Tag Archive for pop punk

Hold Tight! – I Always Leave But Never Say Goodbye (for fans of Lifetime, Jawbreaker, Saves The Day)

holdtightalwaysleave

Winter is right around the corner here up in the Northeast.  Winter chills, it’s getting dark outside before 5pm, and everything just feels so much more moody.  Richmond Virginia’s Hold Tight captures the mood perfectly on their latest I Always Leave But Never Say Goodbye.

If you’re not familiar with Hold Tight, they play incredibly catchy pop-punk with plenty of melodic hardcore influences (as seen on earlier releases such as Call The Zoo or their alter-ego hardcore split they did with Direct Hit) that would please any early Lifetime and early Saves The Day fan.  After 2 years without really releasing any new music since their last full length Blizzard of 96, Hold Tight definitely expanded their sound a bit on I Always Leave But Never Say Goodbye.

With 6 songs clocking in around 13 minutes (compared to the 7 songs in 5 minutes of Call The Zoo), Hold Tight stays in the mid-tempo territory on this EP.  Yet they still wear their melodic hardcore influences on their sleeves, blending it perfectly with pop-punk sensibilities on songs such as “Waterlogged” and “Reacting”.

The songs have an melancholy feeling about them, and that’s definitely reflected lyrically.  On title and closing track “I Always Leave And Never Say Goodbye” they declare “and I know you hate who I used to be, at least you got something in common with me” while on “Reacting” the band even downplays the old optimism of their debut Can’t Take This Away shouting “We used to say can’t take this away, but I can still lose it.”

One of my favorite releases of the year and one of the best from Hold Tight, definitely pick this up if you’re a fan of melodic hardcore or pop-punk at all.

MP3:
Hold Tight – Reacting

More:
Hold Tight – Blizzard Of ’96
Hold Tight – Can’t Take This Away
Hold Tight – Call The Zoo
Hold Tight/Direct Hit Split (Hardcore)

Direct Hit! Priceduifkes Live In Philadelphia (6/21/14)

This has been the week of goddamn shows (FUCK YOU, GET PUMPED) and I’m falling a bit behind in posts due to all of my running around (add trying to find a new apartment to the list and yeah…)

Anyways, last Saturday I headed to Philly’s bar and venue The Fire to catch one of my favorite pop-punk bands around these days Direct Hit.  I missed a few of the openers due to being out watching the US vs Portugal depressing draw (which, by the way… if you saw some asshole decked out in soccer face temporary tattoos and 94 world cup shirts, that was yours truly), but made it in time for Belgium’s Pricedufkes.

The Priceduifkes:
priceduifkes

I’ve never heard of these Belgium punks before, but I was impressed with their energetic, fun set.  Playing catchy 3 chord punk that any fan of Screeching Weasel or The Queers could get behind, the band seemed pretty pumped to be touring the states, and their positive attitude was infectious. Definitely worth checking out, they even had an old Blink-182 vibe about them with some songs.

Direct Hit!:

direct hit

These Milwaukee/Chicago punks have made waves with their concept album Brainless God and their explosive live shows, and the past show was no exception.  The band took the stage, and while it seemed like most of the people weren’t too familiar with them and were there for Masked Intruder, a decent number of us were singing along every word and even a small pit broke out.

The band themselves fed off the energy, jumping into the crowd and putting on a quick but fun set. I unfortunately had to bounce before Masked Intruder, and while I’m not too familiar with their music, every time I’ve seen them they put on a good set.

Setlist (from what I remember and not in order)
White Robes
Satan Says
Buried Alive
Getting What He Asked Us
Kingdom Come
A Message For The Angels
The World Is Ending (No One Care)
We’re Fucked

MP3:
Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

Maybe all you need are snickers or reeses:
Direct Hit – Brainless God
Direct Hit/Hold Tight Split
Off With Their Heads – Hospitals

Official Site:
Direct Hit

Big Eyes, Tony Molina, Radiator Hospitals Live Under A Bridge in Philly (5/6/14)

Sometimes I think that I should move from Philly, as I’ve been living here for a total of 7 years now and occasionally feel I should check out another city.  Then something incredibly awesome happens like the show last night, and it reminds me why I love this city so fucking much.  So I totally missed Against Me at the Trocadero last night, but I saw that a last minute show was happening at midnight somewhere under a bridge in South Philly, and found this out approximately 5 minutes before the show was due to start.  That sounds awesome, there is no way I was missing this.

I never really heard any of the bands playing tonight except I knew that it was sort of a secret aftershow as both Big Eyes and Tony Molina played the Against Me show at The Trocadero.  After wandering around South Philadelphia AIMLESSLY late at night looking under bridges (and believe me, you see some sketchy shit) I finally saw a group of punk looking kids on skateboard who I assumed were going to the show, talked to them and followed them.

