When you think of Detroit music, you probably think of Motown, maybe hip-hop, techno, or even garage rock. Though you’re right – those are the heavy-hitters of Detroit musical genres over the years – one genre doesn’t get mentioned enough: hardcore rock.

Somewhere in the early 1980s, one of the first important hardcore punk and rock scenes that swept underground America was centered in the Detroit suburbs. By the end of 1981, the new style coined “Midwest Hardcore” had exploded across North America, and Detroit was one of the biggest important regional centers fostering its spread.

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There were many breakout bands from the ‘80s and early ‘90s to come on the scene from Detroit, but today we are going to talk about three bands that were on the forefront of the hardcore explosion – and two more that have cultivated their own hardcore sound in recent times.

That’s right – this week’s Detroit Proud Playlist will be dedicated to some of the most notable hardcore rock bands to come out of Detroit…get your history on and take a look!

Negative Approach – one of the first hardcore punk rock bands, Negative Approach, took the scene in 1981. In their time, they were little known outside of the Detroit music scene, though as a pioneer in the hardcore realm, they’re now idolized in the Detroit rock underground and punk subculture – even considered to be one of the elite bands of the “old school” era and continue to be influential today. Negative Approach disbanded in 1984 – but that wasn’t before releasing one complete studio album, two EPs, several demos and compilation albums. Find more about the band here!

1.    “Tied Down”
2.    “Friend or Foe”

Degenerates – another pioneer in the hardcore punk rock scene, Degenerates formed in 1979 – on the cusp of the Detroit hardcore scene. With some controversy to the fact, Degenerates are often times considered the first of the Midwest hardcore scene. Even though they were around in the early ‘80s and into the ‘90s, the group didn’t release their work on CD until 2006 – and today, their vocalist Scott Boman is a noted libertarian politician. Find more about the band here!

3.    “Pseudo Scientist”
4.    “Teenage Rockstar”

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Violent Apathy – given the band’s name, Violent Apathy, you can immediately guess they play hardcore rock. They formed in 1981 and though they’ve had a huge influence on today’s hardcore rock scene, the band only played outside of Michigan twice, both times in 1983. After only one full-length release, the band was on hiatus until 2007 when they came back for a twenty fifth anniversary tour through the Midwest. Find more about the band here!

5.    “Bought and Sold”
6.    “Here Today”

We Came As Romans – as we enter into recent times, We Came As Romans is one of Detroit’s most notable hardcore rock bands. They formed in 2005 and signed to Equal Vision Records in 2009. Since then, the guys have released three full-length studio albums and have become nationally and internationally famous for their melodic take on the classic hardcore scene. They’re working on a new album that is due out this summer and are on the bill for Warped Tour 2015 – and even doing a Australian Tour this year. Talk about a busy schedule! Find more about the band here!

7.    “Tracing Back Roots”
8.   “Never Let Me Go”

I Prevail – one of the newest hardcore rock bands to hit the scene, I Prevail hit international stardom, practically overnight, with their cover of pop-starlet Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space.” Crediting We Came As Romans as a big influential group, the guys of I Prevail are currently headlining their own North American tour – with dates in almost every state and Canada. Find more about the band here!

9.    “Heart vs. Mind”
10.  “My Heart I Surrender”


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