There’s nothing quite as sickening as the “kick to the gut” that is Tax Season. It’s a rare time of year where the poor get fined for not having enough money while the rich get tax breaks and corporate exemptions out the wazoo, almost like some sort of Orwellian Negaverse where all social rationality is reversed. If you’re a perturbed member of the proletariat who got pilfered by porcine politicians, don’t let it get you down. You know we got you! Our team has scoured Bandcamp for the best punk rock at the most affordable prices and returned with six lesser known acts that are sure to put a smile on your ears (ed: WTF, guys?). This one’s for all of those that were born and bred in the brier patch like us! So, check out April’s selection of hidden gems below!
Born in 2012, this scrappy New Orleans skacore act began their lives without horns. Since then, they have become “300% hornier” by adding a proper brass section and although we never had a chance to hear them prior to this integral decision, we can attest that the results of the addition are glorious. After some slight re-branding and rehearsal time, this septet released their debut LP Root for the Bull just a few months back and it’s eleven tracks of crusty, skacore splendor. The sound is, of course, gravelly and abrasive in parts but they also show good range, mixing in other more non-traditional styles like blues, rockabilly and even a little rap-core thrown in for good measure. But let’s talk about those horns! It’s all about that brass! The newbies definitely set the tone and add a sense of credibility that we’re betting wasn’t there before. If you like dirty, street ska, get your ass over to the ‘Camp and grab this gem for only $5!
Recommended Track: “Not Sorry”
After releasing their demo about a year ago, this ferocious four piece from Fort Collins, Colorado is already positioned to release their debut EP, A Mission to Civilize: Part 1 in late May. From what we heard, it sounds like this hardcore act has upped their game in the year in between. The guitars are on par with some of the best hardcore acts in the game right now and standout on most of the tracks, shredding from beginning to end, ever present. The lyrics are simplistic with vocals that sound like Pennywise crossed with NYC punk prodigies Cerebral Ballsy. The drums thump, chugging like a locomotive, helping propel the song forward. If you live in the 970, make sure to catch these guys in early May opening for DyingScene Records alum, Western Settings. The new EP is available for pre-order and as always free to stream.
Recommended Track: “Thoughts and Prayers”
One of the younger bands on this month’s list, this trio from Sydney, Australia formed in 2015. And if it’s one thing we know those Aussies can do, it’s pump out great skate punk. Their self titled, three track EP was released earlier this year. The intelligent songwriting and socially aware messages reminded us of California punk legends Good Riddance. But the similarities don’t stop there, the blistering, high pitched metal guitar riffs played over drums smashing out that classic skate punk d-beats hearken back to the 90’s hayday of skate punk. A few months back the lead singer, Dan Antoni had to leave the band but after a short hiatus, returned and brought with him a new guitarist. We’re uber-excited to see what this new addition adds to the already tremendous sound. The EP is available for Name Your Price, the exchange rate works in their favor right now so every $1 converts to 1.30 AUD!
Recommended Track: “Blue Collared Chumps”
What do they put in the water down there in Sydney? Our second act from the Jewel of New South Wales this month, this hardcore quintet is a throw back to old school classics like Black Flag or some of the DC/NYC pioneers. They just released their sophomore EP Barricade, which is a follow up to Chain of Command which came out last year. Both are filled with simple, repetitive guitar riffs played at face melting speeds. The vocals are extremely aggressive and meander around the scale much like PEARS front man Zach Quinn. Considering the frantic nature of the act, they also somehow manage to pull off some pretty gnarly harmonies in the choruses which are perfect for crowd chanting. These guys are just now starting to get recognized for all of their hard work, recently supporting Nawlins natives, PEARS and Strung Out on their Australian tours. Both albums are available for Name Your Price, so you can’t really go wrong here!
Recommended Track: “Through and Through”
On the name alone this power pop trio from Chicago could’ve made the list (especially given this month’s theme!). After listening to them though, we knew they had to be included in this month’s Gems for their talents as well. Sometimes you get lost in all of the politics of our beloved music genre. “Is this real punk?” “Pop Punk is stupid!” or the ever popular “Emo sucks!”. It gets tiresome and sometimes you just say “Fuck it” and just wanna listen to something fun. That’s where these Second City studs come in. The lead vocals provided by Johnny Marland are unique with some pretty clever inflections (think Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio) but the real magic happens when the perfectly timed, back up harmonies kick in. The lyrics are emotionally driven without taking themselves too seriously, proving that these boys are definitely sappy drunks at heart. Word has it they’re back in the studio working on a follow up to their debut, five song EP Day Off! which was released just earlier this year despite having been around the scene since 2010. It’s available for Name Your Price, so let’s all go chip in a little to help get these boys outta the welfare line!
Recommended Track: “Death Won’t Do Us Part”
Unless you’re at the beaches, the Los Angeles Scene is undeniably filthy and gritty at it’s core but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find great bands outside of the gutters! This fivesome debuted their self titled EP back in February and while it falls into the angsty pop category, the sound is a little more mature than the typical fare, more The Flatliners than Blink-182. The female led vocals perfectly combine a clean, melodic style (some of our elder staffers kept mumbling something about Tilt, but no one understands their jive talk so we just rolled their wheelchairs out to the loading dock and kept working) with course, street hardened, skacore style backing vocals. Per a mysterious Facebook post in March, these Angelinos are undergoing some restructuring so we’re not quite sure what they’ll look like on the flip side but we’re hoping they stick with it because we like what we’re hearing so far!
Recommended Track: “More Bad Habits”
**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.**