Jim runs a rad label out of Chicago called Hip Kid Records. Recently, he’s put out stuff for The Coltranes, the Notches demo - as well as helping with The Elsinores “Dreams of Youth”, and an LP for his own band Boilerman.  I particularly like the full length by Baby Ghosts he just helped release.  I was really glad he could get back to me about his top five. 

These aren’t my top five records ever, just five that were influential to me, blah blah blah, you know the drill. Here’s five records: 

1. Dillinger Four “Midwestern Songs of the Americas”

This wasn’t the first thing I ever heard by Dillinger Four, but it hit me the hardest. D4 would become, and remains, one of my favorite bands and it’s largely due to this album. They took the catchiness of pop punk and infused it with the urgency, thought, and raw energy that the genre so often sorely lacks. Reading the lyrics along while listening to “Shut Your Little Trap Inc” or “The Great American Going Out Of Business Sale” still gives me goose bumps. This album doesn’t have a single dud on it, all while retaining an eclectic palette. Whether it’s the bizarre yowling on “#51 Dick Butkus” or the straight up radio single quality chorus on “OKFMDOA” or any of the many moments in between, I’m on board for the whole ride. Plus, this album uses sound clips that actually add instead of detract! You don’t see that every day.

2. Tom Waits “Rain Dogs”

I’m no expert on the man, nor do I celebrate everything he’s ever done, but I’ll tell you what – this is one of the best albums I can think of in any genre. That’s kind of the thing: what genre does this records even fall under? There’s a blues tune, a polka, a rocking Springsteen style ballad. Some songs sound like carnival music, others like they belong on oldies radio. Yet, this album somehow manages to seem totally cohesive as one whole piece of work. Maybe it’s the intertwining lyrical themes, maybe it’s Tommy’s vocals (although they vary nearly as much as the music itself), or maybe it’s just the general creepy, dark moodiness of the whole affair. Either way, this album really made me appreciate records that work well as one solid piece rather than just a collection of songs.

3. At the Gates “Slaughter of the Soul”

I can’t even remember how I first got into this record. But, I do remember tuning my old guitar down to B and sitting in my parents’ basement, one in the morning, with the volume on my amp down so low it was barely audible and learning to play along with these songs. Something about how catchy this album is while being balancing heavy riffing and blazing speed hooked me right away and I haven’t looked back since. It also didn’t hurt that the lyrics seemed honest, real, and personal, rather than embracing Dungeons and Dragons style content (though I can definitely get down with that too). This was one of those albums that sort of reintroduced me to metal after punk took over my listening habits so heavily for a while. Also, have you heard that Slaughterlord cover they do? It’s seriously better than the original.

4. Darkthrone “A Blaze in the Northern Sky”

Yeah, I know, real original. Listen: Darkthrone wasn’t my entry into black metal. I got into Gorgoroth first and Mayhem and I think I even listened to a few more modern bands like Leviathan before diving into Darkthrone. But, this album is perfect in my mind and really influenced modern black metal in a way that few other albums have. This thing not only creates a mood that runs the length of the album, but it also is more eclectic than it seems at first glance. It’s got the fast blasting and the atmosphere that became the standard in black metal, but it also has stomping riffs, a truly eerie introduction, borderline mosh parts – there are a lot of influences here that are necessary to create something this unique. While this is largely due to the transitional nature of the album in the band’s chronology and they would write their first “true” black metal album next in their eyes with Under a Funeral Moon, that doesn’t change the fact that this album is an oft referenced, but unrepeatable masterpiece.

5. Anti-Flag “Underground Network”

 ”Dookie” by Green Day is the album that got me into music, but this record is the one I attribute most with getting me into punk. Is it cheesy? Yeah. Has it aged well? Not terribly, though I can still listen to it occasionally. But, Underground Network is not only responsible for me buying an Aus Rotten Fuck Nazi Sympathy 7” because of my fervent, obsessive liner note reading, it is also the first time I really encountered politics mixed so blatantly with music. I’m not just talking about the lyrics either – the liner notes were filled with stuff to read, applicable quotes, and plenty of resources to check out to further delve into the topics they were on about. Not only that, but I used to play through this record on guitar and bass on a very regular basis and I have to believe it influenced my playing, especially on the bass end. I’m not sure I’d be the same person I am without getting into Anti-Flag and, while they may not get the same amount of daily play, this entry into the world that would become so important to me has to make the list.

Repress available now. http://deadtank.storenvy.com

I’ve never met Joey, but I helped put out a record for his band The Elsinores - that probably counts for something. They’ve come to Florida before I knew anything about them, but I mostly go to bed at 10pm. I’m enthralled by the bands output though. Asking it’s members (and getting a response) for input about the top 5 life changing records is one of the very few perks of having a label.  As a fan, always. 


1. Wire “Pink Flag”

Wire is one of those bands that came onto my radar in my late teens and completely changed the way that I listened to music; I have liked/ been involved in the making of punk music in various forms since I was about 14 years old, but Wire completely changed the way I understood punk- the approach taken on “Pink Flag” and the two subsequent LPs is overwhelmingly dynamic, and more or less took many of the tropes that I had become comfortable with in punk music and turned them inside out.

2. John Coltrane “A Love Supreme”

I have never heard a more expressive album and that includes all genres of music. my buddy Jeremy says that A Love Supreme is “Pain” coming through a saxophone, but I also hear a plethora of other emotions which creates a really beautiful push and pull between jubilation and sorrow, war and peace, dark and light. A Love Supreme has the power to change people. I know that it dramatically altered the way that I internalize music.

3. Toots and the Maytals “Sweet and Dandy”

I can’t think of a single record that I can go to the way that I can go to Sweet and Dandy. The record captures something that I am not really sure how to put a finger on. It makes me feel alive even with the knowledge that things are bad and helps me relax even when I am feeling strained and tense.

4. Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”

I started listening to the beach boys when i was in primary school- I had a walkman and listened to them every day on the bus during my 2+ hours of commuting via yellow wagon every day. I am not sure what caused them to stick with me, but something definitely did stick and they are kind kind of one of the constants that I have had in exploring all kinds of other music. Later on in my musical excursion, the Beach Boys (and the Byrds) got me interested in singing harmonies, writing songs with more texture and detail as well as writing pop music (in a broader sense of the term- my definition of pop music is kind of absurd, but that’s another story). Almost every aspect of the Beach Boys is out of control- emotionally driven, detail oriented, flawlessly orchestrated and executed. I would probably even contend that they are responsible for my appreciation of other full spectrum music such as Ride, Kitchens of Distinction, etc.

5. Fugazi “Steady Diet of Nothing”

I got Steady Diet of Nothing from the Dischord records mailorder because of my cousin Beev’s recommendation when I was 15 (I had heard KYEO played in some skate video I had seen that year). The Record completely blew me away- I had already heard a fair share hardcore and punk music at that point, but I had absolutely no idea what I was listening to. It was a pivotal moment in my growth as a listener and a musician- I started trying to learn how to use feedback on my guitar, became interested in dynamics and how standards of music could be challenged through approaching them from different angles. Fugazi’s Steady Diet of Nothing is still in a lot of ways the basis for my ethos in creating music, as it is a work of art, and a politically subversive one at that. SDON is also responsible for kicking off the endless quest to create and find wild and challenging music that I am still completely immersed in.

6. (Whoops) Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On”

The record is basically one 40 minute song that I can’t stop listening to. A lot of people talk about music as therapy, and something that can put your mind at ease even when you are in need of comfort and “What’s Going On” does that for me. I can’t think of a voice on a record more soothing than Marvin Gaye’s. He lived a tortured life, but left the world a true gift through his records- His pain, struggles, and passion can be felt 40 years after he created this masterpiece.

Locals! Some new titles we just added to Deep Search. Internet weirdos, the two on the left are also for sale at http://deadtank.storenvy.com

I first met Katy when booking her band, Del Cielo in Jacksonville. Her outspoken and thoughtful nature is invigorating. Both within and outside of the punk community, she’s a very present and passionate advocate for many social justice causes; reproductive justice, sexual violence prevention, domestic violence prevention. Her involvement and employment with Planned Parenthood, Service Women’s Action Network,  and Men Can Stop Rape, help tell the story of her importance in the community. She’s on the board for the experimental theater company New Paradise Laboratories. Her label,  Exotic Fever Records, has been releasing rare, infectious, and socially conscience music for 15 years. Her current band, Trophy Wife, is an amazingly powerful duo no person should go without hearing.  A true asset to the DC areas, and punks abroad - I was glad Katy could get back to me about the five records that changed her life.  


* Majority Rule “Emergency Numbers”

I wrote an essay once about the punk band Majority Rule. I called it ‘No Other Band Would’ and it was about every single way they as an entity went above and beyond. They were active and engaged community members. They wrote songs so fierce it could move entire rooms to ecstasy - I am not exaggerating. This album is pitch perfect, from production to packaging to lyrics to composition to delivery. If you like your heavy to be gorgeous, and if you like vocalists with heart you can hear, this is for you.

