Rise Against – Nowhere Generation

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.

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Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)

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.

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Wishful Thinking – Preoccupied

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.

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Stand Atlantic – Blurry

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.

Listen to this great track below.

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Grow Rich – Bounce Back

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.

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Neck Deep – What Took You So Long?

Last month, Welsh punk-rock band Neck Deep released their fourth studio album, All Distortions Are Intentional, and even though I didn’t find it ground-breaking, I thought it was a solid effort with several good tracks and a few gems. What Took You So Long? is my favourite one despite not being released as one of the singles yet. Hardcore fans might not like it because it’s not a “pure” punk-rock track, but that’s precisely the reason why I think it is the best song in the album. The band dared to take some chances without changing its essence and it worked out. The sweet lyrics don’t hurt either.

If you follow this genre at all, you probably know Neck Deep already, as their previous album, The Peace and the Panic, debuted at #4 in both the UK and the US (at least according to Wikipedia) and they opened several concerts for Blink-182 in 2019. And If you don’t know them, definitely check them out. That previous record was outstanding and the new one is a worthy follow-up. In the meantime, listen to What Took You So Long below.

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Anges & Airwaves – All That’s Left Is Love

I think Tom DeLonge is the type of person who gets easily bored by routine and repetition. One of the reasons he got into arguments with Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, was that he wanted to experiment with a more “atmospheric” sound while his friends wanted to keep doing what had been successful for them so far. The bad news is that this is what eventually caused him to leave Blink-182, but –luckily for us– that is also what prompted him to form Angels & Airwaves (stylized AVA). The group is basically a cinematic rock band with a punk-rock flavour, and there is nothing wrong with that.

AVA had been relatively quiet since 2017, partly because DeLonge had been busy looking for UFOs (for real, he co-founded this company), but they are now back on track to drop a new album soon, having released three new singles already since December. All That’s Left is Love is the latest one of them and is also the one that resembles the most the band’s previous work (this is not a complaint, I liked the other two singles as well, especially Rebel Girl). All the proceeds the band makes from this single will be donated to the charity Feeding America to help with the economic impact of COVID-19.

All in all, it is a great song from one of the most curious minds in the music business today.

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Back On Earth – Save Me

If you listened to Back On Earth without knowing anything else about the band, you would be tempted to bet on that they are a band from South California whose members spend the time surfing when they are not playing gigs. I really doubt you would guess they are actually from Paris, France. I, for one, would have lost that bet.

The band plays perfectly good punk rock (or pop-punk, if you prefer to call it that way) and was formed in 2009. However, they were on a hiatus from 2014 until last year, and they have been pretty active since then. Save Me is a fun and extremely catchy (especially that chorus) tune that the band released earlier this year. If Back On Earth continues to release songs like this (and they have plans to put a new song out in July), their future looks very bright.

Please give them a try if you weren’t a fan already, I promise you that it will be fun.

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The Dangerous Summer – Where Were You When The Sky Opened Up

The Dangerous Summer is an American band that sits on the border between alternative rock and punk rock. The band has been active since 2006 and even though it didn’t became big –at least not yet–, it got a decent group of fans. The Dangerous Summer’s latest studio album (although they will release a new one soon) was Mother Nature, released last year, and it had the song featured here as it lead single.

Besides having a really long name, When Were You When The Sky Opened Up got a melancholic vibe and a melodic rhythm that make it one of the most memorable songs from the subgenre in a long time. It’s the perfect tune to listen to when you get into a car and start riding. Don’t you think?

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Home By July – One In A Million

The punk-rock / pop-punk genre was hugely popular in the early 2000s, to the point where it got saturated with plenty of bands that sounded the same, with only a few standouts. Then, things moved to other end of the spectrum when most of those bands either broke up or switched to Pop or something else, and the genre slowly faded away. It looks like the middle ground is not an option for punk-rock.

The above has caused plenty of people who enjoyed this kind of music back then to feel nostalgic about it now, and that is exactly where Home By July fits in. If you miss the heyday of the genre, this Australian band will be right up your alley, and the best example of that it’s their latest single, One In A Million. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking, just good old punk-rock.

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