Rob Russell’s single ‘Carried‘, extracted from his debut LP ‘What It All Meant‘, is a striking genre synthesis that boldly defies the conventional boundaries of alternative rock. The track is an audacious blend, merging the defiant spirit of contemporary skate punk with the wistful echoes of 90s pop punk, all while embracing the gritty essence of grunge.
Russell’s approach to production is refreshingly unpolished, allowing the song’s inherent rawness to shine through. This choice pays off, as it accentuates the emotional gravity of the track, making ‘Carried’ a lesson in volition.
The single resonates with a sense of rugged honesty, a quality that is increasingly rare in today’s alt-rock landscape. Russell’s vocal delivery is both poignant and powerful, weaving through the dynamic soundscape with a balance of aggression and vulnerability. The instrumentation complements this perfectly, with guitar riffs that are both sharp and melodic, underpinned by a rhythm section that drives through the track with relentless energy.
‘Carried’ stands as a testament to Russell’s ability to channel the ethos of alt-rock’s past while forging his own path. We can’t wait to hear what follows.
Check out Rob Russell’s LP, What It All Meant, on Spotify.
Beast Killer, the dynamic duo from Cleveland, Ohio, has once again proven their mettle in the alt-rock arena with their latest single from the album Dystopian Now/Dystopian Me. The recently released single, Comet, is a high-octane ride that seamlessly blends the rawness of punk with the edginess of hardcore, reminiscent of The Hives but with a distinctly Beast Killer twist.
Chris Wright (Vocals/Guitar) and Kris Monroe (Drums) have been collaborating for over a decade, and their chemistry is palpable in this release. The single bursts into life with an energy that is both frenetic and meticulously controlled, showcasing their instrumental precision. The hooks are bouncy yet laden with emotional depth, compelling listeners to engage with every beat.
Beast Killer lives up to their name in Comet by delivering a track that is ferocious in its execution. They pay homage to the early epochs of punk rock while simultaneously steering the genre towards an exciting future. The track transports listeners through a spectrum of emotions, from the ominous terror of space to a serene acceptance, mirroring the thematic journey of their album. The duo’s live performances are known to be explosive and commanding, and this energy is captured perfectly in this recording.
Sometimes two broken pieces come together to form a cohesive whole, but more often than not, the sharp idiosyncratic shards find a jarring way of exposing raw wounds. Far from your archetypal vignette of heartbreak, Morgana’s single, ‘Two Broken People (Make Hell Feel Like Home)’, approaches the narrative from a position of mutual position of imperfection. If you’re tired of black-and-white expositions of good and evil and want to find the fucked up fabric of the human psyche in sound, Morgana is a breath of non-dichotomous air.
With the visceral harmonies striking against the momentum in the rock chords as they dig deeper into the narrative and the drums deepening the tumultuous edge to the organically authentic single, Two Broken People is as affecting as the alt-90s hits from the likes of The Cranberries and Skunk Anansie. Through the grungy synthesis of punk and emo, the Kent-based trio, the single retains a signature that could only be scribed by the volition of Morgana.
Vocalist and guitarist Amy Morgan is a natural frontwoman. The mix of her expressive confidence and candid vulnerability ensures their singles don’t just resonate; they harrow the psyche. Dill Taskar (bass) and Tim Whittingham (drums) notably seem to feed off the fervour in her delivery to orchestrate a tight yet brashy riff-driven coalescence of chaos and cultivation.
Two Broken People will be available to stream from February 2nd; stream it on SoundCloud first.
In modern rock, few bands capture the essence of soulful anthems quite like Modern Ape. Their latest single, Justified, is a testament to their unique blend of precision and passion. Hailing from North West England, this three-piece ensemble has crafted a sound that resonates with the spirit of rock blues, yet speaks to all generations.
The instrumentals are meticulously tight, showcasing a mastery of craft that is rare and commendable. But it’s the soul that pours from the vocals that truly sets this track apart. It grips you with a fervour reminiscent of Against Me, while the guitar hooks echo the soul-stirring appeal of the Manic Street Preachers. It’s a heartfelt cry wrapped in melody that you’ll want to turn to every time you want to feel alive, and it is that universally shared craving for visceralism which lyrically propels the track forward.
