Treble’s Top 100 Punk Albums

top 100 punk albums Cro-Mags90. Cro-MagsThe Age of Quarrel
(1986; Profile)

In 1986 this album bridged the gap between the metalheads and the punks. Not only were Cro-Mags highly proficient as musicians, but their songs held a commanding aggression. John Bloodclot’s muscular rants carried a street-wise wisdom, while Harley Flannagan’s basslines drove the songs with their brawny growl. Hardcore bands that came after aspired to have the same in-your-face attitude this album carried, but there’s nothing quite like being knocked on your ass the first time by Age of Quarrel. – Wil Lewellyn

top 100 punk albums Flipper89. FlipperAlbum: Generic Flipper
(1982; Subterranean)

Generic is not likely anyone’s definition of accessible. It’s a grinding, grueling, nihilistic slice of oddly philosophical punk. When Will Shatter sings “Ever sit in tormenting silence that turns so loud you start to scream/Ever take control of a dream, and play all the parts, and set all the scenes?“, there’s something truly cerebral and dark emanating from within. Generic is a dynamic work that combines elements of indie, grunge, and punk into a black hole of pure grit. – Brian Roesler

top 100 punk albums Operation Ivy88. Operation IvyEnergy
(1989; Lookout)

In the family tree of the Berkeley ska/punk scene, Op Ivy represents the roots. Although they only released one LP, Energy, in 1989, their legacy continued not only in bands who contain former members, like Rancid and Downfall, but in almost any group who bridged the gap between the reggae downbeats of ska and the full attack of punk. Op Ivy did both in the same album and often in the same song, with no apparent preference for either, but raw mastery of both. – Chad Gorn

top 100 punk albums Pylon87. PylonGyrate
(1980; dB)

R.E.M. and the B-52’s are the most notable names to spring up from the rich alternative landscape of Athens, Georgia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but post-punk four-piece Pylon staked an equally influential claim on the scene, still influencing Classic City bands to this day. Their first record, Gyrate, is an arty affair of off-kilter yet danceable rhythms, with singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay’s lyrically abstract, arresting delivery adding an air of wild abandon to its 16 tracks. – Andy Barton

top 100 punk albums Agent Orange86. Agent Orange Living in Darkness
(1981; Posh Boy)

Living in Darkness is a melancholy, gloomy and cynical work that revels in contemplative misery. Crusty, high-pitched guitars dominate the work, occasionally lapsing into groove-laden surf-punk instrumentals, only to crush the listener under tracks like “Everything Turns Grey.” The album is a melodic masterpiece of despairing harmonies and simply badass instrumentals. Agent Orange never managed to top this first record in terms of ambition and intensity, and its place in the punk canon is well deserved. – Brian Roesler

top 100 punk albums Reatards85. ReatardsTeenage Hate
(1998; Goner)

Twelve years prior to the late Jay Reatard’s tragic overdose, Reatard—accompanied by Steve Albundy “Reatard” on guitar and Ryan Elvis “Wong Reatard” on the drums—came forth with Teenage Hate, a repulsive, 18-track debut consisting of lo-fi Dead Boys covers and original tracks channeling The Stooges, Black Francis and The Oblivians. Teenage Hate shows Reatard at a young and vulnerable age, but looking back, Teenage Hate proves just how ahead of his time he really was: drunk, jaw-clenched and ready to fucking explode. – Timothy Michalik

top 100 punk albums Alkaline Trio84. Alkaline TrioGood Mourning
(2003; Vagrant)

Good Mourning is an excellent blend of pop sensibility and thematic implementation. Far from horror punk’s b-movie style or the extravagance of death punk, its lyrics focus on the horrors of man on a daily basis, loss, addiction, fury, a blackened kaleidoscope of death and sorrow sung with the greatest of glee, delivered with Matt Skiba’s broken snarl. There’s an immediacy, a desperation in every track that resonates still to this day. A brilliant and flexible work. – Brian Roesler

best Dischord tracks Rites of Spring83. Rites of SpringRites of Spring
(1985; Dischord)

One of Kurt Cobain’s all-time favorite albums, Rites of Spring’s debut is rare in that it matches its gut wrenching angst with irresistibly catchy hooks. Produced by Minor Threat’s Ian MacKaye, the album has the punchy, DIY ethos of most Dischord Records releases. Rites of Spring lent their voice to the growing Washington, D.C. punk movement, and though they would never make another album their legacy was cemented by the 12 uncompromising tracks contained here.  – Wesley Whitacre

Nirvana - In Utero Twin Cities albums82. NirvanaIn Utero
(1993; DGC)

Allegedly In Utero wasn’t quite the radio friendly unit shifter some at DGC expected. But while Kurt Cobain went further toward the manic edge in “Scentless Apprentice” and “Milk It,” his unofficial epitaph still kept its foot in the concrete of song structure in “Heart-Shaped Box,” “All Apologies” and “Serve the Servants.” Its reputation veers between unflinching self-portrait (“Pennyroyal Tea”) and, considering how everything turned out, a misdirection play (“Dumb”). Still, in more spots than not, it’s the equal to its predecessor Nevermind. – Paul Pearson

top 100 punk albums God is My Co Pilot81. God is My Co-PilotSpeed Yr Trip
(1992; The Making of Americans)

Queercore’s ground zero is also a glowing example of what punk should be; weird, noisy music for the truly marginalized. Speed Yr Trip is the rare work of art that can speak to an oppressed group without pandering to them. Lead singer Sharon Topper’s lyrics are surrealistic fragments of growing up queer, snapshots that any person who struggled with their identity can relate to come in and out of focus. The screeching, noise-jazz instrumentation is the perfect underpinning. Few albums spread empathy in this way. – Wesley Whitacre

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View Comments (12)
  • This is not the top 100 punk bands this is a joke you guys don’t know punk rock if it slapped you in the face some of the band’s are punk rock but most are not I have love that life for over 38 years And all my life I have ran into people like you on the streets get your facts straight green day is not punk iggy pop is not punk and over half of you bands are not punk so you should of called it too 100 rock bands so fuck off with this shit

  • Not much punk on this list. Treble is pretty close minded. Won’t touch the big boy punk bands. Didn’t even touch the punk band Big Boys. HAHA OH MAN.

  • Just when i thought metalheads were the close-minded…It turns out that title is already taken by the punk rednecks. Congrats, Pig Pen 😉

  • Ramones first album should be first. Most of punk was made off that album. Ramones are the founding fathers of punk

  • Disappointed to not see 7 Seconds somewhere on the list. The Crew and Walk Together, Rock Together were on pretty heavy rotation with many of the records.listed here.

    Was also hoping to see The Dead Milkmen, as it was the goofball entry point to punk for myself and many friends in the mid to late 80’s. Not the musically, or intellectually,
    challenging stuff but still had a noteworthy place in punk history

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