I’m Pulling the Plug

As of May 27, 2017, Jacksonanderson.org will be no more. This website was something of an experiment, and I consider it to be a successful one. By the end of its days, I received an average traffic of about 5 users per day, each looking at such a wide variety of articles that the mean is not worth stating as it seems that some of them looked at nearly everything I had ever written. It wasn’t much, but it was something. When I did post something I tended to get a wider influx of traffic in the early days, sometimes garnering up to 60 users per day, but by now that seems to have absolutely no influence.

 

I also feel constricted by the combination of the website’s tagline and URL. It is a personal blog about music, which was what I wanted it to be when I created it, but that has become a very limiting label for something that costs over $100 a year to maintain. I would like to collaborate with other writers interested in writing about the intricacies of the entertainment industry, and the personal URL is a narcissistic detractor for that. Additionally, while the personal URL is suitable for all sorts of personal writing –which is something else I would be interested in– I feel that I am in too deep in writing solely about music. Simply put, it is time for change.

 

I have archived every article I have written for personal use, but it will no longer be available as of May 27. Thank you to everyone who took interest in this project, especially my mother. Expect more from me in the near future, although as to from which venue, only time can tell.

Remembering Derrick Plourde

By Jackson Anderson

There are a plethora of punk drummers that have their fair share of fame, both inside and outside of the community, a fairly atypical phenomena for the instrument. Blink-182’s Travis Barker is perhaps the most well-known member of the band despite being the only member to not have vocal duties, and to be on the ordinarily backseat position of the drummer. Terry Roberts invented a drum beat so distinctive and infectious that a new subgenre was created to chase the subtle genius of its intensity. Punk staples such as The Descendants’ Bill Stevenson and Bad Religion’s Brooks Wackerman are lauded as masters of their craft and are appreciated as cornerstones of the punk scene.

 

Despite all of these successes, there was one drummer who was distinct amongst even them for his influence in the punk community. Playing percussion in Lagwagon, Bad Astronaut, The Ataris, Mad Caddies, Rick Kids on LSD, and Jaws, Derrick Plourde touched and influenced every edifice of the many different facets in the diverse and at times warring punk scene, lending his gentle and constructive hand, yet pulsating and enduring beats. Derrick united and brought joy to many disparate groups and did so with a humility that begged no desire for the spotlight; he simply made excellent music because he was an excellent musician, and that was what he was meant to do.

 

Derrick passed away on March 30, 2005, 12 years ago today. Even today his presence is still missed and the words of his former bandmates sorrow still echo through eternity, and are just as gut-wrenchingly relevant and real as ever. Following Derrick’s passing, Lagwagon created a tribute album titled Resolve to commemorate Derrick’s life and death. The album is one of the most difficult listens in existence. You can taste the pain on vocalist Joey Cape’s lips, and hearing him encounter it is troubling in its authenticity and rawness. You can tell that Cape wanted to get this one perfect for Derrick, and he did.

 

The last verse from “Sad Astronaut,” a song that singles in the last moments of Derrick’s life, and commemorates the end of Bad Astronaut as Cape  –who also fronted that band– stated in an interview “Without Derrick, there’s no Bad Astronaut,” is a poetic and anguished summary of Cape’s struggle to understand the tragedy that was Derrick’s passing, and his belief that he will continue to live through his lyrics.

 Looking through the spyglass in a punctured sky

While your garden died

You couldn’t see the sky for your fallen stars?

Endless in your arms

You were still alive even as a sad astronaut

The album’s closer, “Days of New” is perhaps the biggest tearjerker in music; a naively questioning song that deals with Capes own frustration with the tribute itself, feeling that no matter what he can say is inadequate in expressing what he feels. The final verse is a beautiful sendoff that pleads that perhaps Derrick may be aware of all the good he has done in the world, and may be able to see the enduring pulchritude of his art.

But we may never have met if it weren’t for him.

Hey Derrick, maybe somehow you’re listening.

Today’s mantra is gratitude.

