Bigger cities and states are always hubs for great music scenes, so it should come as no surprise to you that New York can come up with 10 bands, hardcore and softcore, local and legendary, for Pop Punk World to bring to you. Here’s my list!
The list begins with lesser-known Brooklyn locals Head For Cover. This 5-piece has shared tours with bands like Carousel Kings and Jonas Sees In Color. While not very well known, this group has the catchy sound that pop punk kids love – and with a little more exposure, they can go far. (In fact, you may recognize them from our Top 20 Bands To Look Out For In 2014)You can stream their full album here at their Bandcamp! Also, check out a few New York local shows here.
Head North are a quartet from Buffalo. Their music features influences such as Fall Out Boy, The Wonder Years, and Mayday Parade, among others. Their sound is creative, with vocals almost resembling Claudio of Coheed and Cambria over Fall Out Boy-like instrumentals and angsty lyrics. Part of the allure to me, personally, is that they are a fully local band, soon to embark on a tour playing at such venues as Meat Locker, a nameless skatepark in South Carolina, a bar literally called Dive Bar, and a deli in Tennessee. You can also catch them on an acoustic basement tour spot with Transit on February 6 at Record Theatre in Buffalo, NY! Check all dates here.
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Stray From the Path is not a name that should sound unfamiliar to you, even if you listen to strictly happy pop punk. This 4-piece from Long Island has been wrecking your posi vibes, jumps, and everything else since 2009. They’ve toured with the likes of Architects, Vanna, and other huge hardcore names. The band is one of the only true hardcore bands left, with energetically angry vocals, super sick guitar riffs, and nonstop drumming. Catch them on tour with Like Moths To Flames, The Plot In You, and Fit For a King with dates here.
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Such Gold are 4 guys from Rochester who define hardcore pop punk to many people. They sound similar to Pentimento, and were also on that same fall tour with The Story So Far. Their music is the kind you can sit back and listen to and just say, “man, life.” The lyrics about heartbreak, inferiority, and more are completely relatable to a large range of people. You can catch them in Patchogue on Today’s Mixtape Festival! And if you’re wondering, yeah, they caught the doge joke.
Pentimento are 4 dudes from Buffalo, NY with a killer sound. Their creative band name is defined as: “A pentimento (plural pentimenti) is an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent.” Their music resembles more organic, basement-sound pop punk bands, like Seahaven, mixed with a touch of old-school Transit. They did a tour with The Story So Far in the fall, are currently on a stint with Reggie and the Full Effect. After this tour, you can catch them on Today’s Mixtape Festival in Patchogue, NY!
With the Punches are a 6-piece from Newburgh, a quiet historical suburb on the Hudson, outside of NYC. It pains me greatly to write that this band is currently on indefinite hiatus, because they are truly great. They played their last few shows in August of last year. Their sound is reminiscent of more old school bands, similar to greats like New Found Glory. They’re played with bands such as Hit the Lights, The Wonder Years, and A Loss For Words. I highly recommend you check out their discography when you can.
The last few bands probably go without saying. Taking Back Sunday is a staple on any ex- or current-but-in-denial-emo kid’s playlist. This band has been around for 15 frickin’ years and are still completely relevant. Through lineup changes that feature the likes of Fred Mascherino, Jesse Lacey and John Nolan (now returned), as well as label changes to Fearless, this band has stuck through it all and will continue to be one of the greats. Catch them on the newly-resurrected Taste of Chaos tour while I weep softly because Chicago sold out. Carry on.
State Champs are a band from Albany that I recently found and fell in love with. The unique vocals on top of high-energy instrumentation make this a band to check out, and soon. They are equal-opportunity in regards to more angry songs and even calmer acoustic ones. They will be on tour with We Are the In Crowd, William Beckett, Set It Off, and Candy Hearts this spring. They will immediately jump on The Wonder Years’ European tour with A Loss For Words right after and, finally, play Warped Tour 2014! Busy lives. All dates here.
This is another band that should go without saying. Long Island sweethearts Brand New are one of the greatest bands in general to me, if not just from their state. The band was born after singer Jesse Lacey left Taking Back Sunday in 2000. They have released 4 wildly popular, amazing albums since their first release in 2001, Your Favorite Weapon. They will spend spring in Europe with Saves the Day, finishing with Boston Calling Music Festival on May 25th. All dates are listed here.
It was honestly one of my hardest decisions, determining #1 on this list, so let’s leave it at the fact that I love both of the bands equally. My love of Bayside began at an acoustic show in fall 2009 and solidified when they toured with Alkaline Trio in spring 2013. This band blends together traditional punk elements with a fun, upbeat sound. However, that doesn’t affect the lyrics. If your heart has ever ached in any way, Bayside is the band for you. Singer Anthony Raneri has been through a lot, demonstrated especially on their first albums. (The eponymous release is my personal favorite) Catch them on The Great American Cult Tour with Four Year Strong, Mixtapes, and Daylight and pick up their new album, Cult, on February 18th.