At the turn of the new century, punk music was still going quite strong. In fact, the genre seemed to evolve from the work that emerged in the 1990s.
Punk music began to take on different sounds, culminating in different subset genres of punk itself. In this way, punk continued to remain relevant and stay within mainstream attention.
Here are some of the best punk bands from the 2000s, in no particular order.
Table of Contents
By far one of the most popular punk bands of the 2000s is the Dropkick Murphys. This group was one of the first to incorporate Celtic music elements into the punk genre.
The group actually found mainstream success in the mid-90s. Dropkick Murphys continues to be one of the most celebrated bands amongst punk fans.
Even today, Dropkick Murphys remain quite active and are a staple feature for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Many of the group’s more recent songs, including a Christmas song, have charted quite high on metric charts.
There aren’t many punk bands that can say that a Christmas song is their biggest hit. It just goes to show that this band is full of surprises to keep their fans entertained.
Another band responsible for the infusion of Celtic influences in punk music is Flogging Molly. This group seemed to have hit the ground running as most of their releases have all been well-received.
Their album, Within A Mile From Home, actually topped the charts upon its release. If that wasn’t enough, the band worked with legendary producer Steve Albini on their first album.
Flogging Molly’s music definitely has a stench of alcohol. Much of their music centers around imbibing famous Irish alcoholic beverages.
When it comes to punk music over the last 30 years, NOFX is one of the most important. This is a band that has been quite active throughout every year of this long-continuing career.
NOFX found their success in the mid-1990s, although they were never really played on mainstream outlets. This is because the band operated mostly independently, largely on the part of bassist Fat Mike.
Despite being independent, the band grew to have a fanbase that rivaled other mainstream punk bands.
In fact, Fat Mike is one of the most prolific characters within the modern punk scene. Many of the bands we know today would be unknown if it wasn't for him.
Fat Mike started the famed Fat Wreck Chords record label. With this, he gave many punk bands a platform to release and distribute music to punk fans around the world.
It cannot be overstated that today’s punk music owes quite a bit to NOFX and Fat Mike.
Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, Against Me! is one of the most famous modern punk bands today. The group has undergone quite a few changes since its early days but is still a highly relevant band.
Against Me! started out with more of a folk-punk aesthetic. The band’s recordings at the time were quite raw, which added an honest element to the music.
Lyrically, the band touched on everything from the live music scene to large-scale political problems. This is something that Against Me! has continued throughout the years.
Against Me! really started making traction when they were signed to Fat Wreck Chords. Their releases on this label helped to propel them into the mainstream, allowing them to work with producer Butch Vig.
One of the most notable things in the band’s history is the fact that the singer came out as transgender. In a way, this is perhaps one of the most punk things about the band in recent years.
Laura’s willingness to be open allowed others to be able to find a connection through relatable art. Music, after all, was meant to bring people together.
Pennywise is another group that found their stride in the mid-90s. By the turn of the decade, Pennywise’s music was reaching new plateaus of success.
While most of the band’s hits are, indeed, from the 90s, the 2000s have been kind to the band. In fact, they’ve been quite prolific, releasing new albums fairly frequently.
Despite not being exactly mainstream, the band has had its music featured in video games. The most notable is Top Skater, an arcade game developed by SEGA in 1997
Where some punk bands went the route of pop, The Casualties serve up punk in a raw form. By the end of the 90s, The Casualties were becoming a serious contender in underground punk scenes.
The Casualties come from New York, which definitely explains the hardcore aspect of their music. This band is usually decked in iconic punk fashion, featuring massive mohawks that can scare any conservative parent.
They never really did break into the mainstream like other bands. However, any fan of punk music could easily find their music with a little bit of digging around.
Their album, On The Front Line, remains a classic to this day.
The Gaslight Anthem
The Gaslight Anthem is a band that actually didn’t get its start in the 1990s. This group released their first album in 2007, which seemed to gather positive attention.
They would continue to gain attention after their song was featured in a couple of games from the Skate series. However, their next album, The ’59 Sound, would break the group into the mainstream.
