Punktastic Picks: Volume 1

By Gem Rogers

There’s one thing that we know for sure when it comes to Punktastic’s readers. You, like us, proper bloody love a bit of new music. Few feelings quite match the excitement of discovering a new band and being able to follow their journey – wherever it may lead – and yet, it’s so easy to find yourself stuck in a musical rut. You know, when you open up your Spotify* one day and realise you’ve listened to the exact same four bands for the last three months, and suddenly feel completely out of the loop?

We’ve all been there, and with so many bands out there of all sizes and genres, it can be hard to know where to start. Punktastic to the rescue? Punktastic to the rescue.

Welcome to Punktastic Picks, where we’ll share ten new and upcoming bands we love from across the alternative music world with you, so you can find some new favourites too. Head straight to the playlist to start listening, or read below to find out more about the artists featured in this edition!

*erm, other music services are also available?

Los Angeles group Rivals describe their music as ‘dark pop-rock’ – and it fits them perfectly. Full of memorable melodies underpinned by hefty riffs and powerful atmosphere, the quartet’s debut album ‘Damned Soul’ was an underrated standout of 2018, and late 2019 singles ‘Supernova’ and ‘Thunderstorm’ only built on this sound. It’s the vocals from Kalie Wolfe that really stand Rivals apart from the crowd; the strength and life in her voice add glitter to every moment, and we hope it’s not too long before they can make it over to our shores for a live demonstration.

Find RIVALS: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Led By Lanterns released debut EP ‘Ashes’ back in 2018, but the last year and a half has seen some big changes for this Midlands-based group, with a lineup reshuffle that included former vocalist Boots joining pop punkers WSTR full time. With bassist Shaun Hill moving to lead vocals, the band took on a whole new sound, and it couldn’t have been better for them – poppy with a heavy edge and a sprinkling of electronic elements, tracks like ‘Alive’ and recent single ‘Criminal’ practically demand repeated listens (and we don’t mind obliging). These are tracks that are as exciting as they are easy to listen to, and with tours alongside the likes of Mallory Knox and Normandie under their belts and an album in the works, Led By Lanterns’ fanbase is deservedly beginning to grow – this is definitely only the beginning.

Find Led By Lanterns: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Twitch


Some bands make an impact the second they arrive on the scene, proving instantly impossible to ignore and making the kind of noise that instantly sends everyone into a spin. Wargasm are one of those bands. Raucous, punky nu-metal with a burning rage fuelling the fire within, the duo only released debut single ‘Post Modern Rhapsody’ in August last year and we already couldn’t imagine being without them. Their appearance on the recent Five 4 Five Fest was a highlight and latest single ‘Spit.’ proves there’s plenty more to come from this outrageously energetic band. We can’t wait.

Find Wargasm: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Singer/songwriters may be two a penny, but only a handful have the musical power of LA based Cory Wells. Wells will likely be familiar to Dashboard Confessional fans after he supported the emo legend in the UK late last year, and the similarities in the soul of their music is clear. Deeply emotional lyrics cut straight to the core on Wells’ debut album ‘The Way We Are’, soothing and heartbreaking in equal measure, and bearing a clear identity of his own. Beautifully produced and authentic to the last, this is music to heal your mind, and Wells already has all the hallmarks of an artist who will become just as beloved as Dashboard have been for the last twenty years.

Find Cory Wells: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


In a former life as Light You Up, Holygood released one of the best pop punk albums of the 2010s in ‘All We’ve Ever Known’ – so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that, with a fresh start and new sound, they’re still releasing absurdly good tunes. We’ve been mildly obsessed ever since our first play of debut single ‘Oh No!’ last year, and each song since has been just as wonderful; smart, snappy, and relatable lyrics are the cherry on top of this bright and colourful alt pop. A flurry of singles from this four piece in the last month or so feel like they’re building to something magical, and bigger things are surely in store.

Find Holygood: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


And now, for something different… Very, very different. Aussies Ocean Grove made one hell of a splash with sophomore album ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ earlier this year, and it only takes one listen to see why. Mad and unexpected, the album takes twists and turns at each track – but far from being offputting, the chaos only serves to drag you further into Ocean Grove’s world until you can never imagine leaving. Grunge feeds nu-metal and punk and pop and, well, just about anything you like, even feeling a little nostalgic at times; sure, there’s potential for it to provoke quite a marmite response, but there can be no apathetic reactions to this. If you enjoy it, you’ll love it. And we love it.

Find Ocean Grove: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Speaking of heavy music – if it’s outstanding debut albums you’re after, it’s time to say hello to Newcastle’s GroundCulture. With melodic hardcore at the heart of their sound, ‘How Well Do You Really Know Yourself?’ pushed the boundaries on an album that’s as varied as it is crushingly heavy, lyrically exploring the inner workings of our minds for an embracing, powerful forty minute ride. And when it comes to live performances? Perfection. GroundCulture are the real deal in every way, and riff fans would do well to get their ears around this lot ASAP.

Find GroundCulture: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


It’s only been a couple of months since former Hellions songwriter and guitarist Matthew Gravolin released the first single under his new identity in Agnes Manners, but we’re already hooked on the exquisite, soulful soundscapes he is creating. This feels personal, and guest turns from Dream State’s CJ Gilpin and Trophy Eyes front man John Floreani only enhance the two singles released so far; ‘As Long As You’re Mine’ and ‘Sydney’ feel like basking in warm sunlight, and they’re a perfect example of how to make a fresh start.

Find Agnes Manners: Facebook / Instagram


Pop punk in the vein of State Champs, with a dash of Four Year Strong; if high energy and memorable melodies are your thing, Canadian five piece Weigh The Anchor should be high on your list of bands to check out. Latest single ‘Abrasive’ is an instant hit that begs to be heard live – we’d like to have a little mosh-dance to this ASAP, please! New EP ‘Right At Home’ is released on 10 July and looks set to bring plenty of summer vibes even to the wettest of British days.

Find Weigh The Anchor: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Dreamy pop-rock outfit Glacier Veins released their debut album ‘The World You Want To See’ in February this year, and there’s plenty to love on this fresh, vibrant record. Malia Endres’ silky smooth vocals have a classic but distinctive feel and there’s a broad appeal to their sound, with the kind of songs that instantly grab your attention and hold on tight; when the world feels dark, Glacier Veins cut through the gloom.

Find Glacier Veins: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter