Friday, 5 September 2014

Top 50 Debut Albums - No.38 "The Punch Line" Minutemen (1981)

Remember how I said only FULL LENGTH albums count, then included Superfuzz Bigmuff? This next pick might be a bit contentious too ...

The total playing time for all 18 songs is a mere 15 minutes but it is OFFICIALLY their full length debut. So it counts and it's in. Of those 18 songs only two break the 1 minute mark and longest track Tension is 1 minute 18 seconds.

Did I mention I have a weakness for short songs?

I first discovered Minutemen when the two surviving members supported Shellac at the Scala in 2004. Minutemen formed in San Pedro, California in 1980 and were an integral part of the American Hardcore scene that also spawned Black Flag. Composed of guitarist/vocalist D. Boon, bassist/vocalist Mike Watt, and drummer George Hurley, Minutemen recorded four albums and eight EPs before Boon's death in December 1985. At the Scala show Mike and George played a set of Minutemen songs with no Guitar and Mike handling all the vocals. I didn't know any of the tunes but it was intense and captivating. Watt is an incredible bass player, my absolute favourite, and has played with a load of bands including a thrilling spell on tour with Iggy & The Stooges.

Their masterpiece is 1984's double album Double Nickels on the Dime, but the debut is the perfect introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the band. Seeing as the whole thing is about the length of a decent tea break I've included the full album in the video clip below.


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