Top 50: The DUECE

Onward and upwards I go. For those of you not following along, I decided to undertake a thankless (and kind of douche-y) blog entry:

Top 50 Oi!/street punk songs of the last 15 Years.

You can find the first entry of my questionable selections below, and here, dear friends, is the second part, which will take me through 20 picks. Oh the humanity.

(I did want to clarify a few points: though there are several bands on this list that could easily have 5-10 songs included, my list is a one-entry-per band thing. And second, because many of you have asked, no this list will not include RAC or it’s more overt brother-in-arms. Sketchy merits of included bands can be debated and debated, but that is beside the point…)

As you were.

Straw Dogs. “Another World.” Another World single. In my opinion, the early to mid 90’s in Britain belonged to Another Man’s Poison and Straw Dogs. Simple as that. Straw Dogs were polar opposites of AMP musically – rather than punchy and melodic, they were more than rough around the edges. In your face, and ploddingly heavy, they were the musical equivalent of being slowly bludgeoned versus being knocked out quickly. It was difficult picking one tune from this time period for this band, as they no doubt have several tunes that merit inclusion on such a list as this, and mine might not be the most popular choice  (today, it was this tune, “Wasted Life” or “Alright Boy”) but on we go. I picked “Another World” because of it’s epic Who-style guitar intro, and then jarringly, it becomes as weighty as anything the band did. A bold political statement wrapped up in smart lyrics, the tune is a nice representation of several of the things that made Straw Dogs top of the heap.

Strong Style. “Akashi.” Akashi ep. Heavy, SSS-styled Japanese oi! Crushing, yet somehow still melodic, SS are a true force of nature, and this song represents them well.

The Hawks. “Waiting on the Time.” Trueforce Official Rules ep. The Hawks are one of my favorite Japanese bands, and this is one of their stronger tunes. Chiswick records sound via Japan. No idea what lyrics they are singing, but the overall sound and tone make this an easy selection for this list.

The Beltones – “Fuck You Anyway” – Ah, the ever elusive Beltones. Likely in my Top 5 BANDS of the Last 15 Years, this outfit put out a few ripping singles, a kind of comp thing on TKO with re-recorded singles (and a few new tunes) and then one LP Cheap Trinkets. It’s tough to pick their best song, as most everything they did is a “best of” but today I’m going with the ultimate kiss off, “Fuck You Anyway.” Part Stiff Little Fingers, part early Skrewdriver, it is angry, frustrated and real. An open message to Bill Beltone: For God’s sake, can you play some shows that aren’t Texas?

The Troublemakers – “Pax Americana” – Pax Americana LP. To this day, this is one of the most original LPs within the scene that I’ve heard. The playing is flawless, and I’m not sure where to begin to descibe its nature. I’m not overly familiar with RIF, but the folk-ish elements at play here lend themselves to the tougher edge the oi!-ish slant delivers. The has been in rotation since I got it, and though the lyrics and politics may be a bit dodgy, I’d have no clue as I don’t speak French.

Alternate Action – “Dead End Street.” Over the years, Canadian oi! bands have been nothing if not esoteric. As with the French (and maybe therein lies the reason, because Canada’s heritage can lay claim to a huge segment of French ancestery) I have always felt that Canadian oi! bands have that something about that that was easily identifiable as “Canadian.” Even when aping other bands, the elements still made them uniquley Canuck. Regardless, Alternate Action come together as seasoned vets of said scene, and having this time under their belts has certainly boded well for Alternate Action. Taking the best of their forebearers in Britain, like Stiff Little Fingers, melded with their own experiences in other bands (like The Subway Thugs, The Lancasters, etc), Alternate Action have emerged as one of the best Canadian oi! bands I’ve yet to hear, in any designated time period.

The Veros – “The Way I Feel” – The Way I Feel ep. Upon hearing Boni, original drummer for classic French heroes Snix was putting together a new band, my expectations were through the roof. Expecting something similar to Snix’s delivery, I was surprised to hear that while elements remained, the bulk of the influence here was British oi! and even modrock. The Way I Feel ep was The Veros (named after the bassist and co-founder, obviously) debut offering, and while they have put out a wealth of great material since, I still feel this is their best tune; maybe it’s because it was the first thing I heard from them, but I have always thought the flow of the song, it’s catchiness, as well as the lyrics (“they don’t know about me!”) were something unique, making the tune deserving of a spot here.

Evil Conduct – “Home Sweet Home” – Home Sweet Home ep. 2009. Consistent and catchy, Evil Conduct deserve a mention for staying true to their vision. This is likely the catchiest thing they ever did, and is one of the genre’s best recent efforts.

Dropkick Murphys – “Barroom Hero.” Dropkick Murphys/Ducky Boys split single. 1996. The introduction to the scene for Dropkick Murphys, this is the first song of theirs I ever heard as well, and what a debut. It’s been tough for them to top. Before they expanded and developed their musical prowess, it was just 4 of them, delivering basic rock’n’roll.

The Wretched Ones – “Going  Down the Bar.” Likewise, I’m pretty sure this is the first WO song I ever heard as well. Who doesn’t like the Wretched Ones? Simple, methodical delivery, catchy as hell, and consistant. the AC/DC of the scene, in that you know what you’re getting every time, but every time it sounds pretty great. This tune got the nod today, but there’s an endless supply to choose from. Almost listed “Nothing Wrong” from this same record. Great tune there as well.

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