Is punk dead? This week’s playlist explores aspects of the evolution of punk from its classic 1970s roots to today’s torch-bearing, angsty revolutionaries and social commentators.
“No Star”- Greys
The second track off of last year’s “Outer Heaven” is a triumphant wall of sound that makes me want to get up and just go do something. Anything.
“Capitalized”- Big Ups
Big Ups are one of the few punk bands who know how to make their production sound top of the line, while retaining an honest and raw sound somewhere between hardcore and alternative. This track encapsulates that perfectly.
“Spit You Out”- METZ
METZ know how to rock. Whether you’re angry or excited, there’s an unmatched level of energy and emotion crammed into almost every single one of their songs. This track from their 2015 sophomore effort “II” perfectly encapsulates that energy.
“Monstro”- Downtown Boys
Feminist Punks’ Downtown Boys are perhaps the only punk band ever to successfully incorporate a saxophone into their lineup. A throwback to classic ‘80s punk and the Riot Grrrl scene of the early ‘90s, they’re an exciting recent addition to the genre. This tracks finds them at the top of their game.
“Driver”- Perfect Pussy
These New York punks have a reputation for pretty wild live shows. As this track makes clear, nothing is lost in translation. Listening to their 2014 debut makes me feel like I’m at a dingy basement show populated by moshing drunks… but in a good way.
“Face Down”- White Lung
White Lung are following in the footsteps of Sleater-Kinney with fast-paced, guitar driven anthems like this that evoke a sense of importance and urgency.
“Cheap Beer”- FIDLAR
These guys are not without a sense of humor and while this anthem to irresponsibility would make any parent cringe in discomfort, it perfectly encapsulates the long-dead punk aesthetic of “so what”?
“Linus Spacehead”- Wavves
These beach punks have shifted genres seamlessly with each release, from lofi garage indie to a grungy alternative. Their third album, 2010’s “King of the Beach” sees them ditching the lofi sound of their first two albums in favor of sunny, beach punk alternative like this one.
“Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists”- Against Me!
One of the few bands to retain both musical relevance and a genuine punk aesthetic during the 2000s, Against Me!’s humble beginnings include this Fugazi-inspired track about dissatisfaction with the mundane.
“Something to Believe In”- The Offspring
Before “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” launched them into the mainstream in 1998, The Offspring were cranking out real punk with a focus on witty social commentary and guitar-heavy riffing. This track from their 1994 breakout “Smash” perfectly showcases their genuine punk roots.
“Facet Squared”- Fugazi
Ian Mackaye is one of the most recognized and celebrated icons in punk history. While Minor Threat was his first forray into the genre, it wasn’t until teaming up with Guy Picciotto to form Fugazi that he really rose to legendary status. This is a personal favorite from the oft-underappreciated “In On the Kill Taker”.
“Where Eagles Dare”- Misfits
I think the chorus speaks for itself here. Another legendary punk band, the Misfits short-lived original lineup with Glenn Danzig at the helm has gone on to inspire generations of punkers, starting right here with this punk rock classic.