The DIY punk scene is thriving in Europe currently; it’s feels like we’re on riding the crest of a wave that’s growing into a tsunami. Online connections are enabling us to share recommendations and enthusiasm across continents, so word is spread quickly about exciting new acts.
It’s easy to find new music nowadays, however I’ve believe there are two methods that stand out above the others: watching support acts at gigs and listening to recommendations from your friends. In 2019, I implore you to get out and see as many new bands as possible. To get you started, here are Shout Louder’s top recommendations:
Canadian thrashers Wolfrik are unlike any other band I’ve heard… although it’s safe to say they’re fans of Alexisonfire, A Wilhelm Scream, Protest The Hero and Belvedere. I’ve been keen to get their EP Skeleton City into the ears of anyone I can find and, so far, everyone’s been bowled over by their awesome sound.
Fortunately Skeleton City also found its way to the ears of the Manchester Punk Festival promoters, who pretty much instantly added them to the bill. If Wolfrik are as good live as they are on record then they’re going to tear the faces off the whole UK punk scene when they arrive in England in April. Erring on the metal / rock end of the punk scale, they combine a variety of genres, but it’s all fast, raucous fun with a healthy dose of experimentation.
Lockjaw Records will be doing a European vinyl release of Skeleton City in the spring, to accompany Wolfrik’s run of European dates. They’ll also be taking in SBAM Fest in Austria with a full run of dates with Lockjaw label-mates The Affect Heuristic, and doing a North American release via Thousand Island Records. Let’s give them a huge welcome!
Dutch pop-punks Coral Springs are a unique and refreshing gem in the Umlaut Records roster. The band deliver positive, glittering pop-punk, but it’s laid on a familiar foundation of 90’s EpiFat era skate-punk. Jo Bouwmeester’s crystal clear vocal soars over layers or poppy melody, like the bits of Paramore that you don’t feel guilty for enjoying. The recent addition of guitarist Joris Griffioen seems to have spurred the band into an exciting and productive new phase.
In February 2019 they’re due to release their debut album Always Lost, Never Found via Umlaut Records and SBAM Records. It’s a catchy skate-punk record with an overtone of sugary pop-punk that makes for a seriously fun listen. The band have poured a lot of love and skill into this record and it’s bound to catapult Coral Springs to the next level. I’m hoping that they’ll be pushing the band live a bit more this year, and they’re absolutely stunning on stage.
- Pre-order the new Coral Springs release from Umlaut Records
Follow Your Dreams
Don’t be fooled by the cutesy name; Follow Your Dreams are brand new hardcore band who specialise in complex, progressive, dissonant noise. Formed in early 2018, they played their first show at Pie Race Fest in November and released a fierce debut EP as a Christmas gift to all the punks. The self-titled release gives a brief glimpse into the chaos that’s yet to come in 2019.
Those who remember Rising Strike (TNS Records released their brutal ska-core album Bite The Had That Feeds in 2011) will be stoked for this fresh new project. Follow Your Dreams is effectively the mad hallucinatory fantasy of Rising Strike frontman Tom Houseman, which is aggressively driven by Strike’s backline and urgent, caustic vocals from Kaz Hinsley. The result is somewhere between Petrol Girls, Egos At The Door, Dance Gavin Dance and a tension headache… with occasional unexpected Maximum The Hormone-style rollercoaster genre twists.
It’s a sound that’s chaotic and aggressive, that keeps you on your toes. In short, it’s fucking brilliant.
Follow Your Dreams are playing their second gig – and first hometown show – at Shout Louder Fest in Manchester on February 2nd. They’ve already got a lot of live dates booked up around the country, including Manchester Punk Festival and Swinefest.
Fresh off the back of a December self-titled LP via the infamous TNS Records, Incisions are destined to inject some youthful urgency in the international punk scene in 2019.
Incisions are a punk band. An actual punk band. Not one of these things that I often describe as punk – there’s no folky diddlings, no wanky solos, no flawless harmonies, no emotional warblings, no ethereal post-rock nonsense. It’s fast, straight-up proper punk rock spat from the mouths of refreshingly young, working-class lads who are sick of the society they’ve grown into. Incisions are what punk should sound like.
Their new album comes snarling out of your speakers with all the rough-and-ready clout of Minor Threat, Fugazi or a fucking tiger. The album’s one thing, but I implore you to go see Incisions live. Expect to have a sweaty, brawling punk night that you won’t soon forget, and buy them a pint afterwards.
Formed in 2018, Hastings hardcore band Haest are bound to explode onto the live punk rock scene in 2019. With haste (see what I did there?), they’ve just released their second EP – inventively called EP #2 – via One Step Outside Records. Taking a sludgy, doomier approach to hardcore, this quartet from Hastings deliver riff after riff after riff, with zero frills to sully the mix.
The best thing about Haest is their no-fuss do-it-yourself approach. They’ve created two music videos so far: one filmed in a garage filled with balloons and one comprising phone footage of their drummer trying and failing to lock the door to the irpractice room. With these guys, it’s not a cry for a bigger budget, it’s an amusing display of tongue-in-cheek resourcefulness: making the most of what they’ve got. I’d much rather watch that than a high-budget opus.
Featuring members of Matilda’s Scoundrels, The Dead Anyways, The Barracks and Wizard Fight, Haest are effectively a Hastings supergroup looking for a new creative outlet – they’re having fun doing it, and I’m stoked to see it take them around the country in 2019.
- Read our interview with Haest
- Listen to our podcast with guitarist Dan Flanagan
- Order EP #2
- Order EP #1
Burnt Tapes have been trundling along since 2013, quietly building a dedicated live following and peddling their signature brand of ‘regret-punk’ around the UK. In 2017 they put out a work of understated melodic genius in the form of Alterations (Shout Louder’s EP of The Year 2017) and, since then, they’ve been crafting a magnificent a full length album.
2019 will be the year Burnt Tapes explode. Their debut album Never Better is due out on February 22nd via Lockjaw Records and Wiretap Records; it takes them down an even more accessible indie-punk route. They’ve maintained all of their clever Iron Chic-style lyricism, constructed some heart-breaking one liners, but added a maturity and fullness both in their attitute to songwriting and in their production. It’s an exciting time for a band that have worked hard, and it’s going to be exciting to see where this release takes them.
It’s time to join the regret club.
Goodbye Blue Monday
If 2018 was the year to fall in love with Goodbye Blue Monday, 2019 is the year to see proudly watch them shine. These scrappy Scots channel pop-punk sensibilities and melodies into something a lot rougher and more urgent – think Jeff Rosenstock meets Off With Their Heads. It’s a treat both live and on record.
Their EP Misery-Punk Ruined My Life was one of our top releases of 2018, and their earlier EP The Sickness, The Shame is also solid gold. Clearly we’re not the only ones whose jaws’ dropped when we heard those two released as GBM have announced two highly-coveted festival appearances at Groezrock and Punk Rock Holiday in 2019. The records have an instantly-endearing quality to them that will continue to earn them some excellent bookings, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for another release soon.
In short, 2019’s due to be an exciting time. Tell us in the comments who you think isgoing to explode onto the scene this year!
Written by Sarah Williams.