break-up, it reminisces early ‘00s indie rock tracks, While it doesn’t get bonus points for innovation, it delivers way more than enough in terms of quality rock music. Definitely, check this young artist out.
If you’re a fan of The Gaslight Anthem, chances are you will like Kaleiders too. Although not specifically from Manchester, this four-piece band hails from nearby Warrington and aims to bridge the gap between melodic punk and indie rock, resulting in a sound not that different from the popular American band mentioned above. Alright, in particular, which was the first song the band ever recorded in 2016 but have now remastered to give it new life and a cleaner sound, gives me that vibe. This new version is part of the band’s brand new debut full length album: Melancholy Undertones.
A guitar-driven song, Alright is high in energy and riffs while also having an optimistic flavor. It’s evident that we have a talented band in Kaleiders, the question is whether or not they can be consistently good. Only time can tell but I like their odds. So far, so good.
To be honest, the first couple of times I heard Hellogoodbye‘s Here (In Your Arms), I didn’t like it. I couldn’t deny the extremely infectious chorus, but everything else about the tune seemed odd to me. It was a classic example of a song that grows on you the more times you listen to it. And listening to this song I did. A lot. Because my then girlfriend (now wife) loved it from the first time, to the point that it was her ringtone for a good while (back when that was still a thing). It’s hard to believe it’s been so long already.
Here (In Your Arms) was the lead single from Hellogoodbye‘s debut album, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, released in 2006. It peaked a number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum in the US. I don’t think the Californian band has been able to replicate that level of success since then, but they’re still around, with a few lineup changes but still led by lead singer Forrest Kline.
I hope you like this catchy song, because it is this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
Kat Victoria is a young and multifaceted artist that cannot really be tied to any genre in particular. She has released six singles so far and each one of them is different. I mean, one of them is even categorised as freestyle rap. However, the song I’m featuring today, Tell Him, lies in the grey area between alternative rock and pop-punk.
Tell Him is an interesting track with an infectious chorus that I’m sure many listeners will enjoy. I think it’s really impressive what Kat can do pretty much by herself, including shooting a music video for her song (which you can watch below). As her bio on social media pages say, this talented songwriter makes music from her bedroom. I can only imagine what she would be able to do in a top-notch music studio. Definitely, check her out.
Punk-rock is still alive. Wishful Thinking is an example of a new generation of pop punk bands ready to take the baton from Blink-182, New Found Glory, and All Time Low (in fact, at times you might think Tom DeLonge is the one singing) . This New Jersey act is not trying to reinvent the wheel as much as simply injecting a breath of fresh air into the genre. They started out in 2016 but after releasing an EP then, the band members decided to take a break to get better at songwriting. They returned this year with new tracks ahead of their debut album, which was released on the 22nd. Preoccupied is one of its singles.
This is a classic pop-punk song with a fast tempo, loud guitars and a catchy chorus. It is a clear example of what Wishful Thinking can do now and the potential they have to keep improving. If you like this genre, you should definitely check them out. You will like it.
For some reason, there aren’t that many rock bands with a female vocalist, let alone punk rock ones. Luckily, we got bands like Stand Atlantic kicking some serious ass while being led by the awesome Bonnie Fraser. This Australian pop-punk band was formed in 2012 and after a series of EPs, they released their debut album in 2018, which made them internationally known amongst punk rock fans. Last month, they returned with their sophomore effort, Pink Elephant, which demonstrates that the band means business.
Blurry is the sixth! single Stand Atlantic has released from this album and it is a great example of what the band does best: high-energy songs with catchy choruses and much darker lyrics. The track got some electronic/synth-based elements that give it a slight 80s aesthetic but it is still a pop punk song with a lot of attitude.
Music is universal and it can come from the most unexpected places. Maybe Indonesia is not the first country that comes to mind when you think about indie punk bands but that’s exactly where Grow Rich comes from. The project from multi-instrumentalist Abdur Rahim Latada is influenced by bands like Veruca Salt, Joy Division, and My Bloody Valentine. Abdur has released two self-financed EPs already as Grow Rich, and he also markets them himself. Frantic Semantic is the latest EP, which includes Bounce Back, a really good track.
Lyrically, to be honest, Bounce Back is nothing to write home about, but musically, it is a completely different story. It got great hooks and guitar riffs and nice soundscapes that make it really hard to believe it was all done by one person (except for drums, as he got help for that). Even the vocals are really good as well. This really sounds as good as any song produced by heavyweights. If you are into this type of music, I beg you to give this song a chance. You won’t regret it.