Big Eyes:

bigeyes

I got to the show approximately halfway through Big Eyes set, and there were plenty of kids out for the afterparty skateboarding, watching the bands, and generally just hanging out.  From the little bit of the set I caught, Brooklyn now Seattle based Big Eyes played catchy female fronted power-popish-punk, and put on an enjoyable set.

Tony Molina:
tonymolina
Tony Molina was up next, who based out of San Francisco had a backing band behind him, put on what was probably my favorite set of the night.  My friend described them as Weezer with guitar solos, and he completely nailed it.  If you dig Weezer at all, definitely check this out.  His latest LP “Dissed and Dismissed” finishes just under 12 minutes, so works perfect for us ADD fucks.

Radiator Hospital:

RadiatorHospital
One of Philly’s latest poppy punk bands, their live set was much heavier than their recorded stuff, and was filled with antics.  With friends (I’m assuming they’re friends… maybe they’re just assholes) were throwing cans at the drummer, putting boxes over his head and it didn’t faze him one bit.  Meanwhile the singer was rocking out all while exclaiming “I am way too drunk for this!”  Definitely a fun set.

All of the bands were on the poppier side of things than I usually listen to but it was one hell of a show regardless.  Midnight show under a bridge somewhere? Yeah, that’s Philadelphia in a nutshell for you.

The Movielife – It’s Go Time (For fans of Midtown, Saves The Day, Lifetime)

movielife

Growing up in a NJ high school 15 years ago as a cynical punk kid who despised most things considered emo, I sort of never even gave The Movielife a chance.  I just knew that people who liked Taking Back Sunday and The Starting Line were fans of The Movielife, so my ignorant teen self wrote them off as other “whiny emo shit” and if I was going to listen to anything remotely close, it would be Lifetime’s Hello Bastards or Saves The Day’s Through Being Cool .

It wasn’t until about a year ago, I was going snowboarding with a friend when I heard some solid pop-punk/melodic hardcore blasting through her car stereo speakers that I said “this is really tight, who is this?”  “Oh, this is The Movielife.”  Noooooooo shit.

I went out and grabbed their debut full length It’s Go Time and immediately became a fan.  Playing pop-punk that reminded me a bit of Midtown, the 9 song It’s Go Time has plenty of faster punk influences as heard on opener “Barefoot”.  Catchy and melodic, the album does slow down a bit with tracks like “Maybe It’s Nothing”, but still has enough of an edge to keep me interested.  If you dig the poppier side of pop-punk with bands like Brand New or Midtown, definitely give these guys a listen.

MP3:
The Movielife – Barefoot

“But I know you don’t have a clue”
Lifetime – Hello Bastards
Dag Nasty – Can I Say
Texas Is The Reason – Self Titled EP
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool

Direct Hit! – Brainless God (For fans of The Copyrights, The Dopamines, Hold Tight)

direct hit brainless god

I’ll be honest, my exposure to Wisconsin/Illinois pop punks Direct Hit! before their latest Brainless God was pretty much a hardcore split they did with Hold Tight and their side project (with I’ve been fucking obsessed with lately) Galactic Cannibal. However, let’s cut to the chase: I’m completely blown away by their latest album and have been spinning it seriously non-stop.

Direct Hit manages to blend elements of pop-punk, hardcore, and just all around party music to create a cohesive and catchy 12 songs.  Brainless God is a concept album, telling the tale of a world facing certain nuclear destruction and staring death square in the face through the eyes of different characters, and defiantly giving it the finger. Each song tells it’s own story, but is flows so well to paint a bigger picture.

However the beauty of Brainless God is the fact that there is a much deeper meaning and more practical one within the black humor, and that is overcoming any adversaries that life may throw at you, as shown in the closer “A Message For The Angels Pt II”.  Talking about invading heaven, with lyrics Your brainless god should take some time, climb off his throne/and give us all an explanation of his own/We want our whiskey bottles back now/our guitars and amplifiers,
because this night ain’t over until we say it’s done.

Persevere motherfuckers.

Easily one of my favorites this year, it’s definitely a must for any pop-punk fan.

MP3:
Direct Hit! – I Told You A Lie

More:
Off With Their Heads – Home
Dillinger Four – Situationist Comedy
Off With Their Heads – Hospitals
Direct Hit/Hold Tight Split

Official Site:
Direct Hit

The Copyrights, Direct Hit! Live In Philadelphia (7/2/13)

Yesterday evening I headed to Philly’s small venue/dance club/bar The Barbary to catch pop-punk torch carriers The Copyrights.  It was a very small intimate show with only about 30 people there or so, and I knew going in that while everyone usually sings along… dancing is often at a minimum at these pop-punk shows for some reason, which would usually piss me off… but since I’m coming off an injury I was surprisingly ok with it.  I wound up missing the two openers, but made it in time for Direct Hit!

Direct Hit!
direct hit

I’ve never seen Direct Hit! before, and the only music I know by them is their joke hardcore split with Hold Tight (which completely slays by the way).  We weren’t treated to any of those two-step worthy songs, but they did completely blow me away with a solid pop-punk set.  The band was loud, energetic, and had people singing along through out their set.  I need to check some of their more traditional music out it turns out.

The Copyrights:

copyrights

The first time I ever saw the Copyrights a few years back on tour with Teenage Bottlerocket, they were a goofy pop-punk band who played fun jams similar to Screeching Weasel or The Queers.  These days The Copyrights have turned a bit to a more melancholy side with the release of North Sentinel Island (which was one of my favorite releases of 2012) and their live show shows that.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but the stage banter has now been limited to a complete minimum, and there is just a much more serious stage presence, which is fitting with the newer songs (or maybe being in Philly just brings out the sadness)….

The Copyrights took the stage and thanked the few of us who came out on a rainy Tuesday night to listen to some pop-punk jams.  The crowd as I mentioned earlier was pretty subdued except for the occassional spontaneous dancing (and physical therapy be damned, I couldn’t help but do so during Cashiers).  Playing through songs over the course of most of their catalog, even though the show was running really early, the set remained short at approximately a half hour.

No matter, anytime I get to see The Copyrights it’s a good time, as they easily are one of the best pop-punk bands around these days.

Setlist (From what I remember, and definitely not complete or in order):
Kids Of The Black Hole
Shit’s Fucked
All My Heroes Are Assholes
Button Smasher
Stuck In The Springtime
Cashiers
They Say (I think)
Trustees Of Modern Chemistry
Crutches
Hard Wired
Worn Out Passport

MP3:
The Copyrights – Trustees Of Modern Chemistry

More:
The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island
Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out!
Mean Jeans – Are You Serious
The Lillingtons – Too Late Show

The Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket Live In Philly (2/28/13)

I’ve been waiting for this day for months.  Teenage Bottlerocket and The Queers followed by Philly’s premiere 70s punk/rock and roll party guitar army?  Count me the FUCK in.

I headed out to a sold out Barbary and thanks to lovely Philly traffic missed the majority of the openers Masked Intruders set, but from the little bit I heard, I definitely need to check these masked dudes out.  Solid pop-punk.

Teenage Bottlerocket

I’ve said it many times before on this site and I’ll say it again, Wyoming punks Teenage Bottlerocket are my favorite as far as modern pop-punk goes, and was actually my first post ever on this site back in 2007.  I was lucky enough to catch them at The Barbary last August and the fact they came back so soon was just an added bonus.

The band took the stage to a chainsaw wielding masked man with a TBR sign saying “Freak Out”, and blasted straight into the song.  The crowd sung along every word, and they barely let up their Ramones influenced punk rock.  Playing songs from most of their albums with a heavy focus on their latest Freak Out, the band experienced some on stage difficulties when a guitar cut out, but in true punk rock fashion decided “fuck it” and powered through the set (which didn’t deter us fans at all, who kept shouting along every word and getting a small pit going).

They took the time to give a shoutout/lovingly mock their Wyoming punk scene, saying that DC has enough documentaries, and it’s time to have one on the two bands that play in Wyoming.  One thing I have to say about TBR is that they look like they are legitimately having a blast on stage every time I see them, and not just running through the motions.  That alone is is one of the key components to a good show.

Setlist (From what I remember, pretty complete, not in order)

Freak Out
Headbanger
Cruising For Chicks
Necrocomicon
Maverick
Punk House Of Horror
Mutilate Me
Who Killed Sensei
Skate Or Die
Bigger Than Kiss
Fatso Goes Nutzoid
Stupid Games
Crashing
Bloodbath At Burger King
Bottlerocket
In The Basement
Welcome To The Nuthouse
New Song
Lillington High

The Queers:

The Queers have been around since before a lot of you were even born, and have become one of the most well-known names in pop-punk.  Irreverent, crude, and catchy as all fuck, The Queers definitely tore down The Barbary.

One thing I liked about The Queers was the vast age difference in their fans.  You had some 40 year old dudes there who’ve been listening to them since the 80s and plenty of young-ins who got into their later works.

There was a pretty dedicated pit throughout their set, and while I don’t know all of their albums (believe me, they have a lot), the crowd was singing along, dancing, and crowd surfing throughout their set.

I never got a chance to see them before, so it was good to finally see these New Hampshire punks.

