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Editors’ Picks: Check out these cool new bands in 2021!

It is that time of year when the contributors at Punknews highlight some up and coming bands that are propelling punk to new heights! We’ve got something for everyone – hardcore punk, pop-punk, punk that deifies any categorization, punk that will take you to a new dimension and everything in between. As always this is by no means a definitive list of new bands, this is a list of bands that Punknews contributors think rock. Feel free to post new bands that you are listening to now in the comment section. What are you waiting for? Dive into the list below!



The Mimes

Cincinnati, Ohio Image

Listen up, skippy- you NEED to get hip to the Mimes RIGHT NOW. This band is what goth should have become after the collapse of Bauhaus (instead, it became a bunch of ravers that got lost on the way to the warehouse and wound up at Halloween adventure). The Mimes are dark, depressed, and disturbing… and menacing. One track has pummeling drums that could have come from an Alien Sex Fiend song. Another has vocals that sound like they were melted in the microwave. Another song sounds like the Gun Club on quaaludes (disclaimer, I’m pretty sure I don’t even really know what a quaalude is). Another track is about a guy that sneaks into people’s houses and eats their food… or something… like, I don’t even know, man. What I do know is that in twenty years, when Dave Grohl is in some documentary waxing about how seminal the Mimes were, you’ll lie to your friends (Brice from accounting, Bryan from IT, Olaf from accounting, Brian S. from accounting) and say you bought their “first tape” (which was shipped in a Disney VHS puffy pack, FYI). But, deep down you’ll know you’re a fraud and missed the boat when you had the chance. Avoid this horrible future. Mime it up, NOW. -John Gentile


Baltimore, MD Image

Pinkshift seamlessly blend together aspects of emo (My Chemical Romance!), hardcore punk, grunge, pop-punk (Paramore!), 90s No Doubt, and even a bit of jazz into a sound that is wholly and completely their own. From the first song on their debut EP Saccharine you know that they have shown up with undeniable energy and are ready to kick some ass. For the next thirteen minutes wave after wave of powerful, soaring, rage-filled vocals and dynamic, fresh arrangements hit you with an intensity so pure that it fills you with an urge to move and sing along within seconds. The power and strength of the band never falters, gaining momentum while tackling mental health, manipulation, and toxic relationships in a way that drips with rage, offers catharsis and ultimately makes you feel hopeful. Once the EP is over you will wish there was more and hopefully there will be soon. Pinkshift have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with and as time goes on they will only grow stronger. -Em Moore


Dayton, OH Image

Houseghost are from one of the Midwest’s up and coming punk rock cities, Dayton, Ohio. Formed in late 2018, this brother and sister fronted band plays punk music that delves into horror themes. While many bands would use this template to write songs that are actually about demons, zombies, and ghosts they use these as themes for metaphors tied to life and loss. Their debut, released on Rad Girlfriend Records, came out just before Halloween in 2020. In the year since, they’ve written a new batch of songs and just recently re-entered the studio to begin work on album number two. -Johnathon1069


Vincenza, Italy Image

Can’t tell you shit about Vincenza, Italy. Don’t know anything about it that you couldn’t pull from Wikipedia yourself. What I can tell you is that it produced HEARTS APART, a power-pop outfit that, on their debut EP, Number One to No One, perform with the kind of defeated, defiant abandon that will feel familiar to anyone who gets energized by Dirtnap, Midwest rocker swing, and feeling hollowed out after good times. There are notes of rockabilly, garage and pop-punk throughout, but the final product establishes the group as blood brothers to The Marked Men, The Downtown Struts, and early Alkaline Trio. -ChurchillDowns


Boston, Massachusetts Image

The rate at which Triple B Records finds up and coming talent is impressive. Hardcore bands are notorious for short runs and limited releases. A real blink and you miss it type of situation only to discover years later if you turn into an old head. That’s why you need to move on Move. Their debut release Freedom Dreams is a breakdown laden 10 minutes exploring topics of Black liberation, gentrification, and capitalism. Let it’s gorgeous artwork bring you in, but stay for the traditional Boston beatdown. -Eric Rosso

Problem Patterns

Belfast, Northern Ireland Image

Problem Patterns are punk distilled down to its very essence and perfected time and time again. They are rage personified as they fiercely defend bodily autonomy and blast transphobia, homophobia, and sexism with cutting lyrics that you can’t help but scream along to with every ounce of your being providing much needed catharsis in the process (I have almost lost my voice from singing along on multiple occasions). Problem Patterns have released an EP and a handful of singles so far and words cannot accurately describe how excited I am to hear more from them. Do yourself a favour and check out Problem Patterns right away. -Em Moore


