MORE

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

X
X

*Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 20-11

*Top 20 Worst Bands Ever: The Complete List

*Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre: The Complete List

*Top 20 Sexiest Female Musicians of All Time: The Complete List

*Top 20 Sexiest Male Musicians of All Time: The Complete List

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

10. The Dickies

The Incredible Shrinking Dickies

The Dickies' amphetamine-soaked covers of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" and The Monkees' "She" provide an insight into the heart of punk: speed it up and get to the fucking point. Reacting to the ballads of long-haired troubadours of the '70s, The Incredible Shrinking Dickies injects quickness where there was once excess. They never take themselves too seriously; on "Poodle Party" they sing "You're the easiest except for me." In the end, the group were never scared to break any of punk's unwritten rules, even allowing for a variety of instrumentation, including a sax solo on "Shadow Man". -- Kai Flanders

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

9. Wasted Youth

Reagan's In


Ole' Ronny took office in 1981, the same year this vitriolic gem was released. Its ten tracks last barely that many minutes but, along with the terrific cover art -- where the band's logo is carved into Reagan's forehead -- they get you terrifically angry. In a way, Reagan's America both spawned and destroyed hardcore punk. In their review of the documentary American Hardcore, Slant Magazine wrote that the late president "figures prominently in the film's explanation for domestic punk's birth... and unceremonious disappearance shortly after Reagan's reelection." --Kai Flanders

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

8. Black Flag

Nervous Breakdown

Every ten years or so, a band comes along that just blows everything all to hell. In 1978, Black Flag became that band. They didn't completely crystallize until Henry Rollins came aboard for 1980's Damaged, but the effect of Nervous Breakdown can't be overstated. The opening riffs of the title track sound like a bomb dropped on tepid, skinny tie bands like The Cars and Blondie. This wasn't cutesy retro pop rock 'n roll. Instead, it feels like the full-throttle scream of an anxious, unmedicated teenager punching a hole in wall. --Nicholas Pell

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

7. X

Under the Big Black Sun

Some bands come out of the gate with both barrels blazing, while others hit their stride later in their career. X somehow managed to do both, releasing three spectacular records in three years, each better than the last. Under the Big Black Sun, however, stands out by incorporating country, '50s vocal pop and straightforward rock elements into the mix, all the while keeping their trademark dual-sex moaning and wailing. --Nicholas Pell

6. Circle Jerks

Group Sex

Group Sex is not subtle, but there's not much time for subtlety when your longest song clocks in at 1:36. No intros, no bridges, no bullshit, just Keith Morris' whiny scream. The Circle Jerks aren't as overtly political in their song-writing as some of their contemporaries, but the core fury is there. "Beverly Hills" and "World Up My Ass" are as antagonistic and irritated as anything you'll find. --Kai Flanders

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

5. Bad Religion

Suffer

"Melodic hardcore" sounds like a contradiction until you hear Suffer. Its slick production doesn't detract from the band's fury -- it adds to it. The drums sit high in the mix, but eschew the heavily reverbed sound of later records like No Control. Lead vocalist Greg Graffin is on point with incisive lyrics and a fast-paced, spitting delivery that rivals anything from the world of hip-hop. Over 20 years later, the record is still the gold standard for the suburban discontent and malaise of young kids too clever by half. -- Nicholas Pell

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

4. Descendents

Milo Goes To College

You're in high school. You're angsty because girls don't like you. Your parents don't get it. You're really smart but your teachers don't realize it; they are dickheads. And your copy of Milo Goes To College has been played enough to where it skips on "Hope." Every song speaks to your teenage fucked-up-ness, from feeling incredibly horny to just wanting to hit someone for no reason. High school sucks, and if Milo's story is any indication, college isn't going to be much better. --Kai Flanders

3. Germs

GI


In the classic documentary The Decline of Western Civilization, Germs frontman Darby Crash has an infamous scene where he makes a hot mess of the stage, demanding beer from the audience while stumbling violently. GI conveys that violent energy -- the title stands for "Germs Incognito," as they often were barred from venues -- but in a tightly controlled manner. Predating the hardcore scene by almost two years, every one of the sixteen songs contains bottled fury and depravity, though none perhaps as well as "Lexicon Devil" or "We Must Bleed." --Kai Flanders

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

2. X

Los Angeles

Released in 1980, and produced by Ray Manzerak, X's Los Angeles is a searing critique of a city under economic siege and engaged in changing racial demographics. Simultaneously, its slice of life poetry about the angry new youth enlivened a burgeoning L.A. punk scene. Los Angeles plugged these first wave punk listeners into their city, gave them something that was their own and made them feel like members of a growing tribe. Exene Cervenka's voice carried an urgency that demanded attention. The album defined its moment and set the bar for other L.A. punk bands that followed. Like the striking image of the burning X effigy on its cover, 32 years later the music inside is hard to shake. --Nikki Darling

Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 10-1

1. Black Flag


Damaged

"We. Are. Tired. Of. Your. Abuse!" The chorus of Damaged's opening song "Rise Above" immediately declares a vicious contempt for America's social and political environment, circa 1981. Reagan was in office, police brutality was seemingly unchecked, and people seemed to be coping with it by having a "TV Party." Following on the heels of excellent EPs like Nervous Breakdown, Hermosa Beach-based Black Flag's full-length debut manically articulated youthful aggression toward rampant commercialism, eager consumerism, and a serious lack of autonomous thought. There is real, unbridled anger at work here, but also a sort of prophetic wisdom, as if they know that if we blow it all up we're going to have to rebuild it. In an odd way it's a hopeful record; Henry Rollins himself has said that "Hope is the last thing a person does before they are defeated." That's the ethos that's at work here, though on Damaged they don't yet know if they're going to win the battle. --Kai Flanders

*Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: 20-11

*Top 20 Worst Bands Ever: The Complete List

*Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre: The Complete List

*Top 20 Sexiest Female Musicians of All Time: The Complete List

*Top 20 Sexiest Male Musicians of All Time: The Complete List

Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic, and like us at LAWeeklyMusic


Sponsor Content