When we last heard from Pizzan0mics, he gave us a comprehensive guide to the pop punk scene in mainland Europe . Well now he is back again to share his knowledge about the pop punk scene in his native country, and how the tr00nami has effected it more-so than continental Europe.
The United Kingdom was once a prosperous nation, filled with many talented and groundbreaking bands that held up against their American counterparts, whilst retaining some of their original British charm. However, after the tr00nami of 2012 hit, everything changed. Many of the older bands were washed away after the disaster and were simply forgotten about, and everybody had to work together to rebuild a music scene. Neck Deep were the first band to come to prominence, seemingly coming from nowhere. They established the new self-declared independent nation of The Tr00nited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and gave hope to everyone that wished to start a new band.
With a new nation formed and new set of pop punk guidelines to follow, a new batch of bands started to gain traction and wowed the population with their innovation. Here are some of these bands…
First up we have Roam, known for stealing their name from that song by The Story So Far. If you take them at face-value, you’ll see a band who sound like the love child of Neck Deep and The Story So Far, except with a vocalist that actually has a voice that’s nice to listen to. The mixing on their music is also really nice too. I can clearly hear their guitars, which is something that took Neck Deep two releases to sort out. Although I’m not the biggest fan of these guys, 2:23 – 2:51 in the video above is probably my favourite moment in any pop punk song by a Tr00-K band. It sounds similar to what new Such Gold sounds like, and I wish more bands would move in that kind of direction.
Which pop punk band do they sound like the most?: The Story So Far but with vocals like State Champs
Tr00ness out of 10: 7/10
Six Times Champion
The first thing I think when I listen to these guys is that this is what Me Vs Hero’s second album should have sounded like. There’s a few faux-breakdowns in there to keep the most devoted Tr00-K citizens away, and the vocals are strong and compliment the instruments. Points deducted for not having an American accent and trying to put in a breakdown – technically they pull it off but I know all the #ez revivalists out there would scoff at their attempt.
Their merch looks too fun and stands out against traditional tr00 merchandise.
Which pop punk band do they sound like the most?: Me Vs Hero
Tr00ness out of 10: 5/10
Heavily edited video? Check. Instrumentals that sound like The Story So Far? Check. Really weak lyrics? Check. This band couldn’t get more tr00 if they tried. Although the lyrics could be a little bit better, they’ve got the pop punk formula nailed. Now all they need is some plain, maroon merch with a pocket logo to help them stand out even more than they do already. Forming just over two months ago, they’ve managed to get on two small yet relatively popular pop punk festivals in the Tr00-K and they haven’t even played a show yet. Beats me. These guys aren’t bad, but they’re definitely nothing special. 2/10 wouldn’t recommend.
Which pop punk band do they sound like the most?: The Story So Far
Tr00ness out of 10: 9/10
With the least tr00 vocals out of any band on this list, Boston Manor’s vocalist can actually sing and doesn’t need to properly shout in order to sound good. Their lyrics also make sense, which unfortunately isn’t very tr00 either. Similar to Six Time Champion, they look like they’re having fun in their video which isn’t encouraged in the Tr00nited Kingdom. Their video could probably do with a bit less saturation and it needs the letter box effect. Good attempt at being pop punk, poor attempt at being tr00.
Which pop punk band do they sound like the most?: Roam’s version of The Story So Far
Tr00ness out of 10: 6/10
Not many bands can pull off buying facebook likes and not make it seem obvious, and these guys are no exception. They have more likes than Trash Boat by about 100, yet they’re nowhere near as popular. They also seem to get a stupid amount of likes on statuses that the put out. If we skirt around that minor blip, we’ve got an extremely unique band on our hands. Almost as unique as Roam, except with vocals that aren’t that great. They’re not bad, but they could definitely be more tr00, so I’m going to have to deduct points for this.
Which pop punk band do they sound like the most?: The Story So Far
Tr00ness out of 10: 7/10
Knuckle Puck were a band from Chicago, Illinois who recently moved to the Tr00nited Kingdom and got face transplants and adopted British accents, then started a band called Trash Boat. If we ignore the fact that this song sounds identical to No Good, the vocals are very Parker Cannon-esque, which probably helped them get signed to Hopeless, since they seem to be all over Tr00-K bands at the moment. I know Facebook likes don’t matter, but these guys managed to get signed with just over 2,000 likes. How on earth did they get found? They recently toured Europe with As It Is and Trophy Eyes which may have something to do with it, although they’re both signed to Hopeless so I reckon the deal was already done before they went. The music video is also eerily similar to Bellwether’s video for ‘Compromise’.
Which pop punk band do they sound like the most?: Knuckle Puck
Tr00ness out of 10: 8/10
It looks like there is a correlation between tr00ness of pop punk and neatness of handwriting.
