Craig and Dave of Shadow League
Bandcamp is a virtual black hole of music, anything and everything gets sucked into it. While that variety isn’t really bad thing, it can make searching for new music a needle and haystack scenario. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when rifling through the thousands of pages of bountiful punk offerings. We here at Dying Scene feel your pain, so we mined the recesses of their site and have unearthed ten punk gems that are most likely not on your radar yet. To keep this simple, the only real criteria here is that the bands have to still be active and because things are tough all over, I’ve selected artists that offer most of their music for free or name-your-price. No need to put a hurtin’ on your wallet just to pleasure your ear holes! Check out the list, in no particular order below!
1. Old Vices
This trio from Tampa, Florida is brand spankin’ new. There’s not much information on them at this point, so we’ll tell you what little we do know. Their self titled debut album was released just a few days ago. As soon as you hear it, you know that they were spawned from the grungy Florida punk scene. It’s a bluesy, gravelcore sound that would feel at home in some random dive bar just off of Highway 75 on a sticky summer night, the smell of stale PBR wafting through the air, a taxidermied gator head over the door. It’s vastly different than NYC or SoCal punk. The vocals are earthy and genuine the backing music is filled with simple riffs and even simpler harmonies. If you like Hot Water Music or Nothington, we’re betting you’ll dig these guys.
Recommended Track: “Sands the Stand”
Aiming For Average is a fresh faced, five piece pop punk band from Berwyn, IL. They just released their second LP, Blueprints, as a follow up to their seven song debut Icebreaker, released back in 2014. Although they definitely pack more of a punch, they have a tone similar to Motion City Soundtrack. The interesting thing is they are just as well composed as their veteran counterpart despite only being about a year old. You have to love these new guys that come out of nowhere and sound just as rehearsed and honed as some more seasoned bands. The vocals and especially the music composition are anything but simple, yet they pull it off flawlessly. It’s that refinement that got them invited to the Chicago leg of Warped Tour 2015 coming up later this month. These boys are primed to pop. You can get ahead of it now and get both albums for free or if you’re feeling froggy, they offer free CDs to anyone who can beat them in Call of Duty.
Recommended Track: “Voicemail (1)”
Jesse Sendejas (lead singer of thrashgrass legends Days ‘N Daze) and little sister Marissa make up this delightful crust punk duo. Although they’ve been at it for a while now, they’ve only just recently uploaded their first and only LP, Kill Cops and Steal Their Hats!,to Bandcamp. The sound is definitely a lot more hollow than we’re accustomed to hearing from Jesse and his full time troupe but he is an absolute master of the fast paced, string shredding, folk guitar riffs so that always fills it in, so to say. This oogle masterpiece can be yours for the low, low price of $1. Go pay it, these guys are genuine DIY’ers and if I know them, all of the money will go to keeping their van running. That thing is a heap! While you’re there, check out Days ‘N Daze if you’re not already familiar. Twofer!
Recommended Track: “Diet Coke and Cigarettes”
This quintet has the perfect sound for a band hailing from the Rust Belt. Raspy, overworked vocals, hard hitting music with clean transitions and well placed harmonies, melodic emo-core we’ll call it. They released their demo in April 2013 and a four track 7”, Gallant just about a year later. Earlier this month, came their follow up to that 7”, the two song LP Gallant Side, C. They still need some work, but not all gems come polished and ready to be affixed in a fine, golden setting. Some require a little bit of work and those are our favorite gems. The ones that you grow with and invest in. Luckily, these boys appear to have that blue collar work ethic that you would expect from some Steel City kids. Each album has gotten significantly better, constant improvement. Eventually, one of those step ups is going to lead to something huge. It’s only a matter of time.
Recommended Track: “Break the Truth”
Yea, you read that right! This five piece from Orange County, California has been around since 2010, but unless you’re deeply embedded in the SoCal punk scene you probably haven’t heard of them because they don’t put out albums and rarely travel outside of the area (can you blame them?). All of that changed in March of 2014 with the release of their sole, self titled, five song EP. It’s fun without being too light and coming off as hokey. Think The Casualties but with a slightly more playful slant. The fact that they only play for the hell of it makes it that much better. The levity shows in their music and from what we hear, their live shows as well. They are raw, loud, fast and splendid. Give them a listen and you’ll soon find out why they have a devout following of “Fananas”. If you like the album and want to hear more check out their YouTube Page.
