Tag Archive | Suicidal Tendencies

Twenty-Five Other Essential Punk Albums

A companion/reaction piece to Rob O’Conner’s recent listicle for Yahoo. Robbo hit all the biggies, but hey, listen, there are all these others. Entries are not numbered because I simply jotted titles down as I remembered them. I couldn’t possibly rank these fine works.

The Gits – Frenching the Bully

Quoting myself: “The Gits…bashed out sharp barre chord combinations with a bluesy twist that perfectly accentuated singer Mia Zapata’s deep, gutsy attack…1992′s Frenching the Bully was a diamond drill of raw nerve, one that ground its targets into a fine gruel.”

Adolescents – Adolescents

Is there irony in a seventeen year old singing “I Hate Children?” Yes, but only if you’re over twenty. The Adolescents offer sneering SoCal skate punk with the occasional detour into airy, soaring melodiousness. More sensitive than the Circle Jerks, but just as worthy.

FEAR – The Record

Posturing, theatrical, totally laughable when it isn’t legit frightening. The only thing weirder than Lee Ving’s opera singer-meets-redneck vocal style is Philo Cramer’s demented guitar work. “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” might convince you to hide under the covers all week.

The Queers – Don’t Back Down

This record defines the Queers aesthetic (beer + girls + Johnny Ramone + Mike Love) just as well as any other. The production is flawless, though, and Joe King never wrote better heart-poking anthems than “Number One” and “Love, Love, Love.”

Reagan Youth – Volume 1

If you can’t beat ’em, confuse ’em. These peace punks attempted to deflate white supremacy/neo-nazis by latching on to corresponding imagery. The results were mixed, but they wrote some classics (“Degenerated,” “Anytown”) and that guitar sounds gloriously like a vacuum cleaner.

Crucifucks – Crucifucks

Doc Dart unleashes his inner toddler, throwing a tantrum over all manner of authority while his band mates whip up churning, dissonant noise. Interspersed between the songs are Dart’s various phone entanglements with law enforcement—which prove equally enthralling.

Adrenalin O.D. – The Wacky Hi-Jinks of Adrenalin O.D.

Pushing hardcore to the brink of utter blurriness. Goofball humor takes the edge off (“Rock n’ Roll Gas Station,” “AOD vs. Godzilla”). The song about hating Trans Ams might be subterfuge, though. These guys are from Jersey.

76% Uncertain – Estimated Monkey Time

Another one that leans metal but retains its cred. Contains the best (and perhaps only) hardcore punk song written in favor of curbing dogs. And how can you dislike any album boasting a song called “Monkey Jam” that features record scratching?

Replacements – Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out The Trash

Raucous Americana punk that masks genius songwriting and arrangement with shambolic, self-deprecating noise. No question these guys would eventually rule the indie rock wastelands. Crown jewel of the Midwest.

Cramps – Songs The Lord Taught Us

The seamy underbelly of rockabilly is nothing if not punk. Lux Interior was walking catharsis wrapped in leather, and the Cramps were living, breathing sex. You’re not from the right planet if you don’t like at least some of Songs The Lord Taught Us.

Dickies – The Incredible Shrinking Dickies

Helium-voiced basket case convinces Iggy Pop’s drug dealer to write songs about conquering or being crushed by social anxiety. The results gave Billie Joe Armstrong and his friends a nice template to work with fifteen years later. They also cover Sabbath and it is awesome.

Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward

That spunky girl from your middle school grew up, went off her meds, and recorded a playfully violent collection of songs that occasionally reference Robocop, zombies, and friendship bracelets. Like, OMG, she will fucking cut you, bitch.

Guitar Wolf – Missile Me!

The lowest of the lo-fi, Guitar Wolf turn everything up to eleven and end up sounding like they’re trying to outplay a space shuttle launch. It’s charming, considering their musical style is pure 1950s motorcycle rock. A helmet may be required, but it won’t protect you.

The Vandals – Peace Thru Vandalism

In which sacred cows—Elvis, your mother—are grilled up over a flame of particularly crude racket. “Anarchy Burger” continues to reign as perhaps the truest expression of the “a” word in the genre. I don’t remember Crass ever telling people to piss on cheese.

Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster

Burgeoning roots punk. Very heart-on-sleeve. The whiskey-worn vocals of a young Mike Ness bring it all home, even when he’s yawing about the same societal norms other bands have taken to task. The yearning title track should have been an FM radio hit.

GG Allin & the Jabbers – Always Was, Is And Always Shall Be

GG was way tuneful before he was King Gross Out, and Always Was is that fact’s invigorating testament. On the real: “I Need Adventure” and “Unpredictable” are at least as good as better than anything the Dictators ever did.

Black Randy & the Metrosquad – Pass the Dust, I Think I’m Bowie

Notorious San Fran rabble rouser tries injecting some tight-ass funk into his new wave, which only serves to underscore the drugginess his Pass the Dust outlines. You’ll feel like you’ve been awake all night after listening for only three minutes.

