Punktastic Picks: Volume 2

By Gem Rogers

Is it too soon to call something a regular feature once it reaches its second edition?

Well, we’re going to anyway. We make the rules around here (… probably), so this seems fine. With that in mind, welcome to the next volume of our regular (see) Punktastic Picks feature and playlist!

As introduced in Volume One, this is where we bring you ten of our favourite new and upcoming artists in a regular (probably milking it a bit now) handy playlist, to help you find new bands you love – because there really isn’t much better than stumbling upon incredible new music.

If you want to dive straight in and start listening, hit that play button below, and for a little bit more about each of the bands featured in this volume, keep reading!

Fusing post-hardcore with metal and big melodies, Leeds five-piece Captives may only have one EP to their name so far, but they’ve already found their feet in producing a mature, confident, and distinctive sound. With mental health challenges forming a focus for much of their lyrical content, there’s considerable power in their words that’s only enhanced by Matt Flood’s impressive and expressive vocals. Whether you find your musical therapy in a riotous singalong or a good old fashioned moshpit (… when they’re allowed, anyway), these songs have you covered. Captives are the kind of band you get excited about from the very first listen, and with an album in the works, it looks like there’s plenty more excitement to come.

Find Captives: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Adelaide quartet alt. aren’t the necessarily the easiest to search for on Spotify, but let us be the ones to say that it’s well worth tracking them down (it’s not that bad really, unless you’re averse to a brief scroll past alt-J and Alter Bridge). Their first single was released a mere nine months ago, but their sound is more than fully formed already; there’s a hint of bands like Hands Like Houses and TesseracT in this super melodic, technical sound, topped off by a huge range of vocal styles from Dan Richards. Artistic yet soulful, debut EP ‘dysfunctional’ features mega riffs and memorable choruses aplenty – alt. have ‘future powerhouses’ written all over them, so now seems like a pretty good time to start listening.

Find alt.: Facebook / Instagram


There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of heavy music coming out of Australia right now – and the best part of this, of course, is that they’re all really bloody good. Ocean Sleeper are no exception. Hailing from the state of Victoria, their debut album ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ (no relation to the song you’ve probably got stuck in your head now) revealed a brand of metalcore defined by riffs that dance between deliciously technical and rib-crushingly heavy, complimented by some gigantic melodic sections. If you’re after songs that hit you in the gut with an audible “oof” and fill you with the burning desire to punch walls, Ocean Sleeper could be exactly the band you’re looking for.

Find Ocean Sleeper: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Speaking of countries that have form for producing musical masters by the bucketload – Sweden’s Noija have quite a reputation to uphold for their homeland, but they don’t seem to be having much trouble doing so. This brooding, ethereal post-hardcore/alt rock will easily appeal to fans of bands like Holding Absence, and even at their most melodic, there’s a powerful undercurrent in Noija’s music that elevates their sound to the next level. After a flurry of activity over the last few months – including latest single ‘Bleak’, featuring a hefty guest turn from Aviana’s Joel Holmqvist – they’ve announced that second album ‘Through Fire, All Things Are Renewed’ will be released on 28 August. So you’re just in time to get on board…

Find Noija: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


After a quick trip around the world, we find ourselves back in Yorkshire for the next band on our list, and we’ve very happy indeed to be here. This time it’s York providing the goods, and if we were ever going to refer to songs as bangers around here, we’d almost certainly reserve it for tunes like the ones FOXHAUNT deliver. Latest singles ‘Open Water’ and ‘Trust No One’ are perfect examples – these summery, arena-filling riffs and melodies are perilously addictive, and there’s enough of an edge to make them the perfect tracks to play at full volume with all the windows open (just don’t tell your neighbours we recommended it). It’s early days yet for FOXHAUNT, but there’s no denying the huge promise they show – we’ll be keeping a close eye on them, and we suggest you join us.

Find FOXHAUNT: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


“‘NoVella’ is the sophomore EP many bands could only dream of, nestling the best of melodic pop into epic, anthemic rock that’s not only easy to listen to, but also emotive, uplifting, and thoroughly enjoyable.” Those are the words we wrote when we covered Veridian’s second EP in January this year (and boy does it feel like a lifetime ago) – we meant it then, and we mean it now. Where these songs brightened the dark winter nights back then, they equally add an extra shine to our sunny summer days now, and Veridian are a band who well deserve your attention.

Find Veridian: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


After their fantastic set at Five4Five Fest back in May, not to mention years of experience supporting the likes of Billy Talent, Between You & Me/Story Untold, and Counterfeit., Tigress should hopefully already have come to your attention – but just in case they’ve passed you by, allow us to introduce you. The Chelmsford based five-piece make big, bold rock tunes, sometimes rooted in a punky sound and spirit, at other times forming soft, soaring ballads that wouldn’t seem out of place on a film soundtrack. Not many bands could make this kind of sonic diversity feel natural, but it’s all part and parcel of who Tigress are, and one of many reasons we love them. The other reasons? Well, give them a listen and find out…

Find Tigress: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Turns out we can’t stay away from Australia for too long, and Melbourne’s The Beautiful Monument have a sound you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else. TBM don’t sit fully comfortably in any genre, instead bringing the best out of whatever they turn their hand to; just as you think they’ve settled into a pop rock groove on latest album ‘I’m The Reaper’, the five-piece immediately turn it up to 11 and drop a ten tonne riff into the proceedings. The end result is pretty spectacular, and the cherry on top is Lizi Blanco’s stunning, dynamic vocal; once you’ve listened to The Beautiful Monument, you won’t be forgetting them anytime soon.

Find The Beautiful Monument: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


When it comes to creating a song you couldn’t ignore if you tried, Two Year Break seem to have got it down with their latest single ‘#bitbright’. We’re not sure the last time we heard something that immediately got so steadfastly stuck in our heads, with some major Don Broco vibes building on their earlier pop punk sound. This fresh new angle looks good on the London band, and they clearly know what it takes to make music that’s both memorable and, most importantly, damn good fun. We’re excited to see where they take it from here – until then, ‘#bitbright’ will continue its near permanent residence in our brains.

Find Two Year Break: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


Summer 2020 has ushered in a pretty colourful new chapter for wars – quite literally. The Rugby metal/post-hardcore group have started building up to new album ‘A Hundred Shivers’, set for release in 2021, by unveiling new tracks in chapters, with Chapter One (‘Only Monsters’ and ‘A Fog Of Feeling’) making an appearance in March. It feels like a reimagining of the way we approach new releases, with each chapter so far having a distinct identity – and the music? Well, if you like intense, electrifying riffs and aggressive post-hardcore sounds that simply don’t quit, this is almost definitely the one for you. The next 12 months look set to be the best yet for wars, so don’t miss out.

Find wars: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter