The American Punk scene is so dense that sometimes we forget that there’s a whole world out there brimming with music that’s just as good, if not better than some of our “Domestic Products”. It’s time to shed those myopic American spectacles and look beyond our borders for some fresh musical perspective! The list is comprised of new, up and coming bands to keep an eye on as well as some more well established bands that may just be getting overlooked due to their geography. I tried to include something and somewhere for everyone. Take a gander, below!
Billed as three sexy dudes and a drummer playing Melodic Skate Punk, this four piece from Zagreb, Croatia has emerged as one of the bright spots in the International Punk scene in a short amount of time. From a region that isn’t known for producing much, if any Punk, Fast Response came out of nowhere with their ten song debut album Welcome to Corruptia in late 2013. You can tell that they take their cues from American Skate Punk with common themes such as Anti-establishmentism, class warfare and the dangers of conformity showing up frequently in their songs. Their playing style is refined and their sound translates well to our picky American palate while not neglecting their roots. I’m anxious to see what they come up with next. Consistency is key here.
American Equivalent: Amerikan Made
Recommended Track: “Cuntspiracy”
Long time friends from Montreal, Francis Morelli and Frank Leonard started this Acoustic Folk outfit in 2013 and they are proving that they can produce great music on a consistent basis. Over the course of one calendar year they have released two albums. In May of 2014 they released their first EP We Aren’t Kids Enough. Now, just a year later, with the addition of Justin Judd on bass, they’ve followed up with a new ten song album Black Sheep released in April. They are slightly more urbane than traditional DIY Folk acts like Ramshackle Glory but they still retain the folk roots with gravelly vocals, aggressive acoustic guitar riffs and choruses that will certainly become crowd anthems at live shows. I think the only thing keeping these Quebecois from being more on the radar is their lack of touring in The States. That’s not a good enough excuse with the internet and technology as it is. Go give them a listen!
American Equivalent: Mischief Brew
Recommended Track: “The Shape Of Blues To Come”
3. Hell & Back
Hailing from Stuttgart, Germany Hell & Back has been giving us exceptional Skate Punk since 2011 in the form of their debut “Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do” and a four song LP Everything You Say is Just How Bad Things Are. March of 2014 brought the release of their first full length album Heartattack. This four man troupe has shown that they are willing to put in the work and grind it out through the more traditional path to success. By building on their achievements and improving from album to album while maintaining congruency in style. Staying true to their yeoman like work ethic, they also just released a 9” Split with German Emo ensemble Perfect Youth, featuring five new songs. It seems that the stereotype of hard working, fine tuned German Engineering even carries over to Punk music with this band.
American Equivalent: Down By Law
Recommended Track: “Leave Behind”
Not to be confused with Female Foursome Spitfist, (who oddly enough, are from the same area) these Canucks came out of left field in November of 2014 with their two song debut EP Knuckle Dragger and have continued their meteoric rise ever since. In less than a year, they’ve opened for bands the likes of Ten Foot Pole, Unwritten Law and Strung Out. That should tell you something about the respect they’ve garnered from the community. They label themselves as Pop Punk, but it’s so much harder and angrier and more aggressive than most other Pop bands out there, I struggle to find a shelf to put them on. Call them Pop, call them Melodic Hardcore, call them Emo, just don’t call them overrated. Seriously gang, I’m not one to overreach in my statements, you’re going to want to get ahead of this one. These boys are really good. Go ahead and pre-order their new seven song album Straight Outta Halton set to hit stores on June 30th, you’ll be the envy of all your friends.
Recommended Track: “In Clarity”
Founded in 2013, this French Street Punk band is wedged between Old School Punk and Melodic Hardcore. Sharp, fast, melodic, simple, effective, they take influence from a pretty eclectic group of bands including: Teenage Bottle Rocket; Bad Religion; Circle Jerks and Good Riddance. The vast pool in which they draw their influence reflects in their music. Their debut album Everything’s Broken, released in 2014 sounded like it was straight out of the 1980’s New York Hardcore scene. In juxtaposition, their sophomore album When Everything Collapsed just released in May 2015 was more polished and in places, sounded more like some contemporary Melodic Hardcore bands, like Rise Against or Strike Anywhere. Their versatility and wide ranging influences have a curveball type of effect on their music. You never know when it’s going to change but when it does, you know it and it catches you by surprise in a good way every time.
