Philadelphia Has the Best Punk Scene in the Country Right Now
The Menzingers, photo by Rachel Del Sordo via XPN.
Philadelphia is an unrepentant shithole of a city where humanity goes to die, or at the very least, have its mother insulted.
I’m speaking in generalities, of course. In general, Philadelphia is America’s loud, obnoxious, red-pinstriped anus—a place where an entire population of high school dropouts unite in their worship of a fictional character from a boxing movie that came out 40 years ago. In general. Not every Philadelphian is a belligerent Swiss cheese-fucking dock worker in a XXXXXL Chase Utley shirt. But in general, yes.
Need proof? By all means, go to an Eagles game in a visiting team’s jersey and feel the famous "brotherly love" for which the city is known. Or do a YouTube search for “philadelphia + fight breaks out + [literally any word]” and be amazed at how many hours' worth of results come up.
But somewhere among the GED mouthbreathers who can’t pronounce the word “egg” to save their fucking lives is a thoroughly amazing city populated by a ton of talented people. And at the moment, Philly’s greatest asset is that it is home to the most prolific, most honest punk scene in the country. Much like parked cars on Broad Street after a Phillies World Series loss (or win, it doesn’t really matter), the Philly scene is on fire right now, producing band after band putting out good music and building a close-knit community.
Here are a few bands that are based-—or at least partially based—in Philly who I personally think are killing it right now. Or in Philly speak, I think they're rill rill good. Of course, you are so punx that you probably know about some band that is so obscure that they only play inside the Liberty Bell or some shit. So definitely feel free to leave those in the comments section with the rest of the internet’s worthless opinions.
(Just kidding, I love Philly. See you at Wawa.)
Philly pop punk legends Plow United returned last year after a decade-plus hiatus and unlike most bands who come out of retirement, Plow did not completely embarrass themselves. And on top of that, Plow’s bassist Joel Tannenbaum even started a new band, Ex Friends.
Not sure what can be said about this band that hasn’t been said by everyone already. The best thing to come out of Philadelphia since cheesesteaks.
The ladies of Cayetana are recording their debut album soon and they need to hurry it up because right now, they’ve only got a demo and a seven-inch out and that’s just not enough. Squeaky-voiced pop punk done perfectly.
It’s sort of hard to categorize Restorations. Sometimes melodic, sometimes gravelly and heavy. All man though, these jerks.
If I had to pick one band from Philly that will one day suddenly get super indie famous (like Neutral Milk Hotel-level famous) where people nerdily brag about seeing their first shows, it’d be Radiator Hospital. The record they put out last year, Something Wild, is indeed fucking wild. Sometimes depressing-as-hell loner folk songs. Sometimes catchy power pop with Shaun of the Dead references.
Cynthia from Radiator Hospital. See above for awesome explanation of awesomeness.
Can one goddamn thing in Philly not have a baseball reference in it? Anyway, it’s really hard not to like these nerds.
Do you want to keep reading my dumb descriptions or do you wanna fill your ears with the sounds of The Ambulars’ indie pop punk?
Little Big League
Who cares what they sound like (they’re awesome by the way), only 6,500 more Facebook likes and they’ll have more than the 1994 baseball movie of the same name which we all know was a cheap rate knockoff of Rookie of the Year anyway.
The name of Kite Party’s album is Baseball Season. Jesus Fucking Christ, Philly, there are other things in life besides baseball.
More than just a rad band name, glocca morra is Philadelphia’s pride and joy. If you were a huge late-90s emo nerd but haven’t been following the genre since the days of Braid and Cap’n Jazz, glocca’s album, Just Married would be a good place to rediscover it.
Two years ago, The Menzingers released their third album On the Impossible Past which dropped the jaw of every single punk in the country to the floor. They’ve got a new album coming out this year and everyone’s expectations are high that it’s gonna be one of the best records of the year. And guess what. It will be.
Female-fronted punk bands have been drifting lately towards the sugary side. Nothing wrong with that. But sometimes, you wanna hear some fuckin’ snotty female vocals and that’s where NONA comes in.
The Holy Mess
Bearded punk will never die. Not if the Holy Mess have anything to say about it.
Shout outs to the Philly suburban bands like Title Fight, Tiger’s Jaw, Slingshot Dakota, and Captain, We’re Sinking.
Dan Ozzi lives in New York, a city with zero problems and a population of incredibly polite, well-educated people. Follow him on Twitter - @danozzi