Hardcore is a young man’s game. It dawned on me early. I was probably about 20 at the time it happened – still with a few good years of show-going ahead of me before I got to be the old dude talking about the “good old days” while watching bands comprised of kids born in the 90s and having no idea what the hell is going on.
I remember it well. I was an undergrad at Rutgers, living in New Brunswick, and I went to an attic show/party one night on Louis Street. A friend of mine was DJing after the bands played, and I saw these two guys walk in – they couldn’t have been older than 25, but that’s pretty fucking old in hardcore. Bearded, wearing plaid shirts, and those knit winter hats. They looked so out of place, so uncomfortable with themselves. Did they come in off the train from Brooklyn? Who knows. I watched them pull cans of PBR (NOT LYING, THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED, IT WAS LIKE 2003) from their coat pockets and it all just dawned on me. I don’t think I consciously thought to myself “never be those guys” but I implicitly gathered that they were pathetic and not the “cool older guys.”
So what is a weird boy to do when he grows too old for the only subculture to cater to his weirdness? Enter Leaving Hardcore-core.
This is how you do it.
Now Leaving Hardcore-core isn’t really “hardcore” in the musical sense of the term, but everything else comes with it. What I mean by this is that you can still obsess about rare color variations of records and see bands play in a basement for gas money, but it’s all going to be hi-hat shuffles and keyboards. Get me?
Before I continue, I never thought when I took on this gig that I would be the resident femme side of hardcore writer, but what can I say? This was my lived experience in the mid 2000s. Between living in Jersey City and Brooklyn during this time, and my incurable desire for weird girls, this is what I fell into.
So let’s start where this all began.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You lived in the NYC metro area and you want to start doing coke in hipster bars.
Your band of choice would have been: Interpol
Interpol would have been an easy transition if you were into hardcore. They were ex-Saetia (for like a minute) but they sang sad songs about New York City (where you really wanted to live) and dressed mysteriously well. SOLD.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You lived in Los Angeles and wanted to start doing coke in hipster bars, but Interpol was a little too “indie” for you.
Your band of choice would have been: She Wants Revenge
Slicker, spatially bigger, more contrived, less authentic, the perfect analog to both Interpol, and when comparing Los Angeles to New York City.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You were a girl and you were sick of this bullshit, UGH! Why did I let my ex-boyfriend drag me into this smelly weirdo nonsense? But I still need to let people know I’m a sadgirl.
Your band of choice would have been: The National
You weren’t a manic pixie dream girl, at least not on most days. Maybe you wanted to be, but you were just…too sad. This is basically future cat lady music – the jocks in high school didn’t like you, so you became a weirdo, but the Salvation Army jacket wearing art school dropout of your dreams never came along, so 20 years from now you’ll be dressing up your cats in Halloween costumes. Sorry for u.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You were always into kitschy shit – like you were really into vidya games and Japanese culture in like 1999 before it became a fedora thing. Hardcore was just novelty, and it wore off.
Your band of choice would have been: Bloc Party
Most times when silly Euros try to imitate a thing it comes off lulzy. Bloc Party were p lulzy, but since this is sort of what would be considered “dance music” it kinda worked. It’s one of the few things Euros don’t fuck up for whatever reason.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You didn’t really, you just needed something to add to the record collection to keep from getting stale and to bump at parties to get the bitches going.
Your band of choice would have been: Hot Hot Heat
Hot Hot Heat were no joke if you wanted to cling to some sort of “DIY” thing. Sound Virus released a record of theirs for fuck’s sake. Like a dozen bands can say that. Their debut full length was on Sup Pop. They had cred, they were legit, and you wouldn’t have felt too guilty having them in the ol’ collection.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You were completely done and wanted a clean break and also happened to live in the NYC metro area and liked drugs and pussy.
Your band of choice would have been: electroclash/disco nouveau
Not a band, but a whole genre of music. The mid 2000s were a strange time, where many a former hardcore celebrity suddenly became dance music DJs, and/or hardcore labels that overnight started dance music sub-labels. Easily the most successful of these was Steve Aoki/Dim Mak Records, but there were many, many others who never quite made it so big. It was just “a thing” at the time.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You were on the West Coast and felt hardcore was too immature for you. You needed to get into grown up things like hot rods, Aleister Crowley-influenced spiritual libertarianism, and an entirely denim wardrobe. You also have a thing for girls with fat upper arms.
Your band of choice would have been: The Murder City Devils
I want to preface this by saying I really like this band, but if you really want to trace back the whole “1950s dad” trend in hardcore, I can’t really think of a band who was doing it earlier than MCD, at least not one that would have been relevant enough to influence the current generation of kids.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You were only into the most entry-level shit and you just hopped onto the next trend.
Your band of choice would have been: The Bravery
The Bravery was to mid-2000s fruity dance bands as Story of the Year was to late-stage nu-metal – the perfect distillation of every trend at the time all at once in the slickest, big-label way possible.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You were every fucking girl, ever. Into hardcore or not.
Your band of choice would have been: The Killers
One hundred and eleven million views. Roughly one third of the population of the United States. You know who listens to songs on youtube on repeat? Girls. Lonely, heartbroken girls. Every fucking girl I knew at the time was massively into The Killers. To borrow a phrase from Big Ghost, they had “lamb” with The Bravery (because animosity between two dance bands doesn’t meet the masculinity threshold to be qualified as “beef”).
You dropped out of hardcore because: You probably weren’t but you might have gone to shows and smirked about how you were above it all and “got the joke” but there wasn’t a joke to get.
Your band of choice would have been: The Mooney Suzuki
All I remember about this band was that Buddyhead used to bust on them for lying about their ages by ten years to seem hipper and more relevant and not just a bunch of sad old men in a novelty act.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You were in it “for the art” but the scene “just didn’t get you.”
Your band of choice would have been: …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
My roommates at the time were into this band quite a bit, so I got more than an earful of them. I feel the less I say about this, the better.
You dropped out of hardcore because: Same as above but you had a sense of humor about it.
Your band of choice would have been: Hot Snakes
John Reis (Rocket From the Crypt, Drive Like Jehu), Rick Froberg (Drive Like Jehu, also a cartoonist), and Gar Wood (Beehive and the Barracudas, quite possible the first man to have an ironic dad ‘stache) doing pretty alright for a bunch of old weirdos.
You dropped out of hardcore because: You didn’t, but Hot Hot Heat wasn’t weird enough for you.
Your band of choice would have been: The Chinese Stars, Need New Body, Your Enemies Friends, and Beehive and The Barracudas
The Chinese Stars were fronted by former Arab On Radar vocalist Eric Paul and had Arab on Radar drummer Craig Kureck beating the skins for them as well and sounds exactly what you think an ex-Arab On Radar dance band would sound like.
Need New Body was probably still to weird to jam at parties attended by other weirdos, but if you’re a deranged loner anyway, what difference does it make?
Your Enemies Friends was much more on the “aggro” side of things, but still a viable stepping stone away from hardcore.
Probably the most accessible of the “still too weird” category, Beehive and The Barracudas brought the fucking party to a certain segment of girls at the time that your humble author dug.
Long story short, I didn’t end up the 25 year old guy pulling PBR out of my winter coat at shows full of kids like 2-6 years younger than me. Trivial as it may seem, this is an important life hurdle for hardcore kids that many (too many) never seem to get over.
So what abt u? How did you escape the black hole that is hardcore? Got any interesting stories about doing coke during this time? How old can you be in hardcore before it becomes sad?
If you are reading this, chances are that you didn’t exactly grow up in a family full of financial wizards. I was raised by a single mother on welfare, so our idea of “financial planning” was rationing out how much powdered milk we could drink before our next trip to the food bank. There were many sucky things about growing up that way, but one of the worst is that I never learned how money works and what I should do as far as personal finance goes. The good news is that it’s actually pretty simple once you understand the basics.
I get a lot of questions about this stuff on Tumblr, so I figured I would outline the basics here in terms that people who have wasted their youth on music will understand. If you are an expert in this stuff please understand that this is just the very basics, and I am leaving out lots and lots of details for the sake of brevity.
401(k)s, IRAs, mutual funds, stocks, etc
You have probably heard all these terms and have a vague idea of what they mean, but what it boils down to is this (in hardcore terms): think of a 401k or IRA as a crate, and think of stocks, mutual funds, etc as the records you put in it. A 401k or IRA is basically just a savings account except you you can’t take the money out until you are 59.5 years old. There are some other details but don’t worry about those for now. Just think of it as a big milk crate which you can fill with different kinds of investments (like choosing what records to put in your crate).
Just like there is a nearly endless amount of different pressings, colors, limited editions, and other variations of records for dorks to obsess over, there is an insanely massive amount of different investment vehicles: stocks, bonds, CDs, mutual funds, and zillions more. It gets SUPER complicated, but the goods news is that you don’t need to worry about it. In the same way as I would tell you to stop wasting your time tracking down obscure colored vinyl versions of crappy, over-hyped bands whose peak will be opening 2 shows for SUBURBAN SCUM, you really don’t need to think about any of those obscure and complex investment vehicles. Do NOT feel like you need to fuck around buying shares of individual companies and try to flip them for a profit. You will almost certainly lose money this way.
The power of index funds: ff you invested $1 in an index fund in 1984, today you would have $12. Pretty fucking cool, huh??
