Punk Rock to Get You Through the Winter Months
It's perfectly normal to want to stay indoors more in the winter -- indeed, most of us, given the choice, will opt for the comfort of home over the wicked, whistling wind and barren streets of a mid-January night in the city (or anywhere else). But how do you keep your edge?
I submit to you seven bracing punk rock records to help fortify you in the winter months. When the warmth of your apartment and an endless string of Netflix rentals threaten to turn you into a soft-bodied, apathetic mouth-breather, these records will slap you out of your womblike contentedness...
Black Flag Damaged. This is the record you listen to while doing pushups in your empty apartment alone, bitterly contemplating all of the things that piss you off in this world. This music makes you feel like a total pussy for ever feeling complacent about anything ever, even for a second.
The Wipers Box Set. This is all three of the Wipers' first three albums, remastered with bonus tracks. All three discs are awesome but "Youth of America," the second one, is my favorite. It's desperate, urgent, and moody all at once. Masterfully recorded but still as raw as exposed nerve endings. Greg Sage's songs are haunted by the kind of pain, anger and alienation that we can all relate to. Well, not all of us. You know who you are.
The Stooges Raw Power. I don't care how cold it is -- this will raise your body temperature.
Public Image Limited The Flowers of Romance. The aural landscape of young John Lydon's twisted psyche circa 1981, after the punk rock he helped to invent had already been thoroughly absorbed into the mainstream. Here's Lydon running as far and as fast in the opposite direction of New Wave as he possibly can. This record won't win you any friends, but you're not feeling sociable anyway -- that's why you're home alone wallowing in this icy, confrontational music.
For just a moment you wonder if there could be another person out there in the world on this night, also listening this bizarre album.....
Naaah, probably not.
The Ramones Rocket to Russia. A perfect album. How can you resist singing along to lines like "I want my LSD, golly gee / DDT, wowee / daddy's broke, holy smoke / My future's bleak, ain't it neat?"? The Ramones take pain and heartbreak and fucked-up-ness and turn it all into pure joy. If this doesn't cheer you up, you've got a heart of stone.
The Damned The Black Album. What a sprawling, beautiful, underappreciated psychedelic punk rock epic. The Damned outgrew the conventions of punk pretty much by their third album --and this, their fourth, is where all of their ideas and potential come to fruition. The opener, "Wait for the Blackout," is an anthem for nocturnal freaks everywhere, and the 20-minute closer "Curtain Call" (which took up all of side 4 on the original vinyl release) is the kind of tripped-out, demented weirdness you can only absorb in the small hours of the pitch-black night.
The Specials Best Of. The Specials' music is pissed off but positive, like Joe Strummer's voice -- its righteous rage is shot through with undeniable hopefulness. The music is celebratory even as the band rail against racism, Thatcherite oppression and blind conformity. It's always great to hear the timeless "Monkey Man" or "Nite Club" in a bar late at night when you're into your sixth or seventh lager. It makes you think of the weather getting warmer...