A few weeks back, we embarked on a journey to augment our sister paper LA Weekly's listing of the top punk bands of all time. While we concluded that such a grandiose scheme was bound to rattle some cages, we decided to tackle the beast in increments, since the genre is far too rich to boil down to a paltry 20 acts. We've already presented a listing of the top 20 protopunk bands, and today we'll embark on the first of five listings of regional punk bands by state.
This is in no way a listing of the "best" bands these states have had to offer but rather a good jumping-off point for you to discover the vast contributions the whole nation has given to the genre.
The Knockabouts - "Shit Home Alabama"
Roughly from 1983, the Knockabouts hailed from Huntsville and were active until 1986. Technically Alabama's first hardcore outfit, you've gotta love anyone in the South who blatantly disrespects the Holy Grail of Jacksonville's Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Clyng-Onz - "Bums"
Anchorage's Clyng-Onz were a fun little act with the right punk-rock attitude and some horrible '80s haircuts. With a woman on bass and some jaunty licks, this band surely confused a few in its day.
JFA - "Kick You"
Why get crazy looking for something über-obscure when the always awesome Jodie Foster's Army so clearly emerged from this dry environment? Ah, the '80s!
Shake Ray Turbine - "Alumette"
More on the math/indie rock tip, there's a nascent punkrockliness to Little Rock's Shake Ray Turbine. Of note is that this band is newish by comparison to the others here and that the drummer, Chris Wilson, went on to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists fame.
Black Flag - "Rise Above"
California is such a vast land that this entry should normally be a hard one to whittle down, but we've said fuck it and gone with the tried-and-true Black Flag, especially now that lawsuit-happy Greg Ginn is showing what senile dementia can do to punk rockers. Regardless of which, nothing fuck-starts a morning like the track above. No pun intended.
The Rok Tots - "Suicide Weekend"
Colorado's The Rok Tots must've not been very keen on nature, but certainly seem like they were in on the progressive marijuana laws way back in the '80s. From 1984, this is off the suicide-oriented Suicide Flakes seven-inch. The Rok Tots have been active since the '70s. Go Denver!
No Milk on Tuesday - "Killing Myself With Drugs"
Horrible artwork did not define the fun these Danbury kids were having at the expense of their neighbors back in 1984. I almost thought this band was created to discuss the dairy shortages of my Latin American youth. Ah, you funny gringos!
The Numbers - "Stand Up and Shout"
Maybe a little more new-wave/arena-rock wannabe than anything else, Wilmington's the Numbers sound like they had high aspirations and some actual classes under their belts. Catchy in a "I won't tell anyone I own this record" kind of way.
The Eat - "Mary Mary"
This footage is from my birthday, 1996. There will be a full Florida listing eventually, but it is with a heavy heart that I include the almighty Eat here. Michael O'Brien was a friend and musical genius.
The Swimming Pool Q's - "Rat Bait"
Proving that Georgia is more than just good old boys and overzealous state troopers, the Swimming Pool Q's have been rocking their racket since 1978. The best thing to come out of Hotlanta? Maybe.
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