If you are investing for your retirement, IMO your best option is something called index funds. Essentially, index funds are a way of investing in EVERY stock on the market, which is a good thing for lots of reasons, in particular because it means that you aren’t dependent on the future of any one individual company. Think of it like this: instead of trying to flip merch from one specific band, you’re investing in merch flipping as a whole– as long as Belgians exist, you’re sure to make money!
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WITH THIS INFO: If your employer offers a 401k, make sure that you are enrolled and taking advantage of any matching programs they have (it’s literally free money). If they don’t, start your own IRA through someone like Fidelity.
If you’re 25 and put away $500 a month until you’re 65, you can very easily have a million dollars when you retire
This involves a little math, but it’s really important to understand so pay attention! In a nutshell, compound interest is simply the idea that you earn interest on interest, which is the key to how investments grow over time. Read more about it here, but to put it in hardcore terms think about it like this: once a band gets a little hype (*cough ANGEL DU$T cough*) it snowballs and they get hype on top of hype and all of a sudden they are the scene’s favorite band. Hype builds on itself and creates more hype, interest builds on itself and creates more interest (where interest = money).
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO WITH THIS INFO: Put away money every month and leave it there! You literally do not have to do anything else, at least not for decades when you might need to move things into super-safe investment vehicles likes CDs.
Yep, that’s right: it would take over ELEVEN FUCKING YEARS to pay off that $5k if you just make the minimum payment!
Note that the same ideas about compound interest apply in reverse to debt, especially credit cards. Credit cards are BAD BAD BAD NEWS, and you should use them very sparingly. As you can see from the diagram above, if you rack up a lot of credit card debt, it can be reallllly hard to get out from under it, especially if you only make the minimum monthly payment.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The most important thing is that you get started on this as early as possible, and simply put money away every month and forget about it. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, call up the folks at Fidelity, Vanguard, etc and they will talk you through it (I personally like Fidelity’s web interface a lot better but it’s not super important who you go with). Even if you can only put away $50 a month, that’s ok– just do SOMETHING.
The good news is that investing is actually pretty simple– don’t be fooled by the E-Trade commercials with all the fancy charts and graphs and stuff like that, those are just to trick idiots into daytrading away all their money (daytrading is almost universallyrecognized asa really bad idea). You do NOT need to know about “the market” or any of that, just like there is no need for you to know what the latest flavor-of-the-week hypecore band is on Tumblr. Stick with the basics and you will be just fine!
Again, this is an EXTREMELY broad and simple overview and I definitely encourage you to read more. Investopedia is my personal favorite site for all this stuff. If you’re more advanced then check out the Bogleheads forum, it’s really great.
LOL. “Do you have the lyrics on your phone bro?” (actual quote from the video)
I gave a pass to people who jocked Brand New when I was in grade 9 cause that’s when they were still somewhat kinda hot but this whole tumblr brigade of BN worship of the past few years… just no. Lol. That’s what you get for going to a Brand New show in 2015.
I’m coming with fire causeI rhyme and rap a lot /
playing drums in front of the fire is the only time your ass is hot
after I first watched the video, I didn’t write any hair lines /
then I paused the video… and yikes @ that hairline
I like how you use that cymbal for your rear to go down the hill /
it’s just a symbol your career is going downhill (omg)
Ya bitch thirsty, she was beggin me to be friends /
I sled into her DMs while you were sleddin wit ya geek friends
(ya I rhymed friends with friends IDGAF)
I thought I was watchin a tween punk vid but I must have been misinformed / cuz this looks like y’all are trying to finish a porn (dead)
how you gonna solo outside in the fuckin winter… wit ya numb ass fingers /
I’ma really make this bum ass shiver once I shove him into that dumb ass river
okay, I’ll admit that this guy’s kind of bold / for trying to wank outside in the cold
(too bad you can’t get hard though boi)
I’m roasting y’all like those flames do, if you rebut, you’re a damn liar
there’s so much heat in my circle, everyone in my camp’s fire (omg)
where’s ya marshmellows at boi? why you burnin’ a stick? /
my wood is burning too… cause of ya dirty ass bitch / it all started after I served her my dick / she gave me gonorrhea, now it burns when I piss
(best scheme of 2k15)
I’ll take that guitar right out ya hands cause that’s how much this guy is blowing /
put it to good use, like “we need more wood to keep the fire going“
this guy lookin’ like it’s still 2002 with those pins on his strap /
ya bitch is into rough sex… with the pins and the straps
all ya drumming’s wack… you even suck wit ya best efforts / I’ll take that saw and chop your arm off… now you the drummer of Def Leppord
(he’s still better tho)
all my verses are devastating like when soldiers die in war /
I just bodied your whole squad… da fuck you smilin for?
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?