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Pop Punk

Urban Cafe Crew launched a riotous pop-rock attack on society’s most blindly entitled generation with ‘Hey There Boomer, It’s Not OK’

Australia’s wittiest pop-rock outfit Urban Cafe Crew launched a riotous attack on the generation that set every subsequent one up for failure with their latest single, Hey There Boomer, It’s Not OK.

Every millennial and Gen Z can derive vindicating catharsis from the playfully scathing track that finds an antagonistically hooky way of relaying every boomer sin that has left the earth scorched and financial security out of reach for the majority.

But hey, the boomers had it the worst, right? Their determination to make the world worse for their offspring is warranted, right? They have a right to see any signs of social progression and drag it back with their knuckles that have scarcely been lifted off the floor since 1989, right?

Hey There Boomer, It’s Not OK was officially released on January 14th; check it out on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Knottie Boys released the ultimate punk-rock chagin soundtrack with ‘Sadsquatch’

Taken from their garagey punk-rock EP, A Face Fulla Dirt, the standout single, Sadsquatch, from The Knottie Boys is a melodically hook-rife exposition of reclaimed shame. By allowing the chagrin-deep lyrics to unravel as a series of confessions rooted in quirky indignity, Sadsquatch projects intimate disclosures in the same breath as lamenting about public knowledge of them.

It was an ingeniously bold move from the New York-hailing fourpiece, who have released two EPs and a studio album since forming in 2019. By pulling influence from CBGB headliners to folk-punk to the percussive fills of marching bands to the acts who made the 2007 Warped Tour infamous, the bitterly sweet powerhouse has carved out a niche and filled it to precision.

If Neutral Milk Hotel formed as a punk-rock outfit, they’d boast the same appeal as The Knottie Boys, who have exactly what it takes to be one of the premier NYC punk bands in 2023. Watch this space before they pour ennuitic resonance into it.

A Face Fulla Dirt is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

UK Trio The Horizons Brought in a New Wave of Punk with ‘Just Friends.’

The Plymouth UK indie punk-rock trio, The Horizons, single-handedly brought in a new wave of punk with their latest hit, Just Friends. The sweeping choruses are as animating as Reel Big Fish’s cover of Take On Me, while nuances of 90s pop-punk bite away in the same vein as The Offspring’s Hit That in the backbeat. The frenzied grungy instrumentals are dusted with a sugar-coated post-punk snarl that immediately arrests you in the intro before they bring in the silky pop harmonies. Some bands need an entire LP or discography to establish their dynamism, not The Horizons.

Once the fear subsided that this wasn’t an incel-y track bemoaning the friend zone, the euphoria in the upbeat indie punk hit quickly became infectious. The hit becomes infinitely sweeter when you register the self-awareness that allows them to traverse around commitment issues while pertaining to a roguishly modern brand of romanticism.

Just Friends. was officially released on December 28th. Check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Drive By Cinema wrapped their hooks around toxic party culture in the 00s pop-punk hit, Drink On

The Palmdale, CA pop-punk outfit Drive By Cinema launched a scathingly hooky attack on party culture in their latest single, Drink On, featuring the NY pop-punk band, Ronx.

In their own nihilistically hedonist words, “Drive By Cinema makes pop punk for when you want to party, but you also want to die”. On that basis alone, we adore the five-piece that is bringing back the sound of Fall Out Boy, Blink-182 and Hawthorne Heights with a modern twist.

While the lyrics cut you deep in Drink On, the choruses will wrap you up in their boisterous momentum before the verses melodically wind it back down to ensure every lyric makes maximum impact. The independent outfit might wear their heart on their sleeves but there’s plenty of room in the hit to brand their sonic signature through the contrasts in tempo, which encapsulate the rollercoaster life when you’re always chasing the highs, numbing the pain and crashing right back down with less serotonin than when you started.

Following Drink On, Drive By Cinema is priming their album release with Johnathan Mireles (audio engineer for Travis Barker & Machine Gun Kelly). Stay tuned.

Drink On will officially release just in time for New Year’s Eve revelry on December 30th. You might want to rethink your plans after hearing it. Spin it on Spotify. 

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Disco grooves through Jessup’s electronic alt-rock deadpan gem, Amusing

Alt-rock icon-in-the-making Jessup is on sardonically deadpan stellar form in his electro-rock hit, Amusing. The histrionic flair around the 90s/early 00s alt-rock energy and shimmering disco-pop grooves is an enlivening testament to his ability in orchestrating a distinctively expressive sonic score while making no bones about spilling plenty of authentic personality,

If the Offspring were a little more daring and tonally experimentalist in their heyday, the reminiscences between Amusing and Self Esteem would have been even more tangible. After an orchestral rock outro from the St. Louis, US-residing artist and producer, you can’t help delving right back into the snappy indie rock hit that absolutely sets the bar for other up-and-coming artists.

Amusing was officially released on December 16th. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Follow Jessup via Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

dogbeach stuck it to the facade-preferring masses in his progressive melting pot of genre, Fake It

Traversing people’s proclivity to convince others to plaster a fake smile over valid emotions, the solo artist dogbeach (Bob Maschio) created a sardonically protestive hit out of his latest single, Fake It.

