Two albums to listen to: A pair of poignant punk projects

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Punk band Wire changed the future of British punk rock with the release of their album Pink Flag.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Phil Sharp

Pink Flag — Wire

Possibly the most original album to come out of the initial wave of British punk, Pink Flag sounds like punk went to art school and refined itself down to its core, forgoing the predictability of groups such as the Ramones for oversimplified chord progressions and a strong message.

In under 36 minutes, Wire cranked out 21 songs full of dissident sounds and interplay between instruments. Lead singer Colin Newman can be hard to make out at times because of the strain on his vocals, but his abstract lyrical delivery ties into the album’s sound perfectly, creating a concentrated impact with such a small number of notes.

Considering how minimal this album is, Wire manages to cram in a vast range of sounds, transitioning from its signature slow and haunting guitars to power pop and even hardcore vocal rants from track to track. Wire’s influence can be seen in British punk, directing the genre down a path with more dynamic and simpler sounds for the better.

Tracks to listen to: “Ex Lion Tamer,” “Mannequin,” “1 2 X U”

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Out of Step — Minor Threat

Sometimes all it takes is one album to make a band the stuff of legends, and in Minor Threat’s case, Out of Step did exactly that. 

Providing a blueprint for future hardcore punk bands, Minor Threat emerged from the Washington D.C. scene as a pioneer in the DIY style, marketing, distributing and promoting its music on its own. Minor Threat actually started the straight edge movement, a trend that centered around the avoidance of drug and alcohol abuse, withing punk, with their song “Straight Edge” at the heart of the crusade.

These nine songs made a massive impact, discussing personal and social politics with a fiery revivalist sound few bands could match. Their songs were as straightforward as they were impactful, poking fun at everything, including the band’s own image and the looming worries of modern society.

Tracks to listen to: “Betray,” “Look Back and Laugh,” “No Reason”

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