Bad Religion – Suffer

Watershed moment for the “modern” sound of punk. Perfect harmonizing in place of snot, erudite observation in place of unfiltered rage. Makes a great case for book learnin’. And you can still probably gleam the cube to most of this ish! Thrash on, library card bros!

Rosemary’s Babies – Talking to the Dead

One of the few horror punk band outside the Misfits worth serious investment. They reject work, school, and religion in favor of bondage, necrophilia, and blood lust—and you believe them. May not actually be possessed, but certainly disturbed.

Antidote – Thou Shalt Not Kill

Just the most livid New York hardcore. Eight songs, nine minutes, but hey, it’s not a contest. However long this is, you won’t forget the palpable sensation that Antidote are not fucking around. See the militant and white hot “Something Must Be Done” for absolute proof.

Suicidal Tendencies – Suicidal Tendencies

Best song protesting romance (“Won’t Fall In Love Today”). Best song protesting the mental health system (“Institutionalized”). Best censorship (“I Shot Reagan” altered to “I Shot The Devil”). So furious you can’t even follow it at times but completely delicious.

Dwarves – Blood Guts & Pussy

The Dwarves began as trash punk dedicated to satisfying the id. You can call it low brow, you can call it depraved, but you can’t call it boring and you sure can’t call it weak. Filthy sex maniacs obsessed with prescription drugs need a soundtrack too.

Sonics – Here Are The Sonics

Quoting myself again: “America’s first true punk band, the Sonics played…so loudly [that] every single instrument on their records had a beautiful natural distortion…did any other pre-Iggy white guy scream as satisfyingly as lead Sonic Gerry Roslie? You can feel [him] in your tailbone.”

Badtown Boys – Date With Death

The B Boys were ahead of the ’90s pop punk pack by about five years. They’re big in Germany, but they should be even bigger here. Screeching Weasel without the guilt? Sure. “Dee Dee Took The Subway” is oddly romantic for a song about a junkie on mass transit.

McLusky – McLusky Do Dallas

All the angry punk bands of the Bush years were actually just one band in Wales. Overflowing with bile, jagged hooks, and a decidedly sour charisma. Still, they could be pretty cheeky sometimes–see “The World Loves Us And Is Our Bitch.”

Commenting Upon Three Music Videos I Am Currently Obsessed With

The Modernettes – “Barbra”

This clip is awesome for a variety of reasons. For starters, it’s got that vintage punk TV news report upfront, featuring a young and fairly amusing Joey Shithead (he kinda looks/sounds like “Kid In The Hall” Scott Thompson). Secondly, it reveals the fact that the bassist for the Modernettes was named Mary Jo Kopechne. Naming yourself after the girl Ted Kennedy killed is the hardest shit ever.* Canadians definitely had all the best punk handles. Thirdly, the video for “Barbra” itself—deliciously lo-fi, spunky, and cute, just like the song. My only WTF? moment is that basketball player. What’s he got to do with anything?

* = I’m 80% sure Mary Jo Kopechne was a pseudonym, based on the fact the other two Modernettes went by the ludicrously fake names Buck Cherry and Jughead (both were actually named John, according to various bios I uncovered on Google; I found no alias anywhere for their sexy female bass player). If for some reason I’m wrong about this, if Mary Jo Kopechne is actually on that girl’s birth certificate and she’s been cursed her whole life as “that chick who’s got the same name as that dead chick,” then I profusely apologize (and marvel at the coincidence).

Suicidal Tendencies – “Possessed To Skate”

This video is lo-fi, too, but in a very different way from “Barbra.” This is definitely one of those “so bad it’s good” deals. I don’t know what movie Mike Muir is whining about in the introductory clip, but I’m guessing it’s probably something like Police Academy 4. The only thing lazier than Mike’s vocals on “Possessed” is the kid’s acting in the video. He looks like he’s holding in the world’s biggest shit when he starts pumping his fist as the skateboarders invade his home. No, wait, I take that back—the way Mike sings into that Bob Barker-style microphone near the end is ten times worse than anything the kid does. I would like to officially propose the theory right now that the couch in the “Possessed To Skate” video is the same couch used on all seven/eight/nine/fifteen seasons of “Roseanne” (note the eerily similar quilt).

Spinal Tap – “Hell Hole”

Text book hilarity. I don’t think Spinal Tap get enough credit for their musical endeavors, which are often just as funny and biting as the 1984 mockumentary that made this gloriously fake band famous. “Hell Hole” is a prime example. Great comedic twist in the second verse. That shot of Christopher Guest sprinting down his pool deck as the Taxman chases after him with a wagging finger may be the single funniest image of the Reagan Era. I also quite enjoy Michael McKean’s emoting on the first chorus. I wonder A) how they got those bikini girls and B) what those bikini girls are doing now. Can you get very far as a bikini girl in Hollywood if you have a Spinal Tap video on your resume? These, my friends, are life’s imponderables.