You may be aware that I am in love with the UK's underground punk rock scene. For today's Top Ten I decided to list of ten of the bands that really got me into the scene. Ten bands that ultimately changed my life.
[spunge] - These gentleman from Tewkesbury were the first underground band I ever really got into. I first heard the song Roots on Steve Lamacq’s Radio One show and from then on I was hooked. Brilliantly combining punk rock with a ska sound, they are still going strong today.
4ft Fingers - 4ft Fingers are another band that, up until last year when bassist Dougie moved to Australia,were still going strong. Their debut album At Your Convenience remains in permanent rotation on my stereo/iPod all these years later. It was an album that combined pop punk, street punk and ska to create a style that was really loved.
Jesse James - Another album that has consistently remained on my listening list is Punk Soul Brothers by London's Jesse James. Growing up, everyone knew the song Shoes but for me every single one of their tracks was a hit. I had the pleasure of seeing their own brand of punk rock with horns live last year and it's great to see that the songs have stood the test of time.
King Prawn - For me King Prawn were the original genre terrorists. Blending together punk, ska, hip hop and reggae long before Sonic Boom Six or Tyrannosaurus Alan were even bands, King Prawn became one of the most inspirational bands in the scene. After originally splitting up in 2003 the band got back together and have since sporadically played gigs and festivals as well as beginning work on a new album.
Capdown - Talking of inspirational band, Milton Keynes skacore legends Capdownwere clearly the influence for a new generation of ska punk bands in the UK including Random Hand, Anti Vigilante and The Skints. With a live show not to be missed, Capdown paved the way for DIY punk bands in the UK with their strong independent ethics and their incredible dedication to their band.
Lightyear - No band has ever entertained me more live than Lightyear. Their bouncy, fast paced ska punk and crazy onstage antics are legendary in the scene. I don't think Lightyear ever quite got the respect they deserved as a group of musicians. They had a great skill for writing unique and catchy songs whether they were singing about politics, friendship or the 80's.
Whitmore - Whitmore formed in 2001 in Salisbury and were signed to the legendary Moon Ska Records, who released their critically acclaimed Smoke The Roach album. That album spawned the wonderfully catchy Alison as well as Scones and On The Ceiling. They have recently reunited to play Extraction Fest with [spunge].
Fletcher - If Fletcher were still going today I think they would be huge. Their catchy melodic punk sound came years before Leagues Apart or Müg formed. My Revenge in my opinion is a horribly underrated album and you should definitely check it out. I'd love some reunion shows from the Fletcher boys.
Captain Everything! - Bubblegum Trash is not a descriptive term used for too many bands but was definitely appropriate for Watford's Captain Everything. Playing as hard and fast as any of their thrash and hardcore counterparts of the era but with sugary sweet pop vocals. Signed to Household Name Records, they released four excellent full-length albums.
Uncle Brian - I first discovered Uncle Brian through an old Moon Ska records compilation that featured the song Better Off Gay. Their ska tinged pop punk had me hooked straight away and made me go out and buy everything they released. The music was never serious or meaningful but always put a smile on my face; whether they were singing about Willow from Buffy The Vampire Slayer or covering the Venga Boys hit Going To Ibiza it was smiles all around.