We’re always so caught up shouting out about the best up and coming artists in alternative music that sometimes we can miss some masterpieces along the way. Hidden Gems is here to highlight some of the most underrated albums from different genres over the years. First up: Punk Rock.
We’ve highlighted 4 phenomenal punk rock albums that might have slipped under your radar, or if you’re au fait with the records, then it’s a perfect opportunity to get those headphones on and revisit some stellar tunes that deserved far more attention than they received at the time.
AUTHORITY ZERO – ‘THE TIPPING POINT’
FOR FANS OF:
Rise Against / Bad Religion / Mad Caddies
Arizona skate punks Authority Zero have been flying the flag for fast-paced ska influenced punk rock for the best part of twenty years. You may be familiar with the ragged tones of the band’s first two records ‘Andiamo’ and ‘A Passage In Time’, or even hearing them on the soundtrack for ‘Tony Hawk’s Underground’ but the Mesa band have been consistently producing records that show they excel in everything from circle pit tracks to laid back reggae rhythms. No Authority Zero album highlights this more than 2013’s ‘The Tipping Point’.
Frontman Jason Devore has an incredible vocal style that can transform from a call to arms in the title track to a devastatingly infectious melodic chorus in ‘Undivided’ or the Hispanic vibes that intertwine with the trumpet on ‘Today We Heard The News’. ’21st Century Breakout’ and ‘No Other Place’ provide the rowdy material that still makes you feel safe in the hands of the rhythm section, who maintain the hooks that make the record so palatable to the less alternative listeners. ‘The Tipping Point’ is a melodic punk album from an underappreciated band that have a flawless track record, so if you’re a fan of the Fat Wreck scene, or indeed any skate punk bands over the last two decades, then this one is for you.
A WILHELM SCREAM – ‘PARTYCRASHER’
FOR FANS OF:
Strike Anywhere / Hot Water Music / Good Riddance
Since rebranding from their previous pseudonym Smackin’ Isaiah‘, Massachusetts punks A Wilhelm Scream have released 4 baffling perfect melodic hardcore records in ‘Mute Print’, ‘Ruiner’, ‘Career Suicide’ and, most recently, 2013’s ‘Partycrasher’. The journey throughout these albums has seen the band take a heavier route with ‘Gut Sick Companion’ and ‘Hairy Scarecrow’ combining those skilfully crafted guitar riffs and brutal drum fills to create that effortless personal feeling of all the band being completely in sync with each other, and having the best time doing it. You can feel singer Nuno Pereira‘s infectious smile through the likes of ‘Wild Turkey’ and ‘The Last Laugh’ where the vocal melodies are gloriously joyous.
As with the interlude between ‘Career Suicide’, there is an agonising wait for new material from A Wilhelm Scream. 7 years on, we impatiently anticipate an overdue record, but ‘Partycrasher’ easily outpunches any technical high octane heavy punk music that has been released since. Thankfully, the choruses will never grow old and the album will sound contemporary for years and years to come.
MIXTAPES – ‘EVEN ON THE WORST NIGHTS’
FOR FANS OF:
Broadway Calls / The Swellers / Free Throw
The musical tone and lyrics that Mixtapes incorporate into their songs are so personal and honest that it makes you feel like they’re in your room playing your own intimate house party. Ryan Rockwell and Maura Weaver superbly share vocal duties, whether it’s the warming and laid back ‘Seven Mile’, the pacey ‘One For The Ozarks’ or the sub-minute ‘You & I’ that combines the two.
‘Even On The Worst Nights’ is a tightly packaged 16 track record that begs for immediate repeat plays and tells relatable stories of loneliness, love and, of course, confusion over listening to Bon Iver. This is the perfect record for anyone in the need of some calming yet punchy punk influenced rock that encapsulates the voices of relaxed and interesting individuals. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard from Mixtapes since their hiatus started in 2014 but you can always catch up with Maura who is now playing with new band Ogikubo Station.
RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS – ‘UNDERNEATH THE OWL’
FOR FANS OF:
Billy Talent / The Lawrence Arms / Rocket From The Crypt
Texan punk rockers Riverboat Gamblers have a back catalogue stuffed with vicious riffs and gang vocals that make for punchy, layered music that’s dirty and rough around the edges. The quintet’s fifth record ‘Underneath The Owl’ saw the band sharpen their sound and grow on their previously relentless high energy by adding more restrained tracks which allow their musicianship to flourish. ‘Sleepless’ and ‘A Choppy, Yet Sincere Apology’ have gloriously comforting choruses that merge together through purposeful verses that keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.
If it’s the faster rushes you crave then ‘Catastrophe’ and ‘DissDissDissKissKissKiss are here for the balls to the wall punk rock that Riverboat Gamblers fans have become accustomed to. The beauty of ‘Underneath The Owl’ is that it sounds even better with age. Over ten years on from its release, the likes of ‘Pilgrims In An Unholy Land’ hold up perfectly and will be stuck in your ears for years to come.
Check out our playlist below, compiled with the four punk rock records above. Take a listen and see what you think.
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Features Editor for DEAD PRESS | Based in MK