Music Lists

A Brief Intro to Emo: 10 Essential Albums

Want to get into rock's most misunderstood subgenre? Here's where to start.

American Football - Honestly? [OFFICIAL AUDIO]

Has there ever been a style of music as misunderstood as emo?

Though rock's angstiest subgenre might get a bad reputation, there's a lot of history behind it—as well as great albums. Before bands like Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and Paramore boomed in the mid-2000s, emo fire rose to prominence from Washington, D.C.'s hardcore punk movement in the '80s. It's been a long road to get emo where it is today, but the genre wouldn't be what it is without the many bands who passed the torch over the years. There are many great albums to dive into, many of which timestamp Midwest emo's massive spike in popularity in the '90s.

Keep ReadingShow less

BBMAK Talks Returning to the Spotlight with "Powerstation"

The English boy band has released a new album after a 17-year hiatus. Christian Burns talks to Popdust about what's changed for the band and what classic BBMAK is present on the new record.

BBMAK has returned with a new album in tow, but armed with the same infectious, soaring pop that lifted them to stardom.

With two solid pop albums and a worldwide fanbase under their belt, the English trio—Christian Burns, Mark Barry, and Stephen McNally—left a very particular vacuum behind them when they disbanded in 2003. Their brand of windswept pop made intimate emotions feel massive, refreshingly unpretentious in its feel-good touch. BBMAK felt very much of their time; and in their absence, it became clear that there wasn't anyone quite like them to take up that space.

Now, BBMAK has released Powerstation, their first full-length album since 2002's Into Your Head. The passage of time has matured the band's sunny-sounding pop, with their weaving harmonies and vocal power carrying them well into the realm of arena power ballads. "Uncivil War," the album's latest single, is a gorgeous rendition of a relationship in crisis, while "You Don't See Me" and "No One Like You" sound like evolved versions of the band's most famous tracks. Powerstation feels very much like a boy band's release, only made with the benefit of hindsight and growth.

Popdust got the chance to speak with Christian Burns, rhythm guitarist for BBMAK, back in September about Powerstation, what's changed for the group in the nearly two decades since their dissolution, and what's driving their music now.

What was behind the decision to reform BBMAK? What did you want to do differently this time?

You know, we've remained friends over the past fifteen years, since we did our last album [Into Your Head]. We got together one day, [and] we just started jamming for fun, to see if we could remember what we did all those many years ago. We started singing, we all remembered all our parts, we enjoyed it, and I put a little video of it up on my social media, and it went crazy! We had millions of views in a couple of days; we realized the fans were still out there. And we realized how much we missed singing together. It felt like the right time to do it.

So what—to you, to the band as a whole—is BBMAK about now?

Obviously, fifteen years of life have happened since our last record, so we've got a lot to write about, to be inspired by. It's good to be back after all this time, and we're excited to share this next chapter with everyone. I think everyone who liked the early stuff will definitely be digging the new stuff, as well.

How has time changed your songwriting? What do each of you find yourselves bringing to the table that you didn't have before?

All of us, I think lyrically, [we've] changed. I think the lyrics you write in your early twenties are a bit different. I hope we're a bit wiser now [Laughs]. We're experimenting with different sounds and different procedures that we've learned along the way and bringing that new stuff into the studio. That's the fun part of it, bringing stuff to the table that we didn't have back then.

Your vocal harmonies are still such a big part of BBMAK, notably on "You Won't See Me." How was it to flex that muscle as a group again?

It's amazing, actually. I've been doing a lot of solo stuff, a lot of dance stuff, which doesn't lend itself to lots of stacks of harmonies. To get back in the studio and start doing these three-part harmonies, sometimes eight-part harmonies, has been so much fun to do again. We can experiment with different sounds underneath the vocals, but as soon as we stack those harmonies on, it just gives you that BBMAK sound, as you say. That's the glue that brings everything together. It's been a lot of fun to go back to recording and arranging harmonies like that.

The music industry has changed wildly since your last release—was there any discussion of contemporary artists you guys should look to for inspiration?

