I'm proud to say that pop punk is not dead. It's still alive and kicking thanks to some recent surges of energy reminiscent of the early '90s, when Blink-182 was still immature and The Offspring was still screwing around. The guitars are loud and fast again, the singers are annoyingly endearing again, and the drums are fantastic again. Real Friends are a prime example of this kind of resurgence, and I couldn't be happier that they do what they do. The five-piece from the suburbs of Chicago, IL show off their instrumental chops on their "aggressive pop-punk" which has won them a lot of fans, especially considering they're an unsigned band. They came out with their Everyone That Dragged You Here EP this January, which is a five-song release barely surpassing 15 minutes that's chock-full of high-energy singing, strumming, and smashing the skins. Every song on the EP is incredibly fun to listen to, and it's hard not to smile along with the music. "Floorboards," the single of sorts, is fast-paced, aggressive, noisy, and just plain old enjoyable. It's got all the components of a great pop-punk song and it melts them together almost perfectly, and it's one of my favorite songs of the year so far. The EP is an absolutely worthwhile listen, and anyone who has even a passing interest in pop-punk should definitely check it out.
The success of the EP (and the band) is clear on any one of their live performances, where they've been close to the headlining act on every show on their US tour this summer and are going to be supporting I Call Fives and With The Punches on a few shows this fall. No matter where they tour, there are doubtless going to be a few people jumping to the mic and singing along with lead singer Dan Lambton at every venue they play. I was lucky enough to see these guys when they came near me in July, and they put on a fantastic show. It'll be interesting to see how Real Friends progress from here. It seems likely that they'll be getting some attention from big labels soon, and I'll be the first one to wish them well if and when that happens. Pop-punk fans all around should be hoping to see big things from these guys soon, and if they do make it big that success will be well-deserved.