Smash it Dead Fest is an annual event to benefit the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. 30+ bands are playing this year over the three days in Cambridge (Friday at the YMCA, Saturday and Sunday at the Democracy Center). The themes brought to SID from both its music and its workshops are largely about how to combat sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, or otherwise oppressive behavior in the punk scene and beyond. You shouldn’t miss anything this weekend (including a vegan brunch potluck Saturday morning, yum), but if you’re looking for the best bands to check out, look no further (psych, you have to read this to find out).

For the full Smash it Dead Fest lineup and other information on the festival, visit their site.

[Flyer by Jen McMahon]


Downtown Boys
Downtown Boys transform the conception of punk, incorporating funky horns and danceable beats. The band hails from the closer-than-you-think city of Providence and just put out a 7” on Sister Polygon Records. Downtown Boys’ new song “Slumlord Sal” is gnarly all over the place, and they always put on an amazing show. Check them out Friday night.

Crabapple perfectly fills the void that Rilo Kiley left when they broke up. With perfect pop jams over jangly guitars, Crabapple is one of the best new bands of its kind. They just put out their newest album, “is it you?,” mastered by Kyle Gilbride of Swearin, which you can download for zero dollars on Bandcamp. They’re from San Francisco and don’t get over to the east coast too often, so don’t slip on this one, ya dinguses.

is it you? by Crabapple

Chemical Peel
Chemical Peel is based out of South Carolina, but you might recognize the band’s drummer Victoria Mandanas around these parts as the force behind the kit in Potty Mouth. They’re solid, hard-hitting garage punk and put on a powerful performance. 2013’s “Bike Thief” 7” is otherworldly, so here’s hoping they play some new tunes this weekend.

Curmudgeon is at the front of the power violence scene in Boston. They live for all ages/DIY shows and supporting the community behind Smash it Dead Fest. If I had to choose one band to sum up Smash it Dead Fest, it would be Curmudgeon. They’re hard. They will fight back. They won’t stand down.

Peeple Watchin’
Peeple Watchin’ doesn’t stand for your bullshit. They shred, and aim to kill the patriarchy with their bare hands. Front woman Sadie Smith pours her heart out behind the mic and her guitar, while delivering a fun breed of punk that riles the entire crowd up. They’re just plain enjoyable. Check out their new split with HIRS to get a taste of what you’ve been missing.

Shady Hawkins
Shady Hawkins’ goth punk vibe sets them apart from others on this list. They haven’t put out a release in a while, so we can be sure that some new tunes will be introduced at SID. To learn more about them, lead singer Suzy X recently did a riveting interview with Wondering Sound to tickle your fancy.

Permanent Ruin
Permanent Ruin is another Cali band not to sleep on. They punch hard with their music, conjuring up little riots within you. Their new EP “San Jose” has been on repeat in my apartment since its January release, much to the dismay of my cat.