I’ve been a huge pop punk fan for years and it’s great to see that the genre is still alive and kicking. When Lookout Records went under I had some serious concerns that some of the best music would become unavailable to the next generation of fan. Some of the key releases have become much harder to find on CD or vinyl but all the streaming services and access to music through Youtube and a million other apps and platforms, I am reassured that some of the best music ever made will continue to find a savvy audience.
When I see the pop punk bands that are talked about today, it makes me feel old. Good Charlotte considered ‘old school’ just makes me feel OLD! There is a ton of amazing pop punk out there and I feel like I wouldn’t be doing my job unless I highlighted some of my personal favorite releases from decades past. I will do my best to not get too obscure with the recommendations, however, a few of these bands/releases may be tougher to find than others. Additionally, I am not here to split hairs and argue with people what is punk, pop punk, emo, etc… This post isn’t to define who is or is not in the pop punk genre, its only purpose is to highlight some melodic punk rock that may be overlooked by kids today that might really enjoy hearing some good music. With that said, here is part two of bands, albums, and songs that are worth chasing down and checking out (Bands L-R). To see Part 1, click here.
- Well known bands and bands currently releasing music with regularity are left off this list (Ramones, Rancid, NOFX, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Misfits, Menzingers, My Chemical Romance, Offspring, Operation Ivy, and Rise Against).
Lawrence Arms – These guys have a ton of amazing songs in their catalogue. Try there few and see why they should be your new favorite band of the week – The Devil’s Taking Names, Quincentuple Your Money, Porno and Snuff Films.
Left Alone – I’m not a huge fan of all of their stuff but they really put a really catchy and well written song together with their track Every Night.
Matches – I really love the song, Dog Eared Page.
Methadones – Danny Vapid (of Screeching Weasel fame) has a million bands and a million releases. The guy just churns out punk rock anthems. Check out his band, The Methadones on tracks like Imperfect World, Bored Of Television, and Suddenly Cool. Also, check out another of his bands, The Mopes, and the tracks, My Heart Won’t Bleed For You and I Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye.
Midtown – Rock N Roll is just about as good a straight ahead radio friendly pop punk song as I have ever heard.
Mr. T Experience – Dr. Frank writes some of the best lyrics the genre has ever known. Although there are a ton of MTX classics, I would recommend a first timer to check out Baa Baa Baa Baa Baa, Love Is Dead, Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend, I Fell For You, More Than Toast, New Girlfriend, and You You You.
No Use For A Name – A great band that brings it musically and lyrically. Check out International You Day and if you like what you hear, seek out their stuff.
Osker – Epitaph band fronted by a young punk who had some serious song writing chops. Fast, aggressive, no fills and in your face. Treatment 5 is one of my all time favorite CDs. Check out Alright, 13, and I Cannot. Their follow up was a huge departure and took some time for listeners to get into. After that? Poof! Never to be heard from again. I’m bummed.
Propagandhi – Like Kid Dynamite in my last post, these guys are not pop punk. However, some of their songs have a strong melodic component that people looking to broaden their horizons might want to explore. Less Talk, More Rock is their classic release but a ton of their other CDs are great as well. My personal recommendations to someone hearing them for the first time would be the tracks I Was A Pre-Teen McCarthyist and Ska Sucks.
The Queers – One of the main bands of the Lookout Records era. They started as raw, offensive, sloppy punk outfit and morphed into a truly genre defining pop punk powerhouse (keeping their offensive lyrics, at least for the most part). Check out Teenage Bonehead, Tamara Is A Punk, No Tit, and Daydreaming for their poppy side and Life This Life and Ben Weasel for when they show their edge.
Riverdales – The guys in Screeching Weasel created this project to create three chord Ramones inspired pop punk. Their self titled debut was incredible and they continued to put out release after release of Ramones inspired goodness. Check out Rehabilitated, Outta Sight, She’s Gonna Break Your Heart, Plan 13, I Don’t Wanna Go To The Party, Riverdale Stomp, Last Stop Tokyo, and Diabolik.
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