Santa Cruz, CA Image

Scowl are from Santa Cruz and they play Santa Cruz style hardcore- that means it’s loud, fast, nasty as hell sounding, a little drugged out, and tempered by a fun-in-the-sun atmosphere. Calling back to the early era of Ceremony, the band twists and turns and pivots throughout their songs with tracks that writhe like vipers… you never know when the music will bite… -John Gentile


Southern California Image

Here’s a band that you can catch at the ground floor and later brag to your friends, “Yeah, I found 3Chords before they even put out their first release!” 3Chords features Neil Wayne and Josh Lewis of The Bombpops and Michael Garret, “step drummer” of Assorted Jellybeans. According to Wayne’s recent Instagram post, this band was “close to 20 years in the making.” The trio are currently working on their first record at Buzzbomb Studios (at the time of writing this) in Orange County, California. Whether the band’s sound will be an offshoot of their respective main projects or something totally different, 3Chords is definitely a band to have on your radar to check out in the near future. -Ricky Frankel


Parts Unknown Image

Yes it is indeed true that the VonErichs hail from parts unknown. Like many of their wrestling idols, the band keeps their identities a secret. One can argue that the vocals and musicianship sounds similar to other known bands in the pop punk bubble. As their name and album title suggest, this band exists to pay homage to professional wrestling. Personally, I was immediately hooked, being both a wrestling and pop punk fan. The lyrics cover Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Kamala and countless others. Pure pop punk perfection is presented throughout their debut album on Mom’s Basement Records. These songs span 90s pop punk, hard rock and even classic 50’s rock and roll. Their songs are as infectious as they are fun. I look forward to new music from them. Maybe another band will come along to “unmask” them soon! -Jason Baygood

Doom Scroll

You Name It, USA Image

What happens when you take veterans of We the Heathens, Chatterbox and the Latter Day Satanists, Broken Bow, Chad Hates George, and Days N Daze, and tell them to make a crust/street/ska/folk punk album? The world explodes, and from its ashes rise one hell of a band who just released one hell of an album. Like gnarly, crusty vocals? Check. Like clean melodic vocals? Check. Politically charged ideals? Check. Upstroking Spanish influenced guitar riffs? Check. Sick bass lines? Check. For fans of Escape from the Zoo, Leftover Crack, or any of the member’s other bands, this is a CAN’T MISS! -David Wilkins

Vicious Dreams

Orlando, FL Image

Vicious Dreams claim to be a power-pop band, but that’s a lie and I’m glad it is. Sure, they have a lot of melody in the music and most of the songs are about boyfriend/girlfriend stuff and it’s all very catchy, but here’s the catch. This band SLAMS. Where most “power pop” bands set the level to about 7 or 8, Vicious Dreams push it to 11 and charge forward with a force that belongs exclusively to the punk rock world. Plus, they have like four songs about going insane. This band knows how to craft a perfect pop tune, but they’re sure to keep razorblades under those sweet lyrics. -John Gentile


Halifax, Nova Scotia Image

Cluttered were born out of 2020’s DEMO FEST and haven’t looked back since. Matty Grace (Future Girls, Weekend Dads), Becca Dalley (Designosaur), Dylan Mombourquette (Alright Already), and Danny Bailey (Jabber) make up the band and are full of cohesive, dynamic energy that is present in each of their songs. Their songs rip by in a flash of sharp melodic punk rock that is unbelievably catchy and will make you want to listen to them over and over again. Everyone in the band lends their vocals to the tracks in a way that perfectly compliments Matty Grace’s lead vocal delivery as well as each other. All of this serves to add a deeper, layered feel that builds on their cohesiveness and makes it sound like they’ve been playing together in this configuration for their entire lives. Once you start listening to Cluttered it will be near impossible to stop and really would you want it any other way? -Em Moore

Dream Job

New Bedford, Massachusetts Image

To be working class doesn’t mean one can’t have their head in the clouds. A proud hallmark of true punch clock slobs comes in moments of acidic snark, melancholic reflections on existence, or bleak moments of surrender scribbled on the back of paper bags or guest checks on a bus-ride home. These, after all, cannot be taken from a person, even if everything else can be in the name of low-level capitalism. Dream Job wrap these ideals into a Fat Wreck-friendly package on their debut record, Dream Job. Come for the jokes about not dying without your phone coming with you into your casket, stick around for heartstring-tugging howlers like “Hour of Need.” Tip your bartender, be kind to your waitress; they might be in your next favorite band. -ChurchillDowns


Kassel, Germany Image

Suck is a perfect punk band. They’re rooted in the classic three-chord self-destructo smash, but then, they get weird. They’ll staple in a weird analogue synth, switch it up and stomp like Sabbath or Metallica, or maybe sing about cool back patches. A certain anger and menace permeates this music, but there’s also some fun in there too, buried deep down under their furor. They’re working on their debut LP, and I know it will be a total classic. Get hip NOW. -John Gentile

