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 was concerned that some of the best music would become unavailable to the next generation. Although some of key releases are harder to find on CD or vinyl, all the streaming services and access to music through Youtube and a million other apps and platforms has made it so that the best music ever made will continue to find a savvy audience.
It makes me feel OLD when pop punk bands like Good Charlotte are considered old school! 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 the third and final installment of music worth chasing down and checking out (Bands S-Z).
Please note: The following bands are definitely worth your time however, due to how well known they are I didn’t feel they needed to be included here – The Sex Pistols, Social Distortion, Stiff Little Fingers, Sum 41, Taking Back Sunday, and The Vandals,
Screeching Weasel – These guys are a most own for any pop punk fan. It would be a disservice to just recommend a few songs from the band. Use my in depth look at each of their releases here to get an idea about what songs to chase down.
Senses Fail – Calling All Cars and Lungs Like Gallows. Senses Fail is sometimes melodic but always has a hard edge to their songs. The two songs listed above are most accessible to pop punk fans and worth your time.
Sloppy Seconds – The Kids Are All Drunk, I Want Em Dead, I Wanna Go Home, If I Had A Woman. These guys put out a ton of great politically incorrect music (similar to the Queers). These songs will make you want to sing along and then make you feel embarrassed about the words that just came out of your mouth.
Squirtgun – Field Trip. Mass Giorgini (perhaps the best known pop punk producer – Sonic Iguana Studios) led this pop punk outfit. Although their music was often generic Lookout Records sounding, their song Field Trip stands out, especially the great production.
Teenage Bottlerocket – Skate Or Die, Freak Out!, Don’t Wanna Go, Blood Bath At Burger King, So Far Away. These guys are the modern day Ramones torch-bearers. Three chords, catchy hooks, and goofy lyrics. What more could you want from your pop punk? These guys are my modern day favorites.
Thirty Foot Fall – I am surprised these guys from Texas never got bigger than they did. Their best songs really stood out on the Acme 143 CD on Fearless Records. My favorites from this one are: Punk Rocks In Yer Hed, Feel Like Morrissey, and People Are Stupid.
Thrice – Thrice’s sound evolved over the years and for the most part their music doesn’t fall into the pop punk mold. However, my favorite song from them, Artist In the Ambulance, has enough melodic sugariness to squeak in here.
Time Again – These guys remind me a lot of Rancid so is it any wonder that they ended up on Tim Armstrong’s label or that they had Tim sing on The Stories Are True? Although their songs range in scope/style to Rancid, The Stories Are True and Outcast are amazing examples of what they do best.
Tinkle – Tinkle was a pop punk band from the Washington, DC area in the mid-90s. Their style was similar to Green Day. Although they never broke out on a national level, they developed a strong following, especially along the East Coast. I wish a label like Lookout or Fat would have given them a shot because they wrote some incredible tunes. Check out Tory Davis and When You’re With Me from their Let’s Get A Slurpee CD and Wondering, Runaway, Where Have Your Senses Gone, and Title In Progress from their Rejected CD.
Undead – Bobby Steele played Guitar for the Misfits prior to Doyle joining the band. Post-Misfits, he put out a fantastic horror punk CD called, Act Your Rage. Check out Put Your Clothes Back On, Gimme Your Autograph, and We Don’t Want The Poor In New York City.
Vindictives – Joey Vindictive led this Chicago based group. A compilation of their music was released by Lookout and their best song, I’m In Trouble Now, was also recorded for Ben Weasel’s Punk USA comp. While you are giving them a listen, also check out Glad To Be and Get Lost.
Weston – Weston remind me a lot of dork rockers Weezer. Their music often focuses on broken hearts, love, and the underdog. My three favorite songs from them include Just Like Kurt, New Shirt/Heather Lewis, and Retarded.
Young Hasselhoffs – These Nebraska boys combined greaser early 60’s rock n roll with straight up Ramones pop punk goodness. They had two full lengths that are both worth your time. Off their first CD, check out C’Mon Baby and Crazy For You and off their sophomore effort try I Don’t Care What You Say, November Forever, and Going Nowhere. And don’t forget about Gillian Anderson off a split CD they were also on.