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11 Bands To Listen To Playing Act Like You Know Fest (Part 1)

For The Punks will be heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma this November 18 to 20 to cover the Act Like You Know Festival (previously Promcore) at the VFW Post 577. Act Like You Know is an annual punk and hardcore fest that is a benefit for Oklahomans For Equality.

Oklahomans For Equality seeks equal rights for LGBTQ+ individuals and families through intersectional advocacy, education, programs, alliances, and the operation of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Serving LGBTQ+ Oklahomans and their allies since 1980, Oklahomans for Equality is home to a diverse, vibrant, and engaged community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, knowledgeable staff, and dedicated volunteers.

In my first part of the series to showcase all of the bands performing at the festival, I will be highlighting Anxious, Foreign Hands, Si Dios Quiere, Spaced, Anklebiter, Squint, Take It To Heart, Snuffed On Sight, Side Eye, Constraint, Pummel.

1. Anxious

Formed in 2016 while members were still in high school, Anxious’ early releases were indebted to the urgent freneticism and heart-on-sleeve lyrics of post-hardcore acts like Texas Is The Reason, Samiam, and Turning Point, allowing Anxious to immediately grab the attention of the hardcore scene.

The band’s DIY roots and dedication to craft were equally as essential to their rising profile—early releases were accompanied with band-dubbed cassettes, made-to-order zines, and even self-dyed shirts—each part of Anxious was laid out in meticulous detail from day one. Having almost immediately surpassed Allen’s modest ambitions of “playing a couple of shows,” Anxious quickly found a home on Triple B Records, gaining the attention and adulation of both the hardcore and emo scenes on the back of two seven-inch EPs and a pair of demos, getting them coveted spots on tours with genre-bending acts like Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, before landing on Run For Cover.

This Connecticut based band kicked off the year on January 21 with the release of a new album called Little Green House via Run For Cover Records. Since releasing the album, the band has toured with Bayside, Thrice, Knuckle Puck, Hot Mulligan, Angel Du$t, and many others in the music world.

“I guess the idea behind the record is that coming to terms with who you are and accepting that,” says Allen. “Struggle, sadness, and pain aren’t necessarily negative things, but they are necessary things. There’s no shame or sadness put onto these feelings that you’re already experiencing. But there are positive, triumphant elements running through the album, too,” a feeling that’s best exemplified by the triumphant, and aptly titled, “Growing Up Song.”

Anxious has the honor to be one of the headliners for this year’s Act Like You Know Festival. I’m excited to see Anxious again. My first time seeing them was in 2019 when they played at This Is Hardcore Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then my second time was a show in Syracuse, New York. Ever since I saw them in 2019, I’ve been a fan.

Anxious is vocalist Grady Allen, guitarists Dante Melucci and Ryan Savitski, bassist Sam Allen, and drummer Jonny Camner.

Anxious will be playing the festival on Sunday.

Must listen songs: “Seeds,” “Cold,” “Growing Up Song,” and “You When You’re Gone”

2. Foreign Hands

Foreign Hands by Ashley Simpson

On February 18, Delaware based band Foreign Hands released their new EP Bleed The Dream via DAZE. The five songs on the EP teeter between metalcore and hardcore, strewn with chaotic riffs and raw emotion that make for an enticing package.

Bleed The Dream was recorded with Andy Nelson at Bricktop Studios (Wristmeetrazor, Weekend Nachos) and Isaac Hale of Knocked Loose also contributed a hand in the writing process.

Opener “Anemoia” starts with a vocal fury from Tyler Norris as the band weaves between chugging guitars and lush melodies, a formula that works throughout the record. Single “Separation Souvenir” plays into the band’s influences, namely Poison The Well, while “A Cardiac Winter” pushes through with lustful ferocity as both Norris and guitarist Jack Beatson repeatedly call out “Can you keep your heart steady in my arms?”.

The EP rounds out with title track “Bleed The Dream”, a heady mix of spoken word, screams, and clean vocals surrounded by a wild breakdown that is sure to be a fan favorite when performed live.

