Then, I recently played for some time in a band using french lyrics, and my ex-mates only had a french punk background. I realized that they know litterally nothing about the american punk rock that shaped my youth along with the german records. God those guys make me sad sometimes, french punk is so shitty. This brought me back when I was 19 and played with my first band. We all started with the 90s californian tunes but soon we started to go in different ways. I went into anarcho-punk, deutschpunk and even thrash, while my guitarist, one of those guys I musically speaking will respect all my goddam life, went totally into US hardcore punk. At the end I found very frustrating for european youngsters like us only to act as american wannabes. The band split and only years after I found myself lucky to have met my old bud who instructed me against my will about US punk that much.
Those two facts combined led me to write my personal ultimate american punk rock records list. As usual one band, one record. Keep in mind I'm an european dildo and that albums had to cross the Atlantic before I could hear them back in the days. This should explain why your favourite Missouri punk band doesn't appear here somehow. And yeah, you'll also find canadian acts here, because we all know Canada really is USA's mat. Most of this stuff also predates 2006, the year a german band called Betontod released what's their best record to this date, 'Schwarzes Blut' and after I listened to this one I almost went only into german or eastern european tunes. Finally I'd like to add that all schools are good, no one's a poser, ramonescore, pop-punk, hardcore punk, NYHC, crossover, everyone's welcome.
Except Rancid, the great moron king GG 'Disturbed' Allin, too-pride-to-be-Celts-to-be-truely-punk Dropkick Murphys and Against me!. Fuck them till the end !
The runaways - The Runaways (1976) California
As fundamental as the following band in my humble opinion. Right, there's also many blues and hard rock influences on the whole record, but most of what will musically define punk rock is here !
Ramones - Ramones (1976) New York
Until recently I was reluctant to include the Ramones in the punk rock catalog. To me they always appeared as the rock band who made punk in Britain possible (yeah I follow the british school, fuck you US patriots) but even if they went completely into the capitalist way of life later they were so influential that they had to be here. But for me no matter what you'll say, the Damned will be the very first true punk band, and the Pistols the band that definitely started this whole madness.
L.A.M.F. - The Heartbreakers (1977) New York
Among the "old New York punk bands from the 70s" like Television, Suicide, Richard Hell (some add Blondie to this list, heresy !) only a few can be considered today as punk. The Heartbreakers are one of those bands.
Young, loud and snotty - The Dead Boys (1977) Ohio
So many german punks were influenced by this band back in the very late 70s/very early 80s that they had to appear here. Respect, old dead junkie fucks !
GI - The Germs (1979) California
One of those mythical records. Rotten, stupid and violent, just like life.
One of my favourite records when I was in the lycée (basically what the whole world calls high school). Some politized kids, horrible morons manipulated by the Socialist party, thought back then I was a nazi/racist because once I talked about this band while in art class. True story !
The incredible shrinking Dickies - The Dickies (1979) California
My first real album by a real punk band was one from the Damned. But if I were born in America, it is very likely it would have been a Dickies one. The Sabbath cover nails everything.
Los Angeles - X (1980) California
Another classic among the californian classics. Played it often when I was under 18.
New hope for the wretched - The Plasmatics (1980) New York
Wendy O' Williams had a hard life that's for sure. But she embodied a weird mix of hatred and slutiness, that could only be found in a punk band. Except her, the rest is not that great here, but Wendy saves this record, definitely.
Fresh fruit for rotting vegetables - Dead Kennedys (1980) California
Jello Biafra is for me someone you can call a real sociopath and he kinda scares me. This guy makes me litterally ill-at-ease. But this isn't enough to minor the impact of their only good record !
Adolescents - Adolescents (1981) California
Along with the kids they influenced who'll later form a shitty band called the Offspring, the Adolescents are my american punk gods. No more, no less.
Living in darkness - Agent orange (1981) California
One of my top five US punk records, for sure. Love the surf music influences !
Damaged - Black Flag (1981) California
My very first hardcore record. Not that great but I still love it.
