I’m over the moon that pop-punk seems to be undergoing a big revival at the moment, mostly fueled by Generation Z and amplified through platforms such as TikTok. The golden era of pop-punk is filling the ears of a new generation, influencing new bands and proving that singing about teenage-angst will obviously never die amongst teenagers. I’m probably going to write about that at some point, but for now I thought I’d launch a new series called ‘Ones to Watch’ and highlight a pop-punk band that I’m really loving right now. I hope to use this series cover relatively new artists that I’ve found in my voracious need to consume new music.
Anyway, let’s meet Meet Me @ The Altar.
The story of how Meet Me @ The Altar formed pretty much sums up how Generation Z lives their lives, as the band was formed completely over the Internet, with each member living in different US states. This thoroughly modern journey began in 2015, where guitarist Téa Campbell found the YouTube channel of Ada Juarez. Ada has been pumping out excellent drum solo covers of pop-punk classics on her channel since she was 14. The pair bonded and vocalist Edith Johnson would join them in 2017 after an audition where she sang Paramore’s All I Wanted.
As they lived in separate states, they had to work on music remotely. They would also fly to Orlando to do basement shows, telling Louder:
“I don’t even think there was ever a day where we didn’t talk to each other,” says Johnson.
“It felt right though. Sometimes in life you have obstacles, and this distance just happened to be the thing we needed to overcome in order to do what we love. We never complained and we’re seeing those sacrifices pay off now,” she adds with a grin.”Louder
Their track Garden was released in 2020 and was well received, appearing at a time when we were all needing a little emotional support during an incredibly shit year dominated by a pandemic. From there, a record deal by Fueled by Ramen followed. Earlier in 2021, they released their Model Citizen EP and also went on a US tour with Coheed and Cambria (a band I absolutely adored as a teenager).
The Model Citizen EP is brilliant, kicking off with the infectious ‘Feel a Thing’, a song that is constantly stuck in my head (in a good way). It’s also accompanied by a retro-inspired music video where the band go into an arcade and get sucked into a game. Cue some charming retro video game inspired graphics, with the band lovingly rendered as characters in a side-scrolling brawler.
It’s also very refreshing to see a fully female pop-punk band and one made up of women of colour too. The pop-punk scene has mostly been dominated by chino-clad white men, from the early days through the 2000’s. A sizeable amount still put out pop-punk tracks in their 40’s that can sound a little dull and uninspired (see Green Day’s latest output). I’m not saying you can’t do a good pop-punk song when you’re older, but it is a musical genre that tends to be better with young and fresh bands like Meet Me @ The Altar, as well as connecting with a younger audience too. Plus, those older bands have made the pop-punk genre a little stale in the last few years.
My teenage years may be long gone, but the energy that Meet Me @ The Altar put out makes me feel like one again. These newer pop-punk bands remind me of being 19 and sitting on a train at 7am in the morning on the way to university in Leeds. They always helped put me in the right mood, especially when I was half-asleep at that time. Those bands were also a big part of my identity at the time and helped me cope with the world. As much as I never want to back to how I was back then, as I’ve changed so much, I know that things would have been a lot harder without music like this. So, I hope that bands like Meet Me @ The Altar can help a new generation come to terms with who they are. I wish them massive success!