the 8 punkest bands on the planet right now

August 14, 2018
206 Picks

It’s a little absurd in 2018 to still be debating what is or isn’t punk, but here we are. For a movement all about standing out from the crowd, it seems like half the bands in the scene are more concerned with sounding like each other than changing the world, and the world is far too fucked to fuck with that. Here are 8 bands who are breaking the mold and defining punk rock right now.

Fuck U Pay Us

FUPU may be the punkest band on the planet. Fuck, they may be the punkest band in the history of punk. The radical femme quartet strips punk rock down to the basics, a noisy slow sound like Flipper with an axe to grind—raw, passionate, and unfiltered. Staple songs like “Nappy Black Pussy” and “Burn Ye Old White Male Patriarchy, Burn” are a fist straight to the face of the patriarchy. This band is the future.

Fuck U Pay Us Live at Cielo Gallery for Casa Solidaria del Sur’s Melanin Unity Show by Fuck U Pay Us

Pleasure Venom

Led by filmmaker Audrey Campbell, this Austin quintet is always a little bigger than life. Campbell’s powerhouse vocals explode over the band’s stripped down riffage. Whether singing about social injustice or a bad breakup, there’s an urgency to her voice that explodes out your speaker. And it doesn’t hurt having a filmmaker in the crew; the videos are always rad.

Seize by Pleasure Venom


Danny Denial

Danny Denial’s DEAD LIKE ME EP would have stood out for its propulsive energy and tight songwriting. But the DEATHHEADS U.S.A. short film transforms it from a damn good EP to something revelatory. It’s a harrowing look at alienation and terror of touring in a scene dominated by straight white dudes. Danny Denial isn’t the first to try their hand at a punk opera, but DEATHHEADS U.S.A. may be the first time someone actually pulled it off.

Great Wight

Confessional and direct, Great Wight make the kind of music that could save emo from it’s multi-decade run as a dirty word in the scene. Their songs often deal with anxiety and the struggles of being black and queer in the scene. Highlights like “Not Black Enough” and “The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life” are conflicted, personal, and brutally honest in a way that few punk bands have the courage to be.

The Suburbs Have Ruined My Life by Great Wight


In a scene overwhelmingly dominated by white dudes who can just barely mask their misogyny behind some corny puns, babygotbacktalk almost singlehandedly makes the case for pop-punk’s continued relevance. Their latest EP Up In Open Arms takes the hooks and humor of pop-punk, and turns its sights on shit that matters. It’s the rare record that’s as fun as it is furious.

Up In Open Arms by babygotbacktalk


Atlanta has quickly become one of the hottest scenes in the country, thanks to acts like Samurai Shotgun, The Txlips, Pay To Cum, and now, holders. The group’s lo-fi punk cuts straight to the heart. Pieces of early indie-rock float in this stew, from the days when the lines between indie, emocore, and punk weren’t so neatly drawn. But holders keep the VU well in the red, coating their high intensity in a low fidelity that immediately transports you to a basement show outside Atlanta.

Red Arkade

NYC hardcore act Red Arkada has made its reputation on a fierce live show, and it’s easy to hear why. Songs like”Cocaine,” “Set The World On Fire” and “Die Today” mix in more than a little thrash rawness. This is the kind of band that you want to make sure you’re in the pit for.

Cocaine by Red Arkade


Jason Aalon Butler was already hardcore royalty as the frontman for letlive, but The Fever 333 is on a whole other level. Mixing post-hardcore guitars with hip-hop beats and Butler’s unmistakable fire, the band’s debut EP Made An America is one of the best punk EPs of the year, if not decade.