Best of 2016 Playlist

November 28, 2015

Top 10 Underrated Bands

Well since we did overrated bands, it's only right that we do underrated too right? On the other side of the coin, there are bands struggling to gain recognition in the vast field. And where some get success due to looks or media coverage, others fight for everything they have. Most, if not all, of these bands deserve more praise than they are awarded. They represent everything right with the music industry, and always put their best foot forward. 

As in our overrated bands post, we'll be stick with active bands, and excluding pop acts (i.e. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga) as we're working on those lists for another time. If you think we forgot a band, comment and let us know. We're sorry if we make anyone butthurt. Top 10s tend to do that to people. Click our Top 10 / Quicks Page to read more lists like this one, and to view our "
honorable mentions".  

10. Yellowcard  

The early 00s were the high point in pop punk. But the more time that passes, the more those bands have started to fizzle out. Yellowcard are sadly no exception. Despite writing albums that only seem to get better with time, the world has passed on their pop punk for loose boy bands like All Time Low, Sleeping with Sirens, and 5 Seconds of Summer. And that's a real shame since without Yellowcard those bands probably wouldn't exist. They, along with pop punk royalty blink-182 and New Found Glory, are responsible for the current pop punk sound we hear in other bands like State Champs, As It Is and We Are The In Crowd. Plus you have to give a pop punk band that manages to incorporate violin into their music a round of applause. For those of you interested, we recommend you put an ear to "Fighting", "Way Away", massive hit "Ocean Avenue", and "Make Me So". 

9. Alkaline Trio 

Another early 00s punk band lost in recent years. Today most have taken note of Alkaline Trio due to frontman Matt Skiba joining blink-182 as Tom Delonge's replacement. And while we're very curious as to what that formation will produce, we can't forget about AT. Their most recent album, "My Shame is True" is a modern pop punk masterpiece. Proving the band still have a few tricks up their sleeve, the album is full of catchy choruses, and classic riffs. But nothing beats their golden years, during the "From Here to Infirmary" to "Good Mourning" era (2001 to about 2006). For novice listeners, we suggest songs "Stupid Kid", "We've Had Enough", "Time to Waste", "Calling All Skeletons, and "I Wanna Be A Warhol". 

8. Anarbor  

Currently on hiatus, this is one of those bands that makes us remember misspent youth and the summer of 2010. You'll know Anarbor's music from the brief TV spots in shows like Stoked and Jersey Shore. Their knack for writing songs that very much follow the "sex, drugs and rock n' roll" lifestyle drew fans of all kinds in. Their 2nd album, "Burnout" is a masterpiece, but is often overlooked. There are moments of mainstream pop rock (tracks like "Damage I've Done", "18" and "Freaks"), but the majority of the album is Anarbor's brand of garage, alt. rock. Frontman and bassist Slade Echeverria writes infectious choruses backed with gritty guitars and smooth bass lines. If you're looking for something with a bit more twang, and spunk go for "The Brightest Green" "Every High Has A Come Down" or "Passion for Publication". For something a bit more rock oriented we recommend "Whiskey in Hell", "Gypsy Woman", "Fast, Cheap, And Out of Control", and "Always Dirty, Never Clean" 

7. Transit (broke up April 2016)

If you had any doubts surrounding this band's origins, look at their 4th album "Young New England" for guidance. Transit is an alt. rock, indie pop punk band hailing from Massachusetts. They've done Warped Tour 2012 and 2015, been on tour with bands like Four Year Strong and Forever Came Calling, and have released 5 albums. Their most recent being "Joyride", which was released during the fall of 2014. It marks a shift in the band's style, leaning more on pop than in previous albums. The band is known for drawing on various indie, pop punk influences. The result is sublime, and deserves a lot more praise than it gets. It's comforting, the kind of music that you'd listen to while drinking hot chocolate in front of a fireplace. Don't believe us? Put an ear to "Long Lost Friends", "Skipping Stones" or "Nothing Lasts Forever". And for some more pop infused tracks go for "Sweet Resistance", "Ignition & Friction" and "Rest to Get Better", all from the aforementioned "Joyride". 

6. I the Mighty  

They only released two albums but they've got the skills of a band that's released ten albums. Unfortunately by that point most bands have called it quits. So with that in mind, we are eager to see what the future holds for I the Mighty. Their fusion of experimental rock, post hardcore and indie may be similar to Hands Like Houses (also a featured band on this list), but they make it their own. Where HLH focuses on rhythms, ItM focuses on melody. The band creates harmonies among their instruments, and songs are lead by frontman Brent Walsh's impressive vocal and writing skills. For first time listeners we recommend "Speak to Me", "The Dreamer", "The Hound and the Fox" and "Playing Catch with .22", all of which are more post hardcore than other songs. To get a taste for the band's alt. rock style try "Failures", "Friends feat. Max Bemis", "Echoes" or "The Streets Are Alive"

5. Tonight Alive  

A Sydney based band, they are Australia's response to Paramore. The only difference between the two being their levels of success. Tonight Alive started out as pop punk band, but in recent years have turned to a more alt. rock style. Their live performances are fueled by Jenna McDougall's stage presence, and the band's high octane songs. For years the band has been in the shadow of their American counterparts, but at long last they've finally begun to shine on their own. They set themselves apart with their rhythmic verses and explosive choruses. Most recently they've been dabbling in electronic rock like peers PVRIS. We are eager to see what the band has in store for us in the future. Lead guitarist Whakaio Taahi has written some of the best guitar riffs. One of their strongest songs is"The Fire". Roots heavily planted in punk rock, it's got a lead guitar intro to rival blink-182's "What's My Age Again?" Be sure to check out "Starlight", "Listening", "Lonely Girl", "Come Home", "The Edge", and their newest single "To Be Free" if you're intrigued. 

4. State Champs 

A pop punk band from New York that has the 5 Seconds of Summer stamp of approval. It might not mean much to hardcore pop punk fans, but it certainly doesn't hurt to get some mainstream exposure. And State Champs deserve every bit of success they get. After several EPs, they released their debut album, "The Finer Things" through Pure Noise Records in 2013. It was, and is, the best pop punk debut we've heard to date. The New Found Glory-esc choruses (perhaps due to former NFG guitarist Steve Klein producing), and horribly infectious riffs are unrivaled. There's a strong punk presence, which fans of 90s pop punk will enjoy. And for fans of the more pop side of pop punk, there's the band's new album "Around the World and Back". Their sophomore effort features some more mainstream influences, while still holding true to SC's brand of pop punk. It's a transition from New Found Glory to A Day to Remember style pop punk. If you're not humming along after listening to these songs ("Elevated", "Nothing's Wrong", "Secrets", "Losing Myself" and "All You Are is History") then you should probably see a doctor. You might be going deaf, we can't think of a logical reason not to like these guys. 

3. Hands Like Houses  

One of those bands who gets better with time. Hands Like Houses came to be after the band members' original bands split up. In 2011 they went to work with producer Cameron Mizell (whose credits include Sleeping with Sirens, Memphis May Fire and The Word Alive) for their debut EP. Long story short, that EP eventually turned into their debut album "Ground Dweller" through Rise Records in 2012, which sounds nothing like a debut. You'd think the guys had released several albums before this one, but you'd be wrong. A year later they came back with their 2nd album "Unimagine". It's hard to believe that it could top their debut, but it did. The band's combination of post hardcore, alt. rock and experimental rock is very similar to the aforementioned I the Mighty, and even Pierce the Veil. But the band has made a name for themselves by focusing their efforts on melodies, and the band's tight rhythm section. Their upcoming 3rd album, "Dissonants" is looking at an early 2016 release date, but until then you can jam out to singles "I Am" (the heaviest song the band has written to date), and "New Romantics" (which features a more ambient rock sound). Other songs to listen to include "Antarctica", "Don't Look Now, Act Normal. I'm Being Followed", "Lion Skin feat. Tyler Carter & Jonny Craig", "Introduced Species", "Shapeshifters" and "No Parallels". 

2. The Wonder Years  

Though they've been responsible for some of the best pop punk albums in the last decade, they've never drawn in large crowds like fellow bands All Time Low or A Day to Remember have. The Wonder Years, not named for the 1980s TV show, are no doubt one of the best bands in the business. Their latest album, "No Closer to Heaven", redefines pop punk, and shatters barriers between genres. They've headlined tours, festivals, and more, yet have never achieved the same commercial success as other acts. Their 2013 album, "The Greatest Generation" and their 2015 album together are better than anything Good Charolette or The All American Rejects (pop punk bands of the same era) have released. Frontman Dan "Soupy" Campbell's honest lyrics, and the bands' overall innovative style are what make them so special. We hope in the future that fans will realize what a treasure this band is, and start appreciating them for what they are. "Cigarettes and Saints", "Came Out Swinging", "Passing Through a Screen Door", and "Local Man Ruins Everything" are just a few of the songs we think you should listen to. In all honesty, everything from 2011 forward is awesome, but that's a lot of music to listen to in one sitting. So why not just start with these 4 and go from there. 

1. The Color Morale  

Though The Color Morale have been around just as long as more popular bands like blessthefall, Sleeping with Sirens, and We Came as Romans, they have only recently begun to gain popularity. The band's positive lyrics and gritty post hardcore style has earned the band a loyal fanbase, that continues to grow every day. Frontman Garret Rapp writes about his own experiences with suicide, depression, and faith. Unlike other artists, whose messages and lyrics can come off a little too preachy for some, Garret's have always seemed the most sincere. Maybe it's in the delivery, or the passionate live shows the band puts on. Whatever it is, we're glad to have it. The band's 2014 album is an anagram for HOPE (Hold On Pain Ends). If that doesn't tell you something about TCM, then maybe their 2013 album's title, "Know Hope", will. As hard as it is to choose, we'd have to recommend the following songs for first time listeners; "Strange Comfort", "Learned Behavior", "Prey for Me", "Is Happiness a Mediocre Sin?", "Demon Teeth", "Falling Awake", and "Humannequin". But seriously, 90% of their music is phenomenal, 9/10. The other 10% gets something like a 7.5 or 8/10.