Friday, July 31, 2015

Amazing Punk Songs

Amazing Punk Songs

In celebration of Amazing Punk Stories release those of us involved in the book to celebrate our all time favorite Amazing Punk Songs.

First the man who introduced Amazing Punk Stories the author of several dozen of my favorite collections and novels. The author of the Other End, Wetbones, In Darkness Waiting and more. John Shirley:

My favorites are Pretty Vacant by the Sex Pistols, Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones, Blank Generation by Richard Hell, Institutionalized by Suicidal Tendencies, Rise Above by Black Flag.

The Editor of this project, and all books released by Deadite Press. The author of Shatnerquake and Super Giant Monster Time. and owner of Dredlocks longer than his arms. Jeff Burk:

5: Rancid – Journey to the End of East Bay

Born from the ashes of the seminal ska/punk outfit Operation Ivy, Rancid is arguably one of the most successful bands to ever play punk. Combining ska, street punk, old-school hardcore, and straight-up rock n’ roll, their super catchy songs have earned them fans all over the planet. This song is a wistful look back at the legacy and experience of half the band having been in Op Ivy. Like all of the best Rancid songs, it’s a mournful look at bad life experiences but tinged with vague hope and joy.

4: Fucked Up – The Other Shoe

Combing occult themes, blistering hardcore, and experimental song writing, there is no one else like Fucked Up in the scene. Each of their releases are a sigil (magic spell) in musical form (seriously, this is what they say). “The Other Shoe” is a personal favorite of mine that showcases what makes the band so unique. The song veers back a forth between tranquil beauty and vicious rage. And it’s a great one for massive singalongs at live shows.

3: Leftover Crack – Gay Rude Boys Unite

Bringing the crack rock steady beat, we have NYC’s Leftover Crack. Originally known as Choking Victim, Leftover Crack can best be described as a combination of ska and anarcho punk. Even though they are one of the defining bands of US third-wave ska, don’t expect anything like Reel Big Fish here. Leftover Crack songs are about doing drugs, killing cops, and burning churches. Their over-the-top politically vulgar lyrics and offensive stage shows (like reenacting the 9/11 attacks with papier-mâché buildings and planes) have gotten them banned from venues all over the world. Truly punk rock and I love the shit out them.

2: The Clash – (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

These English punks are my all-time favorite band. Of the first wave of punk, there was no other band that was as political or willing to experiment with mashing other genres like reggae, dub, and folk with the then still new punk sound. This song is the perfect illustration of their signature sound of pogo-punk combined with traditional ska. It also features some of lead singer/songwriter Joe Strummer’s best lyrical ranting. It starts off telling a story about a night out at a disappointing reggae show and then switches into poetic criticisms on the punk scene, race, and money. As their slogan goes – The Only Band that Matters.

1: Crass – Big A, Little A

The original anarcho trouble makers. Crass were less of a band and more of a political activist collective that organized protests, played pranks on the media/government officials, help create the concept of DIY, and played music as well. Crass took the concept of first wave punk and applied it to radical anarchist/leftist politics. Their songs are less music and more political speeches/essays about the dangers of capitalism, creating one’s own life, the need for feminism, and hatred of any sort of authority figure. “Big A, Little A” distills everything that makes Crass amazing into one perfect six-minute long rant featuring some of my all-time favorite lyrics:

“Be exactly who you want to be, do what you want to do I am he and she is she but you're the only you No one else has got your eyes, can see the things you see It's up to you to change your life and my life's up to me The problems that you suffer from are problems that you make The shit we have to climb through is the shit we choose to take If you don't like the life you live, change it now it's yours Nothing has effects if you don't recognize the cause If the program’s not the one you want, get up, turn off the set It's only you that can decide what life you're gonna get If you don't like religion you can be the antichrist If you’re tired of politics you can be an anarchist”

The Artist of this project and many other amazing works of art. Nick Gucker:

5. Dog Faced Hermans - Virginia Fur Anarcho punk art band, making throbbing angular rhythems that sound familiar and at the same time new. One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. The song Virgina Fur covers everything from noise guitars to drop down improv bits with a herky jerky jazz sensibility and pure rawness. Political and moving on many levels.

4. Butthole Surfers - Hey One of the many stand-out songs on this first EP, Pee Pee the Sailor. This band and song helped broaden my understanding of what punk is, inclusive, weird and unique. Creative and off-kilter, sick and twisted, this weirdly melodic tune will stick to you like a virus.

