Punk & Hardcore

10 Underrated Punk Albums That Should Be Considered Classics

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6. Circle Jerks, "Wonderful" Wonderful is another gem from 1985. The fourth record by the Circle Jerks, who in retrospect, were one of the first punk rock supergroups, as singer Keith Morris and guitar player Greg Hetson came from a couple of L.A.'s heavyweight bands, Black Flag and Redd Kross, when the Jerks formed in 1979. Punk purists often like to talk a lot about Group Sex and Wild in the Streets being the quintessential Circle Jerks records, and they are, but Wonderful both rocks and shows the band's progress as songwriters.

Keith Morris' lyrics on songs like "Killing for Jesus," "I&I," and "Making the Bombs" is spot-on social commentary (as usual), and the tension and release of "15 minutes" is amazing. Bassist Zander Schloss (who I will always think of as the "Wiener Boy" from the highly entertaining Alex Cox movie Straight to Hell) plays the haunting bass line while Morris shares a little tale about a young man's first "dose of the clap." I remember them playing this in 1989 or 1990 at Rockers, which was a venue on West Indian School in Phoenix. Maybe it was me screaming "15 minutes" over and over at Schloss or maybe it was on their set list, I don't know, but when they played it, I was in heaven until I was kicked out for doing a stage dive. Either way, I'll never forget it . . . nor will I forget this record.

7. Mr. T Experience, "Making Things with Light"

This happy little gem was not anything close to what I was typically listening to when it came out in 1990, but after a friend turned me on to it, I couldn't have been more surprised. I liked it from the first listen and was hooked by the very first track, "What Went Wrong." There is no denying the Mr. T Experience is a great band name, but I never paid a lot of attention because the term "pop-punk" was always used by the zines of the day when they would write about them.

The Mr. T Experience was a bunch of boys from Berkeley, California, featuring Dr. Frank (guitar and vocals), Jon Von (vocals and guitar), Aaron Rubin (bass), and Alex Laipeneiks (drums). They put Making Things with Light together from a series of recording sessions over a couple of years, as well as including some live tracks, and it was the first record of theirs put out by Lookout Records. "She's No Rocket Scientist" got me through a couple of break ups, as did "I Don't Get It," but that's another story all together. Check out a great little nugget on this album, which is the live version of "Now We are Twenty-one." Turn it up.

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Tom Reardon has written for Phoenix New Times since 2013. He's been in several notable bands over the last 25 years including Hillbilly Devilspeak, North Side Kings, and the Father Figures.
Contact: Tom Reardon