Two thirds of the country is buried in snow, while the remaining third on the West Coast breaks records for historical high temperatures. Donald Trump is in a virtual tie in national polls to represent the RNC in the coming election. World War III is being staged in the Middle East. Every other day, another beloved musician or actor dies. During these dark and depressing times, there’s one thing you can always count on to brighten your mood. New and undiscovered punk music! Don’t fret dearest readers, we’ve got the cure for what ails ya’! This month, we’ve found seven spectacular bands that we’re betting will be pure ecstasy for your ear pieces. So turn that frown upside down and check out February’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp below!
Kicking it off this month we present this terrific three piece hardcore act from the mean streets of Caldicot, Monmouthshire in Southwest Wales, UK (Which is also the 25 time winner of the Most British Sounding Place on the Planet Award). These guys play fast and filthy, the majority of the tracks hovering around a minute and a half in length and loud as hell. We love bands that can make this much noise with only three members. The vocals are insanely belligerent and aggressive. No finesse whatsoever, just a wonderful, unrelenting disaster. Get in on the ground floor and pre-order their newest album Two Quid Ten Minutes ,which marks their third studio release. Unfortunately, it doesn’t ship until January of 2017. Yes, that’s a bit of a wait, but these magnanimous mates have already made the album available for download so you can listen while you countdown the months! Perhaps you could make a Pizzatramp Advent Calendar? For those that are above earthly possessions, you can purchase digitally for Name Your Price, so go give ’em a listen and toss ’em a few Pounds or Euros or whatever the fuck they use over there now.
Recommended Track: “Claire Voyant”
It ain’t a party until there’s a uke and washboard! This month’s entry for the Folk category is The Anti-Sheeple Movement from the mean streets of Highland Park in Northeast LA (OK, it was a joke before about Caldicot. But for real, we dare you to walk down a random alleyway on the Avenues). Their debut album, Kill The Sheep was released in Spring 2015 and since then, this active quartet has been busking corners, playing under bridges and headlining backyard shows all over the city making a name for themselves. They hit on all cylinders, ticking off the boxes for every folk trope imaginable, haunting accordions, vocals that are rougher than P20 Grit Sandpaper, rickety sounding trumpets and even some kick ass harmonicas in a few of the tracks. But adding another layer of intricacy, on some of the tracks, the lyrics are spoken, rhythmically instead of sung, more akin to hip hop than punk. It reminded us of Crackrock Steady legends No-Ca$h. If you like what you hear, their new album, The Ballad of Bob Sheeple just hit shelves this past week and they’re hitting the road on tour. So throw them a few bucks or put them up if they come through town. These guys deserve it!
Recommended Track: “Stressed”
Emo fans will undoubtedly enjoy this fresh faced three piece from Chesapeake, located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, we’re betting that the talent alone will draw in fans of various genres. Born in 2013 this trio is named after The Great Dismal Swamp, which lies just a few miles south of the Tidewater area on the Virginia/North Carolina boarder. Even at this early stage of existence, the grasp that they have on the integration of both male and female lead vocals astounds. The singers intertwine their distinctive sounds effortlessly without feeling like they’re competing or stumbling over each other. On top of that, the music is pretty damn good as well, with tricky bridges and exceptional, flowing guitar interludes tying together the more aggressive choruses. Their debut EP, Clay Manor, was released a few years back but more recently they were featured on the split Far and Wide with Florida emo act Stillframe. The split had three new tracks by these phenoms with the feels and showed a lot of progression. Keep an ear to the ground here, gang!
Recommended Track: “Vultures”
So, technically, we aren’t supposed to be featuring this outstanding skate punk act on the Gems list because they’ve been covered before, albeit only once, about 3 years ago, in one random blurb. So, we’re including them anyway so get off our backs, bossman (Sorry! Not really, PRB is coming up and we need tickets)! These guys are just too damn good to not get a little more coverage. Hailing from London, Ontario this quartet is billed as “Three ex-cops and one super hero, playing mind melting punk rock to defend the world from the grips of evil.” I think that, along with the visuals provided will give you a good idea of what you’re getting into. It’s rapid, raucous and rebellious. Their Facebook page makes it sound like they ended things in late 2014 but they still post pretty regularly. One post in particular, back in mid 2015 hinted that a return may be in the works. Get on your knees and pray they make a comeback because the world could use a hero! Until then, head over to the ‘Camp and slide ’em some cash for some tunes and maybe that will inspire a comeback (we’re pretty sure this doesn’t constitute attempted bribery of a Public Official).
Recommended Track: “Save Me”
This crusty skacore act formed in 2012 in Acton, California. If you’re a fan of Dead Rejects (soooo, everybody then?) this trio would be worth a listen. extremely heavy bass riffs with the obligatory ska palm mutes, shredding guitars and angry, raspy vocals laid expertly over it all. Where similar acts are content to stick with the sound that’s come to define the genre, these guys reach a little further outside their comfort zone with some tracks sounding more like pure ska, or rap, or in the case of “Over and Over” almost a waltz. Their debut full length Present Tension released late last year is available for Name Your Price. We also heard that they are currently working on a new full length which will also be NYP, so make sure to circle back in a few months for that too. If it’s half as good as their debut album, it will still be a must have.
Recommended Track: “Fire”
If there’s one thing the Philly scene is known for, it’s consistency. The City of Brotherly Love has long been imbued with excellent punk acts. It was no surprise then when we learned that this marvelous melodic punk group was raised on the banks of the Schuylkill River. Birthed in early 2013, the quartet released their sophomore, self titled EP last month. The sound is somewhere between Comeback Kid and Face To Face, featuring classic, squealing punk guitars, simple, emotional lyrics and catchy choruses with well timed harmonies. The highlight for us though, was the lightening quick hands of drummer Brian McClure. Although it’s pure speculation, we’d be willing to bet he is a fan of the God of Percussion, Jordan Burns. Listen to “Hit the Skids” from their debut album Jake Goes to Portland and tell us you don’t here it. The perfectly timed, brisk d-beats with the tapping of the high hat somehow, impossibly wedged in between, making sure to always stay busy. We may be speculating here as well and the photo makes it impossible to tell, but we’re pretty sure the potent percussionist has three arms.
Recommended Track: “Man From Another Place”
What’s in the water in South Wales? Introducing Grand Collapse, our second band this month from the region, although this time our attention shifts to Cardiff. Formed in 2011, this four piece is also hardcore, although unlike their neighbors to the north Pizzatramp, they have a more distinctive metal sound. Their self titled, debut EP was released in 2013 with a follow up full length Far From The Callous Crowd about a year later. They dubbed their style as “Frantic Hardcore Punk” which seems to fit the bill perfectly. It hearkens back to the early days of Punk, when it was closer to Metal on the musical evolutionary tree. Megadeth, Corrosion Of Conformity, Rudimentary Peni these “bridge bands” are all listed among their influences but as soon as you heard the first few notes of the very first track, you would know that without having to do any further research. In addition to the aforementioned releases, they also did a 7″ split with veteran Scottish punk act Oi Polloi late last year before hunkering down to start working on a new album. Check back often kiddies, because you’re not gonna want to miss it!
Recommended Track: “Just Add Water”
If you’ve missed any of the gems that we’ve unearthed in prior months, stop kicking yourself! We’ve archived them for you. Check out past month’s editions here. You may now resume kicking yourself.
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