You’ve changed my life

I’m sure you knew I’ll never forget the words you said

The life that you led

I’ll never forget

I’ll never forget

I’ll never forget

Twelve years later this song is still a staple of Lagwagon’s set. Cape hasn’t forgot you, Derrick. Neither has NOFX frontman and Fat Wreck Chords owner Fat Mike, in his tribute Doornails, another song that still sees live play, and neither have I.

Remembering D. Boon

In “History Lesson – Part II” D. Boon said, “our band could be your life,” but I always misheard it as “punk rock could be your life.” I think that’s two ways of saying the same thing, anyway. D. Boon’s quote summed up an oft-misunderstood music genre that became a truly life-saving force for me. It could be my life in all senses of the word. It was my energy, my vitality, my existence, my legacy, my grounding mechanism, my savior.

 

And, while The Dwarves may have invented Rock n’ Roll, D. Boon practically invented punk rock. Real punk rock, at least. His blend of punk rock had everything: politics, literary allusions, humor, jazz and reggae influences, tearjerkers, anthems, those ear-catching bass lines that became so indicative of the genre, and above all, a lot of heart. D. Boon was a visionary that appeared exactly when he needed to, and was given the all the praise that he deserved, and he never let it go to his head. He just kept doing what he did best: making thought-provoking music and having a lot of fun doing it.

 

At the height of D. Boon’s career, he found himself sick, prone in the back of a van in Arizona on Interstate 10. The van was ran off the road, and Boon was ejected. He died instantly from a broken neck. D. Boon might as well have created the best and most varied music genre during his short time on this earth, and I know more than one person can say that they directly owe their lives to him. He truly was one of the best, in all aspects of the word.

Why I Let Cody Destroy Me

By Jackson Anderson

A dog chews on a mannequin’s head. A pencil lightly touches the tender edges of the worn paper. College kids high on LSD run from campus security. I get lost in the intricate designs. I think my entire life could be that sketch book. He compares Kanye West to John Steinbeck. She’s got a fake I.D. They absent-mindedly picks one of my long hairs off of my jacket. I get lost in the subtlety of the gesture. He remarks how good it feels to be felt. He knows that you still don’t believe in yourself at eighteen. All I believe in is the person sitting next to me.

 

Two separate series of events, and yet they are completely married in my mind. One is Joyce Manor’s dorky yet subtly profound pop-punk album Cody. The other is a memory that I struggle between calling my fondest or that which brings me the most pain. I can’t think of one without the other, and yet, one definitely came first. Cody was released on October 7th, 2016, a good three months after the memory was created. The two ideas are still inseparable in my mind ever since Cody was created.

 

I think a lot of it is on account of the album’s short length. Clocking in at just over twenty-four minutes, it’s just as fleeting as the memory. As soon as I get invested, it’s gone. During the after-album silence, I have time to reflect on all the similarities. As has it has always been with Joyce Manor, their songs aren’t the pinnacle of lyrical songwriting, but the emotional reactions they are able to elicit are second to none. It’s the emotions that I remember strongly, and that is what destroys me.

 

It happens during “Stairs” whether I’m engaging in active listening or passive listening. The song is so strong that it demands the listener’s attention whether they feel like giving it or not. The slow long song on the fast quick album would stand out no matter what, and the maturity and vulnerability from a typically immature and surface-level band still manages to give me goosebumps after my spins increase into the forties and fifties. A complete reliance on another person, a complete devotion to that person, the belief that that person is the purest and best thing in the world, and the wish to shield that person from all the world’s evils, it’s a powerful and evocative statement. It reminds me of when I was thinking those things, and it destroys me.

 

Then “This Song Is A Mess But So Am I” closes out the album. Of course, I’m always a mess by that point, too. I’m mad at myself for putting myself through Cody again. I’m mad at Joyce Manor for being so good at what they do. I’m mad at everyone who contributed to the circumstances that led to the creation of the memory. I’m mad at the person in the memory. And Barry is right there with me. “Just wanna sleep away the hour. Blinded by the light. This song is a mess but so am I. Beneath the soda stream, where you begin to dream. When you said, ‘Nothing’s new’ made fucking zero sense from you.”

