Well, if it’s one thing we learned in 2016, it’s that we can survive a thorough beating. For putting your head down and toughing it out like good little soldiers, we’ve decided to reward you with what we think is the best list of the year! So, onwards and upwards to better days because we’re a proud, fiercely independent lot and not a bunch of whiny saps! Check out our final installment of Hidden Gems of Bandcamp for this the year of our lord 2016 below!
*As always, thank you all for reading and contributing, we hope to see you back in next month for the kick off to another outstanding year of treasure hunting! Have a happy Festivus and a safe New Year!
The cover of the this Fargo, North Dakota act’s debut EP, Two Minutes For Holding (which features a vintage picture of ‘The Great One’ in nothing but some 70’s short shorts, posing rather provocatively) makes you think you’re getting a poppy, skate punk band with hockey themed songs. We knew we were about to be inundated with constant rhyming of the words ‘puck’ and ‘fuck’ as we clicked the play button next to the track titled “Open Net”. Well, good thing we’re persistent because this quartet kicks all sorts of ass and surprisingly, include very little hockey content in the music! There’s scads more substance to these Cass County kids than their playful image portrays. They have a melodic hardcore(ish) sound to them similar to Richmond, VA’s Strike Anywhere and they’re just as political and divisive. The lyrics are compelling and thoughtful while also antagonistic towards the establishment. Ya know, feel good music…eh?
Recommended Track: “Open Net”
Next up, Denver’s finest hardcore act! We sent staffer AnarchoPunk out to The Mile High City a few months ago to cover the Choking Victim reunion show and he came back raving about this fresh four piece who had opened for the skacore legends. Their seven track self titled EP released back in May and was a follow up to their masterful debut EP, Rotting Away which came out about a year prior. Although their roots are assuredly in classic hardcore, they also infuse some elements of hip hop, most noticeable in the cadence of frantic frontman Zion Chernila. Think of these guys as a younger, rowdy RATM. In nearly every song, you can hear the influence of their prodigious predecessors, whether it’s the heavy, soul shaking bass riffs that mimic Tim Commerford’s distinctive style, or the songwriting which has the passion and protest of Tom Morello. You should be excited about these kids. We sure are!
Recommended Track: “Interject Respect”
These Simi Valley skate punks formed back in late 2015 and shortly afterward released their debut four track EP, We’re Not Alone…. While it’s rough around the edges, it reminded us of early NOFX and is leaps above a majority of the freshman offerings that penetrate our ears on a monthly basis. Another act that we’ve had the pleasure of seeing live a few times, the clever quartet never forgets to pack their energy but more importantly, they’re awesome duders! So, even though they’re a little raw, there’s an excellent foundation that they’ve already begun building on. It seems that their hard is starting to pay off, too. The boys are currently working on a new LP, to be named Liver Die which is set to release later in 2017 via heavyweight punk label Felony Records. All of their music is available for ‘Name Your Price’ over at Da ‘Camp, so head over and get in on the ground floor ’cause these guys are going up!
Recommended Track: “No Problems”
It’s been awhile since we’ve featured a crusty, folk punk act on Gems and we’ve been itching (heh…) to find something sensational enough to share. Well, it seems that Satan Claus has left just the thing underneath ye olde holiday tree! This trashy trio has been busking the mean streets of Toronto, Ontario since 2011 but only recently released their debut five song EP, STANKROTDEMO back in 2014. A few months ago, they popped back up again with a new two song EP titled Arcade Sessions which, in addition to the ‘Recommended Track’ below, also features a raucous, bluegrass version of Choking Victim’s “In Hell”. These glorious gutter punks don’t have a deep catalog but what they lack in quantity, they more than make up for in quality. Like good lil oogles, everything is available for download for the always perfect price of ‘Name Your Price’.
Recommended Track: “Asshole”
When you’re from the Cape Fear region of North Carolina, there’s some obligation to start a great horror punk band. While these Port City punks aren’t a traditional horror act, mixing in a multitude of genres like metal and pop punk, the music is morbid, dark and just as malevolent as anything else in the category. That divergence from the orthodox sound is exactly what sets them apart from the pack and adds to their appeal. Their debut, ten track LP Sounds Like A Nightmare, released back in November, is a great introduction to their dynamic sound, with every song vastly different than the one prior. One track will be a wailing, blood curdling rock ballad, followed up by a delicate, soothing, orchestral piece. $5 nets you this beauty, across ten tracks that’s a pretty damn good rate. Plus we’ve saved you enough dinero throughout the year, you can spring for it.
Recommended Track: “Lords of Leather”
OH SHIT!! Lookie what we have here, it’s your new favorite band! Hailing from Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota this glorious garage punk act just released a new demo on UK label Drunken Sailor Records back in October and it’s been blistering our ears ever since! It has an incredible, nervous, lo-fi sound across the four fantastic tracks. It’s simple, but in the best sense possible, with steely guitars which are probably played through an amp that smells like moth balls. The drums are phenomenal, not just adding to the structure of the songs, they underscore the exceptional commotion with a loose snare and the constant cymbal crashes. This foursome has character for days, like a cool dad from the 70’s. £3 is well worth the price of admission for this one, plus it’s the holidays, you could stand to lose a few pounds…Get it? Currency jokes…High level stuff right there.
Recommended Track: “Mechanical Now”
***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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