Punktastic Picks: Volume 4

By Gem Rogers

One of the greatest things about being Punktastic is that we have the perfect excuse to spend endless hours scouring the internet for new bands and artists, diving deep into a multitude of sources to find the hidden gems. One of the other greatest things is getting to pluck the very best of our finds and share them with you, in the hope that you too can find a new favourite and follow their journey from the beginning.

That’s the idea behind Punktastic Picks – bringing ten shining new stars from across our scene together in one playlist, shouting from the rooftops about how much we adore them, and hoping you love them just as much (it’s a tall order, ’cause we’ve got a lot of love to give, but we’re confident you’re up to the challenge).

So without further ado, we present Volume 4 of Punktastic Picks! Get started on the playlist, read a bit more about this month’s bands below, and let us know what you think.

Pressing play on the debut album by emo pop newcomers Loveless is essentially a lesson in just how quickly you can go from zero to completely obsessed (for what it’s worth, it didn’t even take us until the end of opener ‘Haunting Me’…). Boasting dramatic choruses, silky smooth production, and vocals as comforting and wonderous as fresh warm honey, we’re never happier than when we’re blasting ‘Loveless I’ at full volume whilst driving through the countryside in blazing sunshine – and it’s the kind of album that always evokes that exact euphoric feeling, even when you’re stuck at home and rain is hammering against the windows. This is an obsession that won’t be fading anytime soon, and if colossal pop melodies drenched in emo vibes are your thing, we guarantee you’ll feel the same way.

Find Loveless: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

In a competitive field, standing out as a new pop punk band can be tricky – but Michigan newcomers UNWELL have more than got what it takes. Finding the perfect balance between the grittier end of the genre and its glossy pop side, the quintet load up slick melodies with stacks of crunchy bite that we simply cannot get enough of. Whether it’s the moments they bust out a little easycore flavour (see ‘Equinox’), dig deep into our emotions with uplifting jams (‘Tightrope’), or allow the soulful tones of Matt Copley’s voice to take the lead (‘Bouquet Of Withered Flowers’), UNWELL are the kind of band that are blissfully easy to fall in love with – it’s safe to say our pop punk hearts have found a new home. We’ll save you a spot on the sofa.

Find UNWELL: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

After staring at a blank page for half an hour trying to work out how best to describe duo Jhariah – fronted by Bronx musician Jhariah Clare – hundreds of words come to mind, but honestly, where the hell do we start? When you spend long enough hunting for new music, it can sometimes all begin to blur together – but then, you come to ‘A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FAKING YOUR OWN DEATH’, and everything suddenly explodes with enough vibrant, ecstatic clarity to rival a double rainbow on a rainy Californian day. If deliciously outrageous, ‘The Greatest Showman’-esque musical theatre extravagance combined with the fire of punk, earworm hooks of pop, and just a dash of sheer chaos sound like your idea of a good time, Jhariah deliver all that and more with a flourish that has to be heard to be fully believed. You owe it to yourself to brighten your days with a little (or a lot of) Jhariah – and the best time to get started is now.

Find Jhariah: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

If, like us, your formative years as a music fan were dominated by the music of Hundred Reasons, then the emergence of duo They Fell From The Sky is more than a little bit of a reason to celebrate – bringing together the inimitable talent of Colin Doran and Bullet For My Valentine’s Jason Bowld, singles ‘Dry’ and ‘Crush This World’ are, without question, the stuff our dreams are made of. Doran’s voice is as distinctive and powerful as ever, providing the driving force for these mega anthems that we are, quite frankly, a bit obsessed with. Combining the power of familiarity with shiny newness and timeless rock sounds, They Fell From The Sky are one of our very favourite things to come out of 2021, and we can’t wait to hear more.