 

And it’s over. Twenty-four minutes of great music. Twenty-four minutes of ear-candy. Twenty-four minutes of concentrated emotion that wrecks me every time. At this point I usually look at the lyric sheet that came with the vinyl. I look at all the similarities. The naive insouciance of it all, the start-off-happy-and-get-sad progression, the self-doubt, and, above all, the love. The truth is, there’s too much to name. If I tried, I could probably find connections between a lot of memories and a lot of albums. For whatever reason, I seem to have found all between this particular memory and this particular album.

 

So why do I keep doing it if it hurts so much? Because Cody is a great album, it’s a beautiful memory, and sometimes I just need to cry. I don’t think I could appreciate either as much without the other. It’s a combination between the same infatuation I –and other people, might I add– have with heart-wrenching plays, movies, books, videogames of similar nature and the emotional equivalent of exercising. It’s a pain that hurts so good. It also ensures that I’ll never forget that memory that I mustn’t forget, even if at times I wish I could. Cody makes me stronger, and I know I’ll be thankful it was there to ensure that I remembered.

Remembering Brandon Carlisle

Sometimes I take myself things too seriously. Sometimes I spend my days dour faced and unsmiling, not permitting myself to find humor in the aspects of life in which I should. I have found that laughter truly is one of the best medicines, and that is often something that I deprive myself of. I don’t tend to watch comedies. I don’t tend to read the funnies. I don’t have any comedians that I particularly enjoy. I spend too much of my time dedicated to the pretentious notion of “higher” forms of art and expression, and I needed someone to tell me how much of a folly prospect that was. That someone took the form of Teenage Bottlerocket.

 

For a turgid punk rock connoisseur such as myself, Teenage Bottlerocket proved to be an interesting anomaly during my initial exploration of the genre. They were nearly ubiquitously loved, and yet I couldn’t pin down the reason why. Their songs weren’t deep, and none seemed to affect me in the manner that my favorite artists did. All of their album covers were color variations of a skull crossed with bottlerockets. They frequently sung about pop culture, mocked the punk scene, told completely implausible songs, and, above all else, sang about girls. Ironically enough, Teenage Bottlerocket’s unabashed juvenility became more heartening to me as I grew older.

 

It was their 2014 release, Tales From Wyoming, that really did it for me. Track four opens with the by then characteristic power chord structure that Teenage Bottlerocket love to use, and was a cheesy ballad about the international phenomenon known as Minecraft. For those of you who don’t know, Minecraft is a gigantically successful videogame made by Swedish developers Mojang in which players build and mine in a cuboid 3-D world. The fact that there was a punk band making music about minecraft in 2014 brought an intense feeling of happiness and warmth to me. Teenage Bottlerocket had always seemed like they had taken the punk ideology to heart in the best way: they wrote songs about what they wanted to write songs about, and they were passionate about doing it. Whether it be Top Gun, Minecraft, or Burger King, the four boys from Wyoming were just if not more impassioned than their politically-tinted contemporaries.

 

While I did turn to bands with depressing subject matter when I felt truly depressed because I wanted to feel that empathy link, Teenage Bottlerocket became the best way to feel happy, and fun. Fun is usually an adjective and not an emotion, but the combination of enjoyment with their tenacity and energy made getting up every day that much easier. There just isn’t much to analyze in a song about a guy getting whiplash because he headbanged too hard, but the campiness of said song is exactly what made me love it so much.

 

On November 3, 2015, Teenage Bottlerocket’s drummer and founding member, Brandon Carlisle was found in a coma in his appartment. Three days later he passed away. Brandon was the perfect embodiment of everything that was and still is great about Teenage Bottlerocket, his friendly, optimistic enthusiasm, (Brandon would frequently, sometimes to the chagrin of some of his fans, count off in a loud and ostentatious manner at the beginning of nearly every Teenage Bottlerocket song) his dedication to and his love for his music, (I remember a live showing of the band where his brother and frontman Ray Carlisle introduced him simply by sticking his arm out and making a drumming motion to showcase the endurance required to be a drummer), and, above all, his love for fun. Brandon is dearly missed, and even after a year has passed his loss is still felt deeply.

Getting Into Punk Rock: A Guide to the Intricacies and Subgenres of the Unruly World of My Favorite Type of Music

 

Edit: Here is a link to the updated version of this same guide.