I remember listening to the ‘Summer ‘18’ release they had just after it came out. It was a favorite of mine. I then saw them perform at LDB in 2020. It’s going to be great being able to see them again with other amazing bands.

Foreign Hands is Tyler Norris (vocals), Jack Beatson (guitar/vocals), Gill Gonzales (guitar), Chuck Minix (bass), and Tyler Washington (drums).

Foreign Hands will be playing the festival on Friday.

Must listen songs: “Laceration Wings,” “Separation Souvenir,” and “Anemoia”

3. Si Dios Quiere

Influenced by their Chicago and Chicano identities, Si Dios Quiere doesn’t hold back when it comes to vocalizing their frustrations and bringing attention to the issues their communities face. The five-piece hardcore band taps into that aggression, natural vulnerability and experiences with gentrification, immigration and gang violence to fuel the brilliant storytelling in their latest EP release, Sol y Guerra, which was released on January 19.

The band will simultaneously remind listeners of classic NYHC meets SoCal thrash with a burgeoning message of representation and the power of people.

“Sol Y Guerra (Sun and War) is a symbolic title, representing our lives in Chicago. Growing up on the Southside, you’re surrounded by a lot of beauty and culture, but there’s also crime and tragedy. You can’t have one without the other, and this EP reflects that. This is us at our best so far. There’s more metal in our songwriting these days, but the hardcore ethos and spirit is very much alive. Para la raza.”

Si Dios Quiere is Ruben Garza (vocals), Guajardo, Roberto Velazquez (guitar), Louie Flores (Bass) and Ricardo Velazquez (drums).

Their most recent release is the single “Sacrificio,” which dropped on June 29. Out of all of the bands performing this year at Act Like You Know, Si Dios Quiere is one of the bands I haven’t had a chance to see and that I’m stoked to see.

Our contributor Gisselle’s interview with Si Dios Quiere is now available for reading on our website. Check out the interview here.

Si Dios Quiere will be playing the festival on Sunday.

Must listen songs: “Sacrificio,” “Crime Wave,” and “When The Laughter Dies”

4. Spaced

Spaced by Sam Tilkins

Spaced is one of newest bands to represent Buffalo, New York hardcore. I’m honored to call them my friends and I’m proud of the progress they’ve made in the past year.

They started the band in June of 2021 with their debut demo release on August 2. They’ve been working with New Morality Zine on their releases and have played a bunch of shows recently including the New Found Glory’s festival in Massachusetts and the recent Like Pacific tour with Grumpster and Action/Adventure. They’re a great group with various sounds, making them a band fit for many different music fans, not just hardcore.

Their most recent release is their album called ‘Spaced Jams,’ which is a collection of all of their songs and a few new tracks.

Their next string of shows is in August. They’ll be heading overseas for the first time (thanks to Avocado Booking) with Comeback Kid.

If you’re looking for a new band in the hardcore scene to listen to and check out, Spaced should be one of your first picks. I’ve had the chance to see them perform two times now and I truly can’t wait to see them hit the stage at Act Like You Know.

Spaced is Lexi (vocals), Dan McCormick (drums), John Vaughn (bass), Donny Arthur (guitar), and Joe (guitar).

Spaced will be playing the festival on Sunday.

Must listen songs: “Prove You Wrong,” “Your Universe,” and “Not Like You”

5. Anklebiter

Anklebiter by Monicque DeOliveria

Northeast Straight Edge band Anklebiter is one of the freshest faces on Act Like You Know Festival this year. They’re a brand new band to 2022, playing their first show on March 17 and then releasing their first demo on June 1 via Sunday Drive Records and Death Wish Inc.

Since their debut in early June, they quickly received praise from many names in the scene including publications like No Echo, Revolver Magazine, and Discovered Magazine.

And yes, they’re named after the song on Paramore’s 2013 self-titled album.

Referencing early-mid ’00s hardcore from their region—particularly the sound of Lockin’ Out bands like Mental and Righteous Jams, mixed with the modern sounds from Result of Choice and Krimewatch, Anklebiter plays classic loud and fast hardcore.

On their first demo, producer Will Hirst captures Anklebiter’s raw and furious energy on every track. While the sound is fast and upfront, the band knows when to pull back to make a balanced, dynamic, and exciting sound.

Anklebiter is vocalist Rachael Braverman, drummer Nick Birtles (also from Pummel), bassist L, and guitarist Evan Stein (also from Broken Vow).

Anklebiter will be playing the festival on Sunday.

Must listen songs: The whole demo (it’s only four songs) but if I had to pick, “Not for You” and “My Creator”

6. Squint

Squint started in fall of 2021, featuring various members from Missouri bands Time and Pressure, New Lives, Soul Craft and Choir Vandals. The band has a nice palette of sounds ranging from hardcore to alternative/indie rock.

Just like a handful of other bands playing Act Like You Know Fest this year (Pummel, Anklebiter, Broken Vow), Squint is working with Sunday Drive Records. The SDR artist roster is amazing and Squint is proof of it.

Largely influenced by a shared liking of Rites of Spring and Turning Point, “Feel It” take the sound of melodic-leaning hardcore, but Squint is able to put their own spin on it with fuzzed-out guitars and big riffs—recalling tones heard from bands like Seaweed and Sugar.

Lead singer Brennen Wilkinson shared some words with Brooklyn Vegan. “Thematically, Feel It is about just what the name suggests: truly processing things as a whole and not running from your emotions during that process, no matter how difficult .. The lies we tell ourselves often cause the most damage. This record is about coming to terms with the things we have run from or have hidden from ourselves. It’s about truly facing what is holding you back in life and how to find the strength to break through it.”

Their debut EP Feel It is one of my favorite releases of 2022 so far. If you like Anxious, Fiddlehead, Title Fight, Drug Church, or One Step Closer, you will love Squint.

Squint will be playing the festival on Saturday.

Must listen songs: “Homesick” and “Ghost” (honestly just listen to the whole EP, it’s under 10 minutes long)

7. Take It To Heart

Take It To Heart is one of my favorite bands to come out of Orange County. They’re returning to Tulsa this year to play the festival a second time (they played last in 2021).

If you’re interested in seeing the band before the festival in November, they will be heading out on the road from August 3 to September 3 with Broken Vow. The two bands finally got together and are making their North American tour happen (they had shows previously scheduled for January together but they were canceled).

The band takes influence from 2000s hardcore bands like Carry On, American Nightmare, and Have Heart.

The band’s most recent release is a single called “Ghostwriting a Catharsis,” released on July 1 via Safe Inside Records. This is the first single in support of their upcoming EP Hymns For the Hopeless, which will be released on August 12. This EP is a follow up to their March 2020 EP The Brighter Side.

From Brooklyn Vegan, “Ghostwriting A Catharsis’ is about finding things that move you and have a profound, lasting effect on your life,” the band tells us. “For me, it was comic books and hardcore. To another, it can be something wildly different! The commonality is that we found something to be excited about and become impassioned individuals with newfound purpose! The title is a nod to an episode of Axe To Grind Podcast in which esteemed guest Pat Flynn [of Have Heart, Fiddlehead] noted, ‘you are the author of your own catharsis’ when discussing the notion of music ‘saving’ one’s life. I deduced that if I am the accredited author of my catharsis, then the music and books must be the ghostwriter.”

Take It To Heart will be playing the festival on Saturday.

Must listen songs: “Ghostwriting a Catharsis” and “The Difference Between (Me and You)”

8. Snuffed On Sight

Snuffed On Sight by Kevin Burleigh

Snuffed On Sight is “Bay area dummy death.”

New single “Dummy” was released on July 8. This was their first release since their November 2021 singles “The Bay Slam” and “GFD.”

They have collaborated with Sunami and 200 Stab Wounds for tracks as well.

The band will be playing some shows in the Midwest in August, including shows in Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, and more. They are also hosting a Halloween show at Thee Parkside in San Francisco on October 29.

Snuffed On Sight will be playing the festival on Saturday.

Must listen songs: “Dummy” and “Blunt Cough”

9. Side Eye

Side Eye by Nick Landreville

Side Eye is a newer Midwest hardcore band that just released their 2022 Demo back in May. Tapes can now be purchased through Righteous War Records. This demo includes three songs and is a follow up to their debut release in March of 2021.

In 2021, the band shared some words with No Echo about their debut release, “The song [Call To Void] draws attention to the inevitability of death, the difficulty of finding peace in such a chaotic life, and that there is a way to live to find peace… We believe no one should be afraid of expressing their feelings, thoughts, and values; especially if those go outside of traditional societal norms. We’re all bound to die is one of life’s truths so it is especially important to live however you want and to not let anyone else try to oppress you.”

Want to see Side Eye in Tulsa before the festival? The band will be playing on August 3 with Tell Lies, Excide, and Dull Morning at Mass Movement Community Arts.

They will also be playing Oklahoma City on August 25 with Take It To Heart, Broken Vow, and Tell Lies. The perfect lineup and taste of what Act Like You Know Festival will be like.

Side Eye will be playing the festival on Friday.

Must listen songs: “Intro/War Of Illusion,” “Hardcore Pride,” and “Suffering” (aka the whole demo)

10. Constraint

Constraint by Jacki Vietta

Constraint has been a staple of the Louisville hardcore scene since 2016, and features members of such band as Inclination, Wicked Garden, Love & Trust, and Gates to Hell.

The Louisville hardcore scene has always been strong and Constraint is just further proof of it. They’re returning to the festival this year (they played in 2021).

In 2020, in support of their EP release Nerf Planet, Tyler (vocals) told No Echo, “I like writing for Constraint because I don’t have any boundaries on what I can write about. I can write about the things that make me angry without feeling like it has to be well thought out or profound. Not saying songs about straight edge are that profound, but I try harder to keep a tone with Inclination where Constraint is just me unfiltered.”

Their most recent release is a live set that includes a new song, a cover, and live versions of past songs. Constraint will be releasing new music this year, with more information to come.

As for upcoming shows, Constraint will be playing the Scoped Exposure 5 Year Anniversary show on Saturday, August 27 in Calgary, Alberta. They also have a hometown show on August 1 with Excide, Sidestep, and Ari.

If you enjoy Inclination, you will like Constraint.

Gates To Hell will be playing the festival on Saturday.

Constraint will be playing the festival on Sunday.

Must listen songs: “Bullets Business,” “LDB,” and “Incel”

11. Pummel

Pummel by Matt Darcy

Boston hardcore (BHC) is a region commonly noted when reading or discussing hardcore, and with good reason. Important bands in the 80’s like SSD, DYS, Slapshot, Jerry’s Kids and more all made a huge impact on hardcore and the sound to come decades later. Pummel have this sound embedded in their DNA, and with the mix of the new wave of 00s BHC from bands like Mental, Stop and Think, etc.

Pummel are currently carrying the torch for their hometown.

And yes, as previously mentioned, they’re working with Sunday Drive Records. Their most recent release is a single called “Headcase,” which was their first release with SDR. From little moments like the leads in the beginning to the hi-hat break in the middle, Pummel is at their best, creating something fun, new and interesting. Pummel is currently working on a new LP, planned to be out in 2023 on Sunday Drive Records.

Pummel has been one of those bands I’ve known since their first release. Their EP “Our Power” came out in January of 2020. I’ve had a chance to see them at least once and I’m very excited to see them play at Act Like You Know.

Pummel are doing a little run with Strange Joy from August 2 to August 5 where they will be visiting Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Fullerton. The August 5 date is the Sunday Drive Records and New Morality Zine Showcase.

Our writer Shelby Price had a chance to chat with Pummel in support of their recent release and appearance at the festival. Check it out here. You can also read the review that Jade Jones wrote on “Headcase” here.

Lead singer Matt told us, “It’s basically about how we deal with our anxiety and mental health; how we’re trying to get through it all. It kind of reflects on how to cut out your own invasive thoughts and opinions from other people that think they know what’s best for you. In the end I feel like it’s an ode to fighting through the inside and outside factors that are working to keep you down.”

The band plays the festival on Sunday.

Must listen tracks: “Headcase,” “Our Power,” “Illusion Of Choice” and “Circling The Drain”

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