I caught Bully
at a killer set
at Baby's All Right last week, and it had me thinking about punk music. I would never describe myself as a member of the punk scene (I'm far too square for that), but I began to realize how many of my favorite songs of the last 40 years have been punk or at least punk-adjacent (read: post-hardcore/hardcore/noise/folk-punk). I think it's the politics of punk which are generally left-wing and I'm a raging leftist and I can relate so I knew that for this week's Mixtape Wednesday, I had to put together a piece of my favorite punk and punk-adjacent tracks.
For those who want to skip the article and get straight to the music, you can find the Spotify playlist of the mixtape here
and there will be a YouTube embed of the whole thing at the bottom of the article.
Bully -- "I Remember"
Ever since the track finally went live on Spotify earlier this week, I've been blasting it non-stop. There's something about the way Alicia Bognanno wails "I remember the way your sheets smelled," that gives me chills. This band is six months away from being huge.
The Clash -- "Train in Vain
The Beatles are my favorite band, but The Clash is the one band that I'll fight you over. They were called "The Only Band That Matters" for a reason, and proved that punk can encompass any genre it f***ing wants.
Titus Andronicus -- "In a Big City"
Speaking of Joe Strummer, Titus Andronicus's Patrick Stickles is the unholy love child of Strummer and Stickles's native Jersey's The Boss. "In a Big City" is a bona-fide hipster-punk anthem.
Bad Religion -- "Sorrow"
If the Clash are "The Only Band That Matters," Bad Religion is the classic punk act that says "f*** that noise; we're pretty godd***ed amazing ourselves." Whether it's classic records like Generator
, Stranger Than Fiction
, or Process of Belief
, it's hard to name a weak era for Bad Religion.
Kevin Devine and the God Damned Band -- "Fiscal Cliff"
Kevin Devine is half the reason I've been listening to so much punk of late. I interviewed
him before a show at (le) poisson rouge
and I've been playing his record Bubblegum
non-stop since then.
Rancid -- "Fall Back Down"
I want to say that this song was in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2
soundtrack, but I might be totally wrong there. Either way, that storied video game franchise was my introduction to pretty much all punk music that wasn't The Clash, and Rancid became a quick favorite.
The Gaslight Anthem -- "Handwritten"
If Titus Andronicus leans more on the Joe Strummer end of the Jersey Punk spectrum, Gaslight Anthem proudly fits into the Bruce Springsteen half. Their record, Handwritten
, is one of my favorite rock albums of this decade but it also wears its punk influences proudly.
Nirvana -- "Breed"
It's easy to forget this because they became the biggest rock band on the planet for the short time they were together, but Nirvana's roots are in punk music, and for every radio hit the band wrote, they wrote two other songs that were just loud, crunchy guitar punk ala the Pixies (who were, alongside Boston oddly enough, Kurt Cobain's favorite band).
Sleater-Kinney -- "Price Tag"
Riot grrl isn't quite punk (it was very much a reaction to so much of the patriarchal bulls*** inherent to street punk culture), but the overlap between punk fans and riot grrl fans is enormous, and while Sleater-Kinney isn't quite either of those genres, they have enormous crossover appeal.
Pixies -- "Wave of Mutilation"
Speaking of Kurt Cobain's favorite band, the Pixies were one of the first acts to mend punk sounds with pop hooks, and their place in the canon of legendary rock was born.
Social Distortion -- "Story Of My LIfe"
Here's another punk song that I learned about because of a video game. In this case, it was one of the Guitar Hero
games (I can't remember which at this point). But, if you're the asshole that cares about authentic punk streetcred when it comes to how you discovered a track, I don't care about your opinion.
L7 -- "Pretend We're Dead"
And a little more riot grrl to spice up a genre that is all too often a massive dude fest. (Also, another song that I found out about because of video games: this time, Rock Band
Frank Turner -- "I Still Believe"
This is going to be the first of two folk-punk artists on the mixtape. I caught Frank Turner at Bonnaroo in 2013 (although my camera died less than halfway through the first song of his set so I didn't get many great pictures) and it's been a love affair ever since.
Dinosaur Jr. -- "Feel the Pain"
Dinsoaur Jr. is as much rooted in hardcore/noise rock as they are punk, but those bands wouldn't exist without the legacy punk built, and, honestly, I just love this track.
The Ramones -- "I Wanna Be Sedated"
There's a holy trinity of classic punk (I'm leaving Sex Pistols off this list cause I think they're the definition of over-rated) but you can't make a list about punk and not have the Ramones. That would be heresy.
Brand New -- "Sowing Season (Yeah)"
Much like Kevin Devine, Brand New has their roots in post-hardcore, but many of their earlier records were part of the mid-to-late aughts pop-punk boom (but the good kind), and on one of my favorite tracks, there's a perfect mix of punk & hardcore.
Hüsker Dü -- "Something I Learned Today"
These underground hardcore icons owe an unpayable debt to punk, and how can you hear "Something I Learned Today" without immediately thinking of any of the hardcore punk greats.
Sonic Youth -- "Teenage Riot"
Get past it's spacey intro, and "Teenage Riot" is noise punk perfection with a main guitar riff that stretches on for miles.
Two Gallants -- "Halcyon Days"
Here's the other folk-punk act for the mixtape although there's also a healthy mix of prog, hardcore, and noise rock. Two Gallants are a complex act that I still regret not being able to catch at Bonnaroo the year they played that I was there.
At the Drive-In -- "One Armed Scissor"
Before the Mars Volta, there was At the Drive-In, and f***, I really miss both bands despite the recent At the Drive-In reunion which didn't last nearly long enough.
Japandroids -- "The House That Heaven Built"
Did you think there was a chance in hell that this list wasn't ending with this track...one of the few undeniable zeitgeist
musical moments of the 2010s. Also, their drummer is the spitting image of one of our old Managing Editors. We miss you, Joe. Happy belated birthday from the Baeble team.
And, as promised, a YouTube embed of the whole playlist.