By Jackson Anderson

Why haven’t I done this before? I have spent three months attempting to talk about my life in relation to my greatest passion, and only hand waving the fact that this passion in question is a fairly obscure one that most people will have little knowledge about. I would like to remedy this situation a bit. Punk can be an unruly beast to tame; it’s in its nature, but with a bit of finess and perseverance, I am confident that everyone will find something that they like in the broad depths of the oft-misunderstood genre that is punk rock.

 

 

First let me address this flip flopping issue I have between saying “punk” and “punk rock.” These really don’t mean the same thing at all. One is an ideology, the other is a type of music. The ideology has come to describe the type of music that sprang from what is called “punk rock,” a movement that sprang from bands such as Ramones and Minor Threat in the 70’s and 80’s. Sonically, however, punk music, as I will refer to the broader genre that I will be discussing in the guide, is incredibly diverse. Nearly everything under the sun fits into the genre of punk, but isn’t necessarily punk rock. Folk punk, for instance, takes to heart the ideals of individuality, protest, and a desire to tell an uncompromising truth, but is a far cry from the sound of Ramones or The Clash. Similarly, crust punk has the same individualistic spirit of telling cold, hard facts that may be uncouth at times, but vocals tend to be incredibly abrasive, and “screamy.” This is a bit closer to what people think of when they think of “punk,” but this is still vastly different from the sound of the forefathers of the genre.

 

 

So, what makes something punk? To save some precious white space, I’m going to redirect you to an essay I wrote on exactly that.  If you don’t want to read that, I’d quickly summarize the punk ideology as a desire to tell true stories. It’s real people writing about real things, with the desire to communicate details about the world taking precedence over the desire to make it big as a musician. Generally speaking, punk musicians write their own songs, are on independent record labels, and aren’t afraid to shy away from discussing issues that might be a little awkward at dinner. Basically, any band can be a punk band, and many famous musicians had very punk ideologies even if they were far away from the punk scene.

 

 

If you’re still interested in exploring the vast plains of punk music, here is my extensive guide on how to do just that.

 

The Big Ten

These are 10 classic punk albums that everyone should hear not only from a punk music standpoint, but from a musical standpoint in general. These are the required listening of the genre that all fans will have heard, and nearly everyone loves.

  1. Rancid – …And Out  Comes The Wolves

Genre: Pop-Punk

I’m sure most punk rockers would put this on their list of favorite albums, but probably not on the number one spot. It’s definitely not on mine, but it’s a great introduction record. It’s just fun to listen to. It’s got great musicianship: fun guitar parts, pounding bass lines, entertaining drumbeats. Tim Armstrong’s voice might be offputting to some, –I would recommend skipping the album if it starts annoying you– but he and Lars Frederickson also sing their hearts out.

2. Descendents – Milo Goes to College

Genre: Melodic Hardcore

This record is corny as hell, and it’s a blast. Three out of the four band members were still in high school during the recording of this album, and it shows. You might have to transport yourself into the mind of a teenage boy in 1981 to fully appreciate this album, but when you do, I think it’s an entertaining listen. Even if you find the songwriting to be on the immature side, Descendents were top notch musicians even during their younger years, and bassist Tony Lombardo in particular shows off his technical prowess.

3. Fugazi – 13 Songs

Genre: Post-Hardcore

This is definitely the most technical album on this list. Fans of Pink Floyd or Joy Division should enjoy Fugazi’s 13 Songs, an impressive, jammy effort that possesses the energy and quickness of the punk spirit. Both Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto show off their songwriting capability on this album, if you can manage to figure out what they’re talking about (I haven’t.)

4. Operation Ivy – Energy (or Operation Ivy) They only released one album and depending on how you listen to them they may have their entire discography available instead of their album. This is simply titled Operation Ivy.

Genre: Ska-Punk

This is very similar to …And Out Comes The Wolves. It might have something to do with the fact that half of the band is the same! They share many of the same positive qualities: ear-catching distorted guitars, punchy bass lines, and an overall air of jocundity to the listening experience. You’re probably going to be saying pick it up a couple of times after listening to this.

