Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Welcome to SHUT UP AND LISTEN: THE THWART TOP 25 PUNK SONGS. Your journey has just began motherfucker... This list, of the top songs that speak to the inner me is, and always will be, a work in progress. Each of these songs is a song that captured me and changed my impression of what punk is, was, and still is and more importantly, what it can still be! Every now and then I’m gonna add 5 more. The Top 25 will become the Top 30. The top 30 will become the Top 35 ect. This list of 25 is a base to start with. I chose these 25 jams to start with.

Currently the top 25 is still being established. Below is #’s 25-06. Previously in Bad Day At The Plastic Mines Zine #’s 2 and 3, you read from #25-14… This ‘master list’ has those plus MORE taking you down to #6! 

So yeah, there’s gonna be stuff missing from this list from its start. I knew that from the beginning. It takes a certain amount of guts to publicly do a list like this. If you so highly disagree with my standings then ask yourself this question: What would my Top 25 be? Then get some Chinese made raw bravery in isle 15 of your local Wal-Mart and do one yourself!

Lastly, remember, this list is for entertainment purposes only. 

SHUT UP AND LISTEN is dedicated to Josh Rutledge and everyone in The B.A.G. because I know this list is gonna start a debate and major upsets.

25.) "Ulythithum" by NATION OF ULYSSES 
from 13 Point Program to Destroy America (Dischord, 1991) 
I’m sorta unsure which song from this great release to pick cause they are all pretty great and moving in their own way. Nation of Ulysses’ 13 Points shown me the counter-revolutionary side of the counter-revolution. It wasn’t just a band; it was a movement, a decree... A line. Pro-candy, anti-sleep... It was all over before it began. I got 'new' soul don’t make me prove it.

24.) "Do They Owe Us A Living?" by CRASS 
from Feeding of the 5000 (Crass, 1978) It would be hard for me to believe that CRASS hasn’t been some sort of force in anyone’s musical memory. Yeah, when they did music and not that dreadful spoken word stuff (get to the fucking point!) they were 'on it' and made a sound all their own on any song or band they touched. "Living" is chosen from many great songs cause it’s not only a great track but also one I use to sing in a very early band. Crass introduced me to anarchist/leftist politics... Something I still ponder and babble about from time to time, maybe too much. I have promised myself to remain an 'idealistic' anarchist even now into my 40's. Contradiction is a huge part of punk-rock. Anarchist and leftist thinking gets no more realistically contradictive. Its almost beautiful even...

23.) "New Kind of Kick" by THE CRAMPS 
from Bad Music for Bad People (IRS, 1984/1981) 
Reading Jon Savages’ England’s Dreaming I wanted to be like Sid Vicious on bass with The Ramones album (yeah, I will admit that) and take speed and listen to an album and teach myself how to play. I was close... But instead of The Ramones first one, I had Bad Music, a collection of singles that 'taught' me how to play a bass. I was naive to think that every band had a bass player so when I was boasting that The Cramps were my Ramones, I didn’t realize The Cramps were one guitar strong. Wow.

22.) "The Man Who's Head Expanded" by THE FALL 
from Palace of Swords Reversed (COG Sinister, 1987/80-83) 
I assure you, if you are wondering about The Fall, this is a great place to start. Upon hearing this track, which came just before initial exposure to Joy Division, Its the perfect example of how The Fall, in all its multi-line-up drama (was and still is) one of the best bands. Piloting the plane, Mark E. Smith is special. The kinda special that makes you think, "Oh, this is an improvisational song" and whereas the arrangements are loose and varied depending on Smiths knob turning history, its fucking magical! He’s not speaking just non-sense, its his own perception. Mark E. Smith is the Beethoven of punk-rock, a mad genius.

21.) "Plastic Surgery" by ADAM & THE ANTS 
from V/A-Fun, Filth and Fury (Virgin, 1991/1978) 
Oddly enough a verily strong song for the whole aesthetics of why/what B-Sides exactly are, I first heard "Plastic Surgery" from a compilation tape but it was actually released in 1982 as the band was coming to an end with "Deutscher Girls" (Male Girls) occupying the A-side. It was this song that made me believe that yeah, Adam & The Ants were 'punk' after all! "Plastic Surgery" proved it. Even though this single was amongst A&Ants last stuff released, it actually is some of the earliest Ant songs originally used as part of the Jubilee movie... When 'becoming a bass player' in the 90's I would marvel at Plastic Surgery’s bass line.

