March’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp

Thirteen Towers

As the country thaws from the tedious, cold Winter and daylight starts seeping into the evening hours, we’re reminded that the coming months will be filled with freshness and new life as Spring slowly begins to roll in. Flowers will bloom, animals will emerge from their caves after extended lengths of time spent in slumber and the long frozen, brown earth will gently change hue to a more virile, lush green. It’s with this same sense of rejuvenation and rebirth that we present you with this month’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! Time to spruce up that playlist a little with some fresh new tunes for your listening portals! This month, our punk rock prognosticators have returned with seven, slick, burgeoning bands that they’re betting you’ve never heard of. Check ’em out below!

1. The Venom Institute

Established in 2015, this melodic hardcore quartet just released their debut EP, Congratulator earlier this year. For a relatively young band the album has seriously high production value- these lads from across the pond have their proverbial shit together. The drums hit hard, thumping through the complementary, dual guitars that show hints of death metal every once in while. The vocals are unique and emotional, feeding off of the energy from the music erupting behind them, elevating both in the process. If they’re this good a little over one year in, we can only imagine how high their ceiling will ultimately go, we’re excited to find out though. The five track EP clocks in at around seventeen minutes, which is excellent bang for your buck considering that it’s available to download for Name Your Price. Go ahead and these Brits to your radar, you’ll be hearing more from them.

Recommended Track: “The Nightmare We Lived”

 

2. Thirteen Towers

No Hidden Gems list would be complete with some ska! This month’s entry is from Fairfax, Virginia and although they’ve been around awhile, they only became a true ska band in 2012 with the addition of a brass section. This septet instantly won us over with their lighthearted, upbeat songs, reminding us of Reel Big Fish in that way. Sure the lyrics aren’t always the best and notes are sometimes missed but this is Punk’s version of a jam band, it’s more about the music and passion. Their newest LP, Dude, Don’t Make it Weird proves that if it’s one thing this troupe has, it’s passion and musical talent (ed. That’s two things… moron). The brass horns have a rustic tone to them and almost chase each other, barely noticeable at times behind the abrasive electric guitars and fast tempo punk riffs.Their entire catalog is available for Name Your Price. Go give ’em a listen!

Recommended Track: “Meal For Free”

 

3. Hey Thanks!

Where our pop punk folks at?!? Boy, do we have just the right find to start your Spring off on the right note. Another young band (in both ways), this fresh faced fivesome from Lafayette, Louisiana was established in 2015 but already has a healthy following. With the amount of skill displayed on their debut full length One Step Forward, Two Steps Back it’s not hard to see why people have been quick to back these boys from the bayou. They are flawless and have obviously put in the work. We were especially impressed with the laser like precision of percussionist, Trevor Lee who never takes the easy way out, constantly finding a way to smash something. The guys are currently trying to get enough support for shot at being added to a few dates of Warped Tour 2016. So, head over to their Warped Band Page for more details, there’s also a few kick ass videos uploaded to the page. The more you watch, the better their chances. Win/Win!

Recommended Track: “Cut Throat”

 

4. The Barracks

Is there anything better than some good ole’ British street punk? Most likely, but after giving this fantastic four piece a listen, we’re not so sure. Formed in 2009, these hooligans from Hastings are just now starting to get a little more recognition since releasing their debut full length Out With The Old back in 2012. With street hardened vocals, hard hitting drums, quick, three chord guitar riffs and choruses ripe for crowd participation, the boys managed to capture the classic street punk sound while adding some more modern twists to it, think more Bouncing Souls than The Casualties. Continuing on the success of their first album, they teamed up with fantastic folk act and fellow Hastings habitants, Matilda’s Scoundrel on an eight track split. You can pick up both albums for less than a Lincoln and we highly suggest that you do!

Recommended Track: “The New Lie”

 

5. Paul Baribeau

Every once in awhile you gotta give your ears a rest from the constant assault they face from the regular, more aggressive punk sub-genres like Hardcore or Thrash. It seems we aren’t the only ones that think so either, with the recent rise in popularity of acoustic folk acts like Frank Turner. A clean, fundamental kind of folk, to sooth the ears and cleanse the palate so to say. With this revival, we’re not sure how Paul Baribeau has been overlooked but it’s time to change that! This extremely talented solo artist has been around since 2005 and has three albums to his credit. Most of the tracks are soft and slow, honestly telling stories of heartache and memories of better times but his sophomore album Grand Ledge, named after the city he’s from in Central Michigan, has a little more grit to it and has some stunningly sprightly songs. It’s simple story telling at it’s finest and deserves to mentioned along with the more popular acts in the genre.

Recommended Track: “Ten Things”

 

6. Lawsuit Models

More and more quality bands have emerged from Denver, Colorado over the past decade or so and we’ve found another one to add to the list! This skate punk quartet has been lighting up the Mile High scene since 2010 with energetic, upbeat performances that feature catchy, singable choruses. The obligatory, three chord punk riffs, heavy bass and rapid, cymbal destroying drumming is nothing revolutionary, but it’s a distinct sound of a generation that needs to be kept intact and this four piece keeps that flame burning. Their library (two EPs and one full length) is available at different price points, but all are extremely affordable. Their drummer, Tyler Merkel recently broke his arm in a car accident and unless you’re Rick Allen, no one wants a one armed drummer so head over to the ‘Camp and toss them a couple bucks to aid in his recovery!

Recommended Track: “Til I Think of a Better One”

 

7. Butcher Hounds

Who the Fuck Are The Butcher Hounds?!? That wasn’t a question, stop talking to your monitor. That is the aptly titled debut EP from this talented melodic punk rock trio from Huntington Beach. Coming full circle, back to this month’s theme of Spring and blossoming, this is the greenest band to be featured this month, having just celebrated their first anniversary. Their debut, two track EP was released only a few weeks ago. It doesn’t get any fresher than this, people!!! While it may be a bit early to know for sure, from the sounds of it these guys are legit. The transitions are tight, the harmonies are perfectly timed and anomalous (reminding us of the prodigious punks from Pulley) and best of all, the lyrics and choruses hook you instantly, inexplicably sounding familiar. We’re hoping to hear more from these phenoms from the OC to see if they can maintain their level of accuracy and build on it. But if we’re honest, it’s already pretty damn good so more of the same wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

Recommended Track: “Take a Bite”

 

**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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