Bad Operation

New Orleans, Louisiana Image

Bad Operation is part of the ska revival that has made news in the prestigious pages of such publications as the Washington Post. Having released their debut on ska tastemaker Bad Time Records in December of 2020 after year end lists were already out, it’s possible you may have missed this one in the end of year shuffle. Bad Operation is one of the most original acts of the current wave, but one that harkens furthest back to the roots of the genre. Combining elements of reggae, hip-hop, dub, and soul to their ska, Bad Operation is a band where investment as a fan now is bound to reward long term. The most original and overlooked of the new tone ska acts deservedly receiving recognition for its revived reputation. -Eric Rosso


Minneapolis, Minnesota Image

Vial are without a doubt one of the most vital punk bands going right now. They blend aspects of riot grrrl (“Planet Drool” even opens with a clapping game that calls to mind “Demirep”), modern punk (Mannequin Pussy, The Tuts), indie pop, and even a hint of the carnival (“Ego Death”) into a sonic experience that is full of ferocious, unshakeable energy that will keep you on your toes. The band pull no punches – tearing into toxic behaviours with scathing lyrics and a ferocious energy that is pure punk perfection. They also have insanely catchy love songs, songs that delve into the existential nature of life, and a song about running someone over with their car. What are you waiting for? Listen to Vial at once. -Em Moore


Kalamazoo, Michigan Image

Zoanoids literally seemed to come out of nowhere when their debut album was announced courtesy of Hey Pizza! Records. This band previously released a 2019 demo as well as a digital single leading up to the release of their self-titled debut. Zoanoids play a dark and mysterious brand of pop punk that will take you back to when you first heard Lillinton’s “Death By Television.” Their songs range from classic pop punk to fast hardcore blasts similar to early Screeching Weasel. The band’s lyrics range from literature to sci-fi and beyond. Check them out if you want a fresh take on Ramonescore. -Jason Baygood


Jakarta, Indonesia Image

In the time it will take you to read this – depending on how many big words I use and how quick on the draw you are – you could listen to the entirety of the Toast’s tour-de-force three-song EP, Home Run, at least twice. The whole thing is Indonesian so the content of the lyrics are anyone’s guess, but with this kind of pop-gun emo-pop, words only get in the way. It’s a little mathy, a lot reckless. It feels fully formed, like the songs sprang complete from the heads of the band, like they learned one, mastered it, and moved on to the next. The whole thing probably took two days to write, arrange, record, and release. That’s part of the appeal – how something so seemingly tossed off can feel so complete, and can make you want to hit replay again and again. If they never release music again, they won’t have to, they knocked it out of the park in one try. Let’s run that back again, huh? -ChurchillDowns

Gender Chores

Belfast, Northern Ireland Image

You will wake up with Gender Chores’ songs, especially “Territory” (off their Womansplain EP), going through your head at 3 in the morning. Their songs will also go through your head on your commute to work, waiting for your shitty landlord to come fix a leak, or really any time at all. Hailing from Northern Ireland, Gender Chores rail against the class divide, sexism and those in power who could help but instead cause hurt with wit and fury. They take cues from riot grrrl and garage rock creating a perfectly DIY sound that will only continue to solidify as time goes on. Gender Chores will grow on you like a moss, do not wait to check them out. -Em Moore

Fun Time Objects

Brooklyn, NY Image

Fun Time Objects throw back to the earliest days of punk when there were no rules at all- and that’s what makes them great. They’re propelled by early Dangerhouse Power, but they’re equally wont to spin off into art-rock excursions or new wave sing-songy-ness. The music is low-fi and raw, but at the core, the songs are surprising and sometimes surprisingly palatable. This band twists and turns and keeps you captivated the entire time. -John Gentile


Orlando, Florida Image

When death metal is done right, it ages like a fine wine. There’s a classic element that treks through the inventors of the genre to today and that element would not exist if not for the Florida death metal scene. Human is one of the latest emerging from Orlando and releasing their debut tape Delicacies of Extinction earlier this spring. Human are well versed in their genre’s history while still bringing personality to their sound. The band describes themselves as “punk infused” death metal which is probably right. Delicacies of Extinction is similar in spirit in that sense to how Every Time I Die is a punk infused metalcore band. But death metal. A must check out for new and old school fans of this genre’s classics. -Eric Rosso

Action News

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Image

Action News more than lives up to their name. Aaron Heard (Jesus Piece, Nothing), Patrick Troxell (Creepoid), Mikey Bifolco (Drowse), Jordan Berk (Sunburster), and Jeff Barow (World Below) make up the band and play fast, urgent, pissed off hardcore punk with elements of powerviolence and a hint of metal that commands your full attention. They tear through the seven songs on their Failed State EP with an unmatched fury that will make you want to start moshing regardless of where you are and what you’re doing. Tune into Action News immediately. -Em Moore


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