In Defense of the Genre is a column on BrooklynVegan about punk, pop punk, emo, post-hardcore, and more, including and often especially the bands and albums and subgenres that weren’t always taken so seriously. Here are The Genre’s five best songs from February.

The first full month of In Defense of the Genre is a wrap! In case you missed any of them, here are the pieces we ran this past month:

* 12 classic ska-punk albums to prepare you for the impending ska-punk revival

* AFI album guide – the essentials, the underrated & more

* A look back on 10 classic pop punk bands’ “mature” albums

In other recent Genre news, The Receiving End of Sirens are back, The Format are back, From Autumn to Ashes are back, AFI’s Davey Havok sang with Snapcase, Angels & Airwaves are touring, Glassjaw are playing Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence, Rancid and Dropkick Murphys are touring, Bouncing Souls & Less Than Jake & Lagwagon & Leftover Crack are touring, several ’90s NJ/NY videos of hardcore/emo/etc shows unearthed, more new Hayley Williams solo material, and more Circle Jerks reunion tour dates.

Along with this monthly recap, I also bring you the five best songs of February 2020 within punk, pop punk, emo, post-hardcore, etc. Read on for the list and stay tuned for the next edition of In Defense of the Genre.


Coriky – “Clean Kill”

One of the closest things to a Fugazi reunion we’ve ever gotten, Coriky is the new band from Ian Mackaye, his Fugazi bandmate Joe Lally, and his Evens bandmate Amy Farina. Their self-titled debut album drops March 27 via Dischord, and though lead single “Clean Kill” starts out on the calmer indie rock side, it builds to the most Fugazi-sounding song Ian has released in a while. When Ian stomps on the distortion pedal, churns out choppy, staccato’d chords, and brings his voice to a yell, it’ll take you right back to Repeater.

Pictures of Coriky’s recent DC show in the gallery above.

Hopesfall Hall Sky

Hopesfall – “Hall of the Sky”

A good 15 years before every 2010s post-hardcore band was trying to sound like Hum, post-hardcore vets Hopesfall were collaborating with Hum frontman Matt Talbott, and their music has gotten spacier and more atmospheric with each album. Their 2018 reunion album Arbiter pushed them even further in that direction and positioned them as a band who sounded as new and relevant as the younger bands in the current post-hc scene, and this month they followed that album with a new nine-minute single, “Hall of the Sky,” which once again finds Hopesfall moving forward. You could mistake the first half for a new Title Fight song if you didn’t know any better, and the second half is soaring post-rock that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the new Caspian album. It’s not everyday that a veteran band reunites for new music that sounds this fresh.

Glacier Veins

Glacier Veins – “Feel Better Now”

On that note, Hopesfall’s much younger Equal Vision labelmates Glacier Veins just released their debut album The World You Want To See, and if you like that Hopesfall song, you should hear this band too. The best song is probably “Everything Glows” (which came out in January), but opener “Feel Better Now” is a close second. They kinda sound like the height of mid 2000s polished pop punk, but they add in that reverby atmosphere and they make it sound fresh. And with hooks as ridiculously catchy as the one on “Feel Better Now,” you won’t worry what year it came out when you’re blasting this one over and over.

One Step Closer

One Step Closer – “Lead to Gray”

One Step Closer’s From Me To You was one of the best melodic hardcore EPs of last year, and going by new single “Lead to Gray,” it sounds like these guys are leaning even more into the “melodic” tag and I for one am a fan of their newfound knack for big hooks like the one on “Lead to Gray.” There’s just something so great about a real-deal hardcore band doing pop-friendly choruses, and if One Step Closer’s upcoming debut album has more like this, I think we’re in for a real treat.


Typecaste – “Under the Wreath”

Speaking of hardcore bands who don’t shy away from hooks, Boston metalcore band Typecaste dropped their new Between Life EP in February, and on EP closer “Under the Wreath” they sound like the biggest band of 2003 (in a good way). Typecaste are among the new wave of metalcore bands who are getting back in touch with the genre’s hardcore/punk roots, and on “Under the Wreath” they figured out how to combine that with soaring, clean-sung hooks without veering into cheesiness. If you’re into stuff like Thrice or Underoath or Poison the Well, don’t sleep on this.


* Five best songs of January 2020

Read past and future editions of ‘In Defense of the Genre’ here.