Agent Orange

Still limber and forceful after three decades of pummeling and partying, Agent Orange is the über-surf-punk trio, bar none. "Bloodstains" might have single-handedly been the calling card of disaffected youth in 1980 — and is still a fave of skateboard legend Tony Hawk — but it was the band's smokin' versions of surf classics like "Miserlou" and "Pipeline" that brought beach frolic to the dank slam pit. While scene elders like the Dead Kennedys fully embraced the ferocity and fury of hardcore, these guys translated hippie Jefferson Airplane ("Somebody to Love") and TV pop-culture kitsch ("Secret Agent Man") into beloved mayhem that retained a taut tunefulness. Even their more mature, almost FM-ready forays such as 1986's This Is the Voice stood well above the late-1980s cock-rock of cohorts like the "new" TSOL. In the current climate of crummy surf-culture tokenism like the rebooted Hawaii Five-O, Tiki theme parties galore and stadium-sized punk concerts sponsored by Vans, Agent Orange still evokes the gray angst beneath the sun and fun. Singer and guitarist Mike Palm is no wizened leader of the pack, so expect full-bore versions of "Too Young to Die," "Living in Darkness" and other titanic tunes.
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David Ensminger