3. Cramps - Garbage Man The first song off the record ‘Bad Music for Bad People’ opens up with a solid beat, the crunchy guitars kick in and Lux Interior immediately challenges you “You ain’t no punk you punk! ” You have my attention. With a lurid fuck you swagger and prevailing sense of pulpy fun and horror overtones while riffing on some solid garage punk. The Cramps immediately burrowed under my skin and I committed.

2. Dead Kennedys - Riot One of the more unique punk bands, with a style all thier own, always topically satyrical and musically creative and driving. Riot is a beautiful collection of all the things I love about the Dead Kennedys, intersting intro, long buids to blistering overdrive madness. I’d often put this song on before heading to skateboard. Klaus Florides guitar tone and angular surf-stylings immediatly spoke to me and convinced me that I wanted to play guitar. So I did. Started learning from a broken accustic my sister gave me that she found in a garbage can. My first band was called The Excreted Republicans.

1. Scratch Acid - Owners Lament This song, off all of Scratch Acid’s work, sticks out with it’s somber and sorrowful violin intro, and then the band kicks in and it’s tribal, moody and driving. Pulling you down a long dark corridor of a mystery that remains unanswered. Swampy and articulate while unhinged and sinister, this is one of my favorite punk songs.

Now as the author of this book and blog I went a full top ten.

10. Subhumans – No

This British political punk band has many classics, but this song gave me chills when I saw them play it live. Personal and political melded it all together. 9. 7 Seconds - In Your Face

Through most of their history 7 seconds are amazing consistant, like a hardcore AC/DC. I love this song in part because of what it says. "It's not just in my head it's in my heart." the back-up vocals of Ian Makaye are awesome, and showed that they walked and rocked together. 8. Dag Nasty - Under your Influence

I love the sing alongs in this amazing early song about straight edge. The way Smalley goes from talking to screaming in certain parts, the way it repeats just an amazing song. A powerful anthem. 7. Sado-Nation- Johnny Paranoid

The pounding rhythm, the energy. This song with vocals by John Shirley who introduced Amazing Punk Stories captured a time and place. This was depictured in Northwest Passage a documentary about Portland's early punk scene. A must watch for fans of early American punk. 6. Misfits – Where Eagles Dare

The Misfits are a pretty dumb band but also amazing at the same time. This song rules. The sing along, the tempo and the weird lyrics. So many classics songs. 5.Circle Jerks – Deny Everything

Yes I picked a 28 second song. I love this song. Perfect punk song, come on it is amazing. Short, fast and has a sing along. It kicks off an amazing record, and is kind of a mission statement for the record. 4. Cro-mags - World Peace

From the opening bass line, the way it all kicks in. “All you hippies better face reality…” This song expresses a anger and hopeless feeling that we all get watching the news. The mid tempo break down is one of the best mosh parts ever written and the sing along is powerful. If you ever see the crom-mags live this song is amazing in the pit. 3. Dead Kennedy’s - (the only tie allowed myself.) Government Flu

Along with the “Advice from Christmas past” intro this song shows the full amazingness of DK. The music is crazy and sounds like no other band, with the wild guitars etc. The lyric are clever satire and a more interesting way of writing an anti-“Government” or conformity song. I have to give special props to Nazi Punks Fuck off

Look this was the first punk song I ever heard and granted I wanted to hear it because they said fuck. I thought that was hilarious in the summer of 1987. Whatever this is a genius song. Besides being their most directly “hardcore” song it is intelligent. The line “You aint hardcore if you spike your hair, if the jock still lives inside your head.” In one minute this song address more ills of the punk scene than a song this hard and fast has any right too. 2. Minor Threat – in My Eyes

As a song Straight Edge had a bigger global impact, but this song to me is the best Minor Threat song. Besides expressing my frustration with the culture around alcohol it is just an amazing song. Heavy and powerful music while expressing strong feelings of anger, disgust, sorrow and more. Just a powerful song.

1. Bad Brains – Attitude

I picked a live video from 1979 for a reason. Who was playing this heavy, this fast, with riffs like this in 1979? Only one band. There are thirty or forty amazing Brains song from this era I could have choosen. I choose this song not only because the music is insanely awesome, but the lyrics. The stereo type at that time was that punk was nilist crap as the Sex Pistols said “ Fuck this and fuck that…” This song was about PMA, and being positive force for good. Hell yeah.

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