Highlights:
No Tits
Born To Do Dishes
Hi Mom, It’s Me
This Place Sucks
Punk Rock Girls
White Minority (Black Flag Cover)
Teenage Bonehead (I think)
Outta My Skull (I think)
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (Ramones Cover)

MP3:
The Queers – Little Rich Working Class Oi Boi
Teenage Bottlerocket – Be Stag

I Gotta Strangle That Girl:
The Queers – Beyond The Valley…
Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out!
Teenage Bottletrocket – They Came From The Shadows
Teenage Bottlerocket – Another Way

Buy:
The Queers

Teenage Bottlerocket

Hold Tight – Blizzard Of 96 (For fans of Latterman, Title Fight, Lifetime)

I remember the first time I saw Richmond pop-punkers Hold Tight.  I went to a house show here in Philly and they were playing with one of my favorite local hardcore bands Lighten Up (RIP).  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was completely blown away by their feel good pop-punk, and I picked up their debut Can’t Take This Away, and it was love at first listen.  Two EPs and a split later, they recently released their second LP Blizzard Of 96.

While their past few EPs experimented with hardcore (which I love by the way), Blizzard Of 96 is a bit of a return to the pop-punk we heard on their debut.  With 14 incredibly catchy anthems about growing up and moving on, Blizzard is a lot moodier than their past releases, yet so melodic this time around that it’s sure to bring on a fuck ton of sing-a-longs.  Shit, I am writing this on a plane, and I really have to stop myself from shouting along and not creep out the people next to me.

If you like pop-punk, I highly recommend you check this one out.  Hold Tight is easily one of my favorite pop-punk bands. Oh, and check out Call The Zoo by them, easily my favorite.

MP3:
Hold Tight – Graduation Day

I Never Remember That Nothing Lasts Forever:
Hold Tight – Can’t Take This Away
Hold Tight – Call The Zoo
Hold Tight/Direct Hit Split (Hardcore)

Buy:
Hold Tight

Weston – Got Beat Up (For fans of Latterman, Sunny Day Real Estate, Weezer)


There seems to be a huge revival of melodic pop punk bordering on emo going on right now… you know, with bands like Title Fight and Latterman selling out reunion shows.  I don’t know where this came from, but I do know that one of the earliest and most influential bands and albums of this genre is constantly getting overlooked.  Weston’s Got Beat Up is a one of the most underrated gems in pop punk history.

Weston formed back in 1990 in Bethlahem, PA.  While the band broke up in 2001, the breakup was short lived as they reformed in 2006.  Releasing their 2nd album Got Beat Up in 1996, I think it’s one of the catchiest pop punk/emo albums around.   Whether it’s the energetic sing a long “No Kind Of Superstar” or the Sunny Day Real Estate-esque “Your Summer Dress”, Weston’s Got Beat Up is a solid listen through the entire 13 track 33 minute album.

Incredibly nostalgic, if you dig pop punk or old school emo at all, you definitely need to check out these unsung heroes.

MP3:
Weston – No Kind Of Superstar

More:
Teenage Bottlerocket – Another Way
Saves The Day – Can’t Slow Down
Hold Tight! – Can’t Take This Away

Buy:
Go Kart Records

Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out (For fans of The Copyrights, The Ramones, Screeching Weasel)


I remember when I first heard Teenage Bottlerocket’s Total back in 2005.  I was skating and had it in my headphones, completely blown away by the Ramones influenced pop-punk with clever songs about girls, the radio, and going postal at work.  I was so impressed, I made my girlfriend at the time listen to it (who wasn’t a fan of punk… but still has seen Bigwig more than me, fucking figures) and even she loved it.  Seven years later, Wyoming’s Teenage Bottlerocket return with their 5th studio album Freak Out, and it’s the perfect blend of humor, pop-punk, and of course… girls.

The beginning of the album plays a more aggressive style of pop-punk that we heard flashes of on their 2009 They Came From The Shadows, with songs about metalhead concussions, cruising for chicks, and Top Gun.  I hate to be that guy who draws comparisons to previous bands, but the beginning of the album has a very Lillingtons feel to it.

The album switches gears a little ways in though, with incredibly catchy and melodic pop-punk love songs that we’re used to from Teenage Bottlerocket. From the mandatory frustrated “Done With Love”, and the ultimate friend zone song “Never Gonna Tell You”, Freak Out makes for the perfect summer album.

If you like light hearted pop-punk that takes more cues from The Ramones and Screeching Weasel than anything that passes for pop-punk on the radio these days, definitely check Teenage Bottlerocket.  They’ve been a favorite of mine for a long time now.

*Fun Housewives fact:  My first post ever was on Teenage Bottlerocket, back in 2007.

Mp3:
Teenage Bottlerocket – Done With Love

More:
Teenage Bottletrocket – They Came From The Shadows
Teenage Bottlerocket – Another Way
Mean Jeans – Are You Serious
The Lillingtons – Too Late Show

Buy:
Fat Wreck