There's currently mainstream interest in pop punk for the first time in over a decade, and it's thanks in no small part to one of the architects of the early 2000s pop punk boom: blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. But it's not necessarily a nostalgia thing; Travis has been finding new artists with new perspectives to work with, producing and drumming on records for artists who break down the walls between pop, hip hop, and punk like Machine Gun Kelly, Willow Smith, Trippie Redd, Iann Dior, and several others. The biggest of them is Machine Gun Kelly, whose upcoming tour is being opened by two up and coming Travis Barker collaborators: jdxn and KennyHoopla.

Even before linking up with Travis, KennyHoopla proved he was a force to be reckoned with on his 2020 debut EP how will i rest in peace if i'm buried by a highway?//, which found him offering up a forward-thinking blend of emo, dance-punk, and electronic music. The title track is one of the best Silent Alarm-era Bloc Party style songs released in years. But now he and Travis have made an entire eight-song mixtape together, Survivor's Guilt, and it finds Kenny fully embracing the style of pop punk that Travis Barker helped pioneer over two decades ago.

Survivor's Guilt is loaded with guitar riffs that sound like they were transported directly from the sessions for Enema of the State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, and blink-182's untitled album, but even the most blatant homages work because they're backed by the same masterful drummer that those albums had. More so than any of Travis' other recent collaborations, he brings the manic drumming of peak-era blink-182 to this mixtape, and he sounds like he's having so much fun with it. He sounds even more inspired on some of these songs than he does on some of the latest blink-182 records. And for all the unavoidable blink-182 comparisons, Survivor's Guilt works because KennyHoopla is a true original. His voice and lyrics and delivery don't really sound like anyone else, and a couple songs find him channelling the harsh shrieks of 2000s screamo and metalcore -- something that's been absent from "mainstream" music even longer than pop punk has.

Pop punk never actually went away -- there have always been great bands keeping the genre alive in the underground including current ones like Pinkshift, Action/Adventure, and Meet Me @ The Altar -- but the increased mainstream interest is likely a result of millennials getting nostalgic and gen Z discovering the genre for the first time, and I think Survivor's Guilt should appeal to both of those groups. It's very nostalgia-inducing if you grew up on Warped Tour comps and Fuse countdowns, but it also feels like a genuinely good entry point for new pop punk fans. Mainstream attention can do a lot of great things for the genre overall, and if KennyHoopla is on his way to the top, pop punk is in good hands.

 

KennyHoopla -- 2021 Tour Dates
August 9th – London, UK – O2 Forum Kentish Town^
August 10th – London, UK – O2 Forum Kentish Town^
August 28th – Leeds, UK – Reading & Leads (Radio 1 Dance Stage)
August 29th- Leeds, UK – Reading & Leads (Radio 1 Dance Stage)
September 2nd – Milwaukee, WI -- Summerfest
September 9th – Minneapolis, MN – The Armory*
September 10th – Omaha, NE – Westfair Amphitheater*
September 11th – Indianapolis, IN – Farm Bureau Land*
September 13th – NY, NY – Central Park Summer Stage*
September 14th – NY, NY – The Rooftop at Pier 17*
September 15th -- Boston, MA – Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion*
September 17th – West Springfield, MA – The Big E*
September 17th – Chicago, IL – Riot Fest
September 21st – Detroit, IL – Aretha Franklin Amphitheater*
September 22nd – Cincinnati, OH – Icon Music Center*
September 24th – Dover, DE – Firefly Festival
October 3rd – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
October 10th – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
October 15th – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre*
October 16th – Las Vegas, NV – The Joint*
October 17th – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex*
October 18th – Denver, CO – Red Rocks*
October 20th – Los Angeles, CA – The Shrine*
October 21st – Phoenix, AZ – Mesa Amp*
October 23rd – Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees @ Piedmont Stage, 2nd stage
October 23rd – Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees After Show @ Masquerade
October 24th – Dallas, TX – Toyota Music Factory*
October 27th – Charlotte, NC – Metro Credit Amp*
October 28th – Richmond, VA – Virginia Credit Union Live*
October 30th – Pittsburgh, PA – Peterson Event Center*

^ - w/ Yungblud
* - w/ Machine Gun Kelly, jdxn

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