There have been a number of articles recently stating that, "Philadelphia has the best punk scene in the country!" While I agree with that sentiment, the focus has been on just a few little portions of the scene here. In reality, it's much more vibrant... and that vibrancy is what makes it the best.
Here's a list from our little portion of that scene, paying tribute to the corner of the room where the misfit-heavy-weirdo bands sit. Noise rock, sludge, metal, psych, and beyond—this is just a taste, and I had to think hard on how to cut this down to just 10. There are a bunch more that I think belong here, but we had to limit the list, so my apologies if your band or your favorite band is omitted... we still love ya.
One of many bands adrift in a sea of underappreciated noise rock bands from Philadelphia. These dudes come from the Midiron Blast Shaft/Gunna Vahm family tree, and boast a similarly harsh noise rock sound. Act a fool in a Philadelphia drug store and you might find these guys escorting you out.
Fishtown's pride and joy... if such a thing exists. Heavy and sludgy noise rock with nods to bands like Old Man Gloom. They put a hypnotic twist on their sound, which makes them a standout. Bardus has been touring Black Flag-style over the past couple years, and pushing to gain some notoriety, so fingers crossed this leads to a solid piece of wax from these guys in the near future. Had one too many drinks at the El Bar? It may have been their guitar player denying you service.
8. The Cloth
Sticking with the noise rock power trio theme, here's one that puts a Northern Virginia spin on their own brand of noise rock. Think Hammerhead meets PG.99. You'll find these guys booking shows in D.I.Y. spaces across the city, and helping out as many touring bands as possible... in between shotgunned beers.
7. School Girl
Every scene needs a band that's obsessed with My War and Flipper. This is ours! And to top it off, they put their own weird Stooges twist on the whole thing. You might find these guys wandering around Fishtown demanding people give them a challenge at the local pool table.
6. Die Choking
Dare I say Philly's best grind band? Boggles my mind that these guys haven't gotten more attention as one of the city's best, but that seems to be changing rapidly with a new album around the corner and press building up. You might find their guitar player burning things in his backyard with a smile on his face if you happen to be wandering down Frankford Ave.
5. Ladder Devils
Simply put, one of the best noise rock bands in Philadelphia (and there are quite a few these days). Another branch in the Brutal Panda/Reptilian family tree, and with ex-members of Minor Times and Fight Amp to boot. It's all incestuous here. Just listen. If you saw a new fire escape go up recently... it was probably these guys installing it.
4. Legendary Divorce
This band came out of left field with their catchy-as-fuck pop sensibility filtered through a noise rock mesh. Grunge pop? I dunno, maybe, but it's heavy, catchy, well-written and well-performed. Another band associated with Reptilian Records. You might find them having a drink quietly at any given Fishtown watering hole.
3. Ecstatic Vision
Another band with some recent press... Philly's best heavy psych. Yes, I said it. I know there are others in the mix for that title but... this is a band that is holding the genre down with precision and a different creative spin on the whole thing. They may have interrupted your band's soundcheck at Kung Fu Necktie once or twice.
Anthropic's own. Menacing doom metal that is criminally underappreciated at the moment. I think that will change soon, as you can only ignore the best for so long. Shares members with Tombs. You might find them handing out occult literature at 8th and Market, if you know when to look.
I know these guys get their fair share of press, but not a mention in the recent wave of "Philadelphia has the best punk scene in the country!" articles. Straight mind-boggling that Creepoid isn't included, as they seem to have catapulted above local band status and churn out killer material on the regular. Can be quiet and slow at times, but mixed with a dose of punk anxiety and Unwound-esque dynamics... this has the ability to be appealing to fans of shoegaze all the way to fans of heavy noise rock. Also from the Gunna Vahm/Fight Amp band lineage. Often seen playing dice outside after their shows... and they always seem to win.