Not Quite Metal?



Pop punk headerLike basically everyone under 30, I grew up with Blink-182 and Green Day on the radio, and as an impressionable youngster I decided I enjoyed pop-punk*. Unlike the bulk of my peers that slowly left their power-pop days behind them once they got to college, I actually began liking the stuff even more. In constant rotation were Motion City Soundtrack’s Commit This to Memory and Sum 41’s horrendously underrated pop-thrash classic Chuck. These bands came along at exactly the right time and had the expert marketing to make them into stars, but not every group was so lucky. Here are my favorite pop-punk gems that never made it past regional success due to getting good JUST as their genre’s relevance totally died in the mid 2000’s.



Children 18:3 are a Christian pop-punk trio comprised of homeschooled siblings from the tiny town of Morris, Minnesota. They’re also fucking incredible. Not only are their riffs infections, and not only is Seth the most skilled punk drummer in the entire Midwest (I’m not fucking kidding), but Lee-Marie and David Hostetter can both absolutely WAIL on a microphone. These two are capital-“S” Singers. The rapid-fire vocal tradeoff and flawless harmonies are key to the band’s absolute sense of urgency. Listen to “LCM” below and just TRY not to bang your head; I’ll give you a dollar if you can.


This Canadian bunch faded into obscurity after their first couple major label efforts didn’t go anywhere. I chalk it up these kids being born 4 years too late. Flashlight Brown had the misfortune of being an excellent Green Day-core band at the exact moment that style of poppy rock was overthrown by emo-glam like My Chemical Romance and Good Charlotte. At this time Sum 41, Green Day, and Blink-182 all began to adapt their sound to fit the changing tastes of teenagers. Thankfully Flashlight Brown stuck to their guns and they were able to at least give us the final masterpiece of the genre, 2003’s My Degeneration.

*I am well aware that some kid in khakis with a The Story so Far button on the pocket is sputtering that “it’s a disgrace to Descendents and Dillinger 4 to call Blink-182 pop-punk!” To everyone else, who doesn’t own Milo Goes to College in 3 physical media formats, this hyper-slick distortion-pop is called “pop-punk,” so it’s the term I’m using. Go get laid.

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