5 Huge Pop-Punk Albums We Can Expect In 2019
So far, it feels like 2019 has been ruled by metal. With Slipknot, Tool and Killswitch Engage unveiling new albums in August alone – not to mention the likes of Rammstein, Employed To Serve, While She Sleeps, Venom Prison and Baroness having all released mesmerising records over the past eight months – it’s been a glorious year for heavy music. But what about things on the lighter, catchier end of the spectrum?
Well, California’s finest blink-182 have officially gotten the ball rolling on that front. The trio recently revealed that they’d be releasing their new LP Nine in September – with bassist Mark Hoppus explaining that he and drummer Travis Barker had “decided” that this is indeed the band’s ninth album. Listing their records after most people labelled Nine their eighth, Mark wrote on Reddit: “I’m counting Buddha, Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch, Enema Of The State, Take Off Your Pants And Jacket, Untitled, Neighborhoods, California and now Nine. Nine is also the number of universal love, and the number of Uranus.” So that explains that, then.
Still, it got us thinking about the state of pop-punk as a whole, and how, actually, the second half of 2019 could be dominated by rock’s sunniest genre. Let’s dive in…
Mark Hoppus has been an incredibly busy man in 2019. Kicking off the year in experimental mode with his shiny new Simple Creatures side-project – completed by All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth, who we’ll get to later – it would have been fair to assume that the bassist might have wanted to spend the following 12 months performing his ace “trash-pop” music across the globe. Nevertheless, he did reveal to K! back in January that he hoped to make his day job’s music just as creatively freeing as Simple Creatures, explaining, “After playing in this band for 27 years, I want to push it and do different things and take blink to places where we haven’t been before… We want to do with our band what we did in 2003 with Untitled, where we take our foundations and go off in completely weird directions.” Having made good on those comments with the wide-ranging singles Blame It On My Youth, Generational Divide, Happy Days and Darkside, the full 15-track effort, Nine, is now on the way, with a release scheduled for September 20 via Columbia Records.
If that wasn’t already enough, Travis hinted that a new blink-182 EP could also see the light of day this year; the pop-punk titans worked with rappers Lil Uzi Vert and Pharrell during their studio time, and the drummer reckons fans will hear that soon enough, too. “That’s the most mind-blowing thing ever,” he gushed to Kerwin Frost Talks. “It’s gonna come out probably on the EP that comes later this year.” Couple these words with Travis also hinting that blink have been “re-establishing new songs, new rhythms, new ideas” and that these new songs “don’t sound like anything we’ve done before”, the follow-up to 2016’s California could very well be one of the most interesting additions to blink-182’s discography. Taking a glance at Nine’s tracklist and songs like Black Rain, I Really Wish I Hated You and On Some Emo Shit, it also seems as though this could be their most serious effort: after all, back in June Mark told a fan on Twitter that there wasn’t any joke songs on the record “at this point”. Either way, we’ll hear the results very soon – but UK fans likely won’t get to experience Nine live until next year; the trio are on the road in the States celebrating the 20th anniversary of 1999 classic Enema Of The State up until September, but are “looking” at crossing the pond for a visit in 2020. Well, we’ll be waiting…
It definitely feels as though something is brewing here. The Oakland kings have been having a grand ol’ time winding fans up on the internet these past few weeks, after it was initially rumoured that a brand-new Green Day single would be arriving on July 19. Of course, we’re yet to actually hear it (the band’s last new song came in the form of 2017’s Back In The USA), but that doesn’t mean the follow-up to the 5K-rated Revolution Radio isn’t on the way.
For starters, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has been writing new tunes since at least last December – if not before. The musician can be fairly unpredictable when it comes to just how long he takes on his work; for example, 2009’s epic 21st Century Breakdown was some three years in the making, while mixed 2012 trilogy ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! took a year to write and create, and 2016’s Revolution Radio took around two. So how long will it be this time?
The biggest indication that progress is going well are Billie Joe, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool’s Instagram accounts. Having posted individual photos of a large bull on an undisclosed wall on that fateful July 19 day, along with follow-up photos of each member with their respective instruments in what looks like a recording studio, this is a huge indication that the Green Day machine’s wheels are in motion. Eagle-eyed members of the Idiot Nation noticed that the animal in question is actually a feature in producer Butch Walker’s studio – a man who’s worked with everyone from Weezer to Fall Out Boy. Couple this with the fact that, back in February, the band and Butch all followed a private Instagram account mysteriously titled Songs For Assholes, before the producer then posted a photo on his own profile of a studio featuring Tré’s drum kit, and it seems as though a partnership has indeed formed.
It’s also worth noting that Green Day seem to really enjoy teasing projects in advance. Followers of Billie Joe’s Instagram will have seen him hinting about his side-project The Longshot long before any information about the band was out there last year, while in 2016 he was captioning photos with “#RevRad” months before the album was even announced. So keep your eyes peeled on those hashtags, people…
When the creative juices are flowing (and while he’s not tweeting bizarre thoughts in capital letters all day long), it doesn’t take Awsten Knight long to blast out a song. Take Waterparks’ only single of 2019 so far, Turbulent, as an example: “I hate this word so much, but it helps when you’re ‘triggered’ by something,” the frontman explained to K! in June. “I was kind of triggered, and the lyrics for Turbulent were written in about 15 minutes. I was like, ‘Loop the instrumental real quick,’ so it was just the drums and guitar, and part of the bass, and I got out my notes and it was like, ‘There it is!’”