The ’59 Sound has been continuously praised as one of the best punk albums of the 2000s. It is sure to be one of the albums that defines its generation.
Lagwagon is another group that might not be as well-known if it wasn’t for Fat Mike. The band has released over a dozen albums on his record label.
In fact, Fat Mike’s suggestion is partly the reasoning behind this group’s classic name. Their van was known for breaking down, and had the same name.
Obviously, Lagwagon proved to be too good of a name to pass up. It’s become a constant presence in the punk scene over the last 30 years.
Alkaline Trio may have gotten its start in the 90s, but they didn’t find success until the 2000s. In fact, this band became so big that they seemed to be hard to avoid.
The band’s album, From Here To Infirmary, sparked the band’s mainstream success. It was this album that would inspire many musicians that would emerge on the scene in years to follow.
Alkaline Trio’s brand of punk does border more on the pop-punk side of things. Regardless, they have shared the stage with some of the biggest names in punk music.
Unless you’re a super punk freak, you might not be too familiar with Frenzal Rhomb. This is partly because the band comes from Australia, proving that punk knows no country borders.
The group initially got its start in the early 1990s, releasing albums nearly every 2 years. Frenzal Rhomb has actually had quite a few hits chart in Australia, with most of them coming from the 2000s.
If that wasn’t enough, the band has been nominated for awards for one of their albums and 2 songs. It isn’t often that a punk band is given a chance to win a mainstream award.
Frenzal Rhomb deserves to be listed here as it shows that punk music is alive all over the world. The band has the same reputation as many of the most famous bands in the scene.
You didn’t have to be a skater or shop at Hot Topic to have heard of the band Bad Religion. This iconic punk band has had a massive presence in music, waiting to be discovered by anyone willingly curious.
With a name such as theirs, you can be certain that they have had many new listeners over the years. It’s a large reason why the band has managed to stay relevant over the years.
Another reason would have to be that the band frequently uses its music as a platform for political messages.
Of course, you also have to account for the fact that Bad Religion’s guitarist, Brett Gurewitz, founded Epitaph Records. This has been one of the most important record labels in punk and hardcore music scenes over the years.
The Vandals have had quite a long career playing punk music. Since the early 80s, the band has been churning out albums.
Unlike other bands, The Vandals take a less serious approach to the subject matter of their songs. Instead, the band opts to err on the side of comedy, providing a fun and entertaining listening experience.
Hot Water Music
Like Against Me!, Hot Water Music emerged from Gainesville, Florida, although this band had a much earlier start. Hot Water Music actually began in the mid-90s, though the 2000s are their most successful decade.
This group is one of the many bands that gained attention by being on Epitaph Records. Their 2002 album, Caution put the band on the map in terms of mainstream success.
Some might consider Hot Water Music more of a post-hardcore band. However, their punk influences are too much to deny.
Anti-Flag is one of the most recognizable names in punk music today. Perhaps it’s their name, or maybe its their message.
This is yet another group that got its start in the 90s. Their biggest hit (Die For The Government) actually came from the mid 90s.
Many have criticized the group for its name, although these people probably never listened to their music.
The 2003 album, The Terror State, remains a potent commentary on the political climate within U.S. government.
Against All Authority
Against All Authority is one of those bands that really held up the ethos of DIY music. You can be sure this band never considered selling out, whether it be merchandising, or their musical vision.
This group released a handful of records in the 90s but found its stride in the 2000s. The album, The Restoration Of Chaos & Order, remains a favorite amongst 2000s punk fans.
Against All Authority might not have seen the successes of others. However, they have been instrumental in influencing younger generations to carry on the DIY mentality.
As far as modern punk music goes, The Menzingers really do take the cake. Since the early 2000s, this band has continued to make waves in the industry.
The Menzingers started to gain popularity largely in part thanks to the Myspace social media network. They had a sound that blended modern and traditional punk elements in all of the right ways.
