Here we are at Part Three of this five-part series concerning the "top 50" regional punk rock bands of the United States and as such, this journey has been as much a joyful ride of discovery for me as I hope it has been for you, dear reader. We've already seen my opinions on proto-punk and my picks for bands representing the states of Alabama through Maryland (alphabetically). Today we'll look at Massachusetts through New Jersey with some heavy-hitters purposely excluded.
The Freeze - "I Hate Tourists"
I don't want to hear how Massachusetts has five thousand better bands to mention. I know that already. But what can be purer to this cause than the Freeze's youthful immaturity and jangly guitars? Isn't punk rock supposed to be fun? Maybe I missed the memo.
Negative Approach - "Can't Tell No One"
Often considered one of the greatest bands in the hardcore movement, these long-running thrashers have been at it since '81 with a sizable hiatus in the '90s. Negative Approach's early catalogue is as fun today as it was then. Frontman John Brannon might be a grandpa in this scene, but he's got more energy than your kid brother, that's for sure.
Gregor Mackenzie and the Misanthropes - "Soviet Girl"
Gregor Mackenzie and the Misanthropes certainly have that British sound going for them, and it doesn't help that the track above sounds like a rip of the Sex Pistols' "Belsen was a Gas." I won't say that I like them better than the Replacements, the Suicide Commandos, or Hüsker Dü; but I certainly like their misanthropic style. Active in the late '70s, early '80s, "Soviet Girl" hails from a 1982 7".
Ed Nasty and the Dopeds - "I'm Gonna Be Everything"
Ed Nasty and the Dopeds promise to be "everything," and that should surely be a warning for fathers of teenage daughters everywhere. Nasty garage punk from the south that should be taken somewhat seriously.
The Philosophic Collage - "Psychedelic Sex"
This is art punk right up there with Wire if the lads in Wire gave in to full-fledged psychedelic drug abuse. When your child tells you that they are thinking about "art college," listen to the Philosophic Collage's catalogue and decide accordingly. St. Louis in 1981 never sounded so good!
Donovan's Brain - "Take Me With You When You Go"
Ron Sanchez might be Bozeman's weirdest and most agile musician. Working off the quirky sci-fi film of the same name, Donovan's Brain has been a veritable who's-who of musicians who've passed through this Montana city. Most notably to you would be Radio Birdman's Deniz Tek, and you can't deny the eerie similarity in sound above.
The Better Beatles - "Penny Lane"
The Better Beatles have been a discovery for me! What cheekiness! What bravado! What children's TV show on acid! These Omaha boys certainly took the Beatles' playbook into their own hands and tweaked and fucked with it in a way that they've owned it in their own twisted and drug-addled way! I'll be keeping my eyes open for this.
7 Seconds - "Young 'Til I Die"
I can't say that Kevin Seconds didn't age, but this youthful proclamation has resonated over the years with many. And as such, it has fueled 7 Seconds since 1980 to today. Anthemic, fun, and full of irreverent camaraderie, this shows that there is more to Nevada than gambling.
GG Allin - "NYC Tonight"
It's hard to believe that New Hampshire begat the King of Rock and Roll. GG Allin, was, is, well, you get the picture. Before the shit fests and cult of personality, old GG made a righteous rock and roll racket, and that can't be denied, whether you're averse to splash zones or not. (Note: never date a girl who's confessed to sucking GG's schlong).
Chronic Sick - "Dress Code"
Sure, Glenn Danzig, the Misfists, and Adrenalin OD came to mind, but why go that route when one of punk rock's greatest songs came from this outfit with questionable '80s hairdos? Chronic Sick might've claimed to be the cutest band in hardcore, and some would agree. We just know they were one of the most righteous ones.
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