Shonen Knife

This is what I mean when I talk about Mandatory Punk. Naturally my list is highly subjective and shouldn’t be mistaken for an exhaustively complete guide to the genre (I can think of hundreds of records I love that I didn’t include here, and there are, I hope, countless great records I haven’t even heard yet but someday will), but I can tell you that every entry on this list is a record that A) I am thoroughly in love with, and B) I consider to be Mandatory Listening for any fan of the genre. 

Warning: The Punk world is rife with humorless purists who will argue about a list like this all fucking day.  I know right now someone out there is reading this and thinking: “Does Television belong on a list of Punk bands?  Or The 5.6.7.8’s and Ty Segall—aren’t they classified as Garage Rock?  Should Minutemen really be considered a Punk band?  Why did you list Rocket To Russia instead of the Ramones’ debut album?  Anti-Nowhere League were alright, I guess, but are they really Mandatory Listening?  Why aren’t Meat Puppets on this list?  I don’t see Crazy Spirit anywhere—haven’t you heard of them?  What about Angry Samoans?  Who the fuck are The No W.T.O. Combo?  Weren’t Cock Sparrer a bunch of white supremacists or something?  Where’s the NYHC?  Why are you dwelling on all this old shit, haven’t you heard of Double Negative?  Fuck The Clash, what a bunch of sellouts.  Shouldn’t Iggy & The Stooges be classified as proto-punk?  Shouldn’t Pink Flag be considered post-punk?  Don’t you read MRR?  What do you have against ’90s Pop-Punk?  Folk-Punk seems kinda underrepresented here.  Does Doc Shoe have some kinda creepy man-crush on Stza Crack?  Do you really think Static Age is better than Walk Among Us?” 

Yes, this is exactly the sort of list that starts arguments.  And I don’t give a fuck—I love to argue.  Go ahead and assault my Ask box if you must, because I’ll defend every item on this list.

Memo to All You Music Fanatics: Yes, I’ve posted a little something from each of these bands.  Just follow the links. 

Furthermore: I’ve tried to avoid posting more than one record by the same band, unless I’ve got a damn good reason, like a significant change in the lineup.  Re: Black Flag with Keith Morris was a different animal from the Black Flag fronted by Henry Rollins, and the addition of James Williamson gave The Stooges a very different sound, etc.  This was done in the interests of trimming this list down to a more manageable length.  Just imagine how long this fucking page would be if I listed every record by The Damned and Minutemen, those first four Ramones records, etc., etc.

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