Category Archives: pop punk

Review: Painted Willie – Mind Bowling (re-issue)

Label: DC-Jam Records Released: July 17, 2009 SST Records was, if nothing else, a source of 80s musical madness. The label was somewhat diverse, but insanity was its consistency. While Hüsker Dü, the Meat Puppets and a few others moved on to major label semi-success, many of their bands burned up in the label’s creative melee. Painted Willie was just… Read more »

Review: JFA – To All Our Friends (live)

Label: DC-Jam Records Released: July 21, 2009 Back in 1985, I bought JFA’s Live 1984 Tour LP. It’s energy was as unbounded as the possibilities of my new found favorite genre and it quickly found itself in steady rotation on my turntable. Nearly a quarter century later, a new piece of live JFA vinyl is spinning in my basement and… Read more »

Review: Anarbor – Free Your Mind and The Bigger Lights – Fiction Fever

Label: Hopeless Records Released: March 10, 2009 Label: Doghouse Records Released: April 7, 2009 Thirty years ago, a subgenre of rock that had been building for a few years was just about ready to explode. AOR took the best elements of 70s rock, dummied it down, made it safe and sold millions of records whose broad appeal was based on… Read more »

Review: Paper the Operator – Solemn Boyz EP

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Label: Viper Bite Records Released: May 19, 2008 Nice melodies, good hooks and the edges of its punk rock roots smoothed out, Paper the Operator’s sound seems like any of a thousand pop punk bands on paper. But there’s a little something else here. The title track has a punchy undercurrent that could sneak its way into the heart of… Read more »

Review: Zebrahead – Phoenix

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Label: Icon Records Released: August 5, 2008 There are great albums that are definitive in their genre, essential to their scene or even influential across the full spectrum of rock music. Then, there are (possibly) great albums cultivated on ground made fertile by their more innovative predecessors. Can they really be called great? Who’s to say for sure, but there… Read more »

Review: New Found Glory – Tip of the Iceberg / International Superheroes of Hardcore – Takin’ It Ova

Label: Bridge Nine Released: April 29, 2008 This release finds the latest EP from pop-punks New Found Glory and a full-length from NFG side-project International Superheroes of Hardcore. Without a doubt, NFG are a band that could use a fresh start and a return to writing meaningful songs rather than the sap that made up their major label years. ISHC… Read more »

Review: Hit the Lights – Skip School, Start Fights

Label: Triple Crown Records Released: July 8, 2008 From the piano pop of the opening track, it’s clear that rock n roll isn’t high on the agenda for Hit the Lights. Somewhere in the last decade or so, pop punk and emo took a wrong turn and Skip School, Start Fights finds itself pretty far down that unfortunate detour. There’s… Read more »

Review: Beat Union – Disconnected

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Label: Science Records Released: April 22, 2008 Pop punk today is a lot like new wave was almost three decades ago. A few great artists, Elvis Costello, for example, managed to both establish and transcend the genre and in their wake, literally thousands of bands tried to follow. Some, like the Cars, wrote some outstanding songs and broke the strict… Read more »

Review: Title Fight – Kingston

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Label: Flightplan Records Released: January 29, 2008 Some time in the 90s, pop punk generally began placing the pop over the punk in its approach to the point that it might be difficult to tell the difference between A New Found Glory and Avril Lavigne. That’s sad, because punk has a long pop tradition that dates back at least to… Read more »