In fact, many people have taken this view of the band over the years. 2 of their albums are consistently ranked as some of the best of their respective release years.
The Lawrence Arms
Need further proof of the influence of Fat Wreck Chords within punk music? Be sure to check out the album, Oh! Calcutta!, by The Lawrence Arms.
Few punk albums of the 2000s have consistently received the widespread praise that this album has gotten. It was this album that helped to cement the band forever as one of the greatest bands of the 2000s.
With a name like Guttermouth, you’d expect a little bit of rowdy rambunctiousness. This band got its start in the 1990s, but is notorious for getting booted from the Warped Tour in 2004.
Sometimes, it really is in poor taste to diss the other bands in your scene. Guttermouth has at least maintained the punk aesthetic of not having a care to give.
Forming towards the end of the 90s, The Distillers have become a band synonymous with punk music. Their second album, released in 2002, gave the band quite a bit of attention amongst underground punk circles.
Not many punk bands can say that they played a role in an episode of The Gilmore Girls. The band played a pivotal role in the episode’s plot.
The Bouncing Souls
Another band to enjoy the massive reach of Epitaph Records is The Bouncing Souls. This group formed at the end of the 80s, injecting a traditional aesthetic into their brand of punk.
Despite never being a mainstream success, The Bouncing Souls are a highly influential band. They continue to release new music, with their latest album being released in 2020.
Propagandhi is a Canadian punk band that really made a name for itself throughout the 1990s. The band is most noted for its highly politicized subject matter in much of their material.
In fact, there likely isn’t an issue that Propagandhi hasn’t taken a vocal stance on. Their live shows often feature quite a bit of banter about the topics their songs cover.
Yet another group to enjoy success on Fat Wreck Chords is Dillinger Four. This group has become one of the most important bands of the early 2000s.
In fact, the band received recognition from Minneapolis for being a highly influential band. For this reason, it’s a sure bet that Dillinger Four is one of the best modern punk bands.
Some people might not consider ska to be punk, but the similarities are undeniable. Mustard Plug is a band that has been keeping the ska tradition alive since the 1990s.
Throughout that time, Mustard Plug has toured relentlessly, furthering the reach of their music. You can still catch Mustard Plug today, which is a blessing for both the band and the fans.
The Suicide Machines
With a name like The Suicide Machines, you’d probably expect a punishing listening experience. As the band hails from Detroit, you can be sure you’ll get your dose of punishment.
Since the 90s, The Suicide Machines have been a prominent name in the underground punk scene. The year 2020 saw the band release its latest album, which was issued through Fat Wreck Chords.
If you lived in the 90s, you probably would have never guessed that video games could make your band famous. This became a reality with the band Strike Anywhere.
The band has been featured throughout 3 different games in the massively famous Tony Hawk franchise. Their first album remains a classic of the early 2000s.
Were you were a punk fan living in the midwest US in the 2000s? If so, chances are likely that you got to see The Swellers.
This group of guys came storming out of Michigan with a unique brand of punk mixed with hardcore influences. They were also on the famed record label, Fueled By Ramen and featured on the Warped Tour.
Much of the group’s work still holds up quite well compared to today’s modern music sounds. Their last album even charted within the top 10 positions of the Billboard metric charts upon its release.
A Wilhelm Scream
A Wilhelm Scream is a band that got its start in the 90s. However, it wasn’t until the 2000s that the band became known as A Wilhelm Scream.
It was after their name change that A Wilhelm Scream really began to make waves in the music industry. Their punk ethos mixed with a hint of melodic hardcore elements proved to be a potent combination.
A Wilhelm Scream is another one of those bands that really benefited from the Myspace social network. Bands today just don’t know what an awesome tool the network was for people to discover new music.
Top Punk Bands Of The 2000s, Final Thoughts
We can be sure that these bands have laid the foundation for the next wave of punk to evolve from. Will punk retain its roots or will it change into something with just a slight resemblance to the genre itself?
Only time will tell. One thing we can be certain of is that punk music will always have a message, whether serious or comedic.
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