* Des Ark “Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker”

I really don’t have words for how important Aimee Argote’s songs and work have been to me over the course of my life. She has sonically exorcised not just my demons, but those of countless others - in particular women and queers often marginalized in punk communities with very few people singing and sharing what we know to be true. Ashley’s Song will resonate with me forever and has more than once helped me get up in the morning when a world replete with sexual violence is more than I care bear. This record and her work are like food for so many of us.

* Team Dresch “Personal Best”

From the very first riff of Fagetarian and Dyke, this album made my entire spirit soar. It’s truly the collective effort of each member, and served as my introduction to queercore. There are love songs on here and there are also songs about fighting to stay alive in a world that doesn’t support or protect or nurture you. I was like a schoolkid when I finally got to go to the Team Dresch reunion - and I’ve never seen a show that packed with that many women/trans folks. Jeez - they shredded, it ruled - so good. And the 3-5 (cis) dudes that were there - well, I gave them a nod of approval. Buy this record and you will play it til it breaks.  

* N.W.A “Straight Outta Compton”

This album made my pupils dilate and made me want to pick up books. I connect it to Zack de la Rocha and my beloved Rage Against the Machine, too, because RATM did a fantastic cover of Fuck tha Police that will make your hair stand on end.

NWA is fantastic, and I spun this record a lot. It also got me hooked up with the work of Chuck D of Public Enemy who sampled/referenced Fuck tha Police and also released the inspiring Fear of a Black Planet (that should really be on this list too). While NWA and Straight Outta Compton are my picks for top 5, I also want to talk about how they led me to Chuck D - who is a genius. It’s irrefutable. After listening to his music I was inspired to read his autobiography. Years ago I also had the awesome opportunity to go hear him speak on a panel with some RIAA heads and a Napster rep (this was a long time ago). He spoke at length about the needs for rap artists to control their own distribution and marketing, to not have to reside under the thumb of major labels so often run by people at odds with a musician’s politics. But he also took steps to control the means of production, through his website. Back to NWA - Straight Outta Compton is my favorite stuff that Eazy E has been part of. NWA’s work was also the subject of much scrutiny by groups like Focus on the Family who claimed the lyrics were capable of inciting violence. NWA actually referred to what they were doing as “reality rap” more than “gangsta rap.” It’s rumored that Chuck D once said “rap is black CNN.” Not everyone liked that assessment, but he has always had a way with words. Ice Cube (of NWA) and Chuck D would collaborate together later down the line too.

Whenever a punk says to me “I don’t like rap music,” I first cringe internally and then think: there is no possible way this person has heard Straight Outta Compton. It’s a fierce must-have.

* Fugazi “End Hits”

It’s kind of hard to pick a record from Fugazi that changed my life because it’s possible each and every one did in different ways. There is something seductive about this one, though. There are the moments when it bashes you over the head in a gorgeous frenzy - like with Five Corporations - then the moment it entrances you with Pink Frosty. The lyrics of Place Position have gone through my head with acuity at least once a week since I first heard the song. This band sets the bar insanely high for punk but also just music writ large. Artistry and conviction. Musical acumen and political insight. They have it all. I’m from DC and I would not be remotely near the person I am if at 16 I hadn’t stumbled to my first Fugazi show. They are IT - undeniably, without a doubt, forever.

Mixed bag of new stuff for mailorder at http://deadtankrecords.com . But don’t let buying records interfere with learning about the situation in Ferguson, or Gaza, or drones strikes or Guantanamo. Music is fun and meaningful, and getting records in the mail / collecting records is enjoyable. Don’t let smartphone culture (yes, you instagrammer!) or pop punk songs get in the way if understanding ‘larger’ issues in the world. Do yourself a favor and learn something about the world tonight. All of this information at our fingertips, and our sunken eyes and pale faces only lapsed into a coma of trite images and escapism. We need to keep punk smart and keep punk, well.. punk.

Ferguson. Insanity. “When do all the armed white ‘patriots’ show up to protect the unarmed black American kids from oppressive big government?” “Ferguson is useful in that it separates those who actually worry about the power of the state from those who just hate Obama and want to wave a Gadsden Flag around with their friends. Americans of both parties and all races should be concerned when we see police forces on our streets that look like armies of occupation, not our fellow citizens.”

Post Teens / Rose Cross test press is here! Sounds rad! Download digital ditties for free at http://deadtankrecords.com

Hexis “XI” Gatefold LP. Marble colored 180 gram vinyl starts shipping out tomorrow. http://deadtank.storenvy.com