Punk rock 101: Intro to underground punk
Willoughby Thom | Thursday, August 29, 2019
Punk rock gets a bad rap. Punk is often seen as an aggressive and violent cultural movement filled with screams, safety pins and neon mohawks, but that only makes up a small fraction of the scene. Yes, there are aspects of the underground punk scene that are more aggressive than others. There are people who wear safety pins and have their mohawks haphazardly coiffed, but punk is intended to be a progressive movement, not an aggressive one. It’s a movement that stands up against unjust societal norms and provides a place for people to come together and appreciate one another as unique individuals.
Musically, punk had changed quite a bit. Punk no longer sounds like Black Flag, Fugazi or Minor Threat, but a blend of 60’s fuzz, West Coast Ska and teenage angst. Here are the three best new punk tracks that were released this summer:
“Crumbling” – Grumpster
If you like Green Day, you’ll like Grumpster. Before I go any further, I need to make it clear that Green Day is not pop-punk; they are pure underground, grass-roots punk. So please don’t compare them to Blink-182. Grumpster, like Green Day, is an Oakland, California, based band under Asian Man Records, and they just released their single “Crumbling” on Aug. 13. “Crumbling,” the first song released off their upcoming debut album “Underwhelmed,” which is projected to be released in November, does not disappoint. Fayln, the front-woman and bassist (you can add her onto the list with Geddy Lee, Paul McCartney and Sting—get it?), is the female Billie Joe Armstrong. As she channels the classic sounds of riot grrrl punk, the heavy guitar is reminiscent of Green Day’s “Basket Case” and “Bang Bang.”
If you want to check out more of Fayln’s endeavors, check out Destroy Boys.
“Lose Lose Lose” – SWMRS
SWMRS (pronounced “swimmers”) are revolutionary. They are also an Oakland-based band, and they bring the party! Their recent release off their new album “Berkley’s on Fire” makes you want to lose your mind. “Lose Lose Lose,” released as a single on Jun. 14, is a perfect mix of modern sounds along with the classic angst that is unique to punk. Cole Becker’s contagious energy builds to the central chant of “I’d lose, lose, lose my mind.” A call for change is the central theme, and it is directly addressed when he alludes to Marxism and Communism as poisonous regimes by directly addressing Vladimir Putin and Che Guevara. “Lose Lose Lose” is a modern twist on classic punk.
“F Nature” – Sitting on Stacy
Sitting on Stacy, the new-age Sublime. Sitting on Stacy is based out of San Diego and their new album “Perfectly Sane,” released Aug. 16, captures the essence of surf punk. The album features songs like “Laid,” “Hope She’s the One” and “Fries,” which are all different facets of the band, but “F Nature” is the perfect blend of three. The only way to describe them would be if Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Bradley Nowell of Sublime had a baby it would be Sitting on Stacey.