Well, it’s Friday again, and that means more freakin’ music from me. I know I’ve been extra slacky this week, but that is, indeed, my prerogative (and I don’t mean the Bobby Brown kind).
This week’s offering leans a little more towards the fast and dirty. I’ve basically been cooped up all week, so that almost always gets reflected in the music I listen to. There are some real gems this week and maybe even some surprises from bands you thought you knew.
1. Stiff Little Fingers – Wasted Life
It often seems the case that with punk; older is better. Stiff Little Fingers is the perfect case and “Wasted Life” is the perfect song. This tune just oozes 1977 UK youth revolt.
2. Strike Anywhere – The Promise
Let’s jump almost 30 years into the future and more into the modern political realm of bands like Anti-Flag. While still throwing down some good “smack-yourself-against-your-friends” tunes, Strike Anywhere actually has something to say. And, in my opinion, they do it quite well.
3. Supersuckers – Born With a Tail
Damn I love me some Supersuckers. It is always hard as hell for me to pick out my favorite tracks when it comes to this band of Arizona transplant miscreants, but “Born With a Tail” is just about as good as it comes. Besides, who really doesn’t want a prehensile tail?
4. Manic Hispanic – Tijuana Must Fall
I first saw Manic Hispanic on one of the tiny side stages at Warped Tour about six or seven years ago. My first thought is that they had a seriously genius idea and some really good musical chops to pull it off. Any band capable of consistently pulling off “Chicano” conversions of well known punk songs without sounding like a sped up El Vez clone deserves some attention.
5. Whole Weat Bread – Old Man Samson
Another band I stumbled upon, I first saw Whole Wheat Bread open for Big D & the Kids Table at a tiny, odd little BYOB place in Lewisville, TX. Having learned that they described themselves as “Dirty South Punk Rock,” I was quite curious to see this moderate combo of rap and punk and was pretty damn happy with the outcome. “Old Man Samson” is more like a Dropkick Murphys song; not at all what you’d expect from a predominantly African-American band.
6. The Germs – Lexicon Devil
Probably one of the most iconic songs from an iconic band, Lexicon Devil is one of the first punk songs I got my hands on as a youngster. Even after 30 years, it’s still good. Here’s some trivia, for the single recording of this song, Pat Smear didn’t have an amp, so he plugged directly into the mixing board. Who knew?
7. Millions of Dead Cops – Chicken Squawk
MDC is proof that Texas was in on the American punk movement as early as those East and West coasters. Rather than pick an obvious tune like “I Remember” or “John Wayne Was a Nazi,” I opted for “Chicken Squawk.” No slight to the other songs, but Chicken Squawk is damn funny and really shows off the Austin roots.
8. Balzac – Break Fuckin’ Yourself
I can blame Balzac for a lot of things. It’s Balzac’s fault I spend too much damn money on imported toys, it’s Balzac’s fault that I still pay attention to the Misfits and it’s Balzac’s fault that I get a kick out of hilariously bad Japanese theme bands. For the uninitiated, Balzac are pretty much the Japanese analog of the Misfits (though probably better than the Misfits ever were). Many of their songs are sung in English (like this one), but one would never know from listening.
9. Rocket From the Crypt – Savoir Faire
Rocket From the Crypt is one of the greatest rock bands of all time. During their tenure they always brought new and exciting energy to each release and put on some of the sickest live shows I’ve ever seen. I am always surprised at the number of closet RFTC fans I run into who have one story or another about a live show or other RFTC experience. I’ve got a couple of my own, but you’ll have to buy me beers to get them out of me.
10. The Vandals – N.I.M.B.Y.
Despite all the legal hubbub surrounding the Vandals, I still love these goofballs. Who else would write a song condemning G.E. Smith from moving into their neighborhood?
11. Really Red – I Was A Teenage Fuckup
Ahh, more old-school fun, and another Texas band to boot! Really Red ran their course from the late 70’s until 1985, dropped just a couple of records and toured with a crapload of influential bands, but their pinnacle is really bringing the punk scene to Houston and probably a lot more of Texas. For this, they should always be remembered
12 Peter & the Test Tube Babies – Banned From The Pubs
Not much to say about this one other than it’s core UK punk and has probably influenced many a young tosser. “Banned from the Pubs” has the distinction of being one of the most normal Peter & the Test Tube Babies titles ever.
13. Nina Hagen – Zero Zero U.F.O.
Nina Hagen is German and scary. Despite listening to a lot of her stuff, I really don’t get it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, but I put it up there with Diamanda Galas and Yoko Ono. It’s art and to be appreciated, but it may give the dog diarrhea.
14. Fear – Let’s Have A War
Ahh, good ol’ Fear. Listen to this song and think about how most of you know Fear front man: Lee Ving. Give up? He was Mr. Boddy in the old Clue movie. Sure, he was also the stripclub owner in Flashdance, but what’s the fun in remembering that?
OK, that’s it for the week. My brain hurts and I’m tired of writing. Suck it up.