1) Rocket From The Crypt
RFTC are without a shadow of a doubt the best band the world has ever known. It’s not a subjective thing either; it’s cold, hard fact and can be proved with science. My first exposure to them was through both Kerrang and the NME. Kerrang’s review of ‘Scream, Dracula, Scream!’ went so far as to tell the reader to steal the record if necessary... 12 year old me thought that was as cool as it gets. The NME featured ‘Born In ’69’ on a free cassette and it was every bit as badass as I’d imagined. John Reis/Speedo is a songwriting genius. I’d say ‘Pigeon Eater’... a B SIDE, is their greatest moment. Probably the greatest 3 minutes of sound ever recorded.
2) Jeff Rosenstock
Jeff and ‘Bomb The Music Industry!’ are the reason I wanted to start playing music again after a five year break. I wasn’t even remotely aware of his existence until hearing ‘Hey Allison’ from 2016’s ‘We Cool?’ on some random Spotify playlist. I think he’s likely the genre’s best songwriter and he’s been crazy prolific. It’s been so fun wading through such a varied and consistently excellent back catalogue of music. His most recent album ‘Worry’ is the best record he’s put together so far and it has the perfect mix of lyrical excellence, poppy hooks and crazily awesome punk music executed by a dude with admirable ethics and limitless passion. My favourite song of his is ‘Stuff That I Like’ from ‘Scrambles’.
3) At The Drive In
The best thing to come from me loving Korn and Slipknot so much as an edgy teen was my devotion to producer Ross Robinson and I eagerly anticipated ‘Relationship Of Command’ because of his involvement. I remember seeing ATDI smash their way through ‘One Armed Scissor’ on ‘Later: With Jools Holland’ with a completely confused Robbie Williams watching from the audience. It was pretty much the most exciting performance of anything I’d ever seen up until that point.
4) The Blood Brothers
Such a ridiculously talented, genre-defying band. Insane and imaginative music, incredibly vivid, allegorically poetic lyrics, two perfectly paired frontmen with utterly unique voices. For me, when I think of punk I think of The Blood Brothers. They have a bunch of amazing records but the Ross Robinson produced ‘Burn Piano Island Burn’ is the best place to start.
Nirvana were the first band I ever loved that wasn’t part of my dad’s record collection. When I first started getting into rock music it was just after Kurt’s death. At school we’d all swap tapes of what we thought ‘cool’ music was. I got tapes of Guns & Roses, Green Day, Metallica, The Sex Pistols, Pearl Jam... and ‘Nevermind’. It’s just wall to wall bangers from start to finish. It’s not a popular opinion but I rate ‘Bleach’ ahead of ‘In Utero’ too. If there’s ONE band I wish I could’ve seen live it’s them.
6) Coheed & Cambria
During my years working for HMV I found two bands by randomly playing stuff in store that had a massive impact on my life. ‘In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3’ was a revelation. As somebody who is allergic to most things labelled prog-rock, I was staggered at just how much melody and triumphant chorus Claudio was able to pack into all of his songs, even within the context of a sci-fi concept record. For me, even though I don’t relate to them lyrically as such... Coheed’s first 3 albums are untouchable.
7) The Hold Steady
This was my second life changing band discovered at HMV. I found the cover art to ‘Boys And Girls In America’ really appealing for some reason. I think Craig Finn is a genius lyricist and I try to learn as much from him as I can. He’s such a great storyteller and live performer and he has an ability to convey so much wit, warmth, sadness, romance and nostalgia in his songs. Live, as someone who’s closer to my own age than say Joyce Manor, he made me feel like I could still credibly be in a rock band. He’s very unabashedly himself and enthusiastic as a live presence.
8) The Beatles
Bands that I dislike that people I have known have been annoyed at me for hating: The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. Yet somehow I seem to continually run into people who claim to hate The Beatles. They are liars. They did more in 7 years than most bands have managed in 20. ‘Abbey Road’ is clearly their best record.
Ok ok ok I get it. Everybody hates Bono. I hate Bono too. He’s a smug, self appointed messiah figure. And nobody should be called ‘The edge’. However...
1. They’re not Coldplay.
2. They had massive tunes in the 80s.
3. For their first 3 albums they were sort of punk but not really.
4. Don’t pretend you don’t like all the singles from ‘The Joshua Tree’.
5. It’s actually my Dad’s fault.
6. I’ll defend ‘Achtung Baby’ until the day I die. That is a SEXY album full of gigantic tunes.
Like most Weezer fans, my relationship with their music is reasonably complicated and I feel pretty psychologically abused by them at this point. Listening to ‘Pinkerton’ as an adult after giving it some distance is weird. The lyrics are pretty creepy and cringe worthy but maybe that’s the point? The ‘Green Album’ is my favourite, I just love how simplistic and timeless it is. I think we can all do without almost everything from ‘Make Believe’ to ‘Hurley’. ‘The White Album’ was a real return to form I thought, but the last 3 singles are up their with the worst crap they’ve ever put out. You never know where where you stand with Rivers Cuomo.
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