Is punk dead? Who cares – give these bands a listen anyway.
Noisy experimental punk from Atlanta, Georgia. What their first record lacks in skill or complexity it makes up for in attitude and handclaps. They drawl, shriek, yelp, gasp and jeer the lyrics to songs with commanding titles like “Don’t Touch My Shit” and “Nestle in My Boobies” (“Bite ‘em, lick ‘em, give that nip a tug / Grab ‘em, shake ‘em, show them titties love!”). Their latest release, Scramble, is slightly less abrasive, with more fuzz and harmony. The riotgrrl influences are obvious, the Karen O comparisons are inevitable, and it’s fun to listen to when you’re feeling bratty.
Osaka, Japan’s Shonen Knife released their first album in 1982, and they’ve been spreading their infectious brand of Beach Boys/Ramones punk pop around the globe ever since. Their latest release, Supergroup, was released in the US this year, and they recently finished a US tour promoting it. They perform in adorable matching mod dresses; their MySpace lists each band member’s blood type; they sing about food a lot, with songs like “BBQ Party”, “Fruit Loop Dreams”, “Flying Jelly Attack”, “Strawberry Cream Puff”, “Cookie Day”, “I Wanna Eat Choco Bars”, “I Want to Eat Cake”, “Brown Mushroom”, “Ice Cream City”, “Fruits and Vegetables”, “Banana Chips”, “Mayonnaise Addiction”, “Hot Chocolate”, “Mango Juice (for George Harrison)” and “Monkey Brand Oolong Tea”. There is basically no way to dislike Shonen Knife.
Care Bears on Fire
Does “kid-core” actually qualify as a scene? It doesn’t yet have a full Wikipedia entry, so I’m going to say no. But if it does become one, Care Bears on Fire will be hailed as its founding mothers. The band began in 2005, when all of its members were in fifth or sixth grade; since their first full-length release in 2007, they have played Lollapalooza, Underage Festival and SXSW. They’ve also appeared on David Letterman, Nickelodeon’s “True Jackson VP” and in Converse commercials. Issues of “punk credibility” (a questionable concept in itself) arise because its members hail from Park Slope, dress like card-carrying mall punks, and aren’t old enough to get drivers’ licenses. But their songs are old-school, down-to-earth, often funny and god-dang catchy.