PLAYING DETROIT: “I’m Feelin’ Mean” Playlist

Child-Bite-2014

I’m not okay. I’ve said this out loud and silently in mirrors at least a three hundred times over the past week. I’m. Feeling. Mean. Winter is hovering around like an unwanted party guest and I’ve exhausted pop radio’s repetitive and empty saccharine excuses. When you feel that the world is against you and your most indestructible desire is to destruct, destroy, and stick it to the man, there will always be punk music to be the anguished devil on your shoulder telling the angel to GTFO. These feelings are necessary. Embrace them when they rear their disruptive heads and tap into that under-the-skin earthquake of whatever it is that’s pissing you off, and remember that music’s got your back. I’ve curated a soundtrack of thrashing, unsettling, and provocative punk straight from Detroit‘s veins, both past and present to amplify and detoxify.

1. Negative Approach – “Nothing”

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Labeled as one of the reigning pioneers of hardcore punk in the midwest, Negative Approach formed in ’81 and had a lasting impact for the scenes to follow. They broke up in ’84 but have returned over recent years to perform some of the most amped up shows in Detroit’s history. “Nothing” encapsulates what has made Negative Approach legendary with its screeching guitar, saliva soaked screaming, and anti-conformist, nihilistic give-no-fucks attitude.

2. Timmy’s Organism – “Heartless Heathen” 

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Timmy Vulgar of Third Man Record’s beloved Timmy’s Organism is considered the hardest working punk in the industry. Previously Vulgar lent his twisted visions to the late 90’s Epileptix and Clone Defects and the warped roughness of  Human Eye and the prig-punk punch Reptile Forcefield. But with Organism, Timmy has gained serious momentum throwing inhibition to the wind with psychedelic riffs paired with stabbing percussions, all framed by Timmy’s own brand of in your face vocals. “Heartless Heathen” is infectious.

3. Protomartyr – “Jumbo’s”

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Protomartyr is known for their 70’s post-punk, Motor City garage rock fusion. From 2012’s No Passion All Technique,  “Jumbo’s” is Protomartyr at their best. Guteral, echoed, vocals drowned out by drugged bass lines and clashing high hat heavy drums are the antithesis of pro-establishment. Protomartyr carved out their own sweet spot by making angst accessible and catchy.

4. Gore Gore Girls – “Hard Enough”

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Formed in 1997 by Amy Gore, Gore Gore Girls incorporate harmonizing with a surfer punk edge in “Hard Enough” off of 2007’s Get The Gore. At a time when punk in Detroit was losing its voice, these girls broke through the stagnation of the late 90’s and gave new life to garage-rock era by infusing caffeinated instrumentals and unapologetic vocals that feels like a thrasher film meshed with a break-up mix tape.

4. Trash Brats – “Someday is Too Late”

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Maybe one of the most forgotten vestiges of sleazy glam-punk, Trash Brats never wanted to be taken seriously. But over time, their music still remains in the dusty attics of our collective music story. This steady and slow jam from ’90 cries “They say that Jesus saves, but tell me who?” over static punk chords that are as iconic as they are ironic.

5. The Meatmen – “I Want Drugs”

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I remember my mom blasting this as a kid. My parents were punks and The Meatmen were THE punks. From their ’95 album Pope on a Rope, “I Want Drugs” rants off names of drugs from heroin to demerol as if it were a coked out nursery rhyme. The Meatmen were raunchy, vile, and a vital piece to Detroit’s punk puzzle.

6. Child Bite – “Ancestral Ooze” 

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Timmy Vulgar might be considered the hardest working punk in the biz, but I know Child Bite to be the most relentless band of modern traditionalist punks around. They are seemingly always on tour and are forever pumping out unforgiving fuck-you anthems, like this track off of their 2014 release Strange Waste.

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