5 Alternative Bands You Should be Listening To

In the alternative and pop-punk scene, it is easy to write bands off as a cliché. It happens all the time, but I am here to offer you three bands that you may have written off. These bands have talent that is different from any other bands you will encounter. They have all made this list due to their originality and unique sound.

  1. Twenty One Pilots

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I love Twenty One Pilots. I believe in them as a band, but mostly I believe in how they remain unpredictable. Consistently, this band changes the music game and creates art that cannot be reckoned with.

With their 2015 release, Blurryface, the band has proven to be more than a few catchy melodies. The lyrics are still just as dark as they were on Vessel, but now we have beats and sounds that connect with the words.

For the first time, we have the complete opposite: a song about love. With Tear in My Heart, the band released a happy, beautiful representation of front man Tyler Joseph’s love for his new wife.

Blurryface is a force that few saw coming. If there is any question as to why you should listen to Twenty One Pilots, watch a live video and become acquainted with how the band mesmerizes a crowd. Or, simply watch Josh Dun bring the drums to life.

  1. The Maine

One thing I look for in a great band is progression. If a band released the same album over and over, they tend to fall off of my radar. The Maine can be easily written off due to their pop roots and catchy tunes, but the band is much more than that.

With each album, the band improves and connects with fans on a new level. I feel as though I am listening to the story of how I grew up as I move through The Maine’s discography.

With their most recent release, American Candy, The Maine shook the ground of what they have been doing in past years. The Maine proves that they are more than a pop band with a few good hooks.

The lyrics and vocals that pour from John O’Callaghan are unprecedented. This band creates magic and never stops working. Seriously: if this band isn’t touring, they are recording.

The Maine does not stop. They will continue to change the face of music and create a connection with fans in years to come.

  1. Sorority Noise

After seeing the band on tour with Knuckle Puck, I wondered why I never gave them a proper listen before. Sorority Noise is a new band to me, but I feel as though their music is underrated.

After a first listen, if you aren’t captivated by the quirky sounds that pour out of your speakers, you need to adjust your volume.

This band has talent that doesn’t compare to anything you can hear in traditional punk. Sure, they are vaguely reminiscent of Modern Baseball and bands with those similar sounds, but Sorority Noise offers deep, personal ballads in addition to their thrashing hits.


Knuckle Puck and Sorority Noise Advocate Mental Health on Fall Tour


Knuckle Puck at 1904 Music Hall in Jacksonville

Knuckle Puck headed out for their first ever headlining tour this fall and brought along Sorority Noise, Head North and Seaway.

The tour ends today, but I attended the stop in Jacksonville on Nov. 11 at 1904 Music Hall, where the bands electrified the stage and captured the audience in a huge show for Knuckle Puck.

I could review the show, and let me tell you, it was a great one. But, something else happened on this tour that seemed significant. It seemed like something that few other tours have truly done.

This tour brought out the charity Hope for the Day which encouraged fans to come speak to a representative of the organization if they were feeling any sort of thoughts in their head that they couldn’t control.

Sorority Noise opened up their song Using with a speech about how the band’s front man, Cameron Boucher, used music as a release from his manic depression, but that nothing would have been possible without help.

Boucher told the crowd that he had lost too many friends to suicide and he would work to try to stop it.

Hope for the Day was present at the show and fans could have an outlet to speak with someone if they needed to get help.

Knuckle Puck even teamed up with the organization and offered an exclusive t-shirt which provided 100 percent of its proceeds to suicide prevention and mental health education projects done through Hope for the Day.

Check out Knuckle Puck and Sorority Noise over on the band’s websites and try to catch them on an upcoming tour.

For more information on Hope for the Day, you can visit their website.


Local Spotlight: Divorce Culture, Jacksonville’s New Punk Prodigies

Hailing from my hometown of Fleming Island, local punk band Divorce Culture has turned the focus to themselves and declared that they are a new force to be reckoned with in the Jacksonville scene.

The band, which formed over a year ago under a different moniker, really started to pick up their presence this past October, according to Brian Paulin, Divorce Culture front-man, manager and head writer.

Paulin said via email that he was always interested in punk, post-hardcore, pop-punk and metal music, but it wasn’t until he graduated high school that he decided to start a band of his own. Initially, things didn’t take off for Paulin and his former band mate.

“We had a really rough start and nothing was really going our way for almost 8 months until I went through a really rough breakup and put all my anxiety and depression into writing and ended up writing the song New Phone, Who Dis? From there I realized the song had potential and I started writing more,” Paulin wrote.

His original bandmate ended up leaving the group as he was unable to make the commitment that Paulin was. Now, Divorce Culture exists and it consists of Paulin and a new group of mates that make the chaotic sound you hear on their BandCamp site today.

Paulin, along with Tyler Mobely, the drummer and co-writer, Garrett Corfield guitarist and co-writer and Brysen Allen, bassist and mascot, have launched themselves onto the Jacksonville music scene and have five shows currently lined up.

”The sound I end up creating is hard for me to describe. If anything I’d have to say if Beartooth, Stray From The Path and Rotting Out all somehow had a baby and then throw in some modern pop punk/grunge and that’d be us,” Paulin said of Divorce Culture’s sound.

So far, Divorce Culture has played one show with two local indie bands. Paulin said the show was mainly played for friends and family of all of the bands.

“Their reactions were priceless. You could tell almost all of them weren’t into any sort of heavy punk or hardcore but they all really enjoyed themselves and the energy we put on. Hell, one of the bartenders loved it so much he opened up a pit during Brainwashed,” Paulin wrote.