Modern Ape, with their self-deprecating moniker, might not seem like your typical rock heroes, but their music tells a different story. They excel in rallying cries, and Justified is a clarion call to the masses.
Stream the official music video for Justified which premiered on January 1st on YouTube.
ATR’s latest single, Nothing Left to Say, featuring the formidable Kellii Scott on skins, is a visceral journey into the underbelly of grungy punk rock. This raw, unfiltered expression of disappointment and betrayal, wrapped in a rancorous alt-90s aesthetic is as cathartic as it is evocatively ensnaring.
The song’s energetic guitar licks are reminiscent of Green Day’s as a contrast to the production and attitude, underpinned by the cutting, gritty edge of Leftover Crack. It’s a powerful outpour of rage directed at the kind of people we all have the displeasure of knowing. The ones who turn away when you need them most and leave you to contend with the betrayal confounding the circumstances which compelled you to seek comfort within them. It’s a tale as old as time, yet one that makes us feel deeply alone when it is being told – ATR tore through the misconception that we are isolated in this alienation.
ATR, led by frontman Jesse, who recently triumphed over Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, channels this newfound lease on life into their music. The band’s transition to a new studio space has injected a fresh wave of inspiration and motivation, evident in the quality and intensity of Nothing Left to Say, which is augmented by Kellii Scott’s rhythmic furore to enhance the mercilessness in the tone.
Nothing Left to Say will rile up the airwaves on January 5th. Stream it on SoundCloud.
The Dead Beast Initiative’s surf punk hit, Small Thing, is a rancorously electrifying track that cements the Athens-based duo as indomitable purveyors of antagonistic rock. Orfeas Georgakopoulos on guitar and Sotiris Georgakopoulos with vocals and drums have concocted a sonic cocktail that is as magnetic as it is confrontational, echoing the protestive bite of Rage Against the Machine and the rolling rhythms of Eagles of Death Metal.
Small Thing is a masterclass in controlled chaos. The track opens with gritty, riff-centred guitars that immediately grab your attention. The energy is relentless, driving forward with a ferocity that is both thrilling and intimidating. Sotiris’ vocals are a force to be reckoned with – loud, scathing, and dripping with disdain. His delivery is a perfect match for the in-your-face percussion, creating a sound that is as raw as it is refined. The song’s message is clear and potent: don’t be a passive bitch. This ethos is woven into every aspect of the track, from the lyrics to the unyielding instrumentation.
The Dead Beast Initiative’s influences – ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Audioslave – are evident, yet the band has managed to create a sound that is uniquely their own. Their music is a refreshing take on rock n’ roll, blending elements of hard rock with a sincerity that is often missing in the genre. It will leave listeners kneeling at the altar of rock n roll.
Small Things hit the airwaves on December 12th; stream it on SoundCloud.
Taken from the brand-new EP, chemical thoughts, which mainlined a potent shot of punk rock adrenaline into the airwaves, the latest standout single, deku, from Torch the Hive reaffirms the sonic powerhouse’s position at the forefront of the genre.
The track is a masterful blend of intensity and technique, featuring an indie rock prelude and a bass line that wouldn’t be out of place in a Queens of the Stone Age record—heavy, relentless, and undeniably catchy. This foundation sets the stage for the song’s explosive dynamics, with tension-filled, augmented verses that build into anthemic heights, ensuring that when the crescendos hit in the choruses, it’s nothing short of cathartic.
Torch the Hive, consisting of the formidable trio Mike Fruel, Tyler Sanders, and Kevin Amaro, has proven with this new EP that they’re not content to rest within the confines of traditional pop punk. Instead, they’ve taken a page from the playbook of punk luminaries such as Rocket From the Crypt and Social Distortion and echoed the introspective angst of Bad Religion and the defiant energy of Pennywise. Yet, Torch the Hive bend these influences to their will, creating something fresh and fiercely their own.
Since their formation in 2017 in Chicago, Illinois, Torch the Hive has consistently broken the mould, surpassing what fans and critics expect from aural antagonists. Whether selling out shows across the Midwest region or embarking on national tours, the band’s reputation for delivering an uncompromising punk rock experience is well-earned. deku is a continuation of this ethos, a musical juggernaut that cements Torch the Hive’s status as a band that not only understands the heritage of punk but is also determined to define its future.
