There’s no question that punk rock is making a resurgence these days. With artists like Machine Gun Kelly, MOD SUN, jxdn, and YUNGBLUD gaining more and more popularity for their angst-infused lyrics and angry guitar riffs, it sort of feels like we hopped into a time machine and landed in the pop-punk era of the early 2000s. In a parallel movement, ripped jeans, piercings, colored hair, and trash tattoos are once again on the rise, too.
The punk rock movement started in the 1970s as an offshoot from the garage rock scene of the 1960s. Eventually, punk rock moved out of the garages and into the mainstream with acts like The Ramones, The Damned, The Sex Pistols, and The Clash paving the way for the genre and cementing themselves on punk rock’s Mount Rushmore.
Since the golden era of the 1970s, punk rock has changed forms, waxed and waned in popularity, and given way to some great bands. Even when punk rock falls out of the mainstream for many years, the genre has never really gone away. Ask the guy with the mohawk and the scalp tattoo standing outside your local dive bar, punk music has always lived on in the hearts of those devoted to the art form.
Now that everyone in the world seems to be back on the punk train, including Becky who wears the Canada Goose jacket and Davis who’s a consultant at Deloitte, it’s time to pay respect to those who have been carrying the torch. For those out there who have been lifelong punk fans and feel like their culture is being bastardized by the mainstream, just remember that music is for everyone and head-banging with others is better than head-banging alone.
If you’re interested in diving a little deeper into the punk genre, here are some of the bands you should be listening to:
Out of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, The Flatliners got their start in the dive bars of the Greater Toronto Area. Their music mixes elements of ska with a classic punk sound that’s charged up with youthful energy. They’ll make you want to jump around, bang your head, and then hug your best friends when it’s all over.
Their first album Destroy to Create was released in 2005, and they haven’t slowed down since then, releasing Mass Candescence EP in 2017. Over their careers, the members of The Flatliners have continued to move forward sonically while never losing sight of what has always inspired them to make music: their relationships with each other and the other people in their lives. Turn on any one of their albums and you’ll find yourself bouncing off the walls and cherishing every moment of fun you’ve ever had with your friends.
Songs to Bump:
- Count Your Bruises
- Mother Teresa Chokeslams the World
- Fred’s Got Slacks
Hailing from Long Island, New York, Iron Chic is pretty much a band of stray dogs from other dissolved bands from around the Long Island punk scene that have come together to make some seriously badass music. If you ever find yourself driving over the Verrazano Bridge from New Jersey toward Long Island, pay your respects and blast some Iron Chic out the windows. Their sound is emotional and tortured, but also prevailing and hopeful at the same time.
Iron Chic has released three full-length albums to date, all of which have received resoundingly positive reviews from critics. Their first album Not Like This, which was released in 2010, established their light-hearted yet hard-hitting musical style that has carried on through their most recent album You Can’t Stay Here. The music of Iron Chic will give you a sense of what blue-collar life in Long Island is like and the importance that music played for the band members as youths in those communities.
Songs to Bump:
- My Best Friend (Is a Nihilist)
- Cutesy Monster Man
- To Shreds, You Say?
- Black Friday
- Wolf Dix Rd.
The Bouncing Souls
The Bouncing Souls have been holding it down on the punk rock scene for over 30 years at this point, and it’s safe to say they haven’t lost a step. Growing up in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, the band members all played in smaller bands while attending Ridge High School. While they all chose not to go to college, they moved to the college town of New Brunswick, the home of Rutgers University, which had and still has a reputation for its underground music scene.
The name of the band came from the slogan for Dr. Martens shoes, which are advertised as having “bouncing soles.” The name is fitting indeed, as the music of The Bouncing Soles makes you feel like you’re jumping up and down in a New Brunswick attic space that just might cave in at any moment. The lyrics are sincere and authentic, the music is fun and dangerous, and The Bouncing Souls have been delivering incredible music since 1989.
Songs to Bump:
- Lean On Sheena
- True Believers
- The Gold Song
- Sing Along Forever
The Lawrence Arms
Moving out to the Midwest, The Lawrence Arms are a group of punk rockers from Chicago, Illinois. Before The Lawrence Arms was formed, the three members of the band were all playing in different bands around the Chicago area. They eventually came together to form the band in 1999, taking the name from an apartment complex they had been living in before getting evicted in the middle of the night. And, unlike most young punk bands, they had a relationship with Asian Man Records that allowed them to jump to releasing a full-length album as their first project together.
The Lawrence Arms released A Guided Tour of Chicago in 1999, and followed it up in 2000 with their second album Ghost Stories. Since then, the band has stayed true to their roots and continued to churn out heart-pounding punk rock anthems for years. Their latest album Skeleton Coast was released in 2020 and proved that The Lawrence Arms are every bit as gritty and grimy as they were in their early days.
Songs to Bump:
- Quiet Storm
- The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City
- Your Gravest Words
- The First Eviction Notice
Founded in the end of 1996, Alkaline Trio has been one of the mainstays of the punk rock scene for over 20 years, and they’re still putting out head-banging classics today. The band was a product of the Chicago underground scene and has cited Misfits, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy, and Naked Raygun as some of their main influences.
The band was founded by Matt Skiba, Glenn Porter, and Rob Doran. However, Porter and Doran were eventually replaced by Dan Adriano and Derek Grant, leaving Skiba as the only remaining founder of the band. Matt Skiba also has an awesome solo project as well as a side project under the name Heavens that are totally worth checking out. The music of Alkaline Trio helped pave the way for pop-punk as we know it today, and they’ve acted as a sort of bridge between the original founders of the genre and the newcomers that are reinventing the sound.
Songs to Bump:
- We’ve Had Enough
- Mercy Me
- Trucks and Trains