L.A.'s punk scene went places in 2011 -- mostly to the beach and the bar. Many of the year's best records in the genre were heavily infused with a surf-garage rock sound and lyrics about being really, really fucked up. It's a rather stark transition away from The Smell's sober ethic.
A note: These albums weren't ranked entirely in the traditional way; I also took into account how well the energy from their songs translated into live shows.
5. The Lovely Bad Things
New Ghost/ Old Waves
After stirring up a feeding frenzy for their Shark Week tape, The Lovely Bad Things further chummed the waters with New Ghost/Old Waves. Playing what has been accurately described as "kitchen sink rock", the quartet are best at their fastest. Standouts include the Tiger Army-esque "Old Ghost," and "Icee Creeps," an excellent loose mess of a track.
Searching Through The Past B/W Electric Chair
Searching Through the Past is one of three 7'' double singles Bleached released in 2011, all of them excellent. Many people compare them to Best Coast, but they're something like if everything cute and cuddly about Best Coast was soaked in gin and motor oil. Formerly Mika Miko, Bleached is a sister act who play straight ahead pop-punk with just the right amount of re-verb and intelligible moans.
Tape SIde B
One of the best things about Tape Side B is that it's long. Most punk EPs are over before the needle touches vinyl, so TMRS' three minute-plus jams are a nice change of pace. Also: the record is heavy from start to finish. "One Foot" makes you want to push old people down a flight of stairs. It's also perfect L.A. driving music, if only because it facilitates violent daydreams while sitting in traffic.
Living Dummy is something more punk records should be: funny. Songs like "Too Drunk To Cum" are hilariously out of control, clutching at the outer rims of sanity. (The group even deadpans an eerie laugh on the track.) But the real star here is the music--you get the feeling that the band -- especially the drummer -- is beating the shit out of their instruments. It's loud and crude, and that's a good thing.
If you ask me, FIDLAR is the best punk band in L.A. Even after a blitz of blog hype and gigs at CMJ, they still play house parties almost every weekend. DIYDUI captures their live energy as well as any record can. "Wake Bake Skate" is destined to become a punk anthem and "Max Can't Surf" is an all-time surf rock singalong. FIDLAR doesn't take themselves too seriously on DIYDUI, yet they somehow made a seriously good record.
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