Dance with me - T.S.O.L. (1981) California
The first time I saw this cover, I thought I dealt with some shitty british 80s punk band who just turned into a shitty archaic death metal band (who said Uproar ?), so I wasn't prepared to find one of those fucking records that helped the Offspring to build their sound. Another classic !
Reagan's In - Wasted Youth [US] (1981) California
Album Generic Flipper - Flipper (1982) California
Really weird stuff. Like old school punk met doom. Slow and acid as fuck, one of those mad albums you'll remember a very long time.
Back from Samoa - Angry Samoans (1982) California
Wild in the streets - Circle Jerks (1982) California
Milo goes to college - Descendents (1982) California
Milo turns 50, holy crap !
Rock for light - Bad brains (1983) Washington D.C.
On most "best-of" lists on the Internet you'll find their first album, but I never liked it that much. Overshadowed by their debut, their second release is more reffined and carries more IMHO.
Is this my world ? - Jerry's Kids (1983) Massachussetts
Land of the lost - The Freeze (1983) Massachusetts
Those covers were fucking horrible back in the days, damn...
The crew - 7 seconds (1984) Nevada
One of my favourite early hardcore act.
Die Kreuzen - Die Kreuzen (1984) Wisconsin
You want your band to have a bad ass name ? Use german ! Even with grammatical failures, this shall work. Joke apart, a sick hardcore old gem.
Zen Arcade - Hüsker Dü (1984) Minnesota
Keep laughing - Rich Kids on LSD (1985) California
Dealing with it ! - Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (1985) Texas
Indifference - The Proletariat (1985) Massachusetts
Straight and alert - Uniform choice (1986) California
That's right a fucking straight-edge record full of bullshit X propaganda, but one with some fucking angry riffs. Fuck this nazi-like movement, may Vegan Reich and all the others crappy neo-con bands in disguise rot in Hell.
Feed us a fetus - Dayglo Abortions (1986) British Columbia
Can I say - Dag Nasty (1986) Washington D.C.
For some odd reasons I thought for a very long time Dag Nasty was some West Coast hip hop wannabe. Couldn't get any wronger.
Songs about fucking - Big Black (1987) Illinois
Extreme stuff on the edge of lo-fi and noise, I admit. One step further than Generic Flipper.
Suffer -Bad Religion (1988) California
The best Bad Religion release to this date, and maybe the last where they were more punk than rock.
L7 - L7 (1988) California
Their only fully punk record, before they thought grunge was the trend to follow. Grunge from L.A., come on ...
Boogadaboogadaboogada! - Screeching Weasels (1988) Illinois
The name is stupid, the weasel childlish, the Ramones worship everywhere, but damn this is so good.
Plutocracy = Tyranny and exploitation - A.P.P.L.E. (1988) New York
Back in the 80s anarcho-punk was more a british thing than anything else. This record is one of the american enjoyable exceptions. The female singer's voice will haunt you for a while.
Not in this alone - Youth of today (1988) Connecticut
Disgusting politics and views on how to live, this fuckers are the definition of punk traitors, they did understand the music but totally missed the point of what early punks stood for. NSBM wankers deserve even more respect than those X morons. Hate this band, hate the straight-edge shit, but keep the good riffs. Same goes for Chain of strength and all their little buddies. Only the muslim shit called Vegan Reich is worse, burn in a drug-free, vegan, sexually conservative monotheistic Hell, scums !
Start today - Gorilla Biscuits (1989) New York
Destroyed - Sloppy seconds (1989) Indiana
There's basically three kind of bands : bands you're fan of, bands you hate and bands you don't care about. Social distortion in my case belongs to the latter kind. I can't do otherwise, I'm totally hermetic to the old school 50s rock influenced stuff, I just don't fucking care. But sometimes there's exceptions as usual. This lost record is one of them because despite its sweaty rocky/ramenoscore hybrid sound it carries such an amount of disrespect and filth I really did enjoy listen to this remote obscure third zone half-redneck band. Kinda the Dwarves fucked Social Distortion in the ass. 16 times.
Complete discography - Minor Threat (1989) Washington D.C.