You know what? There was no pressure; we wanted to go in and do this all on our own terms. There was no pressure from A&R guys, from anyone. At first, we wondered what [Powerstation] was going to sound like, and then it kind of just happened organically. I think that's the best way to do it: to let something happen naturally for us. We can definitely take the sound anywhere in the future. Who knows where this journey is going to take us? But when we went into the studio, it was just a natural progression for us.

It was more about just picking up an old thread?

Yeah, it was much more about the songs, really. We were more concerned about getting the songs right. We just want the music to stand up on its own.

So, it was about taking the ego out of the music?

Yeah, definitely! We had such fun in the studio making the music, and that's what we wanted to do, just do something that we really enjoyed and we believed in. Not trying to be something we're not, something completely different.

BBMAK - Bullet Train (Official Lyric Video)

How do you want Powerstation to hit your fans? Are you hoping they've grown with you? Are you hoping the album finds a new audience?

Ultimately, we just want people to enjoy the music. And of course, we'd love to have some new fans as well. [At] a lot of our shows, some of the fans are bringing down their kids now, and the kids are singing along, so there's a new generation of fans already starting. We just want to reach out to everyone and anyone, really. It's the kind of music that makes you feel good, so we just put a bit of that on. If you can get a bit of enjoyment from our music, then we've done our job right.

Follow BBMAK online Twitter | Facebook | Spotify | Website


Cynister Declares Independence in Their Latest Single "No Man"

The latest single from power-pop trio declares independence and liberation from "The Man."

Power-pop trio Cynister continues to bring their trademark assertive and dynamic sound on their latest single, "No Man."

The three-piece was formed in Los Angeles in 2018 by vocalist Cynnie Jane and two mysterious members who are never seen without their black and white masks. Their sound blends together elements of catchy pop melodies with the energy and darkness of heavy rock and the punch of trap.

The single begins with a blend of piano and synth beats rising subtly before Jane's smooth and profound vocals grab listeners' attention and pull them into the story of the song. As the beat's intensity builds, Jane sings, "Call it like I see it, baby best believe it If you think I need it, then you got it turned around." When the chorus breaks into its powerful guitar lines and entrancing beats, the singer confidently expresses that, despite the man's begging, she doesn't want to be in his life and that she "don't need no man."

"No Man" is a song that celebrates independence and liberation," says Jane. "In society, women are made to feel like they need a man to depend on, which is a ridiculous and outdated paradigm. The idea that we need anybody or anything but ourselves to be happy is such a toxic notion. "No Man" is about the moment you realize that self-sufficiency is something to rejoice in."

Get up and dance to Cynister's latest single "No Man" below!

Alessandra Rincón is a journalist, writer, and photographer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana living in New York City. She loves covering music, art and culture news and you can usually find her at a show or with her nose in a book. In her spare time she is a musician, comic book nerd and wannabe cook.

POP⚡DUST |

Ezra Miller Is in a Band?

Sports Illustrated Model Halima Aden Wears a Hijab for Female Empowerment

Now in Theaters: 5 New Movies for the Weekend of May 3rd


Sophia Messa Confronts Isolation on "moneydontfixlonely"

The new singer-songwriter's first release manages to be a dark, theatrical power-pop experience and a thoughtfully-crafted debut at the same time.

Khufu Najee

Generally speaking, most pop artists' debut singles aren't terribly risky, in content or in sound.

Sophia Messa isn't most artists. She just released her first single, "moneydontfixlonely," kick-starting her career with a definitive sonic statement that pulls unabashedly from the annals of power-pop in order to introduce a new artist to the industry.

The track itself is as theatrical as a pop single can get, with a ringing organ-like intro leading into a sawing acoustic guitar, darkly echoing synths, and an exploding drum line surging under Messa's powerful contralto. For a new artist, Messa is bracingly assured as both a singer and a narrator, and her confidence carries the song forward with aplomb. She reflects on her imposter syndrome, her heavy feelings of isolation in an image-obsessed world, and coping with her pain with drinking and running headlong into ill-fated relationships. "I just wanted you to want to hold me," Messa pleads to a disembodied lover, just before this line: "Been looking for someone to entertain me / But I'm the only one that's gonna save me." Messa muddies the water on "moneydontfixlonely," jumping back and forth from alienation to determination, but still manages to lend a grounding element to the song's sense of melodrama.

It's perhaps too early to say whether the 19-year-old singer-songwriter is a surefire star in the making, or to try and predict what's to follow "moneydontfixlonely." But Messa's adept use of the tools of modern pop, and her self-aware invocation of the "silver spoon on my tongue," might just be the kind of distinction she needs to make her mark as a serious budding artist.


Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.

POP⚡DUST |

Cboyardee: The Man Who Shaped 4chan

The New John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Trailer is Literally the Second Coming

Fetishizing Autism: Representation in Hollywood

Photo Courtesy SPiN

Alternative rock-pop outfit SPiN will drop a new album, Make Me Move, August 31.

SPiN has hit the top spot on iTunes' Indie charts, as well as sharing the stage with Fuel, Fat Joes, Hinder, Eve 6, Sponge, SafetySuit, Halestorm, Puddle of Mud, Trapt, Red and a bunch of others. The band never stops touring and recording.

With the new album dropping soon, Popdust decided to sit down with the band and find out what makes them tick.

How would you describe yourself?

Ya know how Kiss talks about being the loudest band in the world? Well we're the handsomest.

What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?

Honestly - we've gotten away with some shit. Destroyed some hotel rooms, Stole an entire tree from one city and dropped it off in the next, covered an entire neighborhood in fire hydrant dust. Ya know typical stuff. We're banned from certain hotel chains and car rental companies, but other than that we've got a pretty clean record.

What's your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

I guess it's different for all of us (Hank - Guitarist). I don't sing in the shower. Always in the car. Depends on the day. It could be Bruno Mars or "Baba O'Riley."

Who is your favorite music artist?

There are so many, I don't know that any of us have one particular favorite.

How did you get started in music?

We've all been playing since we were kids - piano lessons at an early age, etc. Fell in love and couldn't stop.

What's the backstory there?

E and Jimmy were actually in high school jazz band (that's right ladies!) together with Hank's bass player brother.

What musicians influenced you the most?

It's different for all of us, but on the list are artists like: The Beatles, Muse, Van Halen, The Eagles, The Cars, Guns N Roses, 21 Pilots, the list really goes on and on.

How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?

I think musicians are influenced by everything around them. Even stuff we don't like or really listen to probably sneaks into our music subconscious somehow.

You've released eleven studio projects and toured extensively. How do you keep up such a relentless schedule?

It doesn't seem like a lot of hard work when you dig what you do.

Is SPiN planning on taking a break any time in the future?

Never. Break from what?

On your new album, Make Me Move, you changed direction just a bit, adding some electro-pop sparkle to your sound. What motivated the change in sound?

The spark was honestly a douchebag neighbor who moved in beside our studio. He called the cops relentlessly until we were forced to be quieter by using less real drums and loud guitars. However, (it was) really a blessing in disguise because we're always looking into doing different things anyway. It's not fun to play only one style of music all the time.

Why did you choose to record the album in a 150-year-old funeral home?

That's our studio! The owners are kind enough to let us take over their top floor and we repay the favor in kind by providing soothing sounds for the departed.

Are you pleased with how it turned out?

Mostly. Ask me that again tomorrow.

What kind of guitar do you play?

I have a 78 Les Paul custom but I also have a custom axe that my buddy John Baum made for me.

And why?

Why? Because it's awesome. It's made to my exact specs. The Les Paul is also amazing; they just don't make guitars like that anymore!

What's next for SPiN musically?

We're probably going to go back to more of a rock edge for the next round. But we may have some left over dance vibes to include in there too!

Will you be doing any touring?

Other than regional shows and festivals, there are no immediate touring plans, but nothing is out of the question. We do love us some road!

Follow SPiN Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Spotify

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

POP⚡DUST |

MUSIC | Leland and The Silver Wells

Water and Man Release 'Phantasie'