Pop punk‘s not dead. Do we have to say it again? Though the genre’s mostly fallen out of the mainstream spotlight, there are still a number of new bands who are making their contributions. And thanks to the rise of streaming platforms, they don’t need to be signed to a major label to gain traction.
While popular record labels such as Fearless and Hopeless continue to put forth some great artists, there’s no reason to solely rely on them for new music discovery. In fact, some of our favorite bands, such as Anarbor, have intentionally forgone label representation to maintain control of their approach. Perhaps for the first time in modern music history, “unsigned” doesn’t mean “unrecognized.”
In the spirit of uplifting labelless artists, we’ve gone ahead and compiled some of our favorites. Read on for 10 unsigned pop-punk bands that should already be dominating your playlists.
Chicago’s Fluorescents have been making waves in pop punk since 2019. Combining 2000s-nostalgic riffs with emo-leaning lyrics, the band boast a sound reminiscent of New Found Glory. Their 2020 sophomore EP, Dead End Conversations, serves as a stellar representation. Also, be sure to check out their recently released 24kGoldn cover. It’s a serious mood…
If you’re a fan of experimental, genre-fusing approaches, look no further than Staten Island’s Persei. The band first broke into the alternative scene in 2018 with their EP 117 Whatever Street. Just one year later, they won Bayside‘s Battle Of The Bands contest, going on to open for them during their 2019 Brooklyn tour stop. Their eclectic sound draws pop-punk and emo influences with some sporadic sprinklings of post-hardcore elements. Their most recent release, “Write Me Off,” debuted in December 2020.
Take even a brief listen to this Los Angeles-based group and you won’t be surprised to learn that their vocalist once sang alongside Hayley Williams. Professionally trained by the Musicians Institute, Forever Emerald deliver a polished, undeniably modern take on pop punk. Just take a listen to their latest EP, Safer Space, and try to tell us they aren’t straight Warped Tour material.
Ready Steady Steroids
You won’t believe Ready Steady Steroids aren’t on the Fueled By Ramen roster already. This Canadian band only dropped their debut album, Homebound, in 2018 but have accumulated an impressive following in its wake. It really comes as no surprise once you hear them. Their signature style is anthemic and dynamic without taking itself too seriously, making them distinctly comparable to modern pop-punk staples such as State Champs. Be sure to check out their recent single “Sanity” as well as their cover of A Day To Remember’s “If It Means A Lot To You.”
If you’re a 2000s pop-punk loyalist, you’d be remiss in not adding Planet Mercury to your favorite playlists. This Massachusetts-based powerhouse hold true to their roots, delivering catchy riffs and angst-laden lyrics. Their single “Normal Now” offers an upbeat, painfully relatable take on quarantine life that you won’t be able to get enough of.
Weigh The Anchor
Does anyone else feel like there’s been a glitch in the matrix here? Weigh The Anchor sound so in line with 2000s easycore that we can’t believe they weren’t founded during the decade. Shockingly, the group, who hail from Oakville, Ontario, only debuted in 2017 with their EP True Colours. Since then, they’ve delivered a handful of high-energy, punchy hits that could comfortably sit in playlists alongside Four Year Strong. Be sure to check out their latest EP, Right At Home.
If you prefer your pop punk to skew toward the heavy side, then San Antonio’s Finding September are a must-stream. This hard-hitting group are an exemplar of genre-bending, incorporating elements of metalcore, R&B and more into their unique spin on the genre. We highly recommend checking out their most recent track, “Fools Gold.”
How many bands can boast a main stage Warped Tour set only a year after their debut? We can’t imagine it’s very many. Given Mascots‘ propensity for classic pop-punk energy, though, we’re hardly surprised that they reached the milestone so early. This Cincinnati-based group offer the perfect combination of edge and heart with a hard-hitting style that’s comparable to modern titans such as Neck Deep. Check out their most recent single, “Twenty Two,” for a taste.
’90s fans, rejoice! Project Revise are taking us right back to that decade with their gritty, DIY pop-punk anthems. Despite only debuting in 2017, the Worcestershire-hailing band feel right at home alongside the likes of early blink-182. For a good sample of their punchy angst, be sure to check out their 2020 track “Downside Up.”
The Middle Room
Try not to let your jaw hit the floor when you found out the Middle Room only debuted last year. Fresh off their first album, Never Satisfied, these Pittsburgh natives are rapidly gaining traction within the scene. Toeing a fine line between catchy and downright aggressive, their songs will punch you right in the face and make you love every second of it.
Who are some of your favorite unsigned pop-punk bands? Sound off in the comments!