Divorce Culture prides themselves on the fact that they aren’t concerned with “fitting in” within the scene, but rather having an outlet for themselves and for those who listen to their music.

“The music itself I think is really raw and that’s what I like about it most. I’m not afraid to write about any sort of topic honestly. It may be a hobby for the most part but it’s a huge passion and the music I write is the best weapon towards social injustices … As a band, though, we don’t try to fit in per say, we just go and play shows and meet people and have a good time. We don’t care about having the biggest gauges or wearing the coolest band tee’s and wearing all black, only all black, and sometimes really really dark grey. That’s kinda lame if you ask me,” Paulin wrote.

Divorce Culture can be seen at their upcoming show on Dec. 7 at the Birdhouse.


“Divorce Culture is just a small time hardcore/punk band trying to write music about things we feel that matter. We’re just trying to show the scene and people a good time and some love. We may write and play really angry music but we’re really nice guys who just love to play music and love to put on a fun and bada** show,” Paulin wrote.

You can find Divorce Culture on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


What You Need To Know for x102.9’s Big Ticket Fest

Jacksonville’s alternative music radio statio, x102.9, hosts a festival every year called the Big Ticket festival. This year, Twenty One Pilots is headlining the festival.

Disclaimer: Just to clarify a bit of bias, Twenty One Pilots is my favorite band. Every performance they put on is a different kind of spectacular. I feel as though I should clarify that, even though this is an opinion-based blog, because I tend to promote their music a little stronger than most.

The lineup this year includes huge names from Twenty One Pilots to Of Monster and Men and more. The lineup including set times was recently released so I thought I would map out the day and include who I will be seeing at the festival.

As per usual, there are two stages this year, the Jägermeister stage and the Monster Energy stage. As in years past, the station usually announces a smaller stage with local acts leading up to the show. I will amend this post if these are announced.

On the Monster Stage the lineup is as follows:

12 p.m. – Lola Rising

1:10 p.m. – Coleman Hell

2:20 p.m. – PVRIS

3:35 p.m. – Andrew Mcmahon in the Wilderness

4:45 p.m. – The Neighbourhood

6:05 p.m. – Walk the Moon

7:30 p.m. – Of Monsters and Men

8:55 p.m. – Twenty One Pilots

Over on the Jägermeister stage the lineup is:

12:35 p.m. – Borns

1:45 p.m. – Saint Motel

3 p.m. – X Ambassadors

4:10 p.m. – Robert Delong

5:25 p.m. – Glass Animals

6:45 p.m. – Mutemath

The night before the show, you can attend a free PVRIS show at Underbelly in Jacksonville if you have a ticket to the Big Ticket.

The Big Ticket will take place at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville on December 6th. You can head over to the Big Ticket website to purchase tickets.


Review: No Closer to Heaven Tour // The Wonder Years, Motion City Soundtrack, etc.


Last Friday The Wonder Years, Motion City Soundtrack, State Champs and You Blew It! took over the House of Blues in Orlando.

Journalist ethics require me to divulge the truth: I got caught in Interstate 4 traffic on the way to the show and missed You Blew It! preform.

I know, I should be ashamed. Let me just say, though, I have seen Orlando’s own You Blew It! before and this band has great stage presence. That, though, will be all I say on that matter because I missed their set during the No Closer to Heaven tour.

As I arrived at the show, State Champs were preparing to play. Everyone in the crowd seemed to mingle about and I worried the interest level for one of my favorite live bands would be low. I was incorrect. State Champs took the stage and the entire crowd picked up and enjoyed the show. The band recently released a new album, Around the World and Back, which they played a few songs off of. The song the band released as the first single on the album, Secrets, proved to be a crowd favorite. State Champs also hinted that they would be making their way back to Florida early next year on a headlining tour. After the performance I saw on Friday night, my fingers are crossed. State Champs makes a room full of people come alive. No matter if one was familiar with their music or not, the entire room seemed to be engaged.

Next, Motion City Soundtrack took the stage. Again, honesty time: I never got into Motion City Soundtrack. I know, the looks of shock and horror are justified on your face. It’s not that I didn’t like the band, I just must have missed the hype when it came around. Now, ten years after their album Commit This to Memory was released and I am finally a fan. After seeing MCS live, I am sold. This band has serious talent. Clearly, making a career that has lasted through the ages is not easy in this industry. MCS has done this, though. Their electric stage performance and rich, quality sound is unwavering.

Dear MCS,

After all this time, I am finally a fan. I cannot stop playing your music.

Xoxo, Sam.

The night concluded with the headlining band, and the reason I went to the show, The Wonder Years. The Wonder Years released their new album No Closer to Heaven this past September, and they immediately embarked on this tour.

When the album was released, I was unsure of how it would hold up during the band’s live performance. When I was first acquainted with The Wonder Years, I was captivated by their live performance (as I am with most bands), so after hearing the new album I was a bit skeptical. NCTH felt as though it was simply a “spin in your bed while relaxing” kind of album instead of a punk album to move to. After hearing songs from this album live, I was (once again) proven wrong. Hearing these songs live was an emotionally and physically moving experience. NCTH is a new kind of Wonder Years show, but it turns out, this show was exactly what I wanted.

If this is what is to be expected from future Wonder Years shows, count me in. The show felt like a complete mix of ballads, angry punk anthems and songs that simply should be belted out.

If the No Closer to Heaven tour rolls around to your city, I highly recommend going. The Orlando show was a great, casual night that I thoroughly enjoyed.