The Offspring -The Offspring (1990) California
I have a nevrotic relation to this band. They litterally saved me from a life of musical and intellectual mediocrity. Before punk I listened to soft 70s rock or british pop, then brainless to old hard rock and depressed grunge. The Damned, the Buzzcocks and the Pistols kicked my ass, but the only band I could found easily and that didn't sounded like the crap France gave to his kids was this one. I fell in love with their primitive lo-fi here, and what they said was nothing but the bitter truth. They can release 10 crappy pop records, for what they brought me I will always respect those guys.
En attendant demain - Banlieue Rouge (1990) Québec
French is my mother-tongue and I basically hate this garbage language to death along with the shitty french culture. I hate french architecture, french litterature and french music, be it mainstream or not. But as usual there's a few exceptions, and this record is among them. Very influenced by les Béruriers Noirs, THE ultra-famous french punk band from the 80s, those Canadians are better than their idols. I'm totally unaware of the other french-speaking punk bands from Canada, sorry.
Thanks God for little girls -The Dwarves (1991) Illinois
The Dwarves are the exact opposite of the Offspring. Where the Huntington guys tried to bring some "don't trust the bullshit/be yourself" attitude the Dwarves were kinda "Eat shit. Fuck everyone. Be a pyscho. Don't fucking care about it" and that's why they got famous and why we love them so much.
Pussy whipped - Bikini kill (1993) Washington
Love songs for the retarded - The Queers (1993) New Hampshire
Punk can express the ultimate despair and anger, but it also can be full of joy even when it conveys bitter lyrics. That's why this old record is so effective, it mixes perfectly both.
How to clean everything - Propagandhi (1993) Manitoba
How original I know. Couldn't help but this may be REALLY be their best record after all...
A collection of pop classics -Reagan Youth (1994) New York
The title says it all. Eternal respect for those junkies.
Set it off - Madball (1994) New York
This shit impressed me so much when I was a kid. Unforgettable band, unforgettable cover.
Unrest - Disrupt (1994) Massachussetts
Crime ridden society - One Life Crew (1995) Ohio
I know this one is pretty famous in right-wing circles despite what the band said about far-right believers, but this album has one of the best hardcore sound ever, so deal with it !
Riverdales - The Riverdales (1995) Illinois
When this shit came out it instantly replaced the previous Queers' album on this list as the ultimate soft punk with some touch of pop record. So fresh, so instinctive, so good.
Ideas are bullet proof - The Pist (1995) Connecticut
Insomniac - Green Day (1995) California
I know Green Day is one of the most hated bands and I can understand why. But when I was young, they were uhm... really punker than today and I started to learn how to play punk with them. This was before 'American Idiot' -a killer record you'll have to admit- and since those old shitty days, I still like their old stuff.
Patriotic shock - Total Chaos (1995) California
Blonder and blonder - The Muffs (1995) California
Leche con carne - No use for a name (1995) California
No future no hope - Defiance (1996) Oregon
Some might remember this weird movie called 'Wassup rockers'. My teens had the same "nowhere to go, nothing to do" atmosphere, and some tracks from this record were in original soundtrack. This didn't surprised me as this record was already the soundtrack of my late teens.
Today I'm becoming a part of this revolting capitalist system because I got fed up with being poor and stuff (Punk is bullshit, you know...) but I will never forget that during more than 10 years I had no future and no hope.
The System works for them - Aus-Rotten (1996) Pennsylvania
The first track of this album convinced me that there was a life after the good-sounding and clean 90s californian punk rock who slowly became poppier and poppier. My first anarcho/crusto/rotten DIY record.
A comprehensive guide to moderne rebellion - Good Riddance (1996) California
Life in general - Mxpx (1996) Washington
Love is dead - The Mr T Experience (1996) California
Musical monkey - Guttermouth (1997) California
The Donnas - The Donnas (1997) California
One of those good musical jokes. Stupid and catchy as fuck. Remembered this band only existed while writing this anthology.
Full circle - Pennywise (1997) California
The first time I covered a Pennywise song I was getting tired of this late 90s californian punk rock maelstrom. But I didn't expected this "band for dumb american skaters" to have such good punchlines and a drummer with this skill level. Still have respect for them since the day I realized they happened to be special some day.
