5 new Leeds-based garage rock/punk bands you need to know

DIY punk rock music has always been a part of Leeds’ DNA, and here are a handful of bands (that were) tearing up local venues like Mabgate Bleach and Wharf Chambers.
Posted: 17 February 2021 Words: Tom Mangham Photos: Alec Aarons

From Gang of Four all the way to Eagulls, DIY punk rock music has always been a part of Leeds’ DNA. But with the pandemic still in full flow and more fan-funded venues than ever in need of support, bands with a DIY ethos are also more vital than ever. 

Here are five DIY garage/punk bands that are (well, were) tearing up underground venues like Mabgate Bleach, Wharf Chambers, and formerly, DIY hotspot CHUNK (RIP): 

Magick Mountain

Featuring a mixture of members from various bands (including Pulled Apart by Horses, Menace Beach, and Mother Vulpine to name a few), garage rock supergroup Magick Mountain are one of Leeds’ most fuzzy offerings from the last year or so. After only releasing one single way back in 2017, the band emerged from the shadows in July of last year with single ‘King Cobra’ before self-releasing debut LP, Weird Feelingsin October. 

The Shakamoto Investigation

Named after the infamous Dr. Shakamoto, a character derived from the wild imaginations of absurdist comedy duo Vic and Bob, The Shakamoto Investigation have been giving it large in the Leeds DIY scene since 2017. 

Having made a name for themselves playing fan-favourite venues like CHUNK and Brudenell Social Club, the band were sporadically self-releasing singles and EP’s through Barnsley-based artist collective ‘ART TNEET’ until July of last year, when they linked up with local label Eeasy Records. Debut LP of fun and irreverent punk, Existential Bread, was released via Eeasy at the end of January.


When three-piece outfit DENSE formed in 2017, they unleashed their brand of hard-hitting fuzz-punk on to Leeds audiences and received a strong reception, since earning plays on BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio 6 Music. 

Debut single ‘Displaced Face’ was released in 2019 with following singles ‘Fever Dream’ and ‘Electric Chair’ released via Leeds singles club, Come Play With Me on 7” vinyl. More recently (pre-pandemic), DENSE have provided supporting slots for LA punks Flat Worms, and Castle Face Records prodigies Prettiest Eyes, while also releasing latest EP, Abjection, in August last year.  


BELK are the newest band on this list, having formed at the end of 2019, and are close to being full-time residents at independent venue Mabgate Bleach and its accompanying practice space. BELK’s variety of noise-rock is bleak, loud, and relatively depressing with aspects of sludge that could even fit into the doom sub-category. 

They were one of the more consistent acts through 2020’s pandemic, with two EP’s, BELK and UMPIREreleased mid-lockdown last year. 

Soft Jocks

It’s only been a couple of years since garage-rock trio Soft Jocks started off as a SoundCloud side-project by frontman Joel Currie, but since then the band have gone from strength to strength with constant Leeds shows and a string of releases. 

Known for their fast guitar-hooks and irreverent subject matter, Soft Jocks signed last year to independent Sheffield-based label, Elephant Arch Records. Debut EP, Socking Dinners, was self-released in May with further singles ‘Lemon’ and ‘Love Like Elvis’ arriving shortly after on Elephant Arch.

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