5 Hardcore Bands from Northern California to Check Out, by Thomas Vanderpol (Dying for It)

Dying for It at Maple House, Redding, CA, 2017. (Photo: Sean Mellon)

Dying for It is a Redding, CA hardcore outfit that Burt Jenkins from Safe Inside Records tipped me off about in late 2017. His label will be issuing the band's 10-song self-titled debut LP on CD, and later this year, a new 7" will also be released through Safe Inside. With a straight-forward hardcore approach and tough-as-nails vocals from Rikki V., Dying for It also understand the power of a great hook, and the track below is no exception to that rule.

Since Dying for It is part of the NorCal hardcore punk scene, I asked drummer Thomas Vanderpol for some of his picks for bands to check out up there.

Outside Looking In

Photo: Sesar Sanchez

Outside Looking In’s sound is best described as “hardcore for the punks.” Combining elements from Negative Approach and 7 Seconds, this group’s short anthemic bursts demand participation and unity. Outside is probably responsible for what’s known around these parts as “the great migration of 2013," in where those who had seen the last days of the Redding hardcore scene moved to Chico and started something special that we now know as “Jefferson Crew."


D-FY is one of Jefferson Crew’s more active newer bands. Slamming their way into the scene in late 2016, this band’s eagerness to play and support at many different types of shows with many different types of bands has proven them to be well known and respected in a short amount of time. In your face straight edge lyrics and a tough as nails New York hardcore sound? It’s a winning combination.

Cold Trap

Sacramento’s Cold Trap caught my attention immediately upon the first listen. As a big fan of early 00s hardcore, I’m often on the lookout for bands who still embody this sound. After seeing the aggression and speed of their live show, I knew I was sold on them. The translation from record to live is seamless and leaves nothing to be desired. Nowadays, it’s rare to find a great band from this often looked over area of Northern California. For me, Cold Trap’s got it all. 


Stares is another new band to the Chico hardcore scene. Playing their own unique blend of loud, expressive, and ambient '90s screamo meets straight edge powerviolence, this band’s sound has forcefully asserted itself into the minds and ears of its listeners. Sharing vocal duties, the trio has the ability to create a massive wall of sound unlike anyone around. Features members of Outside Looking In, Wallflower, and Stress Relief. Did I mention they’re loud? 

Rogue Squadron

Photo: Miles Claibourn

I saw Rogue Squadron for the first time this fall and was completely floored. They took control of the room by opening the show with a Minor Threat cover and kept the energy flowing throughout the entire set. While their demo is not out yet, I anticipate that it will set the bar high for new hardcore punk bands. What stands out about their sound is while they adhere to a very straight ahead, early '80s LA-area punk sound structurally, they enter a tone zone not too much different from that of The Cure and New Order. Listen up, because Rogue Squadron are honing a rare sound not yet heard from this area.

*Rogue Squadron music coming soon

Tagged: dying for it