We’ve partnered with some of our favorite websites to bring you each scene’s best upcoming bands, diving beneath the surface to give you a glimpse of tomorrow. In this monthly check-in with our friends at Post-punk.com, we get the scoop on names like Korine, Mareux, Harsh Symmetry, and much more. (Check out last month’s column here!)
Philadelphia, Pa. is known for several things: Wawa, the Liberty Bell, and those greasy cheesesteaks from Gino’s, slathered with copious amounts of bright orange ’wiz. A little-known fact, however, is that the city is also one of the best places for synth-pop.
In the ’80s, the city of brotherly love’s synth-pop crown was worn by local heroes Book of Love, a band so great they toured with Depeche Mode twice: once during their North American stint for 1985’s Some Great Reward and again for 1986’s Black Celebration.
Nowadays, the city reigns supreme with Korine, one of my favorite bands right now. Taking the mantle from forebears Book of Love, the duo of Trey Frye and Morgy Ramone capture a sound that hits a sweet spot between Alan Wilder joining Depeche Mode and when Martin Gore started dressing in bondage gear. You know, those Before Berlin, After Berlin memes? (And as much as I’d like to imagine that the band is named after Harmony Korine, the director of Gummo and Kids, it’s just the moniker that punk veteran Morgy was using as a solo act.)
Korine released their full-length debut album New Arrangements in 2018, with the charming lead single “Elegance and You,” but it was 2019’s stand-alone single “Uncrossed” that really won me over. With its haunted library setting, the song’s video has that “Don’t You Forget About Me,” and “Head Over Heels” vibe for the Stranger Things generation.
In 2020, the band released their second LP, The Night We Raise, one of the best albums of that year. The record features a melange of angsty, lovelorn anthems (“Cruel,” “Cold Heart”). They followed up the album with the shimmering standalone single “Sunshine” last year. In 2022, they completed their first European tour, supporting Choir Boy, Soft Kill, and securing a spot on the Wave Gotik Treffen lineup.