Punk, but, Like, the Pop Kind

The 5 Best Pre-Dookie Pop-Punk Records

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Tue, Jul 9, 2013 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge The Buzzcocks in the '70s
  • The Buzzcocks in the '70s
Pop punk is enjoying some nostalgic attention these days. Lists crop up here and there, delineating the gems of the genre. However, they all share one subtle flaw: A focus on the major label feeding frenzy that followed Green Day's seminal 1994 word Dookie. (It's on our survey of best punk albums in history!)

Pop punk was a vibrant movement long before Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool transformed the suburban skateboarder into a stoner punk obsessed with food and lost love. Here's our tribute to five greats from the days before "Longview."

5. Crimpshrine

Lame Gig Contest

In the great 1989 Bay Area pop punk sweepstakes, Crimpshrine was a favorite of the 924 Gilman cognizanti. In the intervening years, the band have lost some of their buzz, but still remain a favorite of punks who graduated high school in the late '80s. Frontman Jeff Ott crafted pop punk anthems for the gutter, based on his life as a homeless punk in Berkeley. Drummer Aaron Cometbus documented the '80s Bay Area scene in his zine Cometbus as adeptly in print as Crimpshrine did in song. The band's lone studio album, Lame Gig Contest, gained a manic following, despite being rejected by tastemaker label Lookout! Records. Songs like "Trying Too Hard" and "Pretty Mess" display a Dylanesque lyrical sensibility along with a catchy intensity.

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