Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Two for Tuesday

Today’s two for Tuesday is inspired by an earlier discussion with JT. I won’t go into the details at this time, but it did give me the idea for today’s post.

Back in the late 70s/mid 80s, the US punk and hard core scenes were in many ways dominated and defined by east coast and west coast, like LA vs. DC. Of course Chicago, MN, Boston, etc all contributed great and influential bands, so please don’t come beat me up…but the most prolific scenes were found in LA, SF, DC and NYC. Each “side” of the country, as well as within each city and region, were developing their own styles and sounds simultaneously, which were distinct and noted in their own right, and yet held fast to a DIY aesthetic that was fueled by youthful angst and a staunch individualism.

The brilliant and amazing thing about this is that for the most part, most of these scenes were happening with little to no awareness of what else was out there. There was no internet, mass media was either ignorant or indifferent and local authorities were often trying to shut everything down. All of this of course meant going on the road, and by the end of the 80s, when yours truly was discovering "alternative" music, the tales of Black Flag, Husker Du, Gang Green and the Misfits were all part of the collective punk mythos.

My two selections today come from California and DC, and were arguably the biggest, most significant examples of their respective home scenes at the time, and are certainly two of the most influential and rabidly loved in the present day and age. Of course I’m talking about Minutemen and Minor Threat.

I won’t go into the similarities and differences of each group, those can be noted simply by listening, but the impact they both had on everything after them cannot be denied and to argue the “better” of the two is just silliness. Personally, I prefer Minor Threat because they spoke to me on a social level that I could relate to easily as an angry 17yo, whereas Minutemen’s politically charged bursts of energy were often beyond me because my indifference to politics gave me no point of meaningful reference.

Both bands worked hard for several years and established an extreme cult following that is still alive and well, and I find it amusing that while all of Minor Threat’s commercial output, several releases, can fit snuggly on one CD, the Minutemen’s most celebrated album, Double Nickels on the Dime, has twice as many songs (plus other albums and the Post-Mersh collections, etc).

Both bands ended for vastly different reasons, and I’ll leave it to your interest to explore why (though you should already know), and members went on to more “mainstream” notable acts like fIREHOSE and Fugazi, to just name drop a couple.  Anyway… Here are a couple of personal standouts from both, Minutemen’s This Ain’t No Picnic and Minor Threat’s Bottled Violence. From there you can link around to all sorts of good stuff.


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