Punk, but, Like, the Pop Kind

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Death From Above 1979 - COURTESY OF THE LABEL
  • Courtesy of the label
  • Death From Above 1979
It's been a tumultuous decade for Death from Above 1979 .

Following the release of their acclaimed first album in 2004, the dance-punk duo, composed of a bassist and a drummer, have behaved something like an L.A. celebrity couple: They had a rocky break-up, a sweet make-up and a successful second marriage. Now, they're set to finally release their second album, The Physical World, next month.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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."

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

  • Photo Courtesy of Hardly Art
Colleen Green can boast an impressive list of reviews for her second LP, Sock it to Me, out earlier this year. She can also boast of a propensity to roll joints atop copies of Artie Lange's Too Fat to Fish. There's a picture of this online if you look hard enough.

At her apartment in West L.A., just prior to a gig, the DIY singer-songwriter -- known for her power chords and rickety drum machine -- gives a tour. The primary tools in her lo-fi home recording studio include a war-torn MacBook circa 2006, and a retro '80s zebra patterned rug.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Given the maturity and insight of White Fence's previous releases and his collaborations with it-boy Ty Segall, it shouldn't shock anyone that the act's newest record, Cyclops Reap, is quite brilliant.

Still, Tim Presley's one-man band reaps a whole host of casual garage-rock casuistry from the lazy rock criterati. He had initially intended this release to tie up the loose ends from his furious 2012 release schedule (one that saw him pump out three other White Fence records), but what came out instead is a unique one-eyed beast, and one that might ease the critical correlation.

See also: White Fence's Tim Presley Moves Retro Rock Forward

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Friday, February 22, 2013

I first encountered The Orwells last year, not in their native state of Illinois, but on the rooftop of a CMJ show in New York. Los Angeles rockers Francisco the Man had just finished downstairs and everyone had retreated skyward for a view of the city and lungfulls of tobacco smoke. The five piece garage rock band stood in a tight cluster a bit away from the crowd, nursing beers. No one in the band is 21. At 19, lead singer Mario Cuomo is the oldest among them; the youngest are the 17 year old Brinner brothers.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Garage-pop trio Criminal Hygiene's self-titled debut is a blend of catchy song structures and skate-rat not-give-a-fuckery. Vocalist-songwriter James Watson's front teeth are false, the result of a skateboard to the face.

See also: Purgatory Pizza: The Punk Rock Pie Shop

It looks like the tradition of East L.A.'s Purgatory Pizza forging bands in its ovens continues. Two of Criminal Hygiene's members, drummer Sean Erickson and guitarist Michael Fiore, have flipped pies there, and Watson regularly haunts the premises.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

  • Katrina Nattress
Taking Back Sunday

Club Nokia


Although Thursday night was a school night for most of the attendees at Club Nokia, it didn't stop them from getting rowdy for Taking Back Sunday. The New York-based pop-punkers 2002 debut, Tell All Your Friends has become somewhat legendary to many people in their twenties (or younger), making this tenth anniversary tour a kind of big deal.

"TBS, TBS, TBS," the audience chanted before Adam Lazzara, John Nolan and the rest of the gang took stage.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

  • Paul T. Bradley
Here's what our yesterday morning looked like:

9:45 AM -- We arrive at Village Bakery, consume coffee and "Fightin' Cake" (shut up, it's delicious)

9:46 AM -- The Internet informs us that tickets for Green Day's semi-secret last minute show at the Echoplex in support of their upcoming triple album go on sale via Ticketfly in fourteen minutes.

9:51 AM -- Freak out. Finish Fightin' Cake. Log into Ticketfly.

9:54 AM -- Refresh page furiously.

9:59 AM -- Continue to page-refresh furiously (Like Usain Bolt, but y'know, with fingers)

10:00:17 -- Sold the fuck out.

Shit. Now what?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time

In the past couple of decades, it's hard to think of a more-maligned genre than pop-punk. (That is, except nu-metal.) But it's a shame, and as someone who spent a lot of time listening to pop-punk in his preteens, I can appreciate why it still resonates. And so, in honor of Warped Tour's recent passing through these parts, here are the top five best pop-punk bands. In general, the focus was on the ones that broke out big across the country, so sorry in advance to any hardcore, opinionated Yellowcard fans.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]

Critics do their best to ignore Blink-182. After all, it's not easy to get scrunched up with deep opinions about lip-ringed, occasionally naked SoCal troublemakers hawking pre-YouTube music-video softcore on early-morning MTV rotation. Pitchfork didn't even bother publishing a flogging (a la 21st Century Breakdown) of Blink's 2011 comeback album Neighborhoods, much less a review.

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