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The Top Ten Most Underrated Island Records Bands That Turned Out to Be Dead the Whole Time

Peninsulas are overrated; Island Records is underrated. We attempt to bring to your attention in written form the top ten most underrated Island Records bands in alphabetical order. For this list to be as pristine as it truly is, there are a few ground rules for your pleasure/discomfort: Acts like Fall Out Boy, Thrice, Thursday, and The Kids of Widney High are exempt, as they are all way too big to be considered underappreciated, AND no subsidiary label acts are considered either. Some knowledge for your eyes, ears, throats, and gullets: Island Records was founded in 1959 and eventually sold to Polygram thirty years later. Happily the label is still going strong, and sadly you aren’t. In closing, travel to one of NYC’s boroughs, albeit the worst one, hop on a plane with Cooter, and watch “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” right now. Thanks, bros.

Autopilot Off

Major label AND Tim Armstrong approved? Check! Orange County, New Freaking York’s Autopilot Off started, uh, off as a true Cooter and finished their full-length career as AO with a nearly flawless LP named “Make a Sound.” A noise it did make, but unfortunately it was more of a whimper than a bang. Pity as these pop-punk/melodic punk/rock jams still hold up twenty years later! If you like video games, and we know that you do, Autopilot Off have quite a few song placements in video games not named “Kid Icarus.” Fun fact: Autopilot Off released a flawless EP on Island Records too and if you have fourteen minutes, listen to it all OR take a jog; you’re out of shape. You’re forever indebted to us and we know you’re waiting for what you want.

The Bronx

If you caught The Bronx on The Used’s 2004 run supporting their sophomore/most commercially successful LP “In Love and Death” with Atreyu and Head Automatica, you don’t deserve a notice of eviction. If you missed it, we’ve got chills and they’re NOT multiplying. According to legend, the band got signed shortly after their tenth show, and whilst rock press looooved this band, not too many pedestrians like your cousin Felicity knew who they were. While the band isn’t too creative with their album titles, they also are; paradoxes rule. The band’s creative/curious side project Mariachi El Bronx may be bigger than The Bronx, but that’s just one small stone for man and one Spanish handshake for mankind. Punk rock cred peeps may scoff at this band for being on a major label, but so were The Ramones and Ashlee Simpson.


CKY may have created one of the most singable guitar riffs of all time whilst not creating one of the most singable vocal melodies of all time, but, hey, that’s showbiz! Originally called Camp Kill Yourself, which TOTALLY wouldn’t have gotten the band canceled in the year of our lord known as 2024, West Chester, Pennsylvania’s CKY at their formation featured a relative of a (now former) “Jackass,” a guitarist/vocalist named Deron, and Allen Ginsberg’s non-cousin. 96 bitter beings permanently stan CKY, but mainstream whatsoevers mostly missed out on the acronymed rock and roller skaters. While the band certainly peaked in popularity during the early-aughts period, they’re still cranking shizz out today, and they’re celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band NEXT month on tour!


Not only will one Damone song feel like you’re out here all night with the band, but two will feel like, uh, two nights out here! Yeah! Originating from Waltham, Massachusetts, a town most famous for being home base to the uber, uber-Jesuit Brandeis University, Damone formed in 2001, and just two years later released their debut LP “From the Attic” via RCA Records. Their sophomore album “Out Here All Night” is the band’s highest quality effort and Island Records was its home base. Self-produced with help from David Spreng, “Out Here All Night” is a high octane true rock and roll record that you dropped the ball on and ruined all things 2007-beyond; thanks, Obama. Want more rock cred? Ok! Damone even covered Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years,” and said tune closed the LP in style with a new change of heart, AND on your speakers.


Let’s start this section with something sad: We want to shout out the late guitarist/backing vocalist for Injected, Jade Lemons, who left this earth extremely prematurely in 2016. Now let’s rock: Injected’s lone major label effort, 2002’s “Burn it Black” appeals to fans of Helmet and Butch Walker, who not so coincidentally produced this LP. If you watched WWE AND MTV in the early-aughts, and we know that you did, you likely heard an Injected song once or thrice (NOT MENTIONED IN THE TOP TEN FOR THIS ISLAND RECORDS PIECE, NO NO NO). Eddie Trunk, who is bitter enemies with Ronnie Radke, put this full-length studio album on his top ten list for 2002, and that combined with $6 can buy you a cup of coffee in LA without any of the fixins… Maybe it can in Atlanta? Regardless, Injected rocked more than The Dirty South.


