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

Angry Samoans
Angry Samoans

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

*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

The history of Los Angeles punk is largely composed of a series of brief, but brilliant, flashes in the pan. Since its inception in the late '70s, the genre has been consistently livid, often funny, rarely commercial, but always socially relevant. From the British-influenced first wave, to the violently political hardcore scene that followed to the revival in the late '90s, the music remains irritated, youthfully temperamental, and unmistakable for anything else. Without question, L.A. punk is an undeniable part of the story of American music. Now if only they would play it on the radio. --Kai Flanders

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

20. Angry Samoans

Back From Samoa

Normally, punk bands trying to be cute is a non-starter, but it somehow works for Angry Samoans. Back From Samoa features blazing punk rock with titles like "They Saved Hitler's Cock," "Tuna Taco" and "My Old Man's a Fatso." Their secret? The emphasis is always on the rocking, not the mocking. They weren't trying to be funny, they just were. --Nicholas Pell

19. The Minutemen

Double Nickels On The Dime

It's like someone sent descriptions of punk and funk music to Mars, the signals got jumbled and this is what the Martians perfected and beamed back. Fortunately, "Mars" was just San Pedro, and we get to call this album our own. At an average of two minutes apiece, the songs on Double Nickels run the gamut from Beefheartian abusurdity to blue collar alienation to literary pedantry to, uh, farts. The title flashes a big middle finger to the banal rebellion of pop rock. You say Haggar's going to break the speed limit? Well, we're going to go exactly 55 (double nickels) and save the rebellion for the music. --Paul Bradley

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

18. Despise You

West Side Horizons

Despise You's stature keeps increasing, largely due to this career-spanning document incorporating early EPs and tracks from a previous abortive attempt at an album. In a sense, the record is something of a spiritual successor to Black Flag's Damaged; looking to metal as much as punk, both records are what happens when rage meets perfectionism and adds up to something more than the sum of its parts. For proof of its influence, just hit up a backyard powerviolence show some time and see what folks are into. --Nicholas Pell

See also: Our feature story on the band: Despise You Are More Hardcore Than Hardcore

 

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

17. Social Distortion

Mommy's Little Monster

OC will cry foul - we don't care, we're borrowing Social D. Both a love letter and a character study of the '70s/'80s SoCal punk scene, this album tells stories about angry people getting thrashed and boldly trashed. Even though the titular Mommy's Little Monster now shops at Target for Ramones t-shirts, her kids will still get the point. Punky frustration gives way to more twang and less musical anger as the record closes, hinting at the band's evolution toward punk-a-billy. --Paul Bradley

16. NOFX

Punk In Drublic

Where would we be without the skinhead WeHo Hebrew thugs' anti-Swastika tattoos terrorizing goyim from "The 'Brews," Rabelais-esque "Reeko" parties, or Jeff (from "Jeff Wears Birkenstocks") and his tie-dyed Rancid shirt? Holding a shit-specked funhouse mirror to the entire scene, Punk in Drublic flashes the hilarious images of stinky scenesters and post-adolescent frustrations that were crucial to '90s punk. Their hook-heavy pop and ska-based tunes left an entire generation of happy-go-lucky poseurs in their wake. --Paul Bradley

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

15. The Nerves

One Way Ticket

You can't discount the impact that The Nerves' Paul Collins, Peter Case, and Jack Lee had upon L.A. punk. The best EP in their paper thin catalogue, One Way Ticket is four tracks of perfect power pop. The Nerves take four-chord punk and add sharp melodies, harmonic choruses, and a touch of pop sensibilities. One can hear One Way Ticket's influence on current L.A. acts like Pangea, White Fence, and Hunx & His Punx, all of whom contributed to Volar Record's recent tribute to the trio, Under the Covers Vol. 2. --Kai Flanders

 

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

14. Circle Jerks

Wild In The Streets

Another legendary hardcore band from Hermosa Beach, The Circle Jerks' second full-length release, Wild In the Streets is a prime example of the special brand of hardcore developed by Keith Morris. The front-man of The Circle Jerks and founding member of Black Flag -- and currently carrying the torch for L.A. hardcore into the 21st century with OFF! -- has a "screw bullshit" attitude and songs that are over before you can catch your breath. It is 25 minutes of power (and Morris' trademark political ranting about the "moral majority") packed into 15 tracks. --Kai Flanders

See also: Still a Malcontent: A midlife crisis spawns Keith Morris' new band Off!

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

13. T.S.O.L.

Dance With Me

T.S.O.L.'s debut EP was a vitriolic blast of political hardcore. But on Dance With Me, the group eschewed political ranting in favor of songs built around topics like necrophilia ("Code Blue") and vampires ("Silent Scream"). The latter, slower-paced goth jam and the ebb-and-flow build of the title track displayed a level of craftsmanship that was still undeniably punk. In the end, Dance With Me influenced mainstream acts to come like AFI and My Chemical Romance. --Jason Roche

12. The Vandals

Peace Thru Vandalism

For 30 years, The Vandals have proven that punk doesn't need to take itself seriously. While other members of the genre in the early '80s were singing about socio-political issues, The Vandals peppered Peace Thru Vandalism with humorous odes to being fucked up on LSD at Disneyland ("Pirate's Life") and songs lampooning big-city cowboys like "Urban Struggle." "I can ride that phony bull so damn good," we were told, "sometimes I think I'm Clint Eastwood." --Jason Roche

 

11. Suicidal Tendencies

Suicidal Tendencies

"Institutionalized," for which the album and band is most known, is the punk rock version of the talking blues. Instead of "mama's in the kitchen fixing biscuits" it's "momma's in the kitchen tryin' to get me to take my Ritalin." The work is in the very DNA of every subsequent hardcore kid, punk, anti-social shitfit misfit who wanted to piss off their parents by doing something different. Suicidal Tendencies is filled with serious speed and aggression, but punctuated and occasionally slowed for effect -- making its politically charged, humor-tinged lyrics entirely intelligible. That's not often the case in hardcore. --Paul Bradley

The rest of this list is available here

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

*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

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