20.) "Hot Sody" by THE SCREAMIN MEE-MEE'S 
from V/A-Killed By Death #3 (Redrum Records, 1989/1977) 
I was hypnotized by the minimalist beat and simplicity of the song but also the rocking factor and catchy chorus. The first KBD song that I attempted to sing-a-long too... The first KBD stand-out that would set a standard for me concerning what punk-rock is, was and more importantly, should be. 7-UP... The un-cola!

19.) "Street Where Nobody Lives" by THE PAGANS 
from Everybody Hates You (Crypt 2001/1977) 
Exhuming total confidence at the bottom of the barrel, The Pagans, Ohio's greatest contribution to punk-rock (as a whole) teaches one to define their own life rather than have life defined for you. It’s hard to pick the definitive song from the Pagans, and I spent more time than you could imagine picking thee song that would represent the sheer brilliance of this band in my eyes. "Shit Called Love" and "Eyes of Satan" and "Boy Can I Dance Good" could just as easily be seen on this list next time and also fulfill the punk aesthetics of isolation, self-destructive behavior, self-definition and good ol apathetic non-sense. 

18.)"Underground Babylon" by CATHOLIC DISCIPLINE 
from The Decline of Western Civilization Soundtrack (Slash, 1981) 
This track is definitely a standout from the movie and the main reason for going through any amount of trouble to acquire this soundtrack. I could listen to Claude Bessy talk for hours. Talk English for hours... English with that thick French accent that really adds to the whole feel of this band in the movie. Hit repeat (on the CD that is!)

17.) "Wish I Was Dead" by PVC 
from Punk Rock Berlin (Incognito, 1996/1977) 
"Waiting for WWIII" on Incognitos Back to Front series I was introduced to the wondrous PVC that I always felt was a healthy mix of The Sex Pistols, The Dammed and a bit of Ramones but when Incognito released a CD of their famed double LP that there was only 30 copies made (we must maintain the myth) to say the least, "Wish I Was Dead" raged and was stuck in my head for weeks. See, the Cold War was hot after all. When this track comes on, volume knobs always go up.

16.) "Margin Walker" by FUGAZI 
from Margin Walker (Dischord, 1989) 
Honestly, I had to work into liking the punk standards like Dead Kennedy’s, and even Minor Threat. Yeah, I eventually came around but from the first moment I heard "Margin Walker" on the radio, yeah... Radio (WOXY 97X "the future of rock and roll) I loved it. Fugazi spanned the bridge between themselves and Minor Threat. Also, Fugazi just so happened to be my very first punk-rock show, which was in Dayton, Ohio June of 1990. "Do you think they will do any Minor Threat songs?" asked my childhood friend… We both came round to Minor Threat verily fast. "Well, maybe 12XU because that’s originally by some band called WIRE" I responded and no. They didn’t do any Minor Threat songs.

15.) "Nausea" by X 
from The Decline of Western Civilization Soundtrack (Slash, 1981) 
I believe that X's Los Angeles could have been maybe the best punk album EVER if Ray Manzarek didn’t produced this album but also wouldn’t have been nearly as good if that piece of fuck wasn’t involved. It’s a double edge sword... Case in point is "Nausea" of which ManzarDICK ruined with his keyboards on Los Angeles and this is evident, in my opinion, about how great the version is on this movie. Fuck his keyboards! I need more triangle! I even told John Doe this exact statement during a solo in-store at Shake It Records. "Ahh. It was RAY MANZAREK producing X... Whaddya do? Said John Doe. I looked him squarely in the eyes and said "Tell him: ‘Don’t fuck this one up Ray’ for starters."

14.) "Back in Flesh" by WALL OF VOODOO
from Dark Continent (IRS, 1981)
I’ve always considered Wall of Voodoo a sort of newer, refined version of The Screamers but really, besides being a part of the congealing LA Punk scene i.e. The Masque, the two share little else. Perhaps no song can better express the drudgery of modern society’s views on manufacturing and 'human(s) [as] resources’ better than "Back in Flesh" (although "Longarm” another Voodoo song comes close). Pounding drum machines, clean guitars and the snide tongue and cheek vocals via Stan Ridgeway make this song constantly at odds with its mortal enemy: the volume knob. Up, up and away! If it’s too loud your too old!

