We waited too long to make our own list, and the other one-third of Rocks Off done snatched up U2 and Dylan. He made some good choices, though, and knows his Bono and company. [Ed note: Thanks, man. See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.] Here goes our list: 5. blink-182 (The Woodlands, September 23) Album: Enema Of The State (MCA, 1999) All right, shut up and give us this one at least. Rocks Off could play it cool and indie-rock and act like we didn't know this album by heart in the summer of 1999, but we would be prime prevaricators. Hooky doesn't even begin to describe the 35 minutes of blink's second major-label release. Good God, we can't believe this thing is a decade old. Rocks Off knows guys who drove Cadillacs with Black Flag stickers on the back who blasted this damn thing all summer long and even into the next winter. We agree that Tom DeLonge nasally pop-punk whine wore thin and that the titty humor went stale early on, but the trio wasn't trying to win the hearts of Pitchfork. The album's singles, including teen suicide lament "Adam's Song," were prime radio hits, and cover girl/porn star Janine Lindemulder introduced young men everywhere to a whole new world of tattooed nurse fetishes.
4. Fear (Meridian, August 16) Album: The Record (Slash, 1982) Fear's 1982 release The Record was the band's first full-length since their 1977 formation. One cannot argue with Lee Ving's spit-fueled, verbally corrosive vocal takes on "I Love Livin' In The City" or "Let's Have A War." Anyone who has ever seen the band's chaotic 1981 Saturday Night Live performance will understand how vital this band was to American hardcore. Even better, hit up YouTube for the band's appearances in Penelope Spheeris' The Decline Of Western Civilization documentary to get an idea of how foul and acidic they were live. The Record is full of politically incorrect hostility and nihilism. It could have been the Sgt. Pepper for Michael Douglas' vigilante character in Falling Down. Check out lead-off track "Let's Have A War" if you don't believe us.
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3. Rancid (Verizon Wireless Theater, July 18) Album: Rancid (Hellcat/Epitaph, 2000) Sweet mama, this was a good record, and the lyrical content is as prescient as ever. Every song is about death, war and money-hungry leeches, making it picture-perfect for our world's current climate. We remember one show on the Warped Tour years back where guitarist/singer Lars Frederiksen made us in the crowd start a "fuckin'" circle pit right before the band kicked off "Dead Bodies," as if we needed to be told that a circle pit was in order. Honestly, we still gush about this album when we find ourselves among other Rancid fans. Most prefer 1995 breakthrough ...And Out Come The Wolves, while some older cats will constantly rep Let's Go. But for a purely punk, exquisitely devastating live assault, you have to go with this one. Sadly, the band is only performing a 45-minute set opening slot for Rise Against next weekend. We wish the band would play this one all the way through to separate the punk men from the Buzz boys on the floor of the Verizon.
2. ZZ Top (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, July 17) Album: Tres Hombres (Warner Bros., 1973) Some would argue that ZZ Top's cultural, if not artistic, zenith was 1983's Eliminator. Those people are fools, and must have never spent a weekend with 1973's Tres Hombres, driving from Austin to Houston and back, dodging law dogs while listening to (and passing through) "La Grange." Or at least sat at a brutally humid icehouse, watching wildcatters and plant workers tap their boots to each and every lick of "Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers." The churning bite of "Precious and Grace" gave birth to band's like Queens of the Stone Age, who diligently and openly ape ZZ's sonics, all with Billy Gibbons' personal approval. He even guested on Queens' 2005 Lullabies To Paralyze album. Sure, we agree that Eliminator was and still is the gold-standard for electro boogie-rock, but Hombres is the reason Keith Richards inducted the ZZ boys into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame his own damn self. Rocks Off is fully confident that if Billy, Dusty, and Frank played Hombres in its entirety next weekend, the Sam Houston statue a few miles up the road would be tapping his frontiersman boots in approval.
1. Motorhead (Warehouse Live, September 18) Album: Ace Of Spades (1980, Castle Music America) This is sort of a no-brainer, and not because "Ace Of Spades" is the Scumbag National Anthem. Quite simply, this is the best studio album the 'Head has recorded to date. The title track is only the beginning of a 12-song experiment in punk-metal destruction, and damn if the shit isn't even a little pop-minded. "The Chase Is Better Than the Catch" is just as hooky as "Ace Of Spades" and at least four times as filthy. The rest of the songs drip down the back of your throat, and have you feening for another line of the album, or spin as it were.