Unique Punk Bands You Need in Your Life

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Listening to good music and sharing good music are two of the things I love best; especially with people who like the same type of music. I like to think that punk bands are some of the best bands…some may or may not agree with that statement. I know many people who have scrunched up their noses and just shake their heads at some of the bands I listen to, it’s not for everyone and I get it. I don’t like it when people get their sour looks at unique music tastes, because these bands just seem to make my musical stomach full with happiness. But if you like punk, here is a countdown of my favorite unique punk bands that I listen to day to day and you should too.

Number 5: Mad Caddies

The Mad Caddies are a softcore ska-punk band; if you are unfamiliar with the “ska” genre, it is a precursor to reggae and was developed in Jamaica in the late 50s early 60s, with strong influences of jazz and blues. I always try to make people listen to types of ska, ska-punk being my favorite subgenre. The songs are rich with brass sounds; it just speaks to my soul and makes me want to dance around! Check out the Mad Caddies, and listen to my favorite songs: Lay Your Head Down, Coyote, Tired Bones and State of Mind.

Number 4: Blackbird Raum

I feel like you either love Blackbird Raum, or you hate it. They formed their folk punk band in 2004 in Santa Cruz, California. Blackbird Raum is known for their eco-anarchist politics reflected in their songs. At first listen, I was unsure with the band. A lot of their songs are a chorus of all of them singing, and it can be very frenzied and confusing, but then it really grew on me. I love the chaotic nature of their songs, the political statements, gravelly vocals and the mish-mash of folk instruments. Have a listen to their music, especially: Honey in the Hair, Witches, A Rat in My Dream, Silent Spring, and Rubicon Drawn.

Number 3: Authority Zero

One of my friends mentioned this particular band when we were exchanging names of new music we’ve stumbled upon, and I have been completely enthralled by them. Authority Zero, started up in ’94 in Arizona, is often described as “exotic punk”, has a strong reggae influenced sound, especially in the vocals. I’ve trying to think of how to list my favorite songs by them, and it’s extremely difficult! I love all of them! The first song I heard by them (and I think it’s the most popular as well), is One More Minute. Retreat, Passage in Time, Siempre Loco, Break the Mold, and Talk is Cheap are also some of my absolute favorites. So go and listen to them right now, you won’t regret it. And if you do regret it, (I know music taste is supposed to be subjective to the individual) maybe you should reevaluate your taste in music…just saying.

Number 2: Harley Poe

Here’s one of the more interesting and unusual bands I’ve come across. I can only describe Harley Poe as Halloween-esque folk punk band. This is one of the bands I can understand if people are not to hot on. It’s either you love it, or you hate it (But I recommend you give it a shot and give the songs the love they deserve). Just go and listen to the entire “Satan, Sex and No Regrets” album, and hopefully you’ll be hooked. The lyrics are full of dark humor at times, like in the song Transvestites Can Be Cannibals Too, but also can hit you right in the heart. Ouija is probably my favorite song by them, although I hate putting labels on things such as “my favorite”. The vocals in that song just hit me right in the feels, and I simply can’t stop listening to it. The song Pagan Holiday is one of my favorites as well. On their Facebook page, they state in their bio:

“It’s not enough to say Harley Poe write songs about monsters. Harley Poe sing about being monsters. In the band’s world, the vampires, werewolves, serial killers, and cannibals take center stage and become the protagonists onto whom we project our joys, our fears, and our failings.”

Number 1: Mischief Brew

Mischief Brew has been my favorite band for the past 7 or so months. They were my first experience with folk punk, and let me tell you, they are a perfect beginning when delving into unique punk bands. The vocals are similar to that of Blackbird Raum, as in it’s very gravelly (and I love it of course). Mischief Brew is also considered anarcho-punk, and their songs are very political. I think their best album is “The Stone Operation”, especially Pompous Ass Manifesto and Paris Warlike; listen to that album straight through and you will understand. My other favorite songs include Smash Potwatching, Rambler’s Ghost, The Drunk of Three Nights, Citizens Drive, and Devil of a Time. You should also listen to their collaboration with Guignol in the album “Fight Dirty”.

These are the top five bands that I listen to day to day; bands that, unfortunately, don’t get noticed as much as some would hope. I guess that’s the price of good unique punk. Sometimes, it’s better that not as many people know about your favorite unique bands, because it seems as if you’ve found the hidden treasure, but at the same time, you just want people to know how absolutely amazing these bands are. Whether these bands are your new hidden treasures or not, it’s all up to you. Just keep searching for unique bands, and don’t settle for the Top 40 (no offense to Top 40 lovers). So, what bands will you discover on your next music adventure?

Feature Image: Sascha Kohlmann, Creative Commons

Karli Burns
I'm currently a tea-addicted student studying English and Russian at a SUNY. When I'm not writing, I can be found listening to obscure folk punk and reading the fabulous Gogol. Moon gazing is an art, eating tacos is my pride, and all I want is to be able to put my foot behind my head (haven't been successful so far).