Obscure music sub-genres have always served as a source of entertainment for me. Hyper-specific, oftentimes unnecessarily so, they typically mark a short-lived and underground movement of music, sometimes entwined with a lifestyle or at least mode of dress. Most importantly of all, they have the BEST names. I have compiled a brief list of my favorite, absurdly titled sub-genres for your perusal.
The sub-genre: Seapunk
What it is: Perhaps the most recently introduced, and most baffling (not to mention my impetus for writing the article), sub-genre on this list, seapunk was born of the internet, and into the internet it shall descend at the end of days. From what I can tell, seapunk is a subculture that appropriates aquatic imagery and design through brightly dyed turquoise hair and dolphin bedecked artwork and blends this with a recreation of rave culture and music that is less traditional “punk” and instead hearkens more to an electronic style reminiscent of 90s techno or modern R&B. It quite honestly comes across more like a meme than an actual musical movement. But you guys, there isn’t even a Wikipedia article on this yet. Though you might not understand it any better than I do, consider yourself INFORMED and totally superior to anyone that tries to tell you about it a month from now.
Related artists: I think there is one? Zombelle is a seapunk band based in Chicago and, it appears, is the vanguard of this movement. (One of their songs contains lyrics about “a swagged-up witch” so you know it’s good.)
Perfect for: pool parties, beach parties, slip n’ slide parties, water balloon fights, surfing the Internet, being “hip and with it”
The sub-genre: Viking metal
What it is: This one is more of a “sub-sub-genre” (please pardon how obnoxious that sentence is). It is a sub-genre of folk metal, which is of course already a sub-genre of metal. Viking metal, specifically, is a blend of traditional Norse folk music and mythology with black metal. The band members have long hair and flowing beards; some of them wear tunics and carry historically accurate Viking props. They sing about Odin and Viking battles, eschewing the darker themes of black metal for the real gore of myth and history. In short, it’s incredible.
Related artists: Holy Thor, there are way more Viking metal bands out there than I expected! Enslaved, Heidevolk, Korpiklaani, and Amon Amarth all seem pretty representative of what Viking metal strives to be.
Perfect for: Pillaging, plundering, headbanging, growing beards
The sub-genre: Crunkcore
What it is: Terrible. Just terrible. Oh god, how did we let this happen?! The unholy union of minimalist (read: poorly done) crunk hip hop and screamo, the songs seem primarily concerned with screaming/auto-tuning about how drunk the band is going to get at the party, getting freaky with good-looking partners (probably not the words they would use), and being the most appealing gentlemen and ladies in the establishment. It’s so bad. A lump in my throat actually formed as I was listening to songs to do research for this piece from pure depression that music so unequivocally awful could actually be somewhat successful. At times, I have to wonder about the level of self-awareness that surrounds bands like brokeNCYDE. Do you they see their videos and think, “oh hey, we ROCK”? Or do they think, “oh dear, that’s embarrassing, but we just GOT PAID to be embarrassing. Teenagers somewhere will love this?” If anyone knows, please let me know immediately.
Related artists: brokeNCYDE, Millionaires, I Set My Friends On Fire
Perfect for: lamenting the present state of music, partying(???), rethinking your decisions in life
The sub-genre: Nintendocore
What it is: My personal favorite on this list, Nintendocore bring together elements of chiptune, hardcore punk/metal and the sounds of video games. The sound bites and music of old school Nintendo console games are meticulously recreated on a variety of instruments over raucous electronic or rock music. The joys of nerding out are combined with the pleasures of rocking out to create the perfect pop cultural experience. I strongly recommend delving into Nintendocore, especially if you were or are a fan of NES. It is, at the same time, nostalgic and forward-looking, using elements of our childhood to create a new musical movement for the future.
Related artists: Horse the Band, The Megas, The Depreciation Guild, Math the Band
Perfect for: playing video games, being nostalgic about video games, impressing your nerd friends
Other notable mentions: chillwave, danger music, technical death metal, lowercase
Despite the at times absurd nature of the aforementioned genres, it’s encouraging to still see some sort of unique innovation in music. Even if not entirely sincere (I’m looking at you, seapunk), these sub-genres provide fresh and unusual new ways of enjoying our old favorite genres. Now go forth and explore the wild world of music classification and genre.
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