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!