It’s safe to assume that the rest of Waterparks’ new album – the follow-up to last year’s 4K-rated Entertainment – will follow suit. The vocalist and guitarist turned down a summer of touring this year to “wrap up” work on the record, with demos already in place for everything that will appear on album number three. “I wanted to really be able to put all this time, energy and focus into the new songs,” he elaborated. “With most of the other releases, we’ve been on tour and I’d be in vans listening to mixes on headphones and trying to make notes on them like, ‘Guys! Shut up!’ I just wanted this release to be perfect. You know, I like the other ones, but there’s always just stuff that either I wasn’t 100 per cent satisfied with, or they weren’t really done, or we’d run out of time. I want to have that time to really focus on all of this, you know?”
As for the sound of this music? The band – completed by guitarist Geoff Wigington and drummer Otto Wood – have got big ambitions. “I want every song to be the best fucking song, and I want them to be able to all live in different worlds,” Awsten envisioned. “There’s one song that could have been considered a little bit pop-punk, and I was like, ‘Fuck this!’ So we just changed it up. I want every song to be able to live comfortably with completely different sets of people. That’s a cool, conscious thing that I’m really excited about.”
Perhaps the most surprising potential release of 2019, given that it’s been seven years since their previous effort Days Go By, The Offspring recently revealed that they’d been putting the finishing touches on their highly-anticipated 10th LP. Working with GRAMMY-winning producer Bob Rock (who also teamed up with the band on Days Go By and 2008’s Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace), the California legends have been chipping away at new material in between a year of extensive touring.
“We’re very lucky that we have fans in lots of different places – in Australia, in Japan, in Europe and the UK, of course,” frontman Dexter Holland told Kerrang! earlier in the year. “But what that means is that we have to kind of coordinate a schedule so we’re able to service everyone as well. So we really have to get it together so we can spend a little bit of time in each place so we can make the most of the record when it’s released. So we’re kind of in the process of putting that together, but, geez, I’d imagine it’d be out by the fall.”
As for how it’s going to sound? “It sounds like our old shit!” Dexter continued. “That’s what I’m supposed to say, right? I don’t really know how to describe it. I guess it’s punk rock, but then we throw in a couple of songs that aren’t what you’d normally predict. We have a lot of really fast stuff on there, plus a couple of things that you might not really expect from us. But I’m really, really happy with it.”
Two weeks ago, guitarist Noodles also expanded on the music: “People keep asking me what it sounds like and I say, it sounds like… us. It’s all there – the melody, the powerful drums, bass and guitar. We dig it. You’ll dig it.” Still, while it seems as though the record is pretty much good to go, there’s been no update yet on if the band have a record label to release it with.
“We were on Sony ever since Ixnay [On The Hombre] – and we finished out our contact,” said Dexter. “We did, like, seven records for them. We’ve got to be the only band that’s ever finished out a record contract without being dropped by their record label. We didn’t get dropped, we just finished! But then we took a couple of years off because I wanted to go back to school, but now it’s, like, ‘We’re back! Anybody want to sign us up!’”
Yeah, we’re sure you’re not going to struggle on that front, chaps…
All Time Low
July was seemingly the time to hit the studio, with Baltimore four-piece All Time Low also getting their recording heads on. Though they haven’t explicitly said that they’ve been capturing the follow-up to 2017’s Last Young Renegade, bassist Zack Merrick did post that he, Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat and Rian Dawson “had such a blast in Palm Desert recording” recently. Combine this with the fact Arizona pop-rockers The Maine have claimed that they’ve heard new demos, and that All Time Low dropped an unheard song live at their Slam Dunk festival headline set in May – the return-to-their-roots banger Getaway Green – all signs point to album number eight.
But that’s not all the members of All Time Low have been up to of late: of course, Alex has been getting his trash-pop on with Mark Hoppus, while Jack recently unveiled his dark new side-project, WhoHurtYou, with LA musician Kevin Fisher. Sticksman Rian, meanwhile, has been producing music at his own studio in Nashville (honing skills he could be taking with him into new All Time Low music, perhaps?), while Zack has been doing his bit for the planet and helping clearing up his homeplace of Hawaii. Good man, Zack.
“It’s cool everybody’s got a minute to clear their heads and do their own things,” Alex acknowledged to Kerrang!. “It lets people refocus, and when we come back to All Time Low world everybody is kicked into high gear. It’s been refreshing.
“Coming off the tail-end of Last Young Renegade, which was a little pocket universe of a record for us, I think it will be really cool to break out of that and kinda get back into what makes All Time Low, All Time Low, and figuring out what that is in 2019 and 2020.”
On top of all that, the pop-punks – like their heroes in blink – have been getting reflective with album anniversaries this year, going back and re-recording their 2009 record Nothing Personal. “After 10 years, we figured what better way to celebrate Nothing Personal than to record it all over again!” Alex enthused, which is pretty hard to argue with. So just the new album and a re-recording of a classic this year? Sounds good to us.
blink-182’s new album Nine is set for release on September 20 via Columbia Records. Keep your eyes on Kerrang! for more updates on every album here.
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