5. The Clash – London Calling

Genre: Punk Rock

My friend Max described The Clash as “objectively good music.” That’s a nice, succinct, description of one of punk’s forefathers. Fans of classic rock should enjoy London Calling, but, then again, you’ve probably already heard it. London Calling was one of the pioneers in expanding punk rock from “punk rock” to “punk music.” There are ska, reggae, rockabilly, jazz, and so many other musical influences on this record, and it made a lot of punk musicians realize that they didn’t all need to sound the same.

6. NOFX – Punk in Drublic

Genre: Pop-Punk

This is the only album on this list that I included because I felt obligated to and not because I like it. It was incredibly influential on modern pop-punk –an incredibly broad sub-genre of punk music that really needs to be further divided to better describe what is actually going on sonically– that a ton of punk rockers rave about being the best thing ever. It’s not my favorite NOFX album by a long shot, but it has some good songs on it. It’s accessible, and the only thing off-putting about Punk In Drublic should be Fat Mike’s obscene lyrics.

7. Ramones – Ramones

Genre: Pop-Punk

Duh.

8. Bad Religion – Suffer

Genre: Hardcore Punk

It’s hardcore, but not that hardcore. Suffer is more accessible than you might think. I know hardcore sounds scary, but give it a chance. It’s fast, angry, short, and pretentious, but Suffer has a certain charm to it. It has surprisingly clear vocals, intelligent lyrics, vocal harmonies, and the guitar parts became the defacto structure for wanna be hardcore bands for decades.

9. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime

Genre: No

A quadruple album that is under 75 minutes long, Double Nickels On The Dime sees London Calling and declares it too narrow-minded and samey. It manages to both stay within the conventions of melodic hardcore, while completely jumping outside the box. There are songs on this album that could be found on any of the other albums on this list, and there are songs on this album that are just the sound of water flowing. It’s totally weird, but some people love that stuff. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with Double Nickels On The Dime.

10. The Bouncing Souls – How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Genre: Pop-Punk

Sadly, this is the first time that I have mentioned The Bouncing Souls aside from mentioning that I haven’t mentioned them. This is by far and a way the newest album on the list, but I think it has a place on here. It nicely typifies the sort of fun, apolitical pop-punk in which, armed with only four chords and a truth, simple, well-crafted songwriting comes to the fore while still preserving the punk spirit.

 

The Subgenres

I often decry the use of subgenres due to the fact that the overuse of them can quickly devolve into semantic discussions about whether something qualifies as powerviolence or d-beat, while they are sonically near-indistinguishable. However, when dealing with genres as broad as punk music, they come in handy. There are a lot of subgenres in punk music, but I’ll go over a few of the more common ones, describe them, say who will probably like them, and name drop a few bands. Also, I’m going to tend to stay away from blanket terms like pop-punk in order to get as specific as possible.

 

Ska Punk

For fans of: ska, jazz, reggae, indie rock, alternative rock, classic rock

What it is: People will fight me over the definition of ska. I’m just going to say sometimes it’s melodic hardcore bands with a horn section, sometimes it’s pop-punk bands with a horn section, sometimes it’s a melodic hardcore band with walking bass lines and palm-muted down-up-down-up guitar techniques. Wars have been started over the definition of ska. I think of it as a fusion between jazz and reggae. So ska-punk is like a fusion between jazz, reggae, and either melodic hardcore or pop-punk. It’s usually pretty cool. So then we have to branch off in two directions we have:

Skacore

For fans of: ska, jazz, reggae, hard rock, metal, hardcore

What it is: A fusion between hardcore punk and ska; pretty simple.

 

Recommendations:

The Suicide Machines – Destruction By Definition

Operation Ivy – Energy (some people might disagree with this classification)

Against All Authority – All Fall Down

Voodoo Glow Skulls – Firme (they have this record in two languages, which is pretty cool. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Firme en Espanol)

Citizen Fish – Life Size

 

If hardcore sounds too scary some mellower ska-punk bands are:

Slapstick – Slapstick

Less Than Jake – Hello Rockview

Streetlight Manifesto – The Hands That Thieve

Goldfinger – Hang-Ups

Catch-22 – Keasbey Nights

 

Folk Punk

For fans of: folk, indie rock, indie folk, country

What it is: If you like acoustic instruments then this is probably your genre. There are subgenres of subgenres, so if you like the whole anarchy thing, there are plenty of folk-punk bands out there to suit your needs, but a lot of folk-punk bands tend to shy away from that. A lot of folk-punk bands tend towards depressing, vulnerable, and introspective lyrics, and have clean vocals (as in they don’t scream; if language is an issue, then punk probably isn’t your genre, sorry.)

 

Recommendations:

Andrew Jackson Jihad (recently rebranded as AJJ) – People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People in the World 

Mischief Brew – Songs From Under The Sink

The Taxpayers – To Risk So Much For One Damn Meal

Ramshackle Glory – Live the Dream 

Pat The Bunny – Probably Nothing, Possibly Everything

 

Horror Punk

For fans of: zombies, vampires, hard rock, metal, classic rock, elvis

What it is: This subgenre is weird, and I love it. I forget about it, and then sometimes it dawns on me how strange it’s existence is. Largely due to the success of a seminal punk band that I have yet to mention and subsequent semi-successful copycat acts, there is a whole subgenre of punk in which people dress up in Halloween costumes, sing about zombies and stuff, and all of their singers seem to be doing their best Elvis impression. You want to check it out, don’t you?

 

Recommendations:

Misfits – Static Age (What started it all)

Calabrese – The Traveling Vampire Show (I think this is better than Misfits, seriously, these guys have no right to be as good as they are. Listen to “Voices of the Dead”)

Balzac – Beyond the Darkness (You can learn Japanese at the same time!)

The Murder City Devils – In Name And Blood

Cancerslug – Seasons of Sickness… (NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, that being said, this record is really fun)

 

Orgcore

For fans of: alternative rock, indie rock, classic rock

What it is: This is my favorite subgenre of punk, and it’s basically a joke. It’s essentially a sub-classification of pop-punk that pretentious people like me listen to, and then go and talk about it on the internet. If you remember that pop-punk scale of saccharinity that I made, these bands tend to have high numbers, meaning low saccharinity because I designed the scale poorly.

Recommendations:

The Lawrence Arms – The Greatest Story Ever Told 

The Menzingers – On The Impossible Past

Elway – Delusions

Iron Chic – The Constant One

Captain, We’re Sinking – The Future Is Cancelled

Off With Their Heads – Home

Banner Pilot – Collapser

The Loved Ones – Keep Your Heart

 

Beard

For fans of: alternative rock, indie rock, classic rock, beards, attractive men

What it is: Pop-punk with gruff vocals. The name is a joke, but the bands sound similar, and I like it. This is an excuse to recommend more of my favorite bands.

Hot Water Music – A Flight and A Crash

Nothington – Roads, Bridges, and Ruins

Red City Radio – Titles

Arms Aloft – Sawdust City

The Sidekicks – So Long, Soggy Doggy

 

Emo (Revival)

For fans of: Indie rock, alternative rock, metalcore (bit of a stretch), hard rock, metal

What it is: Emo is short for emotional hardcore, which is a stupid name for a genre that I used to think was stupid. A cool band called Rites of Spring was dubbed “emo” for singing about depression and suicide instead of “the man” during the 80’s. The band’s own frontman hated the term, and said that other hardcore punk bands at the time were just as emotional as Rites of Spring, and the term died off for a number of years. Recently it’s come back, and it doesn’t really sound like Rites of Spring at all. It tends to be well-produced music that lacks a lot of the distortion and effects that are characteristic of a lot of punk music. Emo tends also tends to be fairly dark thematically, although there are plenty of emo bands that are fairly light hearted, such as Modern Baseball. Emo tends to get somewhat of a bad rep, and is mocked sometimes, but I kind of dig it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m big on the transference of emotions. That’s kind of emo’s thing.

Recommendations:

The Hotelier – Home, Like NoPlace Is There

Joyce manor – Never Hungover Again

Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All

Tigers Jaw – Tigers Jaw

Cold Wrecks – Breaking

For Everest – We Are at Home in the Body

The latter two of these recommendations are both obscure and current, but they’re two of my favorite emo albums, so what the heck?

Hardcore Punk

For fans of: Hard rock, metal, metalcore, alternative rock, classic rock

What it is: Don’t count this one out; you might be surprised. It sounds scary, but regular old hardcore punk is fairly tame in the greater scheme of things. Songs are short, angry, and fast. There’s a lot of screaming, but it’s not usually the harsh sort of metal screaming, it’s just that they’re singing loudly and enthusiastically, but there’s still a melodious quality to it. It’s good, trust me.

Bad Religion – No Control (Yeah, a different album than the big ten, both for variety’s sake and because I like it more)

Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (this album is partially responsible for the creation of the PMRC; it’s awesome)

Minor Threat – Complete Discography 

Bad Brains – Bad Brains

Adolescents – Adolescents 

Melodic Hardcore

For fans of: Hard rock, metal, metalcore, alternative rock, classic rock

What it is: It’s like hardcore punk, but melodic. What this actually means is the songs are a little bit longer, a little bit slower, and a little bit less angry. If you lean towards the proggier sides of metal, melodic hardcore might be more up your alley. It tends to be more technical and refined as well as having cleaner vocals. It’s a bit harder to distinguish from some of the mellower subgenres of metal, but I don’t pretend to know anything about that, so I won’t comment on it.

Recommendations:

Ignite – Our Darkest Days

A Wilhelm Scream – Partycrasher

Strung Out – Exile in Oblivion

Rise Against – Siren Song of the Counter-Culture

H20 – Nothing To Prove

True Pop Punk

For fans of: high fidelity rock? indie rock, pop,

What it is: Pop-punk is a term that keeps me up at night. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s catch-all term for so many different types of music that further sub genres have cropped up that are all jokes and make people upset, like orgcore, beardcore, easycore, and things like that. I’d like to typify “true pop-punk” as music that is extremely well-produced, high budgeted, and tends to have a low rating on my saccharinity scale. These bands tend to be the most well-known pop-punk bands, and those that make the people in the leather jackets and mohawks upset.

Recommendations:

The Wonder Years – No Closer To Heaven

The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation

The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing

The Wonder Years – The Upsides

I haven’t really explored this genre that much, these are the only albums that I can recommend because I have listened to them.

If you like The Wonder Years, other bands that people have told me are similar are The Story So Far, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, and Man Overboard, but I’m going to divorce all liability of them being good (that’s not a band name.)

 

Street Punk (Also known as Oi!)

For fans of: alternative rock, classic rock, hard rock, metal

What it is: Street punk is a bit of a weird one, because it is in and of itself more of an ideology than a description of sonic quality. These are the working class, leftist, political-tinted punk bands that are responsible for a lot of the stereotypes in the genre. They keep up the whole tough guy act, they wear the leather jackets, they have mohawks. Sonically, they’re a bit more easygoing than hardcore. It’s a sort of happy medium between hardcore and pop.

Recommendations:

Swingin’ Utters – Poorly Formed

Sham 69 – Adventures of the Hersham Boys

Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards – Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards

The Casualties – For the Punx 

The Unseen – State Of Discontent 

90’s Pop Punk or Unpop Punk or Skate Punk

For fans of: hard rock, alternative rock, indie rock, metal

What it is: Another unfortunate product of the umbrella term that is pop-punk, 90’s pop-punk has another fairly unique sound to it that is different from the the high-fidelity pop-punk of The Wonder Years or the low-saccharinity everyman tales of Orgcore. 90’s Pop Punk is closer to melodic hardcore than those genres, but tends to have vocals that are a bit sweeter, catchier choruses, and a little bit of added cheesiness for good measure.  This is another subgenre that doesn’t really exist, but all of these bands sound similar, and I think this is one of the better places to start on here.

Recommendations:

No Use For A Name – Hard Rock Bottom (I felt the need to point out how good this record was in parentheses, so there’s that. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of options in this guide, start with Hard Rock Bottom.)

NOFX – War on Errorism (“But this album came out in 2003,” I hear you cry. Yeah, it did, but NOFX pretty much wrote the book on 90’s pop punk, and War on Errorism is their best.)