To stick it to the façade-preferring masses who wouldn’t know what hit them if a drop of empathy crawled between their synapses, dogbeach released a sun-soaked progressive alt-rock lament to their selfish ineptitude with compassion.

Switching between post-hardcore vocals and melodic pop choruses and playing with punk and alt-90s pop tones, he efficaciously encompassed the bemused rage that comes to fruition in the face of the audacity that adds to the stigma around mental health.

It is a sure-fire hit of vindication for anyone that knows the frustration of other people’s expectations. The playful reprise of “why would I do anything for you” hits the nail on the head with satisfying precision.

Stream Fake It on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Meg Chandler finds herself on the visceral side of ethereal in her intimately nostalgic indie alt-pop single, Woodland

Meg Chandler

Given that it has been a fair while since we weren’t living through a historical event of some devastating global nature, it’s all too easy to crave the uncompromised simplicity of youthful nostalgia. Meg Chandler brought it by the smorgasbord in her single, Woodland, which precedes her debut EP, due for release in 2023.

The 21-year-old singer-songwriter divides her time between a remote village in Shropshire, where she finessed her authentically out-of-the-smoke alt-pop style that will be a hit with any fans of Daughter, Adrianne Lenker and Phoebe Bridgers, and in Manchester where she enlists the help of the production/writing duo SOAP.

Never a truer line has been delivered than “now everything just seems to hurt” in Woodland, which flicks through the sepia-tinged memories of a childhood “chasing shadows by the lake”. Projected through intimately vulnerable indie pop vocals that resound on the more visceral side of ethereal, Meg Chandler, with her proclivity to hold nothing back in her lyrics, is set to make major waves with the profound consolation in her music.

Woodland will officially release on November 18th. Stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Pop-Punk’s Fiercest Lyricist, Juliette Irons, Advocated for the Heartbroken in her Latest Anthem, Skydive

After a brush with disorientating heartbreak, the Toronto-born, LA-based artist, producer, and dancer Juliette Irons picked herself up, dusted herself off and released the stormer of a pop-punk anthem, Skydive, as an act of solidarity with anyone feeling the same anxious dejection.

Skydive follows on from her evocative whirlwind, Prisoner of My Mind, which introduced the airwaves to the claustrophobia of anxiety. Still on stellar lyrical form, Skydive ensnaringly traverses the euphoric highs and dark and despondent lows of a situation-ship to prove even if you’re the one broken and bruised, you’re not the loser.

No heartbreak can survive the flood of dopamine that surges from Skydive. The rap verses are the vindicating cherry on the hook-sprinkled pop-punk cake, which tastes like 00s nostalgia, but Juliette Irons always brings her own signature emboldening flavour to the mix.

“Skydive was inspired by the confusion that comes from whirlwind heartbreak. I had just come out of a brief rollercoaster situation-ship that ended abruptly without much explanation. I felt like I had been thrown from a moving plane, woke up on the ground, and I was the only one who jumped.

I had given everything to this person, only to end up a shell of myself as I picked up the pieces during a realisation that everything was over. I hope this song can help other people going through a similar ungrounding shock to the system, and we can be empowered through it together.”

The official music video for Skydive will officially premiere on November 18th. Catch it on YouTube, and stay tuned on Facebook & Instagram, as Skydive is only the first part of the story. The concluding chapter will be told through her follow-up single, The Fear of Flying.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Outside Kids call for salvation in their grungy pop-punk visceral earworm, Hey God

With their Sub Pop record deal-worthy dynamic edge, The Outside Kids made us suckers for their cutting-edge nostalgic kicks through the lead single, Hey God, from their debut LP, Dirty Faces.

By implanting Green Day-style pop-punk hooks and a little RHCP melodicism in the 90s Seattle sound, the alt-rock duo found the perfect formula for earwormy infectious appeal in the contemporary rock scene. Sparked by a shared influence of Against Me! and Frank Turner, the duo’s symbiotically tight propensities entwine with their socially conscious edge to make their sound that little bit more soulfully gripping. The original icons of pop-punk got plenty right, but with evasive morality, the records will always resonate as bitterly juvenile; The Outside Kids brought the maturity the scene has always been deprived of.

The loud reprise of “can you hear me now” paired with the title of Hey God is a powerful allusion to the frustration we all feel when we forget that the world isn’t happening to us, we just happen to be here for the ride. Embrace the chaos with this perfect hit.

Hey God is now available to stream on Spotify with the rest of The Outside Kids’ album, Dirty Faces.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Buzzkills be damned in Nothing but a Nightmare’s post-pop-punk single, She Always Ruins a Good Time

The Philly-based alt-rock innovators, Nothing but a Nightmare notably sharpened their pop-punk hooks for their third studio album, The Salvation, which features the playfully protestive single, She Always Ruins a Good Time. If any single could take down the boss-level Karens out there that seem to be becoming increasingly prolific, it’s this riotous earworm, which comes complete with frenetically witty verses and choruses that will absolutely consume you in their euphoric pit-worthy energy.

With hints of Fallout Boy and Panic at the Disco woven into the sticky-sweet 00-Esque tapestry, Nothing but a Nightmare delivered a smorgasbord of modernised nostalgia that proves that there’s never any really growing out of an emo phase.

The Salvation officially released on October 14th across all major platforms; check it out here.

Review by Amelia Vandergast