If you ever wished that Nine Inch Nails played Warped Tour, then do WE have the band for YOU: Innerpartysystem. We’re perplexed every hour on the hour, five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes as to why “Don’t Stop” didn’t reach “Mr. Brightside” heights, but such great heights are forever and always in Brooklyn Heights with the Brooklyn Dodgers dodging The Artful Dodger in an artful manner. You never heard of Mohnton, Pennsylvania before and you shan’t again; how do you measure, measure a year? Fun fact: The band eventually remixed Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold” before it heated up, and not too long after that, split up. We blame you. Fans of George Orwell, dark synth pop and not pop, and the general working class would system the party the hell out of your inners.

Letter Kills

In a perfect world, Letter Kills would be mentioned in the same mall screamo breath sans mouthwash as The Used, Story of the Year, Finch, and Edna’s Goldfish. However, it is not a perfect world, just ask “The Bridge,” Letter Kill’s major label debut and only full-length studio album didn’t turn a bright color that they sell at pawn shops post-release. The twelve songs that compose this LP have zero filler and plenty of antioxidants. Guitar players who love MCR, AAR, NFG, and MTB should listen to track four, “Brand New Man,” right now, and marvel at and learn WITH it. Speaking of MCR and SOTY: Letter Kills was first of four on the 2004 Nintendo Fusion Tour with My Chemical Romance on second, the completely unproblematic Lostprophets as direct support, and Story of the Year in the headline slot. Times change but letter kills.

Primer 55

And now for something completely different: Nu metal. ARE YOU REEEEADY? Memphis, Tennessee’s Primer 55 name without question is and apparently comes from something unfinished with a drug trafficking road as a Mozart symphony. Both Walter “Limp Bizkit” White and Fred “I Am The One Who Knocks” Durst would agree that the number fifty-five rules, and the band with said numeral slaps! Primer 55 had solid record sales, but were far from gold, and not only stayed gold, ponyboy, but it was shelved. Sigh. Such a dark fate for a band that could still be rocking Ozzfest stages today if there were any… And said situation catalyzed the band’s first split in 2003. The band reformed four years later, and then split up for good (unless Coachella capitalizes on the nu metal nostalgia boom and drops cash in their lap) in 2015. On a sad note, rest in peace, J-Sin.

Rival Schools

First of all, how on brand is it for us here that Rival Schools are mentioned in this piece? Right in front of your eyes RS takes the remainder of the culturally and geopolitically significant Quicksand’s Island Records contract with extreme V-neck T-shirt assistance from every band that ever existed in every genre in every country and planet, Walter “Spell Check” Schreifels’ then-new Rival Schools put out an incredible Rydell High School debut known as “United by Fate” and split up for the first time just two years later. The band survived one more breakup after a semi-quick but not really reunion, and as of 2022, still exists today for humans of all shapes and sizes. Anyway, we’ve said it before and we’ll without hesitation ask it again, “What the hell is post-hardcore?” Seriously, what is it? We know, we know, everything has its point, and good things undercover on.

Young Love

Young love was such dumb love; we will never, ever recov-er together. If you were slightly ahead of the dance-rock curve via just another former “scene” frontman, then you were right on time for Young Love. The act’s illustrious by definition frontman Dan Kayes almost totally, epically and magnificently shifted musical focus post his one-word yet Twelve Step named band, and completely pulled a 180 in a solid way with the toe-tappin’ Young Love, that you never listened to, and that’s why they are on this list. Final thought/inquiry: Why shouldn’t we end this piece on a sad note? We have no reason either way: Young Love put out one EP and two LPs via Island Records and then, poof, peaced out, without reforming since. Ceci n’est pas recover. Give up, you’re too young to fight it. Just find a new way and close your eyes.