Oh…Hello there!!! We weren’t expecting anyone this month! We figured everyone was still out, trying to trap Tamagotchis (ed: pretty sure that’s not right). Well, for those lucky few who aren’t roaming around public areas throwing balls at imaginary, yellow squirrels (sounds like our college days!) you are in for a real treat! Welcome to July’s Hidden Gems of Bandcamp! Our punk rock pillagers have once again looted the site’s musical treasure troves and returned with only the best up and coming punk acts from around the globe that are sure to put some pika in your chu! This month, we have seven spectacular bands, spanning a multitude of genres for your audial arousal. You gotta catch ’em all below!
Between the ‘Brexit’ fallout and the debacle that has become Top Gear, the UK is in desperate need of something positive. Never fear, you lugubrious limeys, there’s always great music to be found all around you! Take for example, this burgeoning punk act from Newbury, UK. Their blend of punk and hip hop creates a distinctive sound that sets them apart from most punk acts, especially other British punk acts. While some bands sprinkle in some hip hop here and there, this foursome has perfected the fusion, effortlessly flowing from one to the other throughout, showing they have an excellent handle on both genres. That hip hop influence is not only found in the vocals but in the music itself, with heavy, funkadelic bass lines and slower more deliberate drum beats. Their newest EP, Telling Tales just released back in February and is available for Name Your Price (as are their other two EPs). While the music was good enough to get them on the list, we did give extra points for the Monkey Island reference!
Recommended Track: “Falling Apart”
Hardcore is always best when it has a purpose, a target to focus pent up derision and unbridled rage towards. Without that tangible threat, this ultra-aggressive genre loses some of it’s edge. If you’ve turned on a TV or read a newspaper recently (do those still exist?), you would know that for minorities and the lower class in our country, there are no lack of targets for this ire. Trans-hardcore pioneers, G.L.O.S.S. do this expertly, there’s a concrete petulance that is validated by the constant oppression, systemic mistreatment and alienation. During our search, we found another, equally truculent act who are raising in the ranks of the Hardcore scene. This four piece from Columbus, Ohio released a demo last year and followed it up with a seven track, eight minute EP, Culture Control last September. It’s brutal and unrelenting, carrying powerful messages that serve as a properly amplified voice for the beleaguered masses. The lyrics, peeling off scabs that appeared to be healed, exposing the rot and disease that was conveniently covered up, just barely under the skin. Even though it’s slightly tongue in cheek, their comparison to Minor Threat goes deeper than just their name.
Recommended Track: “Protect and Serve”
One bitch and three dudes. It’s as simple as that. While this Sin City skacore act’s name is pretty straightforward, their music is anything but. Blending styles from a diverse group of genres like 50’s lounge, waltz, crust and heavy metal, this band creates a unique texture to their music that can’t be found anywhere else. This fiery foursome released their debut, self titled LP about a year ago, and now almost one full year later, have come back with their sophomore offering, So Who Are They?. The eleven tracks are highlighted by gut thumping bass lines, technical metal guitar riffs and violent, abrasive female vocals that slide seamlessly between the wide range of genres. Showing another level of their rare talent, the songs are also filled with abrupt and odd transitions, sounding similar to the Heartthrobs of Hardcore, PEARS. With the recent rise in popularity of female led hardcore groups, this Vegas act has put in the work and are now perfectly positioned for prosperity.
Recommended Track: “Welcome Back”
Another act from across the pond, this time we turn our sites to Lancashire, UK and the town of Skelmersdale where we unearthed this stellar ska septet. Their debut, full length The Grind was released back in February and breathes some life back into the the diminishing classic ska genre with palm mutes a plenty, an infallible brass section, amazing vocals and a menagerie of songs that traverse everything from pure reggae to big band, there’s even a pirate drinking song! The range on the vocals is impressive, flowing smoothly between easy going, stunted ska to a more aggressive, throaty punk styles. But as with any true ska act, the horns are one of the most important ingredients. Steve, Ewen, Hayley and Ellen fill that role impeccably and set the tone on most of the eleven tracks with their crystal clear, invigorating brass. The LP is available for £5 (soooo, like $.10¢? We kid, we kid. Withdrawing from politico-economic unions is all the rage! Totally worth it!).
Recommended Track: “The Grind”
Originally formed in 2006 as 3 Grams Over an Ounce, this four piece from Denver, Colorado gained a bit of popularity with their contentious crusty pop sound before calling it quits in 2012. It appears that this quartet wasn’t content with being added to the annals of ephemera, making a precipitous comeback in 2015 as the now truncated, Three Grams. This rebirth also saw a minor change in music style, moving toward more of a melodic hardcore sound akin to Rise Against although there are still some crusty edges to it (that sounded pretty gross). The deft dual vocals and chanting choruses reminded us of Pittsburgh anarcho-punks, Anti-Flag but the similarities don’t end there. These Mile High misfits also write politically driven, passionate lyrics as a platform for the proletariat, decrying government abuse and overreach, social inequalities and the War on Drugs among other things. Whether it’s the old version or the newer shinier model, you really can’t go wrong with Three Grams.
Recommended Track: “Before the Fall”
This pop punk trio was birthed on the shores of Lake Michigan, in Muskegon in 2013. For being relative newcomers, they show a high level of precision and execution in their newest five track EP Away Like Sheep that just hit shelves, two years after their breakthrough, debut LP Eye to Eye. It’s extremely radio friendly, technically sound with tight transitions and hooks that reel you in like a a Level 22 Punka-chu (ed: enough). The lyrics are evocative, and not as nihilistic and angsty as expected. The real take away is how well the songs are written and subsequently performed. It doesn’t come off as sappy or cliche as we’ve sadly become accustomed to with this genre. The songwriting is emotional but it’s got a higher level of maturity and thoughtfulness to it. If you are among the many that were disappointed with the new blink 182 album, give this threesome a shot. You can pick up both albums for less than a Lincoln and we’re betting you may like it as much or better!
Recommended Track: “Set It Off”
Los Angeles is quickly becoming a mecca for crusty folk punk. From the gutters of DTLA, to the natural gas filled air of Porter Ranch, to the bridges of East LA, more and more folk acts are popping up around the city. Among our favorite filthy, folky acts, is the spectacular Spud Bugs. We’ve been fans ever since catching their adept accordion player, Steven play an amazing solo set at a show at one of the Anarcho-collectives here in LA, where he performed an incredible version of the recommended track below. On the heels of their debut, self titled EP released earlier this year, they collaborated with the hooligans of Highland Park, The Anti-Sheeple Movement on the fantastic, five track split Shit Show Split Show which just came out a few weeks ago. This troupe embodies the DIY, punk spirit that we all pride ourselves in, but more importantly, they’re great musicians and rad people! Their van broke down not too long ago and although it’s up and running now, it’s on tenuous ground. All of their music is available for NYP, so go toss ’em some bucks, get some sick new tunes and help out some genuinely nice, hard working people.
Recommended Track: “God Dam”
***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.***