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Top 20 Greatest L.A. Punk Albums of All Time: The Complete List

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Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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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

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20. Angry Samoans

Back From Samoa

Normally, punk bands trying to be cute is a nonstarter, 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

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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 absurdity 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 Hagar'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

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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

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