Category Archives: PUNK

Suicidal Tendencies-SUICIDAL TENDENCIES-1983


OK, lets keep it short and sweet like the damn album and do a little Q&A. 

Whether you should hear this shit?

Yes, definitely. It is a genre masterpiece. Hell it is a musical masterpiece.

And what genre would that be?

Hardcore Punk!! Along with Discharge’s Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing and the Misfits’s Earth A.D this remains the best document of the genre. This ain’t rock and roll, no sir, this is angry, frustrated speed junkie music!!

USP?

Front man Mike Muir’s vocals. Yea, go ahead and laugh all you want. I wish somebody could come on India’s Got Talent, play these songs and stone cold stunner Karan Johar’s dumbfounded ass all the way to hell. I would call THAT television. But seriously, best vocals on a hardcore punk album ever. Moreover, catchiest lyrics EVA!!! He makes himself sound very vulnerable and used, and that is a rare quality in a extreme music vocalist.

Best Song?

The whole damn album. Short frantic bursts of energy punctuated by some soliloquizing over a slower tempo and some great lead guitar lines. They actually know how to write great songs and use restraint on their electric guitars.

Last words?

If nothing else, at least youtube “Institutionalized”. A little slow for the most part with a great video which explains the MTV airplay it got-yes, I said MTV-it is among the best moments on the album.

-Baba T


Living in Darkness-AGENT ORANGE-1981


Agent Orange was a 80′s punk band from California and this was their debut. Their basic alteration to the traditional basic punk form was the introduction of the surf-rock motif. Ever heard the famous “The Ventures”? The fuzzy, buzzing, almost warm/mellow guitar tone is plastered over a basic 4/4 most of the time, with the vocals over the top of the mix. The production is mostly clean for that time. The tone/lyrics of the  whole album are in the tradition of punk, not outright angry, but more of a cynical/hopeless/brooding by nature, but not dark. No, not dark. The vocalist wavers at some points, but largely carries and complements the music. At times the lead guitars break away from the fuzzy note established and play some minor key melodies to introduce the plaintive, desperate note into the proceedings.

At times the discerning listener will sit up and say “Why, here is evidence of punks humungous influence on later 80′s thrash/speed metal!!” Recommended highly, I’ve not heard a lot of surf-punk or for that matter, punk on the whole, but this seems to be a pretty good specimen of the genre. Tight, to the point, gritty, catchy, the true predecessors of proto speed metal. Listen to the solo on Everything Turns Grey to understand what I am trying to say. This Sounds Right. And they got one thing right for sure. There is no such thing as love.

Recommended Tracks :- The Last Goodbye, A Cry For Help in a World Gone Mad, No Such Thing, Everything Turns Grey, Miserlou

-Baba T


Los Angeles-X-1980


I am not much of a punk listener, some Ramones, some Stooges, Clash’s London Calling (which ain’t even much of punk) and that’s all. I can’t tell you who X did or did not sound like, and I don’t even know much about the LA and NY punk scenes at the time. All I can talk about is what Los Angeles sounds like. It sounds like a 1950’s rockabilly troupe arriving via a time machine in 1980, listening to punk, and deciding that it would be a good idea to somehow infuse the old stuff with the punk spirit. Listen to the classic “Johnny Hit and Run Pauline” to understand what I mean. Given a good partner I could dance to this stuff, easy peasy. Not head bang or jump up or down waving my hands kinda stuff, but a proper free style kinda couple dance. However, if you are willing to look past the immediate riffs, this still is punk. Its fast, the lyrics are punkish and the vocals are undeniably punk, and not only that, the vocal hooks are awesome, some of the times better than the guitars itself, and its mostly the female who is responsible for these moments. Hear the refrain of “But You’re Not” at the ending of “You’re Phone’s off the Hook, But You’re Not”, and the “no no nooo” in “Soul Kitchen”.

Things get a little muddled up in between with “Nausea” which stinks and has Doors like keyboards, most probably due to Ray Manzarek’s involvement with this album (he’s the producer, I think so, didn’t look it up). The keyboards pop up with much better effect on “The Unheard Music” which stands out because of the different vibe and aesthetics. The second half of the album is more straight up punk with “Sugarlight” and the title track. Things pick up with “Sex and Dying in High Society” whose lyrics never fail to catch my attention, and the chorus sticks for a long time in my head. My favourite track however is “The World’s a Mess, It’s in my kiss”, which somehow has ended up being my favourite punk ditty as of the date of writing. Excellent stuff. Dunno if this has the legendary tag or not, but it sure sounds right.  I think I might try some more punk from now on.

Recommended Tracks – I think I named all of them.

-Baba T 


Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols – SEX PISTOLS – 1977


It came as a surprise to me when I realised, sifting through our reviews one fine day, we hadn’t done a single Punk band! I’ve only heard a little bit of it, and Baba T is a huge fan of the Punk aesthetic and ethic, so I set out to review the Pistols, and their only album ever.

The Pistols aren’t the first punk rock band, but they pulled massively in two different directions, compared to the Ramones. Firstly, they distilled all the lyrics down to the pure anarchist manifesto that is the sum of the lyrics of this album. Secondly, they added a bit more dynamics to the music and a little bit more technical proficiency in their instrumentalists. Only a bit. Except for Sid Vicious, of course, who couldn’t really play bass, yet is surely one of the greatest bassists of all time, if only for sheer attitude.

Doesn't get 'Punker' than this

No matter, Glen Matlock recorded these studio lines. They are just OK. As is the guitar playing(whoa, guitar solos!). As is the drumming. They are more proficient than the Ramones, but The Ramones really were about all four members there, whereas The Pistols reek of Johnny Rotten + 3 guys playing Punk Rock. Great as the Pistols are, I prefer The Ramones any day of the week.

The one thing that really strikes you about the Pistols though, is Johnny Rotten’s ‘singing’. He sounds like he is barely tolerant of the establishment and is doing them a huge favour by pointing out that which is bleeding obvious to him. Brilliant.

I know the Sex Pistols were massively influential, but frankly I’m not sure how much their music had to do it. We all know about Malcolm Mclaren, who did a fantastic (if opportunistic) job of promoting the Sex Pistols as bonafide outlaws. And then there is Sid Vicious and that hooker chick he was dating whose name escapes me. See what I mean? Most of the stuff related to the Pistols that got a lot of attention is their behaviour than their music. I mean, the songs themselves aren’t too consistent. Of course, ‘God Save the Queen’ is an absolutely fantastic. ‘EMI’ is great too. But the real Anarchist manifesto here is ‘Anarchy in the UK’. Brilliant. But the other songs? I’m afraid they’re not too hot.

Punk Rock is music boiled down to its bare bones in all its glory. And this here is the only sort of a politics that bare-bones music could adjust itself to: anarchy. It’s fantastic as far as the big perspective is taken, looking at the Pistols as a response to stuffy middle class comfort. Despite the massive influence this album has had, I wish it had had a couple of other great songs. Four out of twelve isn’t enough. This doesn’t quite sound right.

- El Bajista

For more PUNK ROCK reviews, click HERE.


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