You Asked, We Answered: The Punk Playlist You Didn’t Know You Needed
By Tai Saint-Louis
May 17, 2022
Whether you are a hardcore fan of any particular genre of music or simply interested in exploring, finding new music can be overwhelming. This is even truer of the wide variety of music grouped together under the Punk category. With the genre having been adopted all over the world and so many Punk subgenres blurring the lines with pop, hip-hop, ska, and other musical styles, identifying who and what counts as “punk” can prove difficult, which makes new music discoveries all the more challenging.
Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve created a varied playlist, representing a couple of different styles of Punk and including acts from the UK, US, South America, and the Continent. The artists we selected are as varied in experience as they are sonically. The OGs of the playlist are Brazilian band Devotos, whose three members have been putting on for the barrios of Recife since 1990… seven years before KennyHoopla and nearly 30 years before Buggin’ and Meet Me @ The Altar was officially banded.
Today’s punk rockers continue the genre’s long tradition of bucking the system and calling out injustices current and past. Nairobi-based Crystal Axis very specifically identifies as a “anti-colonial Afropunk band” and has been known to offer indictments of the Kenyan government’s modern-day scare tactics that are just as bold as the songs admonishing the well-documented atrocities perpetrated by Belgium in the Congo. Meanwhile, the last two years have seen Bob Vylan rep for BLM in the UK, calling out overt racism and police brutality on tracks like “Pretty Songs” and other songs on their latest release Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life, due out April 22. “It’s serious and funny,” frontman Bobby Vylan told Louder Sound of the EP, “it’s communal and obnoxious, it’s many things at any given time, and it’s a concept project. It explores the idea of paying your way through life and the expense of living in a society that places money above all else.
Long before conversations around gender identity and a broader understanding of sexuality began taking center stage in pop culture, Punk acts were defying conformity and labels – in their fashion, their lyrics, and even the names of their bands. Gully Boys (which identifies as a boy band) and The Muslims (in their own words “an all Black and Brown queer punk band”) are the extensions of that legacy. The former’s “Favorite Son” harkens to the emotions and thoughts the band’s members felt growing up as girls, while not quite feeling aligned with the associated gender norms. The latter’s “Illegals” reassigns the pejorative name for immigrants to America’s original colonizers.
Of course, some Punk records are just fun and whimsical, or simply seek to offer an alternative to faves from other genres: you might not have realized you needed Big Joanie’s version of “Cranes In The Sky,” but you totally do.
If you’re well-versed, we hope this introduces you to some new faves. And if you’re new here, use the tracks you’re feeling the most to discover more artists you might love.
- Meet Me @ The Altar – Brighter Days Are Before Us
- Bob Vylan – Pretty Songs
- Buggin – Brainfreeze
- Nova Twins – Antagonist
- Soul Glo – Driponomics (feat. Mother Maryrose)
- Pinkshift – i’m gonna tell my therapist on you
- The OBGMs – Not Again
- The Muslims – Illegals
- Kenny Hoopla – Dirty White Vans
- Oceanator – Bad Brain Daze
- Gully Boys – Favorite Son
- Magnolia Park x Action/Adventure – Deja Vu
- Mint Green – Body Language
- Crystal Axis – Take The Throne
- Devotos – Periferia Fria (feat. Criolo)
- Big Joanie – Cranes In The Sky
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