Watch the official music video for deku on YouTube.
With society becoming increasingly polarised and partisan with their ideals, the ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos continue to be as amplified and weaponised as it was when the sonic strain of rebellion saw its inception when Bad Brains and Fugazi had to take back their scene from white supremacists.
Asking the definition of punk will always elicit a wide range of answers, typically subjective and based on personal beliefs. Much like asking someone their take on the meaning of life, asking for a definition of punk leads to diverse perspectives and opinions. The differentiations in opinion can naturally lead to points of contention.
The Ambiguity and Subjectivity of the Punk Ethos
While some may see leftist bands, including politically vocal bands such as Crass and Leftover Crack as punk, others enforce the insinuation that punk should be neither left nor right-wing – it should be entirely anti-establishment. Yet, punk artists have always fallen on either side of the spectrum. There has never been a shortage of conservative punks; Johnny Ramone and Bobby Steele (Misfits) being amongst the most prominent, with the likes of Skrewdriver falling on the more extreme end of the right-wing spectrum.
The existence of Christian punk bands, such as MxPx is also a baffling paradox. Aurally, they are as ‘punk’ as Green Day and Blink-182, but does their piousness preclude a punk attitude? Well, if you consider the punk ethos as one that goes against conformity and authoritarianism and consider that religiosity is one of the greatest examples of authoritarianism, given the submission to authority and conventionality, then you would have to argue that it does.
However, if you regard the ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos, not as a flaw, but as a fundamental characteristic that allows punk to remain an evolving cultural driving force, you can see why anything can and does fly under the banner of punk. The differentiation in meaning, for artists and fans alike, is a phenomenon rooted in the origins of punk. Punk embraces individuality and resists strict definitions. It has done so since its mid-1970s inception which saw the movement erupt as a visceral reaction against corporate mass culture.
The Origin of Punk
Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash, with their raw sound and defiant attitude, became the embodiment of the punk movement in the mid-70s as a means to drown out the bloated-with-capitalism timbres of Rock n Roll. It was always more than a genre. It was (and still is) permission for self-expression, a celebration of DIY ethics, and an antagonistic force against authority and social normativity.
The DIY aspect of punk further contributes to its subjective nature. Punk has always encouraged grassroots involvement, from creating zines and organising gigs to forming bands and recording music independently. This DIY spirit means that punk is not just consumed but actively created by its participants, leading to a diverse range of expressions and interpretations. What punk means to a fanzine creator in London can be vastly different from what it means to a garage band in New York or a political activist in Berlin.
Moreover, the punk ethos is marked by a resistance to being pigeonholed or defined by external forces. This resistance is a reaction against the commercialisation and co-optation of music and culture. Punk’s disdain for the mainstream has led to a fluid and evolving identity, one that resists easy categorisation. This fluidity means that punk can be a moving target, always adapting and changing in response to the cultural and political climate. This is efficaciously encapsulated by The Virginmarys with their track, You’re a Killer, which fervently protests the age of division and disinformation with the scathed lines that will always strike a chord:
“Information, in formation An idiot’s guide to dividing the nation Grooming the youth to the point of sedation Where hearing the truth gives a strange sensation What you see’s not what it seems The UK’s sleeping sweet American dreams Democracy is a word shot from the mouth Of a killer”
The subjectivity of punk is also reflected in its regional variations. Punk in the UK, with bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, often had a more overt political edge, reflecting the social and economic turmoil of 1970s Britain. In contrast, American punk, epitomised by bands like the Ramones and Black Flag, often had a more nihilistic and individualistic bent iconography attached to them, which is now increasingly perpetuated in contemporary UK punk scenes.
The Weaponisation of Punk
Just as people fought back against The National Front attempting to co-opt the punk movement when they skewed the meaning of the lyrical contexts within tracks from The Clash and Sex Pistols, and Henry Rollins and Ian Mackaye refused to be passive in their resistance when the frenetic nature of American hardcore attracted Neo-Nazis like moths to a flame, it’s crucial that no form of contemporary xenophobia gets to fly under the guise of punk.