This band is 2tr002betrue. Ben Barlow from The Neck Deeps might as well be singing, and the instrumentals sound like Neck Deep too. Granted, they did record with Ben’s brother so they might sound a bit similar in that sense, but Graveyard Shift genuinely sounds like a Wishful Thinking B-side. Ben even makes a cameo in the video. I also get the impression that these guys think they are from America, since at one point the lyrics are: “And I never got a college degree”. Well, in the Tr00-K you don’t get a degree from college… You get one from University. Also major cliché lyrics throughout the rest of the song (with an American accent) about wanting to break-away from their hometown, a staple of tr00. Unfortunately they will probably be the next pop punk band from the Tr00-K to get signed, which is a shame because I think there are a lot more bands out there that deserve it.
Which pop punk band do they sound like the most?: Neck Deep
Tr00ness out of 10: 10/10
So there we have it. This is the state UK was left in post-tr00nami. Please send aid in the form of Cap’n Crunch, synth, and pool parties with Abandoned By Bears playing.
If you miss Abandon All Ships, old Attack Attack, Skip The Foreplay (underrated band imo), then I have good news for you, this band is doing what those bands did, just 4-5 years behind… and they’re pretty damn good at it too!
All of the classic elements are there… the breakdowns, the autotune, the trance synths. I like how they also added some dubstep in there so they could sound semi-dated and not just super dated. Seems like they’ve got the image down pat too.
This song is super sick too. The build-up at 1:32 is so epic. It seems like these guys are really taking the electronic thing to a new level, sort of like what I See Stars did on their last album. Speaking of which, is I See Stars still relevant?
Also, apparently they’re on tour with some band whose name I can’t decipher from their logo.
It’s pretty easily arguable that all forms of music are derivative so I usually scoff at so-called music scholars proclaiming that a band isn’t worth anything if they aren’t original enough. I think some of the best bands have stolen their sound from another band and lots of them even get pretty popular from doing so as well! Here are some examples:
Emmure (ripped off The Acacia Strain)
The Acacia Strain were somewhat of a game changer in hardcore music. They discovered that if they put their finger on the first fret of the lowest string on their guitar while they were strumming a breakdown (instead of playing both strings open), that it would create a heavier, beefier sounding chug, known as the tritone breakdown (also known in mosh circles as the “brown noise”). Of course, they carpet bombed their music with these types of breakdowns, and rightfully so, those breakdowns made The Acacia Strain known as one of the heaviest bands in the scene! That is, until Emmure came along and just totally blew everything they did out of the water.
Saves The Day (ripped off Lifetime)
Before Saves The Day released what is considered by many to be their magnum opus, “Through Being Cool”, they were actually jocking the sound of a lesser known band called “Lifetime”. This even awarded them the title of “Jersey’s Second Best Dancers” (a parody of Lifetime’s CD “Jersey’s Best Dancers”). What do Lifetime and a discount prostitute have in common? They both gave us an STD.
Capture The Crown (ripped off Asking Alexandria)
Can you say “carbon copy”? But seriously, Capture The Crown did a pretty good job at ripping off Asking Alexandria! I would consider both to have some scene classics under their belt at this point but AA was no doubt the most innovative. It sucks to see the futures of each band be kind of shaky in this post-scenecore day and age. Asking Alexandria lost their singer, and Capture The Crown lost every member but their singer!
As a proud Canadian, I got love for Sum 41, but there’s no question that they wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for Blink. Not just in terms of their americanpiecore old school mallpunk sound, but also their whole “young adults into mischief” getup. Like, “watch your back when you’re around us, we might just pull a prank on you!” These are the types of guys you don’t wanna fall asleep around at a party. If you want to see the most random cameo in music video history, peep 2:37 in the Sum 41 video to see DMX show up at the party on a four wheeler. I miss the days when pop punk bands had enough money to destroy an entire house for their music video.
Jawbreaker (ripped off Green Day)
If you wanna go suuuuper old school within the pop punk genre, then we could discuss a band called Jawbreaker, and how they used to jock Green Day’s sound back in the day. To be honest I don’t think either of these bands are catchy enough to be considered pop punk. I would go more with “melodic punk” or something along those lines (the types of bands that are jocked by beards on punknews.org).
The Wonder Years (ripped off Simple Plan)
The Wonder Years have built a strong fanbase among rejects over the years with their underdog persona. They even made their mascot a pigeon because pigeons are the most disrespected animal or something. But long before The Wonder Years were doing the whole “if you’re a loser, you’re not alone, I’m also a loser!” shtick, Simple Plan were catering to the outcast emo masses in a much bigger way. Plus lyrically, TWY jocks SP in an almost plagiaristic sort of fashion (example: “I’m Just A Kid” is basically just a G-rated version of “Local Man Ruins Everything”). I guess Good Charlotte also had the whole outcast/loner angle, but I think TWY jocked SP a bit more than they did GC.
Turnstile (ripped off Mest)
The riffs at the beginning of each of these songs are practically the same. So much so, that if Mest wanted to sue, they probably could (and win), but that wouldn’t be very punk rock of them. I think the Turnstile riff is more of a homage. A homage to a band that has infinite more street cred than they could ever dream of having. I mean, just look at the singer and how fucked up he is.
What are your favorite rip off bands? Do you think often times these bands are better than the bands they’re ripping off? Do you think Turnstile bumps Mest in their cadillac?
I write this with a heavy heart, because this news means that yet another one of my people (old hxc guys) has become a victim of Kevin Seconds Syndrome. KSS is a tragic and irreversible condition that strikes as many as 9/10 guys in hardcore bands after the age of 30.
The first sign of KSS is going on an angry, butthurt rant about Kids These Days, which Anthony did a few months back when he lashed out at “bullshit Warped Tour bands.” The final stage of KSS drives its victims to start some kind of weird, awful side project that revolves around them talking about how they’ve “always been heavily into” some genre of old ppl music like swing, bluegrass, or most commonly “americana.” Anthony’s descent into reggae is uncommon, but not unheard of– expect him (a 32 year-old white guy from Queens) to start lecturing people about what is and is not REAL reggae as the disease takes complete control of him.
Suddenly AARON WEST & THE ROARING TWENTIES don’t seem so bad…
As “the scene’s cool older brother,” one of my dreams is that you will avoid making the same painful, stupid mistakes that I did in my teens and twenties. My hope is that by telling you about all the dumb shit I’ve done over the years, you can learn from MY mistakes instead of your own. Of course, one of the cruel ironies is that when you are young enough to avoid making these mistakes, you also think that you know everything so you don’t listen to people when they try to help you, so this is probably pointless… but for whatever it’s worth, here are a couple things that I really, really, really hope you consider and take to heart– you could save yourself years of pain.
It can and WILL happen to you
You know how old people are always lecturing you about how you young kids think you’re invincible? Well, they are right. That’s totally how you feel– you think that it won’t happen to you, that you can tempt fate but the consequences only happen to other people. Well, let me tell you, you’re wrong. It WILL happen to you. Fuck enough random dirty girls/guys and you WILL get an STD. Get in enough fights and you WILL go to jail. Do enough drugs and you WILL end up an addict. You can tempt fate for a while– years even– before your number comes up, but I promise you that if you keep rolling the dice, eventually you will get burned.
The really scary part is that you don’t see it coming until it’s too late… you don’t realize that this time you REALLY fucked up until you see the lights of the police car, the doctor tells you that you have herpes, etc. And it only takes a second to make a mistake that can take years and years to dig yourself out of. Trust me, do the smart thing and don’t play with fire in the first place because you WILL get burned, and you will instantly want to kick your own ass for doing something that you KNEW was fucking stupid.
Which brings me to my second piece of advice…
THINK before you act/talk
I’m sure it’s funny hearing this from me, someone who has said countless dumb, regrettable things over the years. If I had a dollar for everytime I did or said something, only to IMMEDIATELY get that sinking feeling in my stomach like “well fuck… that wasn’t the right move,” I could buy like a fucking small planet or something.
I know sometimes it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is, which is why I like to use what they call the “TV test.” Basically, imagine that you are being broadcast on live national TV, and act accordingly. If the thing you are about to do or say isn’t something you would want to be seen on TV, then it’s probably a bad idea.
For example, would you be proud to have the TV audience see you spend 2 hours debating on some forum about whether [band] is REAL pop-punk? Would you want them to see you getting shitfaced on a Tuesday night when you have a paper due the next morning? Would you want to be that guy on TV who loses his temper at work and storms out over some trivial bullshit?
Hard works pays off (but sometimes it takes a really long time)
The tough part about “doing the right thing” is that it never pays off as quickly as you want it to, so it feels like you’re not getting anywhere, like you are grinding and grinding and grinding but still staying stationary. For example, when I was in college and taking 16 credits and working full time, getting up at 5am and not coming home until 9pm. I did this for years, and it felt like I was on an endless treadmill and it was so so discouraging. But I stuck with it, I graduated 5 years ago, and I literally make twice as much money as I did when I graduated.
I think it’s all about adjusting the way you look at things. Important shit takes YEARS to achieve, so don’t look for daily progress because it just isn’t gonna be there. If you compare today to yesterday, it will just bum you out because it will feel like you haven’t gotten anywhere. Instead, compare today to 6 months ago, 1 year ago, or 5 years ago– THEN you will see how far you have really come and it will feel awesome.
Whatever you do, don’t be that fucking lame dude who quits the minute things get hard. I PROMISE you that if you grind hard enough and long in the right direction, it WILL pay off. Maybe not as fast as you want, and maybe not in exactly the way you thought it would, but it WILL pay off.
Don’t look for the right girl, focus on being the right guy
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory, but it has to be said. I feel super bad for wifeable girls in their early 20s (and contrary to popular belief there are lots of them) because holy shit guys in their 20s suck. I was way more interested in collecting video games, posting on the Relapse forum, and complaining about my job than I was in making my girlfriend happy, and what kind of decent girl is going to put up with that? Instead of pissing and moaning about how you can’t find a qt gf, take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re the guy that your dream girl would want to be with– if you are reading this, chances are that you’re not lol (sorry, but it’s true).