Thursday, 25 February 2016

Top Tens: The Burnt Tapes Top Ten Punk Rock Influences

Hello, we are Phil and Pan and we both play guitar in The Burnt Tapes. Writing this list was super hard but we managed it because we are adults. We grew up together in Athens, got into punk together and made our weekly pilgrimage to the punk store every Friday, buying a CD each and hoping we’d uncover another punk gem. This list reflects the bands that stuck out like sweetcorn in the turd that is the music industry. They got us into punk and influenced not only the way we live but also the way we approach song writing.

The Lawrence Arms
I think we were 16 years old when we saw these guys in a sweaty basement in Athens, just after The Greatest Story Ever Told came out. They played an intimate, blistering set and we were in love. We bought 2 t-shirts each and wore both of them on top of each other. The dual vocals - raspy and aggressive on one side, clean and poetic on the other - as well as the catchy melodies had us hooked for life. All their albums slay, and all the side projects they created make us pop boners too. Oh, and Phil has a stupid photo of him and Brendan/Chris looking sweaty and fucking disgusting together.

The first Propagandhi song I heard was "Back to the Motor League" on a Fat Wreck comp. I had never heard anything so fast, so beautiful. Then I picked up Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes and it blew my balls all over my pants. Since then, Propagandhi have been one of the few bands where their latest release has bettered their previous. Everything from the intelligent lyrics, the brutal thrash guitars to the beautiful album artwork make this band one of the greatest punk bands I've ever had the pleasure of seeing live. There is also a picture of me, in a robe, on a mattress that Phil thinks makes me look like Chris Hannah.

Hot Water Music
The granddaddies of org-core, the sexy, raspy voices that everyone (Phil) has been trying to emulate. I first heard "Trusty Chords" on Punk-O-Rama 8 and straight away knew these guys were da real MVP's. Caution is a perfect album, A Flight and a Crash has some of my favourite songs on it and the rest of their albums are bangers too. Musically and lyrically HWM are melancholy yet urgent, or to quote Phil "they make me sad but in a good way". Also, according to Phil, Chuck Ragan is good music to make babies to.

Banner Pilot
Banner Pilot should not be successful - their songs and albums as a whole are so similar that I forget which songs are on Collapser and which ones are on Hearts Beat Pacific. But who gives a flying dongwobbler when they write some of the catchiest and most melodic pop-punk songs my body has ever had the pleasure of absorbing. They are a perfect example of a band that does one thing, but does it so perfectly that it doesn't even matter.

Iron Chic
Out of the ashes of Latterman rose the org-core phoenix that is Iron Chic. We’re both suckers for this type of punk - anthemic hooks, mid-tempo rhythm and sing-a-long lyrics. Sure there are plenty of bands out there that do that - but none that give us excitement erections like Iron Chic. I don't think there's an Iron Chic song that I don't like – they sing about growing up, letting go, trying to better yourself and learning from your mistakes. It's depressing and hopeful at the same time but hey, that's life kiddos! Also, Lubrano looks like he's sleepwalking when they play live and I like that.

Despite Fat Mike being quite a divisive and controversial figure over the last few years, NOFX are undoubtedly one of the most influential punk bands around. Throughout our teens they were definitely our favourite punk band. They had such a range to both their sound and their lyrics; going from faster skate punk stuff to being more melodic, or going from singing about politics and religion to singing about fun things to fuck. NOFX also led us to a bunch of Epitaph bands that we fell in love with, and that carried on with everything Fat Mike & Erin did over at Fat Wreck Chords.

Blink 182
For a lot of kids growing up in the 90’s, Blink 182 were a punk rock gateway drug. Their catchy melodies, “alternative” personas, and wacky toilet humour certainly struck a chord with our pre-pubescent minds, and became one of the main reasons why any of us wanted to learn guitar and start a punk band. They always looked like they were having so much fun (not so much now of course). Through them we went on to discover bands like NOFX, AFI & The Descendents, just to name a few.

Vodka Juniors
Vodka Juniors are and were by far the biggest Greek punk band around. Growing up in Athens, they supported all the major bands, from Lagwagon to Propagandhi, while being a major influence on the local punk scene, playing a ferocious blend of thrash/skate punk. They were the first band we knew that booked their own tours across Greece and Europe, and made us dream of getting out there and playing every squat/house/basement/toilet show that would have us. This year they toured Europe for 100 days, and put out a 45 track punk rock opera all on their own. Legends.

The Flatliners
These guys manage to keep everything sounding so fresh, that it’s hard to imagine they have been around for over 10 years. They bring such a frantic energy, enthusiasm and passion to everything they create and I’ve yet to hear a Flatliners song that didn’t have me rocking. On top of that, I’ve got a creepy man crush on Chris Cresswell, sometimes I sit in my room naked with just my guitar thinking: “What would Cresswell do?”

Alkaline Trio
I’ve been into Alkaline Trio for almost 15 years and I just can’t shake them off. From Here to Infirmary has to rank in my top 5 albums of all time, and I always put it on whenever I want a serious nostalgia trip. Both Matt Skiba and Dan Adriano are incredible song-writers, I love the dark lyrical imagery they conjure up, the harmonies their very different voices create when combined and the riffs they come up with that I fail to recreate. A bunch of albums later, I still find time for this threesome.

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