For the punx - The Casualties (1997) New York
The poser police is always ready to blame this band for being the definition of "sold-out fake punks" and once I thought they deserved it. But then I realized that the Casualties ain't the shitty band most of us seen described in anarcho-zines. Those guys knew their punk, knew their roots and knew what to live in this shit was. They don't talk about anarchy ? They make money ? Hell yeah, and guess what I don't care ! Being a gutter punk ain't the end of the line, it's the beginning of seing life as it really is. This record is only for the punx and for the punx only.
Misfits is one of those bands talking about crap all the time. But unlike when they had Danzig walking among them, or any regular dumb as fuck psychobilly band this planet conveys, they happened to release one killer record. I discovered it quite recently, and I was surprised to find here such quality.
So long and thanks for all the shoes - NOFX (1997) California
For some reason NOFX seemed to be considered as a true punk band while thousands of equally upstanding acts have this status denied. I grew up with NOFX don't get me wrong, but if you're looking for a good album from the beginning to the end, then there's only this one IMO.
Dude Ranch - Blink 182 (1997) California
I basically always hated Blink 182. I'm not the "scene policeman" kind of guy, but when 'Enema of State' came out I couldn't help but hate those dumbasses that pretended to play regular punk rock while actually promoting retarded pop rock for boring teenagers having some roots in punk rock some day. First I didn't want to sully this list with them, but then I remembered they happened to record one good album some day. No anarchy here, no rebellion, but for once this will be accepted.
Built to last - Sick of it all (1997) New York
Madball is the first hardcore band from New York I encountered as a kiddo, but Sick of it all have something special Madball never had despite all their "street credibility" or whatsoever : a gift for being melodic and tough at the same time. You can almost dance on some SOIA songs whereas you'd be able only to mosh on Madball ones. That's where the difference lies.
Tanked and pogoed - Blanks 77 (1997) New Jersey
Unleashed - Ten Foot Pole (1997) California
Epitaph, fucking epitaph.
Twisted by design - Strung out (1998) California
My life - Deviates (1998) California
On some points better than Pennywise. More energy, angrier, rawer. If you liked it be sure to check the angrier De Heideroosjes songs.
Because no one stopped us - Belvedere (1998) Alberta
Hello Rock view - Less than Jake (1998) Florida
Hitler bad, Vandals good. - The Vandals (1998) California
Let's talk about feelings -Lagawagon (1998) California
Kicked in the teeth -Zeke (1998) Washington
Violent and fast just as I like. A spit in society's face.
Revenge on society - Blood for blood (1998) Massachussetts
Violent and hateful hardcore. Can be respected even by the death metal maniacs.
No gods, no managers - Choking Victim (1999) New York
A guy I saw only once in my life had this album cover printed on his bag and we only talked for minutes. I asked him if this was some kind of joke black metal band. He said to me "Fuck you, this is the best record ever". This guy had smoked so much marijuana that only staying nearby him, I smelt like Snoop Doggy Weed. This guy was quite right, this album was about drugs and probably one of the best from the late 90s.
Pretty killers - Fabulous Disaster (1999) California
Underrated as hell.
@#§* - Pulley (1999) California
A band I had totally forgotten before I wrote this long boring list. These record features everything late 90s kids like me found attractive in the then-current punk rock from California.
A new kind of army - Anti-Flag (1999) Pennsylvania
Once one of my 3 favourite bands, they've finally gone totally shitty in the recent years. But still their old stuff is gorgeous.
Death by television - The Lillingtons (1999) Wyoming
One of the best ramonescore releases. Haunting melodies, silly lyrics.
Let's do it for Johnny ! - Bowling for soup (2000) Texas
Possibly one of the worst pop-punk bands along with Blink-182, right !
But to the contrary of Blinky I always liked their old tunes. Maybe this is just late 90s nostalgia, but fact is these dum songs still make me something today.
Slow motion riot - 98 mute (2000) California
Often called a Pennywise clone (can't blame those saying that), but one more than decent record for sure.
