Thanksgiving always throws off our timing on Hidden Gems but I guess it’s better late than never, right? RIGHT!??! Look, 2016 has been rough on all of us in one aspect or another but as we near it’s end, we would like to thank you for reading and hope that our silly little article has made this tough, bitter pill of a year a little easier to swallow. This month, we’ve got six sick bands that we’re betting you haven’t heard of, to help get you over this last, awful gulp. Check out November’s stellar selections below and then we’ll see you back here next month for our year end blowout!
With all of the subgenres floating around, it’s always refreshing to hear come plain, old school, feel good punk rock. This trio from Tempe Arizona has been serving up that classic flavor of punk since forming in 2008. It’s simple but dynamic, with mildly melodic dual vocals and spectacularly sloppy guitar riffs. In their eight years, the threesome has recorded a number of studio albums including a couple of splits as well as a few EPs (all available for Name Your Price). The latest release being their second full length offering, Stay Aloft which came out in 2013 via Dirt Cult Records . The lads have been relatively quiet over the past four years in regards to studio time, but keep an ear to the ground because if our math is right, you should be hearing something new from these malcontents from Maricopa County in the near future!
Recommended Track: “Nothing Left But Stale Beer”
“Six tits and a dick with some instruments” is how this four piece from Toronto, Ontario describe themselves (you may recognize the newest ‘pair of tits’ to join the group as Valerie Knox of the horror punk act Black Cat Attack ). However, since the HR Department has been on a bit of a “sexual harassment” kick lately, we’ll just describe them as gloriously grungy, garage punk. 2015 saw the release of the quartet’s debut EP, Start Running which is comprised of six tightly composed, technical songs with gut thumping drums. Adding to the already high production value of this inaugural offering, most of the tracks are a good minute longer than most traditional punk songs, leaning a little more towards the rock side of the spectrum. Although the EP is filled with highlights, the most glaring standout is (are?) the lead vocals which cut through the rest of the music with a unique gravelly, riot grrrl sound. The album is yours for $7 CAD!
Recommended Track: “Like A Flame”
Our next selection may also be this month’s most complete act which speaks volumes to their talent level, as they’ve only been around for about five years (ed: and it took you this long to find them…what exactly do you do down there?). This pop punk trio from Brooklyn, New York has hit their stride with their newest, thirteen track LP Sunk Costs, which came out earlier this month.The uncomplicated lead vocals are backed perfectly with complex harmonies that effortlessly flow in and out, creating layers of richness. Despite the music composition being pretty straightforward, the musicianship is far from rudimentary and is probably what provides an air of credibility that a five year old act probably shouldn’t have. Proving that talent alone is nothing without a strong work ethic behind it, the trio’s blue collar mentality is on display with their seven studio albums (all of which are around $5).
Recommended Track: “Go Fuck Yourself”
Pick it up, pick it, pick it up! This three piece ska band formed in Denver back in 2006 (although they’ve been playing as their current incarnation since 2015). If we had to pick their defining characteristic, it would diversity across the board. Each song can show influence from a number of genres. Their debut twelve track album, Lift Off released in 2011 was pretty much a pop album, compared to their follow up LP, Please Take Offense (which was recorded at The Blasting Room in Fort Collins and released a few months ago) which is predominantly ska. Even the lyrical content is divergent, being more socially aware than most orthodox ska acts. These guys are constantly throwing curve balls, similar to SoCal legends Sublime in their early days when they still dallied in the punk pool. They say variety is the spice of life. Well, with all of the EPs and LPs available for ‘NYP’, it’s never been more affordable to spice up your (dull, pathetic, empty) lives!
Recommended Track: “Please Take Offense”
Now that Emperor Drumpf has cozied up to Mother Russia, we hope we see an influx of more bands like this phenomenal four year old quintet (although with Putin’s track record on punk rock, we’re doubtful we will). From Moscow, their sound is the textbook definition of ‘American Post Hardcore’. Extremely precise, complex tempo changes; growling, abrasive vocals intermittently mixed with harmonic, heartfelt melodies; copious amounts of distortion and skillful post-editing; every box has been checked. Their newest LP, Sharks Don’t Sleep just released last month, along with couple EPs and singles are all ready for download for ‘Name Your Price’ over at the ‘Camp. So head on over and send some love to our newest comrades and get some great new Post Hardcore for your ears!
Recommended Track: “Saturday Night Fairytale”
Calgary, Alberta is the birthplace of our next act (who has already won “Best Band Name of the Year” Award). This quirky quartet plays sloppy, traditional pop punk that is brilliantly laced with abrasive, raunchy lyrics. If the Ramones took ecstasy and played a set in nothing but assless chaps, it would probably sound similar to The Difficult Brown (and probably be pretty disgusting). The A-holes of C-Town released their freshman LP, Songs We Stole back in 2012 and the thirteen tracks of debauchery has served as their calling card ever since. Unfortunately, the album also marks their only release that we could find, so hopefully we hear more from them soon. Fans of The Queers or The Dwarves will love these corrupt Canucks who list their only interests as ‘beer and titties’ (hey! we know a band that has six titties….sorry HR!!!)
Recommended Track: “Not With Me”
***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.***