Midwest/Mid Atlantic Madness (FEB 2015)

By Maryam Hassan


The last time I wrote something about Chicago a few people were all “she doesn’t even go here” about it. It’s true, I don’t, at least not yet. But I’ve been putting on shows in Chicago for nearly a year now with the wonderful Phantomnote Productions and by April 2015 I will be firmly planted in the Midwest making fetch happen … or just going to as many shows as I can. What we did learn from the last piece is that new music in a scene isn’t something you can cover in one article.

So welcome to Midwest/Mid-Atlantic Madness, a new monthly piece exploring the punk scene in both regions. Brandon Gepfer has one half (He’s doing the Mid-Atlantic) and I have the other. Let’s get down to business…

Three bands from the Mid West USA

I like stuff I can groove to, my favourite thing in the world is going to a show and having a proper dance whilst watching a band. My buddy Jason Swearingen is well aware of this and suggested I go listen to AVENUES and they fit that description perfectly. Pop-punk to me can be a little hit and miss, this harks back a little to bands I loved when I was teenager, a little New Found Glory, a little Something Corporate especially on their first EP ‘NOHO’ (which was out in 2012) and the more recent stuff gets a little more punk rock tinged. I’m digging it. Avenues are currently recording at Atlas Studios in Chicago and I’m excited to hear what’s to come.

People would be boring if they only liked one kind of music, and a round up of things I like at the moment would be boring if it was just pop-punk right? Next up we have HI-HO, the acoustic solo project of GILLIAN MCGHEE. The first time I heard this I fell in love with Gillian’s voice, she’s got this husky thing going on that works so well on acoustic punk (on ‘Things To Say’) which gets switched up to sweet as anything (on ‘AKS’). Gillian’s solo stuff is perfect for cold, dark winter nights and reminds me of El Morgan or Erica Freas. Big thumbs up on this one.

Lastly we have REGULAR OATMEAL who played with some friends of mine in Chicago recently. Because we still have a little while till I move I am very guilty of looking at Facebook events for when my friends play shows and checking out all the bands supporting them that I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s a little weird, stalker of me but from my point of view it’s way of keeping up with things when I’m not actually in a city. This band remind me of Dowsing, who are my favourite thing to come out of this emo revival trend.


Three bands from the Mid Atlantic USA

PODACTER is a band from New Jersey/Philadelphia area featuring former members of pop-punk cult favourites, Crucial Dudes. They have been playing around for a couple of years, making an appearance at Fest 13 (I think I was there but, may have not been coherent). Here’s why I love this band: essentially, this is New Jersey pop-punk at its finest, and I’ve made fun of bands for this but, Podacter does New Jersey pop-punk so well. It’s just genuine and that’s apparent through their recordings and live shows.

The band are currently planning an east coast tour for late spring/summer and their full-length release will be announced soon

Check them out here: https://podacter.bandcamp.com/

In a slight turn toward emo/pop, I have to mention my friends in the band QUIT. Philadelphia is their home, and despite the amount of talent in Philly, Quit is able to stand out. My favourite song ‘Judgement’ is available via their bandcamp page (quittheband.bandcamp.com) and it has such a pleasant pop sensibility, while at the some time expressing criticism towards the attitudes of humans. It’s just such a cool song. Some of you may be familiar with singer/guitarist Chris Diehm’s other band, 1994! If you aren’t familiar, check them out, too.

Quit is working on new material and is focusing on playing shows in the Philadelphia area, including April 5th in Lancaster, PA with Bob Nanna of Braid fame.

Finally, YOUNG & HEARTLESS is a band from Harrisburg, PA (the state capital of Pennsylvania). Far removed from the bustling scene of transplants in Philly, Y&H has a vibe that is reminiscent to Brand New. This has been a band that I have watched since their beginning and am continuously blown away by their ability to play impeccably live. Their layered tones on record are recreated live, making an enjoyable experience.

Their latest release, The Pull of Gravity is available via Mayfly Records and/or here: http://youngandheartless.bandcamp.com/

Young & Heartless have been playing locally as of recent but, expect big things from this band. Seriously.


That’s it for this month, six things to tie you over for a few weeks at least from all of the Midwest/Mid-Atlantic. As always (because I have a team in a different time-zone mostly) I will be scouring the internet for new bands to throw at you because music is BRILLIANT, Brandon is far more lucky than me because he can just go to shows. If you want to throw your music at our way first though email here: maryam@punktastic.com.