Find They Fell From The Sky: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Let’s make one thing immediately clear – we love Death Blooms. We love their filthy, groove stacked nu-metal sound, we love how we run out of synonyms for anger every time we try to talk about them, we love how much we desperately want to punch a hole in every wall in the vicinity the second we press play on this year’s ‘Fuck Everything’ EP. They’re just a really, really fucking good band, and there is nothing we desire more than to smash our bodies to bits in a Death Blooms mosh pit – so if you also like music that makes you feel this way, we suggest you get listening ASAP. With album ‘Life Is Pain’ due to hit our eardrums (probably literally) on October 22, there’s never been a more exciting time to start being a Death Blooms fan. God, we love Death Blooms.

Find Death Blooms: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Ready to get right up in your feelings, courtesy of some crushingly emotive post-hardcore? Allow Oxford’s LASTELLE to help you out; the title of their latest EP ‘Delicate’ is, at least, a pretty damn accurate description of how you’ll feel on the inside by the time they’re finished with you. Think Holding Absence cranked up ten notches on the heaviness scale and you’re on the right track, with beautifully layered sounds guiding listeners through a rollercoaster of emotion where every riff, melody and scream hits at exactly the right moment. ‘Delicate’ is a fantastically accomplished release, opening up a whole world of possibilities for this talented band – and it’s safe to say we can’t wait to experience this live.

Find LASTELLE: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

We make no secret of being big fans of emo pop here at Punktastic, so you can imagine our joy when we stumbled upon Virginia group Frames recently. Recent single ‘This Year’ welcomes listeners with open arms to an expansive, atmospheric soundscape, pairing musical beauty and introspection to dazzling effect – and it’s merely the cherry on top of a string of superb singles leading up to the release of debut album ‘Every Room’ on September 24. Founder and vocalist Sarah Phung captures the kind of lyrics that feel like they’re part of a conversation with your closest friends, revealing and relatable all at once (“I’m not ready to feel inside what I fake on the outside”), all delivered via soft and delicate melodies that sink deep into your soul. Frames could well be the band to heal our hearts this year, and we’re more than willing to let them do it.

Find Frames: Facebook / Twitter

Alright, confession time. Turns out we’ve been sleeping on The Home Team, so now we’re here not only to put that right, but also make sure you don’t make the same mistake. A bit pop punk-ish but also really not pop punk at all (it’ll make sense when you listen, honest), the Seattle group released debut album ‘Better Off’ in 2018, but it’s their new releases and upcoming album that have really grabbed our attention – eclectic, chaotic, and a little bit mad in all the best ways, The Home Team have an infectious energy and attitude that makes them stand out a million miles from the crowd. It’s fast and fun, with just the right amount of heaviness mixed in with electronic, dancy tones and some of the best vocals the 2021 scene has seen; The Home Team are on the rise, and it’s going to be meteoric. Don’t miss out.

Find The Home Team: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

The name Michael McGough will be familiar to any Being As An Ocean fan – and though new solo project Heart Of Gold may bear little musical similarity to the powerful post-hardcore group, there’s no question that these 80s pop-influenced tunes are of the same immaculate quality. These are the most summery of songs designed to put your finest dancing shoes to good use, and resistance is futile; 2020 debut EP ‘Gold’ puts a fresh face on delectable retro vibes with a whole lot of heart, and recent single ‘Headache’ continues the trend in fine synth-drenched style. If you want some music to make your day feel at least 110% better, look no further than Heart Of Gold.

Find Heart Of Gold: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

What better way to finish up this edition of Punktastic Picks than with some bone-rattling heavy metal? Hailing from the home of metal itself, Birmingham’s Insurgent made one hell of a statement with debut EP ‘Sentient’ earlier this year; awash with chuggy riffs and fearsome melodic vocals, it’s an incredibly ambitious debut, but their confidence is in no way misplaced as they skillfully fly through six exhilarating tracks in just over 20 minutes. When a debut EP sounds this special, you can be assured that even greater things are on the way, and we have no doubt that Insurgent will deliver.

Find Insurgent: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter