Tara’s Tunes: The Best Underground Bands On The Rise

January 19, 2017

“Underground” is a disputed term in the music industry. There isn’t an exact definition for what it means, but it is often tossed around to describe many bands from many genres. I think by now that it’s not surprise by now that my favorite genre of music is punk – from emo/alt to hardcore punk, and everything in between. In the punk scene, I think there is a strong association with the term “underground”. In a scene that prides itself in DIY ethics (doing everything yourself – paying your dues, making your own way, etc), underground usually means the basically unheard of bands. The types of bands that you saw at a college party, in that one kid’s basement that one time, or in a place that you would never expect to see a band. I like to think as underground as something a bit bigger, more like bands that are making their way and creating great music, but may not be getting the credit that I feel like they deserve. The bands or artists that haven’t quite broken into the mainstream yet, but should very, very soon. I also think of the underground bands as groups that are incredibly hard-working and talented. I associate the term underground more with bands that you may not have heard of, but definitely should. Here’s my pick for my underground or underrated artists.


Starting the list, The Gooch Palms. Hailing from the great Australia, this duo is absolutely incredible. Their music is a bit hard to describe, but I would describe it as upbeat, sunny day 80’s inspired punk. They describe themselves as indie-doo-wop-bubblegum-punk, and as odd as it sounds, it’s spot on. Kat and Leroy have made a name for themselves but not only creating great music, but being amazing people and never giving up. I had the chance of interviewing them for my college radio station, and both of them are absolute human gems. Their show was amazing, and even if you did not know any of their music, I guarantee you would have an amazing time at their show. They are just a ton of fun, and always an amazing time.

My favorite songs: “We Get By”, “Eat up Ya Beans” and “Hungry”


Next up, we have Chase Huglin. I definitely feel like I talk about Chase Huglin as an artist a lot, but it’s not without reason. Chase and I are the same age, and I am absolutely floored that someone is so talented while being so young. The emotion and intensity in his writing is something that we can all connect with in some way or another. His début album, You Deserve An Island, was released in September 2016. I listened to one song, “Pills”, and bought the album on vinyl right away. It just hit me, and I instantly knew how talented he was. Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed the album in it’s entirely. The album touches on a lot of different emotions and feelings. I just feel something when I listen to his music. I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is, but it’s a great feeling.

My favorite songs: “Niagara”, “You Deserve An Island”, and “Folded Hands”

Up next, JPNSGRLS. Damn, they are just good. The Canadian garage pop group just does their sound so well. I heard their song “Southern Comforting” on a Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, and I’m pretty sure I listened to every song they have ever put out by the end of that day. A bit grungy, a bit punk, a bit pop, a bit dance-y, and no doubt a ton of fun. Their songs hit hard, in a very great way. Their album Divorce has been on repeat for me since I discovered it. As if that wasn’t enough, the band is made up of great guys that genuinely care for their fans. In the age of internet, I find that a bit hard to find. All in all, I absolutely NEED to see JPNSGRLS live in 2017 (and JPNSGRLS, if you are seeing this, I’m still rooting for the tour with Mumblr).

My favorite songs: “Southern Comforting”, “Oh My God” and “Gap Year”


To round out the list, the underground band of all bands, mewithoutYou. When most people think of underground, this is probably what comes to mind. A bit experimental, not very well known, but talented. I’ll admit it, their music isn’t going to be for everyone. Regardless, I just think this band is pure genius. Their music ranges in so many sounds and genres, and I think they do them all nearly flawlessly. From more folk-indie sounds like on their album Brother, Sister, to incredible story telling on Ten Stories (as if all of their music doesn’t embody the incredible narratives), to the straight punk classic of an album that is Catch For Us The Foxes. They aren’t a new band by any means, but I think their music stands the test of time. It’s really just hard for me to put into words how amazing this band is. I discovered them in a happy accident when I was on Paramore’s cruise, Parahoy when I passed by where they were playing on the cruise for the first time. When seeing mewithoutYou live for the first time, I was first a bit thrown off by the strangeness, but then instantly infatuated by their sound and stage presence. Since then, I have seen them 10 more times, and I am actually planning on seeing them next week on their tour with Turnover and Circa Survive. Every show is different and an insanely unique experience, as the band changes their setlist every night. They always put on an amazing show, and are simply one of the most innovative, interesting and revolutionary bands I have ever listened to.

My favorite songs: “January 1979”, “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume” (this song features Hayley Williams of Paramore!), and “Mexican War Streets”


I hope you enjoyed my take on underground bands, and let me know if you check any of them out! What are your favorite underground or underrated bands? Be sure to let us know on twitter @weknowtheDJ!

-Tara Howell (@taraisntpunk)

Feature Image by Leslie Crow

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