This was a special radio show for New Year’s Eve, I counted down to Midnight by counting backwards through the years of punk from 2011 back to 1976. It was awesome…
Not intended to be a “Best Of” really, it was more an exercise in trying to fit as many artists on the skeleton as possible. I was thinking more about bands than a particular song, so I had to find a release year of their work to fit something awesome into the set list. They’re all great bands and amazing songs, but I wasn’t calling any of these the “song of the year”.
2011 – Fucked Up – “Serve Me Right”
from David Comes to Life (Matador)
Okay, but this is the album of the year for 2011 anyway. In a year of so much great music, this album stood above the rest in epic glory. So there. They’re writing their own ticket…
2010 – The Measure [SA] – “Unwritten”
from Notes (No Idea)
Lauren Denitzio is brilliant and prolific songwriter. She’s also a great voice in the punk community and a talented artist. The Measure [SA] played their last show at FEST this year. Her new band is Worriers and they have their first great 7″ out on No Idea.
2009 – Bomb the Music Industry! – “Stuff That I Like”
from Scrambles (Asian Man / Quote Unquote)
Jeff Rosenstock is outrageous and fun – or at least his music is. And his label is – giving away free albums. He’s changed the game, while critically analyzing it, his life, and his vacations for the benefit of us all. Makes his own rules. Three cheers, man.
2008 – Good Luck – “Stars Were Exploding”
from Into Lake Griffy (No Idea)
Matt, Ginger and Mike continue to define punk any way they want. They create beautiful, thoughtful, and fun music that gets people dancing and singing along. Love it. Love it. This is the anthem though… the dual versions of the song are really special.
2007 – The Ergs – “Books About Miles Davis”
from Upstairs / Downstairs (Dirtnap)
I’ll readily admit to not being an Ergs expert. What I know is this… they made pop punk (aka punk love songs) awesome again after the ’90s made it suck. Mikey Yannich plays drums for any band who will have him. Dude seriously loves music. So everyone loves him.
2006 – The Marked Men – “Wait Here, Wait For You”
from Fix My Brain (Dirtnap)
This is my favorite Marked Men song, but they’re all great. The Exploding Hearts or other bands might have pioneered this sound, but The Marked Men put their take on fast garage rock into our hearts and heads. All the spinoff bands are awesome. All those bands with the “Dirtnap sound” are awesome, too. Don’t be a hater. You have to listen to this song.
2005 – Paul Baribeau – “Only Babies Cry”
from Paul Baribeau (Plan-It-X)
This isn’t Paul’s best album but it let me showcase him and Chris Clavin’s Plan-It-X records. Plan-It-X did three big things into the minds of a generation of kids: 1. punk is cheap cds for $5, 2. anyone can grab a guitar and sing, 3. folk punk is cool. Out of that you have Paul Baribeau, hands down the best songwriter of our times. Hands down.
2004 – Comadre – “Slangin’ Rocks In the House of God!”
from The Youth (Bloodtown)
I really love Comadre, but it’s a crush from afar – ’cause I keep missing their shows! In many ways, they’ve brought d.i.y. hardcore up to date. They’re supportive of d.i.y. spaces, they releases their own music, and their music is smart, raw, and playful. They rule.
2003 – Defiance Ohio – “This Time This Year”
from Share What Ya Got (Friends and Relatives)
Everyone’s favorite folk-punk band, Defiance Ohio also were one of the first to give away their music – and still find someone to press the record. Now Quote Unquote does it as a label, but I think these kids deserve a lot of credit. At the same time, I think they took some inspiration from This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb and made it even bigger. Good hustle.
2002 – Twelve Hour Turn – “No Tomorrow”
from Perfect Progress, Perfect Destruction (No Idea)
The title of their album says it all. These kids played it right. In response to the nineties race for cash in the punk scene, a bunch of other kids went the opposite way and made some awesome hardcore music. While a generation brought up in this version of the underground decided to go from good beginnings to garbage (The Promise Ring, Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids), Twelve Hour Turn made music that mattered.
2001 – Lightning Bolt – “Ride the Sky”
from Ride The Skies (Don Corleone)
Never saw them live and they are the Pitchfork darlings, but still, hat’s off to Lightning Bolt. In the early 00s, this two piece was shaking the walls of warehouse spaces along the East Coast – while wearing masks. Still sounds good.
2000 – Shellac – “Mama Gina”
from 1000 Hurts (Touch and Go)
This is the only place I could fit Steve Albini into the list. Shellac is awesome, of course, and in many ways a refinement of his earlier innovations in punk. That sounds snooty, doesn’t it? Anyway, saw them last year. They’ve still got it. Heavy. Wicked funny banter. Smart. In recording, packaging and performance – Shellac does it better than anyone.
1999 – Lungfish – “Sands of Time”
from Unanimous Hour (Dischord)
Daniel Higgs has always been the mystical side of punk. He’s nice, too. Lungfish put out a lot of records all with glittering gems on them. They held their own in the Dischord pantheon through the years. Dan Higgs now plays and tours solo. Love is Love.
1998 – Dillinger Four – “O.K. F.M. D.O.A.”
from Midwestern Songs of the Americas (Hopeless)
This is one of the few records I remember hitting my ears in the year it was released. The first time I heard it, while we were setting up Wayward Council for a Saturday, I walked right across the room and bought myself a copy. Since then I have many D4 memories, but this band still embodies Midwestern punk and Minneapolis, in my head at least.
1997 – KARP – “Bacon Industry”
from KARP (K records)
Wow. Wall shakers. You should go see the new documentary about Karp. It’s really well done. They ripped. Ever see them play a house show? Jesus. You would go outside just to save your head from the impact. Best ever.
1996 – Sleater Kinney – “Good Things”
from Call The Doctor (Chainsaw)
I didn’t dig this band too much in the nineties, though I remember everyone listening to them. I listen to them more now, and this is my favorite song of the bunch. Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker are still making music and other things. Almost famous. Go look them up.
1995 – Unwound – “New Energy” from The Future of What (Kill Rock Stars)
1994 – Jawbreaker – “Boxcar” from 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (Communion, Tupelo)
1993 – Built to Spill – “Still Flat” from The Normal Years (K records)
1992 – Bikini Kill – “Rebel Girl” from Pussywhipped (Kill Rock Stars)
1991 – Heroin – “Head Cold” from All About Heroin (Vinyl Communications)
1990 – The Jesus Lizard – “Mouthbreather” from the Mouthbreather 7″ (Touch and Go)
1989 – Nirvana – “Negative Creep” from Bleach (Sub Pop)
1988 – Fugazi – “Waiting Room” from Fugazi (Dischord)
1987 – Billy Bragg – “A New England” from Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit)
1986 – The Hated – “No More We Cry” from demo 1986 (unreleased)
1985 – Rites of Spring – “For Want Of” from Rites of Spring (Dischord)
1984 – Husker Du – “Something I Learned Today” from Zen Arcade (SST)
1983 – Minutemen – “I Felt Like a Gringo” from Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat (SST)
1982 – Descendents – “Suburban Home” from Milo Goes to College (New Alliance)
1981 – Minor Threat – “Minor Threat” from the Minor Threat 7″ (Dischord)
1980 – Adam and the Ants – “Kings of the Wild Frontier” from Kings of the Wild Frontier (Epic)
1979 – The Clash – “Train in Vain (Stand By Me)” from London Calling (Epic)
1978 – The Avengers – “The American in Me” from The American in Me (BB Island/DBK Works)
1977 – Wire – “Ex-Lion Tamer” from Pink Flag (EMI)
1976 – Ramones – “Blitzkrieg Bop” from Ramones (Sire)
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