13.) "Suburban Relapse" by SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES
from The Scream (Polydor, 1978)
Citing the same reasons already explained for Poly Styrene of The X-Ray Spex, Siouxsie Sioux also 'hit me' with her voc al pop, wail and impact. Just as The Germs (GI), "The Scream" is considered a pivotal release to me that is flawless when given proper attention and/or recognized for its brilliance when it was released. Dark, cynical and driving, Suburban Relapse is just one tale on the albums many that sets the scene and defies a genre called post-punk before it was called post-punk. Listening to "Suburban Relapse" you can clearly see that there is no bright future ahead, nothing to return to behind you... This song serves as an exclamation point to The Sex Pistols NO FUTURE (!) theme.

12.) "We Are The One" by THE AVENGERS
From Dangerhouse Vol. 1 (Frontier, 1991/1977)
How could anyone hear this song and NOT turn up the volume knob and then NOT sing a long? It’s impossible. Once again, DANGERHOUSE rules! I’ve read in reprinted interviews about Penelope Houston and early Avengers adventures and really, its all very inspiring. Denying everything, this Avengers song made punk-rock appear to be a movement and this song its rallying cry AND anthem as it could be a chant 'we are the one.' You want it? Take it. We can rebuild this tattered society but first, we have to destroy it. 

11.) "Elevator Ride" by EINSTEIN’S RICEBOYS 
from Milk of Amnesia (Pluto, 1981)
Still, to this day (and maybe for quite sometime) Milk of Amnesia remains not only one of my best finds of used vinyl but also one of my best blind purchases... You know, you pick up a record. Read the song titles, the cover and maybe even a lyric sheet, you take a chance and buy it. Hitting like a combo of Joy Division, Polyrock and Embarrassment, Einsteins Riceboys found the perfect spot between new eave and post-punk that makes this song and band damn near perfect. Milk was this bands second and last record. Jammed pack with great songs, catchy riffs and sing-a-long choruses, Milk soars with the intricacies of minimal part making an accumulative whole into a climax represented by Elevator Ride. As you go higher, so does the volum e knob. This band is just now starting to be recognized for their efforts and I’m hearing faint whispers of the possibilities of re-issuing. Who knows what other unreleased jems this band has. 

10.) "Sex Drive" by THE EMBARRASSMENT
from Hey Day 1979-83 (Bar None 1985/1980) This dissonant sing-a-long jam was first brought to my attention on Bloodstains Across The Midwest. It was only the beginning though. Whereas there’s some really great music released by this band that really isn’t that hard to find, it’s never enough for me. This song is thick with fear and good old fashioned rocking. I honestly haven’t figured out the whole story of this song but that’s not important. Talk about a villain to volume knobs everywhere, There are two principal rules with the Embarrassment 1) Eye glasses are mandatory and 2) Volume is your friend. Embrace it.

9.) "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" by X-RAY SPEX
from V/A-Fun Filth and Fury (Virgin,1991/1977)
The first song on that tape, "Bondage" blew me away and forever changed my way of thinking about music. Instantly Poly Styrene’s vocal shrieks and pops captivated me. It empowered me. I would listen to this, and then wanna have Socials practice. Punk-Rock was about 'just doing it' and this song, which would also become a Socials cover, still gets turned up high after all these years.

8.) "You Die!" by THE COCKSPANIELS
from You Die (Rock Action, 1999)
I have been known as sharing discussions with comrades and bohemians alike on the subject of college to quote a line from this song "A college education is for pussy-fucks. Learn something baby, learn to duck!" This immortal line has been my solid argument concerning my reason I didn’t go to college. Filled and fuelled by angst, frustration and a call to action, the impenetrable Kenny 'Hussie' Halbert remade his stance and mission several times over. Cheatin' Hussies, Sweaty Weapons, Cockspaniels, Cockspaan, Batt Lion... Each version getting better than the last. You Die was recorded by Kenny on a four track instrument at a time. You can hear mistakes, punch in's and raw, furious energy that shoots this song to damn near perfection. The total 'Fuck Off' attitude exhumed in You Die is nearly unmatchable. The whole trick of the message is 'you die' over and over... There is no salvation in death, get them before they get you. Go on the offensive, you have nothing to loose because they don’t want what you got, nothing multiplied by infinity. You die over and over and you’re remade over and over. You die. Living forever.

7.) "Street Dreams" by THE GERMS
from Germicide (Bom p 1981/1977)
This wasn’t the first song I heard and loved from The Germs who are an all around personal favorite and one of the main reasons I just didn’t write about music but played it too... "Street Dreams" is the prime example of how GREAT and HORRIBLE The Germs were. Many would point out flaws and flubs and the unmatching drumbeat and Darby’s un connecting vocal and be totally correct in their assessment... But when I listen to Street Dreams I hear greatness! I STILL hear a great band that DID IT and dictate who and what they were rather than what everyone else declared. There was always something deeper with The Germs that some seen and many others didn’t. This band was genius from start to finish. Germicide was just the 'beginning' Their only album, GI (Slash, 1979) is still one of the single greatest triumphs of punk-rock EVER!

6.) "122 Hours of Fear" by THE SCREAMERS 
from (1978) 
"The Greatest band that never had a [legitimate] record" However there’s tons of bootlegs featuring spirited live performances and multiple 'demo' sessions... Which usually rock hard. Truly pioneers with synthesizes, drums and the theatrical Tomata du Plenty its hard (but not impossible) for me to find any single song that I would dare to say fails to encapsulate EVERYTHING that I love about punk-rock. 122 Hours is pure rage snd fear and confrontational. "Be Quiet or be Killed"... "You better shut up and listen!" Wow. Shit hits hard.

5.) "Insight" by JOY DIVISION
from Unknown Pleasures (Factory. 1979)
First hearing Joy Division thru a friend and his rolled down car window in a parking lot of a convenience store it was hot on the heels from my exposure to the Fall and, was in fact, listening to the Fall when approaching to ask about the deal and if 'we' scored. We did... But later that night the high wore off and I asked to borrow Unknown Pleasures and subsequently, never returned it. Insight is my favorite JD song. I found out that it was also Hooky’s favorite from that album also and that touched me a bit when I initially read that. Now, every time I hear the song not only does the volume knob go up but so does by fist in honor and admiration of Hooky, and JD.

4.) "Neon Toilet" by KILL THE HIPPES
from Will Not Overstimulate (Rock Action, 1997)
Shortly after witnessing Kill The Hippies live, I had the hairy balls enough to declare them 'the best punk band to ever breathe air' and I fucking meant it. This song, from one of their early line-up's was simply enough my Sex Pistols playing Manchester-- that is an indisputable catalyst for my personal punk-rock history. After seeing Kill The Hippies I didn’t start a band but rather re-imagined what the band I was in could be or would be. I wanted to do THIS. This song, this sound... I wanted to be this band. Overstimulate, a record I got the first time seeing Kill The Hippies live, is one of those rare records that forever changed my perception of punk-rock (thank god).

from Moving & Storage (Hospital, 1985)
When confronted with the question of one band in Ohio that captures the earliest aesthetics of punk-rock of course I picked The Pagans hands down. When asked the same question about Cincinnati, "My Son" is the song I chose. BPA supplied reason after reason in "My Son" to hit where it counts. Disenchantment, parental pressure to succeed. Claiming your own level of accomplishment. “My Son” is both the ultimate example of personal accomplishment and 'Go fuck yourself' attitude rolled into one song.

2.) "Trouble At The Cup" by BLACK RANDY & THE METROSQUAD
from V/A Dangerhouse Vol.1 (Frontier 1991/1977)
Right from the opening line “Dicks Fight. Fags Hate!” sung by a bi-sexual front man and general hell raiser Black Randy. This song is a call-to-action track that was the absolute first stand-out to me from Dangerhouse Volume 1. The lyrics are controversial, violent and I’ve even started to think of this as maybe one of the first forays of punk-rock into the realms of rap music by predating Blondie’s "Rapture" with Fab5 Freddy by 3+ years. If ever a song itself could be a rallying cry for urban revolt, it would be this one.

1.) "Final Solution" by PERE UBU
from Terminal Tower (Rough Trade/Hearpen 1985/1976)
My Mom threw me out till I get some pants that fit... It was hard to decide between "Final Solution and "Heart of Darkness" but the line in question was a deciding factor... living outside of society, feeling alienation no girlfriends... Its all here and no one sez it better than Pete Ubu on this track. I get chills sometimes as it plays. You can find a collection of their singles in a really cool box set or all one CD as titled above. Also, their 1st LP The Modern Dance (the title of the record first heard in the song "Untitled" as part of Terminal Tower) is essential to every collection... The follow up Dub Housing is interesting but it seems from Dub on out there is some unspoken rule about 3/4 of the songs just being too 'out-there' even by my standards... When Pere Ubu rock, the rock. When they are flexing the fringe avant-garage zone I even struggle.