Recommended Track: “These Fucking Kids”
From Melbourne, Australia this two man folk punk act has been around for a while now, but still continue to produce outstanding music on a consistent basis and in spite of that they are still largely overlooked. They have well written, intelligent lyrics with uncomplicated, emotional vocals. They’re not as raw and unrefined as most folk acts, more Steady Hands than they are Pat the Bunny. They released a new two track EP Trick With a Knife about a year ago and prior to that they also released two other EPs. Their eight track debut album, Ghosts in Our Sails, released in early 2013 is a criminally underrated folk jewel. Both of those albums, along with their sophomore offering As It Falls, also released in 2013 are all available for whatever you deem appropriate. To be honest though, these guys are priceless.
Recommended Track: “Heroes and Angels”
7. Bad Words
London, Ontario trio Bad Words released their debut, three song EP, Eat Your Heart Out, in late 2014. Nothing fancy here folks, it’s good old fashioned, lighthearted skate punk. Simple and fast, snotty and irreverent, this one takes you right back to the 90’s when the bands they draw inspiration from were in their prime. Diesel Boy, early Green Day, NOFX, you can hear all of their influences in this five minute, sprint race of an album. We love a band that is just as likely to be found shredding the stages in South Eastern Ontario as they are to be found passed out in a sweaty heap in the alley behind the bar that they just played at to earn enough for the beer that got them in the whole mess to begin with. Just what you want from a great skate punk act. They are currently back in the studio, so we should be hearing from them again pretty soon.
Recommended Track: “900 Bucks”
This clever eight-piece ska outfit began as a hardcore band in a garage in South East London back in 2012. Since then they have found their groove and gained a pretty impressive following in the UK ska scene touring with the likes of The Toasters and Irish heavyweights Chewing on Tinfoil. Last year, they released their debut self titled album. All of the tracks are well performed with crisp, tactical brass and smooth vocals that ring slightly of Tim Armstrong. They are currently putting the finishing touches on their second studio album, so what better time to get to know them! About the time you’ll be wanting more, the new album will be out!
Recommended Track: “Killing Me”
9. Mobina Galore*
Formed in 2012, this frenzied female duo from Winnipeg, Manitoba has been hustling with two studio albums and a demo to their credit. Their most recent full length anthology Cities Away was release in December of 2014 and as expected, it is a paragon of furious, vocal cord rupturing garage pop. This album is a huge leap in quality from their previous EPs. This may have something to do with it being produced by Private Ear Studios, who have also produced albums for Propaghandi and Comeback Kid among others. You don’t get the recognition of people and organizations of that caliber without showing massive potential and they have proven that if it’s one thing they already have in spades, it’s talent. In addition to playing Pouzza Fest, these gals have also been touring heavily all over The Great White North. Check their schedule and if they come around, do not miss their show!
*While we’d like to lie and bask in the glory of this superlative find, it was actually recommended by one of our astute readers, so keep the suggestions coming! You never know when one of yours will make the list!
Recommended Track: “You’re Not 23 Anymore”
Okay, we know we said that these albums were going to be free or name-your-price, but this one was just too damn good to leave off the list and the price tag isn’t too high. Plus, with all the cheddar we saved you on the others, you can afford it. Remember Bizarro World from the DC Universe where everything was the exact opposite of what it was here on Earth? Yeah, it’s like that but punk music. In his self titled tribute debut, this acute Aussie has flipped the script on acts like Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies and taken classic punk tunes (mostly from Epi-Fat legends) and treated them with a heavy dose of banjos, bluegrass and so much thick, country twang that it sounds like it should be blasting over the loud speakers at an Appalachian hoedown. If the album leaves you wanting more, you can find a handful of others on his Facebook and YouTube Pages.
Recommended Track: “Nation States”