Forget what the critics say: Pop punk isn’t dead. Despite the lack of mainstream love for backward snapbacks on major radio stations, the genre continues to flourish with more unique acts springing up by the minute. If nothing else, this list proves that the genre is wide-reaching and continues to break its own mold.
Here are 10 of our favorite pop-punk acts rising the ranks.
1. Dollar Signs
If you’re still upset from a lack of Modern Baseball (like the rest of us), Dollar Signs might be your new go-to. Bringing a similar heart-wrenching voice with just a tad more grit, the band show a talent for emotional lyrics while keeping breakneck pace. Sometimes it’s a song about heartbreak, and sometimes it’s a song about being a weekend punk, but it’s all awesome.
2. Keep True
Looking to resurge the soul of pop-punk’s roots? Keep True channel a mix of infectious hooks and belting vocals to hit their target perfectly. Offering some of the poppier tracks from the list, they execute fast-paced guitar and frequent breakdowns to give the pure dose of ’90s sound you might be looking for.
The end of one endeavor sometimes leads to another, and out of the ashes of three band breakups emerged Goalkeeper. Offering a solid mix of 2000’s era vocals and weighty breakdowns, the band comes straight from the school of Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong. If you need something a little heavier with a twist of acoustic flair, this is your band.
4. King Theta
Skirting close to the genre line, King Theta’s nostalgic vocals and instrumentals still make him a worthwhile mention on this list. What’s most fascinating about “Getting Over It” is the change of genre midsong, going from a low-key trap beat to a textbook pop-punk breakdown. While some may scoff at the sentiment, King Theta’s versatility makes him an intriguing artist to check out.
5. Stealing Home
Sometimes you don’t have to completely reinvent a genre in order to succeed, and Stealing Home are a perfect example. Baring influences on their sleeves, the band simply have everything most pop-punk fans would want. Impressive riffs, piercing vocals and a catchy, upbeat vibe makes for downright good music, plain and simple.
6. Forever Starts Today
What began as YouTube covers has blossomed into an impressive start with Forever Starts Today. Exploding from the pack with wild guitar solos behind fiery, decibel-busting vocals, the Austin quartet continue to impress with a recent Senses Fail rework. Don’t let the cover fool you, though: The band have a multitude of hard-hitting original tracks that point toward big things in the future.
7. Gold Bloom
The latest promising act to emerge from across the pond, Gold Bloom make a strong case for your latest U.K. obsession. Melding the new wave of pop punk with tinges of throwback sounds, the group break the mold by balancing their usual fast pace with dynamic breakdowns and sometimes raspy vocals.
Carrying a level of beauty within their laid-back chords, Fresh add a twist of folk to their punk-rock souls. It’s hard not to feel relaxed when hearing the London quartet’s low-key brand of music, but it carries along as a relaxed alternative to the hard-hitting nature of modern pop punk.
9. Sincere Engineer
With a voice exploding with emotion, Sincere Engineer may offer the hardest-hitting sounds on this list. Flashing signs of emo and folk, the creative mind behind the moniker, Deanna Belos, seems to fall back on a gritty punk backbone. The result is a satisfying blend of tunes to listen to when you’re happy, sad, pissed or whatever weird mix you happen to be feeling in that moment. (It’s also perfect when craving corn dogs.)
10. Chief State
Piercing through the fog of monotony with powerful high notes, Chief State deafen with the sound of high-octane pop punk that dominated the 2000s. Showing the ability to also cut deep with acoustic tracks, the band flaunt the versatility to stay fresh even halfway through a long listening session.