I’ve always been a big fan of punk music, ranging from ska-punk bands like Less Than Jake to classic punk bands such as The Clash, all the way through to melodic hardcore acts like Bad Religion. I’m always looking for new music to listen to and there are lots of up-and-coming bands around at the moment with elements of punk in their music that deserve listening to, so here are some of my underground punk favourites of the year so far!
Review by Jane Howkins
Photo by Lull
Lull – Fed Up
Lull are an alt rock/grunge band from Newcastle Upon Tyne, with their music also featuring elements of hardcore punk, making for quite a nice mix of sounds.
Despite having a hardcore punk sound to their music, Fed Up has quite a melodic feel to it, which I loved. I also enjoyed how raw the song sounds, adding to the grungy feel of the track – this mixture of styles should appeal to a wide range of fans. Lull list artists such as Citizen, Alexisonfire and Basement as being some of their main influences, and fans of bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Oasis should also find something to love here. They’ve had quite a bit of media interest, having been featured on BBC Introducing recently, so be sure to check Lull out before they get too big! You can find out more information about Lull on their social media accounts and website.
ibbi Too Vicious – Sybarite Tendencies
ibbi Too Vicious is the musical pseudonym of Ibrahim Munir, with his moniker being named after Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols fame, showing that punk music really is at the heart of his sound.
Sybarite Tendencies is a little different to some of the other tracks on this list in terms of style, as it has more of an industrial/electronic feel to it. Don’t let this put you off though, as it definitely has a punk feel to it in terms of attitude, and there’s also a rawness to it which sounds great when mixed with the electronic style. The track has a pulsating rhythm to it which gives it quite a frantic feeling. I’m usually not a fan of autotune, but it does work well on Sybarite Tendencies. It all makes for quite a unique sound, and I’ll be interested to hear more of ibbi Too Vicious in the near future!
At Face Value – Swim
At Face Value are a rock band from the USA with more of a pop-punk sound to their music than a straight up punk-rock sound. Swim is a very catchy song, showing a band able to mix together pop sensibilities and punk themes to make something that sounds great. Fans of bands such as Blink 182 and Jimmy Eat World should enjoy At Face Value’s music – those into more hardcore styles of the genre might not enjoy their music as much, but there are other songs on this list that might appeal to those into hardcore punk instead. Swim really is a catchy track, and after a few listens it should start to work its way inside your head – the band have been together for 9 years now, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too long before they hit the bigtime!
Prom Night Rejects – Circles
Circles is the debut release by Prom Night Rejects, a British pop-punk band. Whilst their music can definitely be categorised as being within the pop-punk genre, it has a harder edge to it, reminding me of bands like Four Year Strong and Brand New. It’s very impressive considering that this is their debut single release, showing good signs for the band’s future. Lyrically, the track addresses the current coronavirus pandemic, looking at it from a uniquely British point of view. The catchy nature of the song gives it quite an upbeat feel, which is particularly interesting considering the lyrical content. If this is their debut release, then I’m excited to hear where Prom Night Rejects go next – it can only be onwards and upwards!
Detention – Good + Ready
Detention are a punk band from Ohio in the USA – Good + Ready is their latest tune to be released to the world. Lyrically, the track is about the morning routine of getting ready for school – admittedly, it’s not something that everyone will be able to relate at the moment, but lots of younger punk fans should be able to connect with the sentiment. The band members are all still at school, which makes it even more impressive that they’ve managed to gain such traction in the underground punk scene, giving us high hopes for Detention’s future. It’s also great to hear a female-fronted band within the punk scene, proving that women can rock just as hard as men. For more information, see their website.
I also checked out another track by Detention called 56 Minutes. The track has something of a ska feel to it, although without the brass instruments – the bass melody that runs throughout the piece has a great rhythm to it and it’s good to hear a bass guitar being so prominent for a change! The track has a great energy to it and it’s an absolute blast to listen to – I reckon Detention probably put on a very good live show from the sound of 56 Minutes!
Calm – Eat Shit Everyone
Calm are a punk band that are fairly local to us, being based in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate. It’s great to be able to include some local talent here – the curiously titled Eat Shit Everyone is the band’s latest release. It’s quite an interesting track in that it has something of a pop-punk feel to it, but at the same time we wouldn’t really include it within the pop-punk genre, as it’s a lot heavier and harder than you would expect from that style of music. Eat Shit Everyone manages to combine a sense of vulnerability with a raw and intense feel, giving the track a very nice mix of styles. I’ll definitely be interested to hear more of Calm’s music in the near future – hopefully they’ll be able to put on some local gigs once the pandemic has ended.
Brophy’s Law – The Bachelor
The Bachelor is a little different from most of the other songs on the list, with the track having more of a folk-punk feel to it. Brophy’s Law are an Irish band with a Celtic influence to their music – it might be a lazy comparison, but fans of bands like Dropkick Murphys, Roughneck Riot and Flogging Molly should enjoy The Bachelor. The track has more of a folk influence to it than some of those bands do, with Brophy’s Law also being heavily influenced by The Pogues – I’m a big fan of folk music too, so it all sounds great to me! The lyrics tell a story about a working-class man who sadly becomes an alcoholic and how his life progresses from this. It’s quite a typical tale for this style of music, but it works very well with the folk-punk feel of The Bachelor. Apparently the song is a live favourite for fans, so if you like it, then go and see Brophy’s Law live when you can!
Alex Dante – Not Again
Alex Dante is an American musician – he usually produces music with his band Code Silver, but last year decided to release some of his solo work instead, with Not Again being one of his solo tracks. The track has a pop-punk sound, but there is also more of a rock feel to the song – it’s more Brand New/Jimmy Eat World than Simple Plan/Blink 182. The main chorus melody is particularly addictive and I found myself listening to it on repeat. The lyrics are about the coronavirus quarantine and the stresses of the world at the moment, which is something a lot of people can likely relate to – on Not Again, Alex manages to successfully tap into the collective frustration felt by many people across the world at the moment.
To The Helpless – Afraid Of Yourself?
Afraid Of Yourself? is the first track from To The Helpless’ new album, titled A Futile Guide To Modern Living. It’s quite a dark song, both in terms of music and atmosphere, which is something I really loved. Lyrically, the track is about the fear that a lot of people have with being on their own, which is something that seems particularly poignant with all the lockdowns happening across the world over the last year. It’s quite a heavy song, although it is catchy enough to get inside your head, and I found that there was something very cathartic about the piece as a whole. I really enjoyed Afraid Of Yourself? and will be checking out the rest of the album.
The Spotify playlist can be found below, also featuring several other underground punk songs that I enjoyed: