As promised, we’re back with our second installment of December’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! Our website combers have been duly punished for bringing back such expensive offerings for our first list. As penance, they were sent back to scour the site again for more wallet friendly selections. Needless to say, they weren’t too pleased with having to do additional work this close to the holidays and that frustration shows a little in their choices (Good! Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you!). This bonus list is probably the hardest, dirtiest, punk-est, grittiest list so far. Pretty much exactly what we wanted to round out our inaugural year of Hidden Gems! So….guess the joke’s on them!
From all of us here at Dying Scene, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Jubilant Kwanzaa/Fantastic Festivus/Brilliant Boxing Day and safe and Happy New Year. Thanks for reading and we can’t wait to see you in the pit in 2016! Enjoy our bonus edition of December’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp below!
Calgary, Alberta is known to produce rugged folks. That regional characteristic is on display with this fresh faced five piece. They are poppy but with a really aggressive, garage punk sound. The perfect pop punk band to represent Stampede City. They’ve been putting out albums since 2009 and have shown great progression through the subsequent years. As expected, their most recent album Spaces Between released just a few months ago, has continued to show that growth, although their their five track sophomore release Morning Breath got the most playtime on our playlists.With catchy pop guitar riffs and snotty, abrasive vocals and simple lyrics, it’s a skate punker’s dream. The drums always stay busy and thump hard, sometimes perfectly straddling the edge of almost overtaking the rest of the band, hard to do. These boys are far from perfect but that’s what we like about them. Some bands look better with rough edges. In this game, it’s often preferred. Check out their entire catalog, all albums are free or less than five bucks.
Recommended Track: “Chicken Liver”
Remember when we said this was the hardest list of the year? Yea, it’s mainly because of these guys. Hailing from Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, this five piece proves that hardcore is a global scene, even in the farthest corners. It’s almost like their remote geography has preserved the classic skate thrash sound of the early 80’s like a mosquito in amber. It’s fast as fuck and unrelenting with heavy metal guitar riffs and riot inciting choruses. This veteran act has been around since ’95 so it’s no surprise that they have a large following. Their website says “The true power of LAST HOPE has always been playing live, where they really blow things up”. From what we’ve heard of them, we believe it. Their latest album, Stay Gold, marks their sixth studio release and is a compilation of hits, celebrating their 20th anniversary. No album may ever do them true justice, but since it’s the closest many of us may get to hearing them live, go pick up a copy. Let us know if you think we should start saving for airfare!
Recommended Track: “Dead”
Crust from north of the border? Yes please! Canada is always on the forefront of the scene when it comes to up and coming punk acts. It seems every month, there’s more and more bands from the Great White North that are featured on our website. This month is no different. Toronto, Canada has offered up their response to American skacore acts like No-Ca$h or INDK. Formed in 2006, this quartet has been killing the local scene for awhile now with their crusty albeit slightly cleaner version of the subgenre. There is definitely a deeper ska influence prevalent than the American flavor, although the vocals provided by Kyle Jewitt do remind us a little of the Leftover Crack front man STZA. Although ska and hardcore are the two most outstanding influences, these guys show more diversity than most and also draw from skate punk as well as horror. The eerie, ghostly backing vocals in some of the songs are a little odd at first but tend to grow on you as you listen. They’re having a sale at the moment so you can get their entire discography, five releases (a few EPs and singles and a split) in total for $1.25!
Recommended Track: “Life or Debt”
Our readers are the best! Sometimes it can be grueling to hunt through pages after endless pages of bands, searching for the best artists for our followers. But every once in awhile one of our our devoted readers gives back to us. This is one of those times. Keep ’em coming! So, as we mentioned earlier, Canadian bands are invading our lists on a monthly basis (someone call The Donald!). Driving that point home even further is our second group of Canucks, Nelson, British Columbia’s very own, Drunk on Purpose. These dirty drunks bring just as much fun as they do thunder and that’s a lot. The vocals have a slight ring of rockabilly to them with faster skate punk beats in the background, at some points we were reminded a bit of Circle Jerks. This is another one of those acts that isn’t looking to blow your mind with sick guitar solos and precise musical transitions. They’re basic and rudimentary, wanting nothing more than to have a good time, get a pit started and get piss drunk. At that, they succeed. Their debut EP, Cenosillicaphobia (which is the fear of an empty glass… fucking perfect) is available for Name Your Price.
Recommended Track: “Red and Green”
We now introduce you to Lincoln Heights’ finest folk punk act. These Angelinos have been busking in front of drug stores in NELA for years now but just released their first demo this past Summer. This four piece does punk right, DIY ’til you die. When others say that the Scene is dead or dying in the City of Angels, we retort with two words, Rusty Pennies. Almost every week, we see Facebook posts from these guys inviting everyone/anyone to free house shows, or backyard parties they’re playing. Just last week, they played a show on the fucking LA Metro Red Line (kicking ourselves that we couldn’t make that one) along with fellow busk-core acts like The Anti-Sheeple Movement. The Scene isn’t dead in LA, it just hit the streets where it should be, especially in LA. The streets are where it’s at, tacos, weed doctors, kick ass graffiti, it’s all out on the concrete encrusted earth of the Basin and Valley. Perhaps those folks that think our Scene is on the downturn just don’t get too far out of Hollywood… or ride the metro to CVS. Their lone demo is available for Name Your Price. Go throw a buck in the digital guitar case.
Recommended Track: “Artillery”
Next up, Denver, Colorado’s Skacore act The Rotten Blue Menace! “Two skacore acts in one list?!?” Yes, except you forgot to add the word ‘excellent’ in between two and skacore. Now, on with the show! This quintet is one of the more polished groups on this particular list, which was unexpected as they haven’t been around that long. Despite the fact that they are relatively young, they are well composed and the music is more intricate for even the most tenured bands in the genre, which is notoriously sloppy. The bass lines are quick and more powerful than you typically find, sometimes it even steals the thunder from the guitars (although they shred too, see “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”), which fits perfectly in a skacore sound. Adding to their acclaim, they also already have three national tours to their credit. Superb music aside, we couldn’t decide what we liked more about these Mile High hooligans, their pictures or their band name. Head over to Bandcamp and get acquainted, you’ll be hearing more from these guys soon. Three EPs, a thirteen track Live! album and all the anti-cop lyrics you can scream for about $3 is a deal that cannot be beat!
Recommended Track: “Fast Forward”
One of the most versatile bands we’ve reviewed, these boys from East Islip, New York can do it all. Ska, hardcore, skate punk, pop, Celtic, folk, rock, there’s so many different sounds that you get with any given album. In addition to the variety, the music and songwriting are all high level too. Formed in 2006, these Long Island locals have seven albums in their discography. Their most recent LP, You’re All Terrible People…But I Still Think You’re Kinda Cool, was released last August and probably showcases the talent level the best. Some readers may also recognize the vocal from lead man Jesse Andrus. We profiled his stellar solo project Steve Buscemi a few months back in our Small Town Bandcamp feature. All of their albums are available at different price points although most are Name Your Price. If you want our opinion though Vs. Dr Fearsome is probably our favorite. Go pick up a few and give the boys something to drink on for the holidays!
Recommended Track: “Give ‘Em Hell”
Some bands are just out to get drunk and thrash on stage. These Dallas, Texas natives are the perfect example. They don’t take themselves seriously and don’t really care about pissing people off, sounds like a recipe for disaster (umm… did we just call them a disaster?)! They released their debut album Lower Your Standards & Open Your Mind in July. It’s chock full o’ tongue in cheek political punk lyrics set to the soundtrack of crusty ska and old school, garage, skate punk. The loud, frantic, vocals have a contained nervousness that give them a unique sound and the screaming, psychotic backing vocals add another luscious layer on an already excellent cake. The lyrics are hard to keep up with, but after a few listens, you realize there’s substance there (“My life is full of stress. The Doctor suggests I try having more sex. ‘Well, no shit’ “) even if it is a bit abrupt and curt in it’s nature. Much like the rest of the albums on our list, this twelve track LP is available for Name Your Price. These guys deserve a listen, go check ’em out.
Recommended Track: “Counting Shoes”
We’ve archived all of our past Hidden Gems of Bandcamp lists for you guys in case you’re a little late to the party. Check all of our past lists out here!