Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Never Mind The Buzzcocks

It has occurred to me that a music blog with a name like That Truncheon Thing would do well to generate some discussion every now and again on good ol' punk rock. True enough, modern references to punk rock serve little purpose other than to piss off real fans of the genre. Whose idea was it to start calling Blink-182 and their progeny "punk"? Such blasphemy is reminiscent of how hair bands stole the term "heavy metal" from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. I mean, can Warrant's "Cherry Pie" and "Kashmir" really be placed in the same category? Sigh. I digress.

Of course, there have been signs of life from the real punk rock world all along. Social Distortion and Rancid are a couple of great examples. Another great example, and representing seriously old school punk rock, is Manchester's Buzzcocks, who are currently celebrating their 30th anniversary, a few breakups, reformations, and lineup changes aside. 2006 saw the release of their eighth studio album of three chord adrenaline inducers, entitled Flat-Pack Philosophy. Believe it or not, Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, now considerably long in the tooth, haven't lost a step. The songs on Flat-Pack are sharp, crisp, and would not be out of place on the band's outstanding collection of 7" releases, Singles Going Steady. If you don't believe me, check out "Wish I'd Never Loved You" from the new record.

Going stateside, another punk (or perhaps more accurately, "post-punk") band of yore that has weathered the years nicely is Boston's Mission of Burma. MOB just lasted from 1978 to 1983 the first go round, setting the stage for noisy bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth before they bowed out. The band reunited for a series of shows in 2002 and, in 2004, released their first album in over twenty years, ONoffON. In 2006, MOB released the fantastic The Obliterati, which established that MOB is no nostalgia act, but vital, modern day noise merchants. Check out "2wice" to hear what I'm talking about.

Finally, lest I give the appearance that true punk rock can only be accomplished by the grand masters, I was very pleased to learn last year that the kids are, in fact, alright. Nashville's Be Your Own Pet, a band of teenage friends, burst onto the scene playing punk rock the way it's meant to be played: by smashing it to pieces. Their self-titled debut is old school search and destroy, and lead singer Jemina Pearl will remind you of, then make you forget all about, Karen O. I actually injured myself listening to this record on my iPod, so be careful. Currently streaming on the band's web site is the song "Bicycle Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle", which features the immortal line "Have fun, but be safe with it / Just kidding! F*** s*** up!!!" (Oh yeah, parental discretion is advised).

The following BYOP video of the same song is also attached for your perusal: