Forty-three years after the definitive punk album Ramones was released, the scene although not in the public spotlight is still doing fairly well whether it’s in garages or headlining national tours. Even in Ohio, punk bands make their way up the scene every now and then.Top acts from Ohio within the scene are Hawthorne Heights, Citizen and Relient K. Hawthorne Heights dominated the emo scene in the early 2000’s with anthems like “Ohio is for Lovers” and “Niki FM”, and recently released their seventh LP Bad Frequencies (2018) which peaked number 10 on the US indie chart.
Citizen is well known amongst the scene for not releasing the same album every few years. Youth (2013), their freshman album is considered a masterpiece amongst listeners for their indie influence along with tones of grunge/hardcore. Following their freshman release, they released Everybody is Going to Heaven (2015), which followed a different path sonically from Youth, displaying an honesty that they’re in it for the artistic expression rather than the money.Relient K is best known for their certified gold album, Mmhmm (2004), including songs self-loathing anthems such as “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been”.
On a lower scale, acts such as Jetty Bones, signed to Rise Records, are growing notoriety within the scene, opening up for modern punk powerhouses like State Champs and Mayday Parade. On a local garage band/punk rock house scale, bands like Ohio Fog, Slugbugs, and Rat Trap are scathing the surface of punk. Slugbugs, a little older than the other two, released two hardcore/classic punk rock EP’s, a single in 2015, and played in punk rock houses such as Legion of Doom.
Rat Trap is a satirical take on punk bands from Linworth, going as far as parodying the scene with “Skinny White Boi Anthem”, although some songs contain punk tones and the indifferent singing techniques. As a comedy band, they’re not glued to one specific genre and touch into heavier sounds in songs like “Nothing but Neck” and softer new-wave 80’s sounding songs like “F**k Geese”. Rat Trap has released four LPs throughout 2018 and 2019, each packed full of songs as long as 4 seconds like “BEES” from their first album, A Farewell to Soundcloud (2018), and full length songs like “The Goo Good” on their fourth LP, The Onanist (2019). Not holding back from any topics in their songs, there is more room for honesty and meaning.
Ohio Fog, a Kilbourne band formed in the winter of 2017, combines the sound of bands like blink-182 with the sounds of modern day pop punk like Knuckle Puck. Songs range in tone from joke songs about calling your friends to bail you out of jail for public indecency in “Bail Me Out” to more serious topics of self destruction in “Can You Hold My Hand?” Although they stay close to the punk rock genre, they often branch off into similar subgenres such as post-hardcore with “The Special Hate I Have For You”, ska-punk with “Luna Cee”, a song with The 1975 influence called “Mandy” and even a love song with mariachi band influence called “Burro.”