Treatment 5 - Okser (2000) California
Shorter, faster, louder - Kid Dynamite (2000) Pennsylvania
Flash flash flash - The Explosion (2000) Massachusetts
Live fast, die young - The Devotchkas (2001) New York
Well, nothing outstanding here. Just a good street punk record from the Casualties female counterpart.
Ill at ease - The Methadones (2001) Illinois
Change is a sound - Strike anywhere (2001) Virginia
The band logo evokes the old european social-democrat parties that made Europe the shithole it is today (thanks a lot to generations of voting assholes and non-voting totalitarians douchebags). This said, pretty strong melodic hardcore with some good political slogans.
How I spent my summer vacation - The Bouncing Souls (2001) New Jersey
If you're like me during my punk music-consuming days, you may hate the loudness of heavy metal and especially the one omnipresent in death metal. It wasn't an easy to task to find fast and angry music not being fucking loud. This is one of the reasons I particularly appreciated this record.
Carpe Diem - Will Haven (2001) California
I know Wikipedia says this is noise metal and not hardcore punk but who cares ? If you closely listen to it you will find the origins of what modern crusties call... crust punk ! Sick record.
The price of progression - Ensign (2001) New Jersey
The ultimate escape - Tsunami Bomb (2002) California
Does this look infected ? - Sum 41 (2002) Ontario
Back in the old days I hated Blink 182 to the very core, and when I discovered the name Sum 41, I feared another band for political correct kids pretending to know what punk was. Then came 'Mr Amsterdam', and Sum 41 became one of my favourite band ever. I learned a lot listening to Stevo 32 and Dereck and somehow they influenced every band I played in. Paradoxally they also helped to get into metal later.
Don't worry about me - Joey Ramone (2002) New York
Nowhere to hide - The Virus (2002) Pennsylvania
We know you suck - JFA (2003) Arizona
Great compilation of otherwise hard to find tracks.
Everything goes numb - Streetlight Manifesto (2003) New Jersey
Ska punk is definitely not my thing. Too much happiness, too much positive ideas, too many trumpets, I can't stand ska punk. But one night I was quite low and heard 'A better place, a better time'; and I don't know I listened to the whole record then and this made my day. Weird, because I still find ska-punk shitty beyond reason.
A call to action - Contravene (2003) Arizona
Very interesting work. One of the earliest examples of anarcho-punk using black metal riffs (and good ones, guys !) while keeping the anarchist rethoric.
Total - Teenage Bottlerocket (2003) Wyoming
Every Teenage Bottlerocket to this day is a good one, but this one has a quite rawer sound, making it even better !
This album is a little bit special for me. I never liked it. To be more precise after I heard this very record I gradually start to lose all my interest in the melodic pop punk/ skate punk stuff. Every song here is so predictable and weak, it made me mad. It was time to move to something else, and for me it was deutschpunk.
Fuck World Trade - Leftöver Crack (2004) New York
Siren song of the counter culture - Rise against (2004) Illinois
The punk terrorist anthology vol 1. - Nausea (2004) New York
One with the underdogs - Terror (2004) California
Probably the harder hardcore punk album I've ever heard before things go full metalcore.
Strength through pain - Monster Squad (2004) California
Awesome, just awesome.
Viking - Lars Frederiksen and the bastards (2004) California
Yeah I know there's written "Fuck Rancid" up there and I still mean it. I had to work on myself before I could give this LP a chance, because of my total hatred for Rancid. I was really surprised by the quality of what I found. I knew Lars F. shared my tastes for the old 80s british punk but I didn't expected to find exactly what I like in this kind of punk in an all-american modern band. Rancid should have been more like this to be considered respectable.
Promises kept - Champion (2004) Washington
War profiteering is killing us all - The Suicide Machines (2005) Micihigan
Their 90s releases weren't bad, but a little bit too ska for my tastes, so quite naturally their last record had to be the one here. I really liked to rehearse on some of those tunes while I played hardcore punk back then. Sick shit !
Paradise - Paint it black (2005) Pennsylvania
When your band's name is such a reference to such an amazing song, you got to release some solid stuff, otherwise... Mission accomplished here.
