One doesn’t need to dig deep into xEasycorex.net to realize that easycore as we know it (or at least would like to know it) is in a sorry state of affairs. Tr00 pop punk and wretched 90s emo worship have largely displaced the fun sounds of New Found Glory and (early) Blink-182 as primary sources of inspiration, and easycore as an art form has suffered for it. While this development in the genre is not good under any circumstances, the sudden transformation from being the best of both worlds between hardcore and pop punk to being a Jawbreaker circle jerk strikes an especially painful chord in me personally…as…I am ashamed to admit…I used to kind of be a 90s emo fanboy back in the mid 2000s : ( So not only has contemporary easycore become less fun for me to listen to (with almost all of the classic easycore bands of yore now in pitched competition with one another to win the gold medal in the Butthurt Olympics), but seeing these new bands jock the old bands that they do reminds me of how much of an annoying, hyper-beta dweeb I used to be in high school/early college. Seemingly every time I hear about a new pop punk band and decide to check them out, I end up being forced to imagine the singer looking at me and saying “Oh, hey, remember THIS, FAGGOT??”, as he then proceeds to hurl a copy of Knapsack’s This Conversation Is Ending Right Now at my head.
But to quote the immortal words of Freddy Madball, EASYCORE! STILL LIVES! Along with awesome bands like C!NCC, City Lights, and Your Weight In Gold, I found that there is still a minority of young touring groups that are keeping it real, and taking a noble stand against the self-perpetuated butthurt that has become the norm in pop punk/easycore. Below are a few of my favorites that I have recently come across. If you think I’m missing out on some sweet new easycore bands, feel free to tell me about them in the comments!
Times New Roman are a young, up-and-coming easycore band from the rock and roll hotbed of Christianberg, Virginia. One of the sadder moments in the genre came when all keyboards were exiled from easycore (signaling a new, more serious era to come), but Times New Roman thankfully missed that memo. Featuring a chubby lead singer with zany mannerisms and fun, catchy, songs about hanging out with your bros, these kids are clearly picking up the torch dropped (or more accurately, angrily discarded) by Four Year Strong. Also, mirin’ the overall high levels of derp/general awkwardness given out by this band. Hit them up on Facebook and tell them they have the ability!
Act As One have been around since 2009ish (or at least that’s when they joined Facebook), and they do a great job of mixing the catchier aspects of tr00 pop punk with sick breakdowns, all the while avoiding the common traps of coming across as whiny or t00fag tryhards. I love this video because it looks like something that would be shot for a high school media studies project, and because you can tell these dudes were clearly having fun fucking around and goofing off when they made it. Highlights include:
+ :39 – The singer eating shit on the opening mosh hop
+ 2:00 – Blink-and-you-miss-it shot of a Slipknot lunchbox (only REAL early 2000s kids rmbr dis!!!)
+ 2:10 – Sophomoric stoner humor = A+++
+ 3:36 – DAT BREAKDOWN.
+ Strong video tags, including “Lindsay Lohan”, “Nikki Manaj”, and “Gucci”.
Speaking of videos that were made for school, Australia’s Arcanine are probably the youngest band featured in this post, and this is a video they really did make for their media class. I don’t think cliffs for this video are necessary, as a lot of the lulziest details are clear and speak for themselves. Obviously, they are still a little on the green side, but frankly I’m just happy to see any young people trying to play this style of easycore these days, and Arcanine are certainly off to a good start. I know this subject has been touched upon before in other posts, but what exactly is it about living in Australia that seems to give people a -30 resistance to butthurt? Does the heat and constant possibility of being killed by one of dozens of terrifying venomous creatures cause people to not think about ghey stuff such as ‘being trapped in the suburbs’ and whatnot? Anyway, until shit goes (awesomely) full retard towards the end of the song, I really enjoy the 90s pop punk vibe of this tune – and look! They even have a picture of everyone in the band with their pants down on their Facebook page! For some reason, this was apparently a very popular type of picture for pop punk bands to take back in the day, and it’s nice to see that it’s still a relevant art form in 2012 amongst Australian high schoolers.
Okay, so technically Cold Forty Three is really more straight-up pop punk than easycore (no breakdowns), but given their flagrant use of autotune and the fact that these dudes are clearly more interested in getting fucked up and smashing bishes than writing coffee table books describing the trials of life on the road, I’m giving them a pass and including them here anyway. This video basically consists of the three Latino bros in the band hitting each other in the balls, excessively drinking, throwing up, and fucking around with blow-up dolls between obligatory shots of the band playing to all of their friends; in other words, sort of the mild pop punk flipside to Xibalba’s “Cold”. As I find the sheer whininess of most current day pop punk much more offensive than the music itself (which usually isn’t actually that bad at all), Cold Forty Three’s snotty, self-absorbed, take on the genre very welcomed, and even makes me a little nostalgic for being a teenage shithead living in Orange County (where being a snotty, self-absorbed suburbanite is virtually a perquisite of being into punk, especially if you are under the age of 30). They are playing Warped Tour this year, so don’t sleep on it if you want to check them out live, and be sure to post one of those internet bro fist memes on their wall here.
To conclude, while easycore may not exactly be in its glory days anymore as it was a few years back, hope is far from lost for the subgenre, and sweet new bands are only as far away as one is willing to dig on the internet to find them. Since a lot of these bands find it important to write about lief, be nice and come out to see them when they go on tour so that they don’t have a reason to write songs about how hard it is on the road later on. We may not have the power to turn back the tsunami of tr00ness and butthurt that has crashed onto easycore and pop punk as of late, but we can stem the tide a bit if we support the few bands out there fighting the good fight, and encourage up-and-coming groups to keep doing what they are doing. And if they change their minds and decide to go tr00 anyway, hey – at least we’ll be able to tease them about when they used to have keyboards and zany antics in their music videos, right?
So, what are your favorite active easycore/pop punk bands? Will the “school video project” subgenre become the dominant trend amongst pop punk music videos in the 2010s? Seriously though, what’s the deal with Australia? Will drinking Australian water make me muscular like most Australian teenagers seem to be? Is there anybody out there who likes Knapsack that doesn’t suffer from profound personality defects?