How Punk’s Changed: A Playlist By These New South Whales

“Punk” in music means so many things—an attitude, a look, a style, a sound, or even set of beliefs.

It can take on different forms for different people, and in many ways punk can come down to the eye of the beholder, the ear of the listener or the arm of the activist.

While it’s hard to even scratch the surface, I’ve put together a playlist which explores an evolution of quintessential punk over time as well as just how diverse the punk sound is today.

‘Parents’ (1982)


Descendents are the OG California punk sound. They have influenced almost every punk band from the early-’80s with their distinctive brand of thrash-y but still singalong style tunes. They go so hard, and continue to release incredible albums without compromise. ‘Parents’ is a song is about how annoying parents are.


‘Where Eagles Dare’ (1986)


Like The Ramones and Sex Pistols, Misfits are one of those bands that have been hijacked by mainstream culture. People wear their logo on their clothes without knowing what they sound like — and it makes me laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love their music, I just think their image and perception is a lot “harder” than they actually sound. Everyone’s been fooled, and It’s a beautiful thing.


‘The Malachi Crunch’ (1991)


NOFX are one of my favourite punk bands of all time. They have a ’90s pop-punk style sound – existing in the same world as Blink 182, Rancid and The Offspring – but are so much more than that. They’re still DIY to the death, and have such incredible songs. I recommend and strongly urge anyone interested in punk music to read their autobiography, The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories. This song, ‘The Malachi Crunch’, is mentioned in the book. It’s a sad song about a kid they brought to a house party after a show. He ended up being jumped and bashed to death because he didn’t fit in.


‘Deathcrush’ (1993)


Okay, Mayhem are a black metal band BUT they are punk af and so is their first album. This song has such a crusty punk feel in the verses. The guitar riff just fucking rules. Best song name on the album award goes to ‘Chainsaw Gutsfuck’.


‘Self Esteem’ (1994)

The Offspring

The Offspring became really shit after they sold their souls to the major label fat cats who were gobbling up every pop punk band they could in the ’90s. Their early albums still rule though. ‘Self Esteem’ is sort of a hybrid of California punk, pop-punk and grunge and it goes off.


Drain The Blood (2003)


The Distillers are one of the best California-style post pop-punk bands in the world. Brody Dalle is from Fitzroy in Melbourne. She’s absolutely one of the best and coolest frontperson punk will ever see.


‘Into The Wayside Part I’/’Sick’ (2010)


Ceremony are a hard blend of punk, hardcore punk and post punk. Their albums and sound has evolved and changed a lot over time, and they have no apologies for that. This song goes so hard live.


‘In Haze’ (2013)


When I first heard Iceage I remember thinking to myself, “Oh wow, this is what punk sounds like now?!” I was so excited to discover this band from Copenhagen were doing something so fresh and new. It has the energy and attitude of all that’s familiar with punk music, but packaged in a new way and style that oozes charisma and beautiful chaos.


‘Expensive Dog’ (2014)

Total Control

I love Total Control because they pushed the punk and post-punk sound into the electronic and experimental world. They’re incredibly cool, created an original sound and like Iceage, have inspired so much change and a whole new look on punk and where it can go.


‘Slushy’ (2018)


Surfbort write beautiful punk music. Dani Miller is such an amazing singer and front person, and their music sounds to me like a perfect combination of The Distillers and Descendents. It’s raw, understated, full of energy and honest. Slushy is so sincere and sweet. It makes me want to both cry and kick shit over while moshing in my house at the same time.


‘Control’ (2019)

Amyl & The Sniffers

Amyl & The Sniffers embody everything a punk band should be. Their music is as quintessentially Australian punk and pub rock as ACDC or Cosmic Psychos. Their stonking guitar riffs in combination with Amy’s vocals and no bullshit attitude make them undeniably punk, and trust me, they are a band that are guaranteed to blow your haircut off live.

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