Wake the dead - Comeback Kid (2005) Manitoba
Comeback Kid is one those bands that changed my way to play music, for real. Not that I ever liked them (they're weak IMO and their lyrics are fucking stupid), but when I played hardcore punk with my friends, they made me play this shit over and over, to the point when I drum my breakdowns always have something to do with Comeback Kid. Fuck this band !
State of discontent - The Unseen (2005) Massachussetts
Angry, rubbish and with one of the best 'Paint it black' cover on the market.
No matter where we go..! - Latterman (2005) New York
Endless Bummer - Bones Brigade (2006) Massachussetts
Impressive aggressive skate punk.
Canyoneer - No Trigger (2006) Massachusetts
Survive - Much the same (2006) Illinois
Keep your heart - The Loved ones (2006) Pennsylvania
Oh ! Calcutta ! - The Lawrence Arms (2006) Illinois
The great awake - The flatliners (2007) Ontario
Nothing to prove - H2O (2008) New York
Dedicated to babies that came feet first - Cold World (2008) Pennsylvania
Well, if you want a really nasty dumb hardcore album with some touch of hip-hop, this is for you. Dirty music.
The american dream - Walls of Jericho (2008) Michigan
Alright, this one's a little bit borderline, I admit. Most of you would say this is a metalcore record, but when you look at the roots of those guys, no doubt they've always been faithful to the hardcore sound and imagery. Then in my own personal evolution from being a close-minded "only punk" asshole to a broader acceptance of other heavy and angry music genres, this record has a special place. This was "the record that was too much" for my fellow guitarist, making it the last hardcore punk record and the first metal record at the same time for our band. Played this shit 100 times while going to work aat the factory during this hot summer of 2008. Fucking memories.
Off the leash - The Real McKenzies (2008) British Columbia
Bagpipes and most generally speaking celtic music give me headaches. This kind of crap rarely gives some bonus in rock music. AC/DC succeded ages ago and since them only the McKenzies and Rasta Knast reached their goal while introducing scottish national instrument into punk.
Aggression - Verse (2008) Rhode Island
Travels - Defeater (2008) Massachussetts
The last record my ex-guitarist recommended me. The end of an era, the hardcore punk days had lived.
All pigs must die - All pigs must die (2010) Massachusetts
Very surprising stuff. I first thought this was an european act, but no those Americans know how to play good D-beat against every kind of scumbag ruling this planet.
The Black Pacific - The Black Pacific (2010) California
Maybe the best Pennywise record.
From the dumpster to the grave - Star Fucking Hipsters (2011) New York
Fuck the supermarket life just as it fucks you !
Big kiss Good night - Trapped under ice (2011) Maryland
Some internet french rock critic recommended this record because of its "vengeance" riffs. For once, an internet rock critic was right, nice one !
Reconquista - CJ Ramone (2012) New York
After a decade of records going only in the "more hardcore, rawer" direction, I gave this old school Ramones album a chance, and I found myself back in the old ramonescore catalog to my own surprise. Even if there's nothing too crazy on it, this record kinda hit me.
Masked intruders - Masked intruders (2012) Wisconsin
On the impossible past - The Menzingers (2012) Pennsylvania
Lost Remedies - Atrocity Solution (2013) Wisconsin
Very intense music here with doom and crust elements. A must-hear.
NOFX and out come the wolves Dookie - World's scariest police chases (2013) Pennsylvania
The beauty between - RVIVIR (2013) Washington
Finally the favourite zine-writer poppy hipster band got some guts. Incredible, I know.
Con la Muerte a tu lado - Generacion Suicida (2013) California
That's blatant, those latinos are just Vicious-copycats but this record is just goddam perfect.
The best crossover thrash record ever made. EVER.
Pressure -Bishops Green (2014) British Columbia
Lyrics with heart and brain. Unexpected in the modern days.
When life comes to death - Young and in the way (2014) North Carolina
One thing was missing here : a good blackened crust album standing right between hardcore punk/D-beat and orthodox raw black metal to the point the listener didn't know what he exactly listened to. Unlike when they try to mimick europeans and play regular BM, american bands are quite good when it comes to mix both genres. Here it is, blackened crust in its purest form. Full circle.
Source for the picture. No copyright infringement intended. Removed if asked !