Today we welcome Gavin Lloyd back for his column on pop-punk, nu-metal, metalcore, and anything other microgenre you were into as a teenager that you’re secretly not nearly as embarrassed about as you like to make out you are on social media.
1) RIP Blink 182 (again)
In one of the most high profile cases of grown-men-acting-like-children in recent memory, it would appear that Tom Delonge is out of Blink 182. Sparking what would result in a week-long case of back and forth and band members going ‘waaahhh’, in the last week of January Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker reported that Delonge was out of Blink and Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba would take his place at their upcoming appearance at the upcoming Musink event. Delonge responded claiming he was still a member of Blink, before a more in-depth interview from Hoppus and Barker for Rolling Stone laid out that Delonge had no interest in being in the band. The bitching would then snowball between both sides with various interviews.
However none of this really comes as a massive shock. Of all the interviews given, one statement from Barker in the Rolling Stone interview rings particularly true: “why blink ever got back together in the first place is questionable.” Material since their reformation has been patchy at best, and if you take your rose-tinted spectacles off and really take in their live shows they’ve played since being back, they’ve been abysmal. That’s largely been down to Delonge (who looked like he couldn’t give a fuck), and it isn’t a big surprise if he’d rather be playing Jesus/Bono in Angels and Airwaves. The future of Blink is now questionable, as while the Skiba featuring Blink show will probably produce a better show than Delonge’s recent efforts, a Tom Delonge-less Blink 182 simply doesn’t look like it could work on a full-time basis. It looks like it’s over for Blink 182. I guess this is growing up.
2) Danny Worsnop kisses goodbye to Asking Alexandria
In a similar move of band member shake ups (albeit one conducted a greater level of maturity and professionalism), Danny Worsnop is no longer the front man of Asking Alexandria. With both Worsnop and the band stating that it is simply a case of artistic differences, if there is any dirty laundry it’s well and truly being locked away. Worsnop will now be fully focusing on his new band We Are Harlot, a band that he’s been wanging on about for a while. Going down a much more classic/hard/dad rock route, time will tell whether fans of his breakdowns and isanyoneup past will flock to a band that will largely appeal to people who’s idea of how new exciting music are bands like Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry.
Meanwhile all eyes are on who’ll be Worsnop’s replacement in Asking Alexandria, who having a whole host of live dates confirmed for the summer, almost definitely have a replacement lined-up already. The most popular candidate is Denis Shaforostov, formerly of Ukranian metalcore band Make Me Famous, due to internet sleuths picking apart a number of clues pointing in his direction.
3) Old favourites, new albums
January saw a number of big bands return with new albums. Firstly Funeral For A Friend released their seventh full length, Chapter and Verse. As painful as it is to say when you take into account just how great their early material is, FFAF have become proof of why it’s better to burn out than fade away. Although Chapter and Verse is far from terrible, it’s so middle of the road compared to those first couple of albums. Couple this with the fact that the band now have a bit of a revolving door line-up of members, this album acts as a reminder that maybe FFAF should have called it a day a long time ago.
January also saw Fall Out Boy disappear further down the pop rabbit hole with new album American Beauty/American Psycho. Pete Wentz proclaiming FOB were “too pop for rock, and too rock for pop” hit the nail on the head somewhat. While their latest may not be their best, it’s far from the awful album many of the “I only like the old stuff” brigade will have you believe, with the likes ‘Irresistible’, ‘Fourth of July’ and ‘Centuries’ being future live highlights in the making.
Finally there was the return of Enter Shikari with The Mindsweep. The album was met with a great response, and while it is perhaps their most comprehensive album, full of good songs, the downside is it sees the band “mature” an awful lot. It feels a bit like the Enter Shikari album for people who buy CDs from Tesco. Case in point being the excellent ‘Slipshod’, only available as a bonus track because admittedly it perhaps wouldn’t fit within the album. It’s a bonkers mix of ideas, and a downright lose your mind banger, it’s this sense of fun and eccentricity that is largely missing from an otherwise good album in The Mindsweep.
4) brokeNCYDE’s new album campaign went tits up
Poor old brokeNCYDE. While these days it’s easy to laugh at their silly hair and sillier crunkcore, there was once an awful lot of people excited about what they were doing. Those days seem to be long gone though as their IndieGoGo campaign to fund their new album saw only 33 people in the whole world make pledges, raising a grand-spanking total of just $1,421 of their $30,000 target.
While there will be plenty of people who will deny they ever backed this “band”, the effect they actually had on the scene is massive. Metalcore infused with europop synths and rapping has become a mainstay in recent memory, but no bands were really doing this before brokeNCYDE. That’s right, Brokencyde are one of the most influential bands of the 21st century [Editor’s Note: WE VERY MUCH ENCOURAGE YOU TO CHALLENGE THIS RIDICULOUS OPINION OF GAVIN’S DIRECTLY TO HIM ON TWITTER], plus ‘Teach Me How To Scream’ is still a banger. It’s not all bad news though, as Hollywood Undead have recently announced their new album is on the way.
5) UK pop-punk continues to boom
Proof that bickering members of Blink 182 do little to effect the genre on the whole, the pop punk scene continues to thrive. The first ever UK pop punk export to make a dent stateside, Neck Deep, returned to the shores of ol’ Blighty on The Intercontinental Tour with Australia’s Trophy Eyes, Canada’s Seaway and America’s Knuckle Punk in tow. Neck Deep proved their worth as being far more than the latest Tumblr buzz band, playing sets head and shoulders above their supports.
They may soon be eclipsed by another UK pop punk band: Brighton five piece As It Is are the first UK band to be signed to Fearless records and recently released ‘Dial Tones’ the first single from their forthcoming debut. From doing the rounds on the UK pop punk touring circuit, and frontman Patty Walters having a fierce online following for his YouTube cover videos, the five piece have developed an organic, impressive and incredibly dedicated fan base before many media outlets had even clocked onto their existence. If the quality and reaction to ‘Dial Tones’ is anything to go by, As It Is will be massive this year.
6) The Nu Metal Sideman Tour 2K15 Gets Announced!
For those not clued up on their Urban Dictionary lingo, a sideman is someone who copies everything their friends do, standing on the side lines, rarely adding anything of worth, and it’s a term that springs to mind when you see the names Alien Ant Farm, P.O.D and Hoobastank on a tour poster together. I should just mention here that I unashamedly love nu-metal, I’ll probably even go to this and probably have an alright time. My problem stems from the large amount of people really excited for this tour. Perhaps I’m being #NoFunClub, but this seems like nostalgia going too far. Sure, they’ve all got good songs: ‘Alive’ is class, and I actually really like the AAF cover of ‘Smooth Criminal’, but I’ve hardly been wiping tears off my copy of Anthology because I’ve never been able to witness Dryden Mitchell perform in the flesh.
While nostalgia is something we can all enjoy in one guise or another, this is hardly Linkin Park playing Hybrid Theory in full, or a Limp Bizkit greatest hits set. It conjures up memories of when Crazy Town played Download last year to an absolutely packed tent who wanted to hear one song. Where this gets upsetting is that crowd far outnumbered the amount of people letlive, one of the most exciting rock bands we have, played to in the same tent a few days earlier. This tour seems like a celebration of the mediocre from the past, where everyone will go to drink beer, talk amongst themselves, then get excited for two or three songs, instead of nurturing the truly great new bands we could be getting nostalgic for in ten years time.
Gavin Lloyd will be back at the end of March with more thoughts on pop-punk, nu-metal, and all those other genres you claim to hate but spend ages talking about online. Right now, go argue with Gavin about them via his Twitter account.