Now Hear This: Lucas Woodland on the best new pop-punk, Japanese metalcore and ugly pop

Holding Absence's Lucas Woodland brings you the new bands you need to check out now, including ZAND, Cherry and Paledusk…

Now Hear This: Lucas Woodland on the best new pop-punk, Japanese metalcore and ugly pop
Lucas Woodland
Lucas photo:
Bethan Miller

There's no real common thread linking these artists, apart from the fact that I think more people should get to hear them and they all deserve to be bigger.

I still get a huge kick from discovering new bands and artists. I meet musicians sometimes that don't like music, or that aren't obsessed with music, and it really upsets me! For me personally, I feel like the day I'm not excited about new music is the day I'm a fraud in myself and should probably pack it in.


Paledusk honestly are my favourite band right now. I absolutely love them. They're a Japanese band, and I guess you'd say they're metalcore, but their sound is just so… chaotic. If I had to compare them to anybody I'd say they're a little bit like Lotus Eater – just heavy and venomous. It's so vicious, and there's never a moment when you aren't on your toes with this band. They released a song called Wind Back quite recently, and when the video came out it blew my mind. I love Japanese culture, I love anime and manga. I find such a joy in it all and I think they've steeped the perfect amount of Japan into what is genuinely very exciting and unique music.

Void Of Vision

These guys are from Australia and they've toured the world, but I feel like they're not as well known in the UK as they deserve to be. They released an album a couple of years ago – 2019's Hyperdaze – then during the pandemic they got in touch with a load of different musicians and basically rerecorded all the songs. So every song on Hyperdaze Redux has a different take, and for me that was really cool. We get told a lot as musicians that the industry is changing and that hip-hop is way more on it than metal. People ask why metal artists don't collaborate more, because it can be very creative. I was lucky enough to be involved, alongside people like Garrett from Silent Planet. Loathe are on there, Thornhill as well. There are some great collaborations, and it's a really forward-thinking way of working on music.


ZAND is basically dirty, angsty, sexy pop music, I guess. They're a solo artist and I've been a fan for a long time because they have such versatility as an artist and I love everything they do. I love ZAND's voice as well; they go from a cute high vocal to a really dark and gritty style. ZAND is someone who is a friend of mine and I love very much, and I genuinely love the music they make as well.


These are also some of my best friends in the world. They're from the Cardiff music scene as well, and I wanted to pick a band that showcased Wales, because I'm proud to be Welsh and we have a wicked scene going on. Junior are a three-piece pop-punk band primarily, but there's just such depth in their music. There are inspirations you can hear from the likes of Queen or Muse, just more epic depth than I've ever heard in pop-punk before. I know they've got a new release coming up so I definitely recommend you check them out.


This is another Australian band and they're basically Thornhill's little side-project, with two members of Thornhill and one from Void Of Vision as well. They've only released one song so far (debut single Gils Club) but it's really cool, like Tears For Fears meets Harry Styles or something! It's got this weird flamboyant, beautiful vibe to it. It's a really brilliant song that I feel more people need to hear and I'm very excited to hear more from them going forward.

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