Holy shit, you guys, 2015 was an absolute cluster! If for no other reason, we’re excited to ring in the new year just to send 2015 packing. Fortunately for us, there’s a ton of other things to get excited about this year besides watching the year that was saunter off into the sunset. There’s a ton of new albums coming out this year (including one from Face to Face!), PRB has added all new East Coast dates and the growing guest list just keeps getting better and better, on top of all of that there’s also new bands that we’ll discover and kick ass shows we’ll attend as the 2016 trudges along. But, just because we’re celebrating all of the new and shiny things we have in store for us, it doesn’t mean that we’ve completely forsaken the old. Because you demanded it, our monthly Hidden Gems of Bandcamp feature has been renewed for another year! So, despite our best efforts to fire our entire Original Content Team, your insatiable desire for new and undiscovered punk bands has forced us to keep them around for another year. To show their derision, they have produced the shortest list in the history of the feature this month. Nothing like a little hebetude to set the tone for a new year! Enjoy the first list of 2016 below!
This hardcore garage act hailing from Sacramento, California was formed in 2014. For being that green, they have an air of confidence about them that is atypical of most young bands. Their sound is lo-fi, raw and abrasive, with no regard for precision or cleanliness. While it is best labeled as garage, you can also hear some ska and horror punk influences as well. The lyrics are simple and aggressive but really come alive with the gritty, seething vocals. The trio just released their second EP, Convenience of Chaos, which is a follow up to their 2014 debut release, Smashed and Rehashed. We didn’t see much progression from one album to the next, but Garage-core isn’t really about refinement and perfection. It’s more about the emotion and energy level and in those categories, these boys from Sactown excel. You can pick up both albums for less than a Lincoln, so go check ’em out!
Recommended Track: “With Them or Against Them”
Melodic hardcore from Tokyo, Japan? Yes please! These veterans have been shredding stages in the Land of the Rising Sun since 2002. In the fourteen years of their existence, they have fine tuned their craft. The music composition is complex and just as fast as anything else out right now. The vocals don’t have much range, but the the skill in which those around the lead man execute their individual jobs adds so much depth that it covers any other faults. If you were to listen to a random song without the vocal track, it sounds a lot like Propagandhi. Not that there’s a noticeable accent, it’s just a more harsh vocal style than Chris Hannah. Their newest full length, Tender is The Night, is a culmination of their years of dedication and hard work, as such it is arguably their best offering to date. To be honest, we didn’t bother to do a conversion but we’re assuming ¥1,190 is affordable. If it turns out our assumptions are incorrect (which they often are in the arena of financials) there’s a few albums at lower price points as well as a couple more that are Name Your Price. So, there’s options for everyone’s budget!
Recommended Track: “The Choice Is Yours”
3. Forty Ounces
Seeing’s how the population is approximately 7,500, we’re assuming that this is the only Crackrock Steady outfit from Payette, Idaho. Despite that fact, this quartet’s music is on par with most of the genre’s top feeders. It may not be as polished as Morning Glory or Dead Rejects but neither are/were other successful acts like No Ca$h or INDK. This four piece was established in 2012 and have taken the shotgun approach to songwriting. This is evidenced in their most recent release, All the Forty Oz You Don’t Have which has a whopping twenty nine tracks, some of which are self admittedly “terrible quality” and a little hard to listen to. Within the multitude of tracks though, are some extremely good finds. If you can’t spare the $5 until payday, their three track, debut EP Wasting Time is available for Name Your Price! Pick that up and it may just hold you over long enough. Maybe.
Recommended Track: “Burn This City Down”
This poppy ska act from the Mile High City has been skankin’ since 2010 but only just released their debut album Nothin’ To Lose (is the proper spelling of ‘lose’ starting to look odd to anyone else?) a little over a year ago. If you’re a fan of brass like we are, you’re going to dig this one. More so than some of their contemporaries, the horns standout in the hooks and often steal the spotlight, going on for extended, meandering solos. Even with a horn section as legit as these guys, without great lead vocals, a ska act can go sideways quick. Lucky for us, frontman Josh Roberts has the goods. His gravelly, snotty, punk-y tone is a perfect juxtaposition (29 pts in Scrabble!) to the fastidious, clarion brass.For the most part, this septet exudes lightheartedness and fun with simple catchy, lyrics. Think Reel Big Fish or Less Than Jake. If for nothing else, check out this ten track album for the exceptional cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. But for Name Your Price, you may as well just go ahead and download the whole thing!
Recommended Track: “Don’t Blame It On The Whiskey”
Emo gets a bad rap. There, we said it. Sure, there are terrible emo bands but every genre has its duds and its studs. This five piece from Chicago, Illinois falls into the latter of those two categories (ed: would we have featured them otherwise, you idiot?). Showing that they aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, these guys already have two studio albums to their credit despite only being about two years old. It’s filled with tidy harmonies and brilliantly placed backing vocals which are subtle and noninvasive. The lyrics are emotive but don’t come off as “sad bastard” due to the exceptionally strong, yet honest nature of lead man Brad Harvey’s style. In parts, it reminded us a little of The Loved Ones lead vocalist and all around good guy, Dave Hause. The lyrics are also more mature than some of the other… ummmmmm… let’s call it, ‘softer’ emo acts. Couple that with faster, more traditional punk drum beats and guitar riffs and you have yourself a great, up and coming group. Even if you think you hate emo, go check these boys out. Both albums are Name Your Price, what’s to loose? (see what we did there? Eh?? See??? Look at it!!!!)
Recommended Track: “Bury Me”
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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