We're only one month into 2022 and the year is already off to a great start for new punk/hardcore/emo/etc (but a bad start for classic bands breaking up - RIP Every Time I Die and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones). I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite songs of the month (a good problem to have!), but whittled it down to 12, and there are so many more included in our just-launched 2022 punk/emo/hardcore/etc playlist (embedded below). Before I get to my picks, here are all the 'In Defense of the Genre' features we ran this past month:
* 20 essential melodic hardcore albums from the 2000s
* Next Turnstile? 10 hardcore bands to watch in 2022
* Bad Religion's How Could Hell Be Any Worse turns 40, The Process of Belief turns 20
* Cloud Nothings' game-changing Attack On Memory turns 10
* An interview with Anxious, whose debut LP Little Green House is a breath of fresh air for emo
* Every Time I Die, RIP - a transcendent, trailblazing, cathartic band till the very end
You can also get the new Anxious album on violet vinyl in our store, and other records we recently added include the new Hot Water Music album, Paramore's All We Know Is Falling (new silver vinyl pressing), blink-182's Greatest Hits, The Offspring's Americana, Origami Angel's GAMI GANG (green, red & blue vinyl), the new Audio Karate rarities album (on limited white/pink vinyl), Tigers Jaw's Charmer (limited apple red vinyl), For Your Health's In Spite Of (limited red/clear "butterfly" vinyl), and more.
Read on for my picks of the best songs of January 2022 that fall somewhere under the punk umbrella, in no particular order...
Soul Glo - "Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future))"
We're entering 2022 with a lot of attention on the hardcore scene, and we've already gotten what feels like the first monumental hardcore single of the year, Soul Glo's "Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future))." It's the first single off Diaspora Problems, Soul Glo's first full-length for Epitaph/Secret Voice, and it's the best-produced, most accessible, and maybe just straight-up best song Soul Glo have released yet. It channels the speed and fury of classic '80s hardcore, and it also flirts with the off-kilter attack of '90s screamo and the cadences of modern hip hop, all while tackling a topic that's very prevalent in our current culture: that so many Black artists' careers are cut short and only fully appreciated posthumously. It's a reminder that artists shouldn't be taken for granted, and it also proves that Soul Glo are carving out a legacy that deserves to be talked about right now.
Pick up Soul Glo's upcoming album on limited splatter vinyl.
Vein.fm - "Fear In Non Fiction" (ft. Geoff Rickly)
It's been nearly four years since Vein.fm (fka Vein) cemented themselves at the forefront of the modern metalcore scene with their debut LP Errorzone, and now they're finally ready to follow it with their highly anticipated sophomore LP This World Is Going To Ruin You on 3/4 via Closed Casket Activities/Nuclear Blast. Its recent single "Fear In Non Fiction" gives you everything that was great about Errorzone and more. It bridges the gap between the more polished and accessible moments of 2000s metalcore with the more aggressive and chaotic moments of '90s mathcore, and flirts with a few elements of nu metal without ever sounding cheesy or regressive. Adding fuel to the fire is a hook sung by Thursday's Geoff Rickly, a pioneer of bringing soaring pop melodies to underground hardcore, which is exactly what he does here. "I'm so excited to be a part of this record — a record that will push us all forward," Geoff said. Indeed.
Pick up Vein.fm's upcoming album on limited splatter vinyl.
p.s.you'redead - "The Mouth of Hell Is Lit With Neon"
If the artwork (pictured above) for this single is making you feel as immediately nostalgic as it's making me, don't even read any further, just click play. From that artwork to the name of this single to the name of p.s.you'redead's upcoming album (Sugar Rot), it's clear that p.s.you'redead love to split the difference between bright/colorful and repulsive. They recall any number of bands from the loosely defined 2000s sasscore movement (The Blood Brothers, Heavy Heavy Low Low, An Albatross, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, early Genghis Tron - to name a few), and even with just a few songs out, they're already starting to rival current leaders of that sound like SeeYouSpaceCowboy and For Your Health. Throughout this shapeshifting song's three-minute running time, p.s.you'redead touch on discordant post-hardcore, sass parts, blood-curdling screams, metalcore breakdowns, glittery synths, and more, and the whole thing rules so hard. If Sugar Rot (due 2/25 via Paper Wings, Chillwavve, and Salsa Verde Fanzine) is gonna give us a whole album of this, we're gonna be in for an extremely overwhelming, over-the-top treat.
PUP - "Robot Writes A Love Song"
PUP eased us into their new album last year with the very classic-PUP-sounding "Waiting," but you had to assume that making an album with Interpol/The National collaborator Peter Katis also meant departing from rippers, and new single "Robot Writes A Love Song" does exactly that. Sometimes it almost reminds me of the rickety lo-fi bedroom pop of the early/mid 2000s, but PUP have a way of taking that sound and making it feel like no other band in the world. Stefan Babcock's knack for writing lyrics that simultaneously feel hopeful and self-destructive is only stronger, and he and the rest of PUP continue to write hooks that are simultaneously off-kilter and extremely catchy. "Waiting" was classic PUP, but "Robot Writes A Love Song" signifies the start a new chapter for one of the most exciting punk bands of the last decade.
Short Fictions - "Don't Start A Band"
Short Fictions' 2019 debut LP Fates Worse Than Death is already a staple of what we're now calling fifth wave emo, and the Pittsburgh band have made their much-anticipated return by signing to Lauren Records and putting out the new single "Don't Start A Band." Fates took a lot of influence from the knotty sounds of '90s Midwest emo, but "Don't Start A Band" is a little more relaxed, with fuzzed-out riffs, power pop melodies and slacker vibes that feel closer to stuff like Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Superchunk, and Weezer without losing Short Fictions' youthful emo edge. And before you accuse Short Fictions of simplifying their sound, stick around for the horn-fueled post-rock climax and the noodly guitar heroics that close out the song.
Ex-Vöid - "Churchyard"
Back in 2015, vocalist Lan McArdle left the much-loved punky indie pop band Joanna Gruesome (and they replaced her and never technically broke up but have been inactive for years), and more recently, JG members Owen Williams and George Nicholls have been playing in The Tubs and Owen also reunited with Lan in the band Ex-Vöid, whose debut album Bigger Than Before arrives on 3/25 via Don Giovanni. The album includes re-recordings of two songs from their 2018 debut EP, as well as the just-released "Churchyard," which is easily the catchiest thing they've put out yet. If you've ever wondered what early Green Day might sound like with sugar-sweet twee pop harmonies, the answer might be something like "Churchyard."
Foreign Hands - "Separation Souvenir"
Like I wrote above about p.s.you'redead, if you took one look at that Foreign Hands artwork and thought "that looks like the best early 2000s metalcore CD I never bought," you are going to want to hear this song. Foreign Hands vocalist Tyler Norris also plays guitar in Wristmeetrazor, and their upcoming EP Bleed The Dream (due 2/18 via DAZE) includes songwriting contributions from Isaac Hale of Knocked Loose, and like both of those bands, they know how to sound fresh and nostalgia-inducing all at once. The song checks so many classic metalcore boxes -- melodic At The Gates-ian riffs, badass breakdowns, screamalong one-liners, dramatic spoken word, clean emo parts -- and I think if the pioneers of this stuff heard Foreign Hands, they'd be very proud.
Ghost Fame - "Departing Words"
We just published a list on 2000s melodic hardcore bands like Defeater, Have Heart, Verse, The Carrier, Ruiner, etc, and Ghost Fame -- whose upcoming EP Nobody Wants To Be Here, Nobody Wants To Leave was recorded with former Defeater member and Verse/The Carrier producer Jay Maas -- do an amazing job of carrying the torch for that sound. It makes me feel like it's 2007/2008 all over again, and in a world where bands like One Step Closer are bringing this sound to new audiences, Ghost Fame seem poised to keep that same momentum going.
Teenage Halloween - "Burn"
I've been waiting for a studio version of this one ever since Teenage Halloween debuted it on Audiotree Live back in March of 2021, and I am happy to report that this proper recording of it rips. It's off the band's new split EP with The Homeless Gospel Choir, and it finds bassist/backing vocalist Tricia Marshall taking lead vocals, with usual frontperson Luk Henderiks on harmonies. It's a no-frills, super catchy indie-punk ripper, and the very fun sound is offset by an onslaught of scathing societal critiques ("The only thing that trickles down is generational trauma," goes one standout line). It's a reminder that music doesn't have to sound angry to be angry.
Pick up their self-titled album on 'Electric Smoke' vinyl.
Dissidente - "Corvid"
Moving right along to a song that is angry and sounds angry: "Corvid," one of the singles off Pittsburgh ska-core band Dissidente's long-awaited debut album The War On Two Fronts (due 2/11 via Bad Time Records). With a sound that deservingly earns comparisons to bands like Anti-Flag, Leftover Crack, Propagandhi, and Strike Anywhere, "Corvid" is a political punk rager with a ska twist that uses a story about a crow and a rook to offer up deep social commentary wrapped in poetic metaphor. It's also a total anthem that sounds built to open up the pit and get the whole crowd screaming along.
Drowningman - "Navigating Grief And Loss In A Pre-Apocalyptic Landscape"
The rock and roll killing machines are gearing up for their first album in 16 years, and the truly awesome lead single "Navigating Grief And Loss In A Pre-Apocalyptic Landscape" makes it feel like no time has passed at all since Drowningman's last LP. This recording is technically a demo, done with Vincent Freeman -- though the album is being recorded with longtime producer Steve Evetts (Lifetime, Deadguy, Snapcase, etc) -- but even in demo form, "Navigating Grief" is a perfect example of the genre melting pot that Drowningman stirred up two decades ago, an amalgamation of metallic mathcore, post-hardcore, anthemic punk, and more. Drowningman never really fit in neatly anywhere, and even after all these years, they're still entirely in their own lane.
A Wilhelm Scream - "Be One To No One"
A Wilhelm Scream are about to release their first album in nine years, Lose Your Delusion, and lead single "Be One To No One" finds their melodic punk/hardcore sounding as ripping and anthemic as it did in their classic 2000s era. With double-time whiplash, soaring harmony-laden hooks, shreddy leads, and more, it's got everything you want out of an A Wilhelm Scream song, and the band sounds totally rejuvenated.
In an effort to cover as many bands as possible, I try to just do one single per album cycle in these monthly roundups, so catch up on previous months' lists for even more:
For even more new songs, listen below or subscribe to our playlist of punk/emo/hardcore/etc songs of 2022.
Browse our selection of hand-picked punk vinyl.
Read past and future editions of 'In Defense of the Genre' here.