Lagwagon – Hoss

Millencolin – Pennybridge Pioneers (see above parenthetical)

Dillinger Four – C I V I L W A R (see above parenthetical)

I think that’s where I’m going to call it. There are some notable subgenres that I didn’t include, but I don’t think any of my readers here would like them. I might update this in the future, but for now, this should be a pretty decent and broad list of places to start in the exploration of punk rock.

 

 

Confessions of a Punk Rocker

By Jackson Anderson

I have a near obsessive-compulsive need for validation. I always have, really. I can never feel proud of something that I have created unless someone tells me it’s good. I can never feel like my feelings are authentic or meaningful unless someone tells me that they are. I can never feel accepted unless someone tells me that I am. Music has become a great way for me to experience emotional validation, as finding that musicians that I have never met experience the same feelings that I do tells me that I am not weird. This would be a pretty short story if it ended there though, wouldn’t it?

 

 

No, unfortunately music isn’t the be-all end-all solution for my emotional validation. It quenched the thirst for a while, but I always find a way to create new unnecessary problems for myself. The punk rock community –here I am saying “the punk rock community” like it is a single figure that always acts in one predictable way– tends to be very elitist and proud of their taste in music. I very badly wanted to fit into this community when I was about fourteen years old and was just barely discovering the genre. I would fiend for threads on internet forums discussing favorite bands, albums, songs, and post lists that I knew would fit the mold. That was so unbelievably un-punk of me, but I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be validated. I now know that conforming to non-conformity is still conforming, so I’ll go to those threads and tell the truth –and be regaled for it– but at the time it felt so pleasing to see my username at the top of every thread.

 

 

I can’t stand Black Flag. I like the pre Henry Rollins era Black Flag, but everything after makes my ears bleed. I just hate his voice. Everyone in the band seems like a talented musician, but there are a lot of talented musicians out there. Why should I bother forcing myself to like a band where I only like 3/4 of the musicians? Black Flag is much beloved by the punk community though, so I pretended to like them. I also omitted many of the pop-punk bands that are the subject of many of the articles on this website, because they aren’t liked by whatever internet forum that I was on. It’s really funny in hindsight how I so vapidly missed the point of punk rock. What is so cool about the genre is that everybody has their own favorite bands. Everybody has a band that they absolutely adore that nobody else they know has ever heard of. Nobody else in the world has the exact same taste in music that I do, and that’s okay.

 

 

To come back to this idea of validation, it’s kind of weird that I almost arbitrarily chose punk rock as my favorite genre of music. It’s rare to find another one of my ilk out in the wild. When I tell people what my favorite bands are, I generally get blank stares. When my friends and I take turns playing DJ, I tend to pass because I know that my music will be disliked. I used to like pop music, too. I was a big fan in my earlier days of middle school. I loved Taio Cruz and Iyaz in sixth grade. I loved Hollywood Undead in seventh grade. I listened to electronic bands like The Glitch Mob until I was a freshman in high school. It took a bit of kickstarting  to get me to like punk rock, although it is genuinely my favorite genre of music now. So why did I pick such an obscure genre when it could have been easier?

 

 

I think it’s because punk rockers all really care about music. We’re all truly impassioned about music. Everyone likes music. Who doesn’t? But not everybody loves music. Punk rockers love music. We know the backstories of our favorite bands, we’ve listened to their entire discographies, we know about all the various “scenes.” We know who was in what band at what time. We know all the words to all our favorite songs. We care deeply about music. We also love spotting another punk rocker. We instantly bond, and can talk to one another for hours. We each share a wealth of information about something, and we can just nerd out about it; it’s great. Almost every single person I have met face to face who has enjoyed punk rock has been a teacher, and each time has been a surprise. Each time has brought me great joy, and has made me feel like I got to know that person on a greater level. All us punk rockers kind of “get” one another. Only a certain kind of person has the kind of temperament to care about music as much as we do. In my experience, the most real punk rockers have been those who you wouldn’t guess it by looking at them, but actually know way more about the scene than those who have the purple mohawks and wear the leather jackets. It’s just too bad I haven’t met that many of them.