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 March.Alkaline Trio at Brooklyn Steel in 2018 (more by Stephanie Augello)
Well, the weirdest month of probably all of our lifetimes is a wrap. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and social distanced, and I firmly believe that — especially with everyone spending more time at home — music is more important than ever right now. That’s one reason why I’ve been very grateful to be able to keep the ‘In Defense of the Genre’ column going as an outlet to share and discuss all kinds of longtime faves (and some newer music too) during these crazy times. In case you missed any of them, here are the pieces we ran this past month:
* 15 best blink-182 side project songs
* 23 punk & pop punk albums from 1997 that turn 23 this year
* 15 albums that defined the 2000s post-hardcore boom
We’ve also been asking musicians to make us playlists of the music they’ve been listening to in self-isolation, and here are some ‘In Defense of the Genre’ friendly ones: Joey Cape (Lagwagon), Jason Black (Hot Water Music), Rob Pope (The Get Up Kids), American Football, Bob Nanna (Braid), Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife), Chris #2 (Anti-Flag), Wes Eisold & Alex Garcia-Rivera (both of American Nightmare), Brian Cook (Russian Circles, ex-Botch), Chris Farren, and Mick Ford (Gouge Away).
There have also been so many cool recorded-in-isolation live videos to watch with all the concerts cancelled — my personal favorites have been all the Ben Gibbard ones and the super pro Code Orange one — and some other Genre-friendly archived livestreams you can watch now include Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World, Saves The Day, Flogging Molly, Jeff Rosenstock, and Flogging Molly. Plus some funny ones like members of Touche Amore, Every Time I Die, & more sing Smash Mouth’s “All Star” to parody that celebrity “Imagine” video and Danny Brown, Mac DeMarco, Robin Pecknold, Kevin Morby & more sing blink-182’s “I Miss You” to parody “Imagine” video. Plus, there are more to come, like Norman Brannon’s ongoing livestream series (with members of Saves The Day, Refused, and Burn appearing this week), Tigers Jaw, The Get Up Kids’ Matt Pryor (he’s been doing recurring streams and has one today, 4/1, at 1 PM ET), more Jimmy Eat World (every Friday), more Ben Gibbard (every Thursday), and more that I’m either forgetting or aren’t announced yet. More here.
Also this month, I reviewed the new Suicide Machines album which I highly recommend if you haven’t heard it already.
Along with this monthly recap, I also bring you the five best songs of March 2020 within punk, pop punk, emo, post-hardcore, etc (along with a few honorable mentions). Read on for the list and stay tuned for the next edition of In Defense of the Genre.
Days N Daze – “My Darling Dopamine”
Credit to Don Giovanni Records for recently making the witty joke on Twitter that “we may someday look back at this time as the golden age of online folk-punk concerts,” but for a new song by a band who would be folk punk whether there was a pandemic or not, I give you Days N Daze’s “My Darling Dopamine.” It’s the first taste of their upcoming album Show Me the Blueprints (due May 1 via Fat Wreck Chords, marking the band’s Fat debut), and it’s a horn-fueled, bluegrass-tinged, super catchy folk punk song that reminds you how good folk punk is when it’s done right.
Brutus – “Sand”
I actually just wrote about “Sand” in my recent post-hardcore article as a new post-hardcore song I recommend if you like the classic 2000s bands that the article is mainly about, but “Sand” is also one of the best songs of March so here it is again. Like much of Brutus’ great 2019 album Nest, this song seamlessly blends post-hardcore, post-rock, math rock, and more, and drummer/vocalist Stefanie Mannaerts gives it a soaring pop edge that makes it highly accessible. It comes with a video featuring footage of Brutus’ great live show — let’s hope it won’t be too long before we can see them (and every other band) in person again.
Alkaline Trio – “Radio Violence”
Though Matt Skiba may be busy playing in blink-182 these days, he still finds plenty of time for Alkaline Trio too. They were supposed to co-headline Bad Religion’s 40th anniversary tour until you-know-what got in the way, but they did still release a new three-song EP of new, classic-sounding Alkaline Trio songs, and it’s nice to get something that feels so familiar during these times. This one’s a Dan Andriano-sung song, and it’s a sweet-sounding dose of mid-tempo alternative rock that reminds me a little of the trio’s pals Smoking Popes.
Rotting Out – “Stones”
“FUCK YOU! AND FUCK YOUR FRIENDS TOO! AND FUCK EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW!” I mean, does it get better than this?
Fake Names – “Brick”
Fake Names is the new punk supergroup fronted by Refused vocalist Dennis Lyxzén that also features Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace, One Last Wish) and Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside), and their self-titled debut album drops May 8 via Epitaph. As you can hear on first single “Brick,” of all their related bands, they sound most similar to the proto-emocore of Dag Nasty and Embrace, but with the more modern, polished sound that you might expect from a Dennis Lyxzén-fronted band. It’s always great to hear Dennis indulging in his love of classic hardcore and it’s cool that these guys are playing together (but Beach Rats is still my favorite current punk supergroup to count Brian Baker as a member). I’m looking forward to hearing more, but meanwhile “Brick” is a fun less-than-two minutes to hold us over:
* Hayley Williams – “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” (ft. boygenius)
* Good Riddance – “Illusion of Control”
* Billie Joe Armstrong – “I Think We’re Alone Now” (Tommy James and the Shondells cover)
* NOFX – “I Love You More Than I Hate Me”
* Control Top – “One Good Day”
* Charger (mem Rancid) – “Stay Down”
* Koyo – Painting Words Into Lines EP (members of SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Typecaste, and more paying homage to Long Island emo)
* Adam Green – “All Hell Breaks Loose” (Misfits cover)
* Bright Eyes – “Persona Nona Grata” (not really punk or emo or anything but Conor will always be a hero in this scene and this is the first Bright Eyes song in nine years)
And before I go, I leave you with this:
Read past and future editions of ‘In Defense of the Genre’ here.