One of the key reasons for the ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos is its foundational principle of individualism. Punk encourages people to think for themselves, to question the status quo, and to express their unique perspectives and identities. This ethos naturally leads to a wide range of interpretations and expressions. For some, punk is primarily about the music and the energy of live performances. For others, it’s a political statement, a way to challenge societal injustices and speak for the marginalised. And for many, it’s a fashion statement, a way to visually express their rebellion against mainstream norms.
So, given that punk is a means of individualistic empowerment which gives people the freedom to challenge social constructs and embrace their autonomy, it is nothing short of fucked up that the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) movement is attempting to infiltrate punk in reaction to people refusing to play along with gender roles anymore, especially if those assigned at birth gender roles are completely at odds with innate identity.
It may require one brain cell too many for people to wrap their heads around the fact that gender is shaped by societal norms and expectations rather than being solely determined by biological or physical differences, but the consequence of that cannot and should not be the demonisation of trans, non-binary, and queer people. Of course, TERFs and their army of gender-critical sheep can’t come right out and say why they feel threatened by trans and non-binary people. They have to convince themselves that there is an existential threat to women and children to feign some form of valour.
On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that they don’t even have the cognitive capacity to realise that their aversion to people who don’t marry themselves to the conformity of gender roles boils down to a fear that their own safety blanket of conformity will be torn away. Perhaps they’ve all got a bad case of gender role Stockholm syndrome.
Where is the clause in the punk ethos to declare that you can’t embrace your identity if that means you are rejecting arbitrary gender roles and living your life whilst proving that gender is not a fixed or innate attribute but rather a fluid identity shaped by social and cultural context?! I certainly don’t see one.
Don’t believe the “TERF is the new punk” hype. No matter how many garish t-shirts are pressed by the biggest victim-mentality grifter who cries to the Daily Mail and GB News that she’s been cancelled by the music industry for airing her dimly dogmatic views. Just like the evil protagonist in her fellow TERF’s book and film franchise, she isn’t to be named, because every bit of publicity is fuel for her self-piteous fire.
The ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos are central to its enduring appeal and relevance. Punk is not a monolith but a mosaic, made up of diverse voices and perspectives. This diversity allows punk to continually reinvent itself and remain relevant to new generations of artists and fans. Whether as a musical genre, a political statement, or a lifestyle, punk remains a powerful symbol of rebellion, individuality, and self-expression. However, that doesn’t mean that harmful tropes pushed via the righteousness of punk should go unchallenged. Punk isn’t a free pass to prejudice.
If you fused the ferocity of Rage Against the Machine or Bikini Kill with the rhythmic pull of Guns n Roses and threw in augmented layers of down-and-dirty blues rock, you’d be left with a cocktail as aurally visceral as the seminal single, Keep the Head Up, from the underground’s most indomitable outfit, The Verge.
The Parisian powerhouse has been cranking up the overdrive on their guitars since 2014; since banding together they haven’t failed to establish themselves as an unmissable live act and an ensemble which knows exactly how to infuse that energy into their records.
With melodies and riffs that will tattoo themselves across your synapses from the first spin and the way the vocals pull you right into the core of their boisterously bluesy hits, their provoking emotional depth knows few bounds. In Keep the Head Up, they demonstrate their ability to strike the right raw, protestive, and empowering chords.
The official video for Keep the Head Up is available to stream on YouTube.
Keep up to date with the latest aural antics from The Verge by heading over to their official Facebook page.
With a scuzzed-up and brashy guitar intro that will throw you right back to At the Drive-In’s moment of glory when their live performance of One-Armed Scissor on Conan became a global phenomenon, the intro to the debut track, Bombers, from FOURA.M, will capture your attention in an equally as visceral way.
Marketing themselves as ‘Dad Rock straight outta London’ scarcely does the frenetic fourpiece justice. Their influences reminisce with alt 90s and 00s tones, but nothing about Bombers feels remotely dated; the evocative pulls of the Foo Fighters-esque melodies and touches of Royal Blood in the production sealed FOURA.M a place amongst the other acts who are giving rock a fighting chance of surviving the Gen Z obsession with electronica.
If you see as much potential in FOURA.M as we do after bearing witness to their strong debut, keep your eyes peeled for their live tour dates around London.
Bombers hit the airwaves on July 28; stream it on Spotify.