American Equivalent: Good Riddance meets Vision.
Recommended Track: “Scars”
This Hardcore quartet comes to us from the Attica region of Greece (I’m guessing more specifically Exarcheia although I couldn’t find anything to back my theory). They are comprised mainly of the remnants of a few other disbanded Greek Punk groups. They are raw, fast, unapologetic, loud and proud. Even though they’ve been friends for five years and an actual band for a few years now, due to regular daytime office jobs, they just released their debut self titled LP in April of 2015. The years prior to releasing the album have proven to be time well spent. The lyrics are simple and the overall sound is amazingly immaculate despite being an unabashed Hardcore band. The only thing that trumps that sound is their oozing bravado. For a fresh band, you gotta love their description of their magnus opus: “Dreamy and ethereal hardcore tunes gathered in a 7” disc full of joyful and hard to find melodic gems. Like psychotherapy but cheaper.” I wish these guys worked in my office!
American Equivalent: Agnostic Front
Recommended Track: “Stupid Mistakes”
A Skate Folk hybrid (who knew?) trio from Melbourne, Australia, Foley is a lively, honest and industrious band. Grinding it out on the Australian Tour Circuit for the past two years has birthed their first full length album Ascot Vale released back in January 2015. There’s something about Folk Bands and their work ethic that always endears me to them. While doing some research, I came across the following on their Facebook Page “We’ll seriously play anywhere. Don’t even have to give us beer or anything. Don’t even need amps. Can just use acoustic and bunch of tambourines ‘cause it’s still fun”. You just can’t help but to pull for a band who simply loves the scene. It’s that ethos that creates a devout following of rabid fans. Couple that with catchy, upbeat, emotionally driven tunes and a fun loving attitude and you have yourself the makings of a great band.
American Equivalent: The Dead Milkmen
Recommended Track: “Location, Location, Location”
8. Strike Again
It’s no secret that the Japanese love American Skate Punk. More so than any other country, they have embraced and replicated the sound that was once unique to The States. Fat Wreck Chords stalwarts Hi-Standard set the table many years ago. The Scene has thrived in the decades since then, poking it’s head up from the underground where it lived for so long and one band seems to be emerging as the next to carry the mantle. Strike Again, a four piece from Tokyo released two demos, Green and Red early in 2014 and followed those up with their debut EP Blue later that same year. Perfect harmonies, shredding guitars and D-Beats abound as you would imagine but now you can start to hear a slight deviation from the routine, regurgitated sound that they have adopted. It’s almost an amalgam of Post Hardcore and Pop. I can’t decide if it’s the next evolutionary step in their process or if it just sounds unfamiliar because it’s a new band. Either way, different in the Punk game is generally a good thing.
American Equivalent: Silverstein
Recommended Track: “Strike Again”
9. Lashing Fred
Straight out of Lyon, France, this Skate Punk trio has all the makings of an instant fan favorite. There’s not much to dish on them just yet as they’re still working on their debut EP, but if the rest of the album is as good as their single “Try It” released back in May, this band is going to blow up. Although they’re new to the scene, they bring with them a sense of maturity that you don’t normally get with newcomers. This is probably in part due to them being older in age than most fledgling bands. Although they are a bit more seasoned in life, that doesn’t diminish the energy that you would expect from a green band. Since May, they have added a few more songs from their impending EP that can be found on their official web page. Keep an ear to the ground, you’ll hear ‘em coming!
American Equivalent: Lagwagon
Recommended Track: “Try It”
10. Wolf Bites Boy
Founded in March 2014 from the ashes of 90’s UK Punk Band Senseless, this trio from Stoke/Sheffield, England has a loud, vicious and contentious, classic Street Punk, Oi style that has become a calling card of so many UK bands of the past. In July of 2014 they released their five song LP Say Something. Most bands would’ve started touring or working on their next album. Not these boys, in addition to producing music videos for some of the songs off of the LP, they also worked on a few compilation albums and even wrote songs for a movie soundtrack. 2015 is shaping up to be another busy year as they are working on yet another soundtrack and are putting the finishing touches on their first full length album Family Isn’t Always Blood. Wolf Bites Boy is the band I’ve been waiting for the UK to pump out, a throwback to grittier times when The UK defined Punk. They’re keeping the tradition alive and for that alone they deserve to make the list.
American Equivalent: The Casualties
Recommended Track: “S.L.D”
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