Sounds Like: Good tunes for people who love bad news. Though his band's music might imply otherwise, lead vocalist Stefan Babcock promises that he's "not as much of a bummer dude."
For Fans of: The Get Up Kids, the Menzingers, self-deprecation
Why You Should Pay Attention: These Toronto thrashers forge rollicking, pop-tinged punk with serious bite. Pup was born one fortuitous day when all four members quit their jobs and then went on a bender to celebrate. When the band recorded and released their eponymous debut in 2013, they didn't think anyone outside their friend circle would hear it. Cut to these underdogs touring for two years alongside the likes of Modern Baseball (they played a whopping 250 shows in 2014 alone), and sweeping the nominations for Canada's most coveted music prizes, including the Prism, the Juno Awards and the Polaris Music Prize. Now Pup's back with a lean, throttling sophomore album, The Dream Is Over. Due later this year, Dream features cheeky, self-referential numbers like "If This Tour Doesn't Kill You, I Will."
They Say: "We really feel like we've been living the dream for the past two years," says Babcock. "It's awesome and we are having a great time, but you get a little bit of ... disillusionment. We miss our girlfriends and barely scrape together money for rent. These are sacrifices that we're willing to make, but there's a realization that like any job, it has ups and down. And that's when we started joking with each other that the dream was over. I remember one time [our guitarist] Steve spilled ketchup on himself and someone was like, 'Ah, the dream is over!' On our last tour, a doctor found a cyst on my vocal chord and [it] was hemorrhaging like, day one of a seven-week tour. She said to me, word for word, 'The dream is over.' We had spent half the year using that as our inside joke and the doctor made that joke into a terrible reality."
Hear for Yourself: "DVP," the album's first single, is a lickety-split ode to freaks, geeks and every outsider in between. Paula Mejia