Treble’s Top 100 Punk Albums

top 100 punk albums Murder City Devils80. Murder City DevilsIn Name and Blood
(2000; Sub Pop)

The use of organ on this album not only set Murder City Devils apart from other punk bands, it infused their music with a touch of evil. This is one of the darkest punk albums of all-time, with songs about suicide pacts and acts of drunken desperation. It’s a lot more sophisticated than just 1, 2, 3 go..! It’s punk, but it’s highly emotive and with honest tales of degradation set to music. It’s beefed-up psychedelic garage rock with the chaotic rage of a biker gang high on mescaline.  – Wil Lewellyn


top 100 punk albums Elvis Costello79. Elvis CostelloThis Year’s Model
(1978; Radar)

Let’s be clear—Elvis Costello was punk rock well before his second album, This Year’s Model. He packed his debut album My Aim Is True with more than its share of venom, but it took a year and a lineup change—swapping American pub-rock band Clover for The Attractions—for Costello to sound like a punk. Pete Thomas’ no-two-measures-are-the-same drum fills on leadoff track “No Action” set the tone for a double-speed race through breakups, fascism and tiresome culture. Later editions would include the single “Radio, Radio,” but this rebellion needs no extra push. The Angry Young Man’s already seething.  – Jeff Terich


top 100 punk albums Brainiac78. BrainiacHissing Prigs in Static Couture
(1996; Touch and Go)

Brainiac’s story is a tragic one, the band’s frontman Timmy Taylor dying in a car accident in 1997 shortly after they had signed to major label Interscope. Yet in their all-too-short time together the band made some truly spectacular and wonderfully weird sets of noisy, jittery synth-punk, climaxing with this 1996 LP. Recorded with Eli Janney of Girls Against Boys, Hissing Prigs turned up the band’s idiosyncratic sound with punchier production, visceral stomps like “Vincent Come On Down” and no shortage of weird, unsettling effects. It’s punk at its most peculiar and left-field. – Jeff Terich


essential proto-punk tracks Kick out the Jams77. MC5Kick Out the Jams
(1969; Elektra)

Before punk was punk, the blues and garage rock-influenced MC5 was playing it loud and fast. Their first album, recorded live at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, was as much a call to political action as it was to get down—the original recipe of punk. The record’s energy is palpable, as Rob Tyner and Wayne Kramer’s entreaties to testify and kick out the jams are met with roars and applause from the crowd. – Andy Barton


top 100 punk albums Half Japanese76. Half Japanese1/2 Gentlemen 1/2 Beasts
(1980; Armageddon)

Depending on how you define punk this could very well be the most punk album ever made. That is to say Jad and David Fair gave absolutely zero fucks when they spread their zany dissonant sarcasm across 50 tracks and three CDs. Is it no wave? Is it Krautrock? Is it noise? It’s all those things and more. If punk is the utter embodiment of youth—messy, funny, anxious, manic—then ½ Gentlemen ½ Beasts is as punk as punk can be. – Wesley Whitacre


top 100 punk albums Green Day75. Green DayDookie
(1994; Reprise)

From the 1970s forward, artists who embraced punk and entered the mainstream were usually playing either punk offshoots (New Wave, grunge) or hyphenates (post-punk). Excepting The Clash, no band other than Green Day did so much to get actual, honest-to-goodness punk sounds and disaffectation onto pop charts and into big stadiums. “Longview,” “Welcome to Paradise,” “She,” “When I Come Around” and “Basket Case” formed the alpha and omega of the 1990s punk revival. – Adam Blyweiss


top 100 punk albums Mekons74. MekonsThe Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll
(1989; A&M)

More than a decade after first debuting with a set of politically-charged post-punk, Leeds-based genre smashers The Mekons took a brief foray through major label territory with the aptly, slightly ironically titled The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll. A commercial flop but a critical favorite, Rock ‘n’ Roll is every bit its namesake, layered with big guitars and sardonic humor (that’s Elvis on the cover, if you couldn’t tell). But most of all it’s an album of massive guitars and rebellion through volume, big-label backing be damned.  – Jeff Terich


overlooked records 2014 White Lung Deep Fantasy73. White LungDeep Fantasy
(2014; Domino)

Few albums outside of extreme metal, noise and industrial are as immediately pulverizing as the first several minutes of White Lung’s third album. (It doesn’t really let up at all during its 22-minute runtime, but “Drown With The Monster” and “Down It Goes” alone are an aural workout.) Lead guitarist Kenneth William’s riffs can, at times, go blow-for-blow with Kurt Baillou of Converge—it’s that intense; though the stylistic aims differ somewhat. Yet vocalist Mish Barber-Way is the real star of White Lung’s show, tackling rape, reproductive rights and numerous other topics little explored in such a male-dominated genre. – Liam Green


top 100 punk albums Sex Pistols72. Sex PistolsThe Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle
(1979; Virgin)

Malcolm McLaren’s revision of the Sex Pistols’ history as a long con produced a batshit crazy movie and a purposely uneven soundtrack album. After deflating the Johnny Rotten era with unrehearsed covers and outtakes, McLaren reinforced the Pistols’ standing as classically British agitators with an orchestral cover, a disco medley, an obscene sea shanty, a series of new lead-singer auditions disguised as the title song, Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, and whatever the hell Tenpole Tudor was doing. It’s a tremendously fun, humorously self-aware achievement. If this is what being cheated sounds like, help yourself to my traveler’s cheques. – Paul Pearson


Joyce Manor Never Hungover Again71. Joyce ManorNever Hungover Again
(2014; Epitaph)

A bite-sized sonic blitz of emo-tinged punk, Joyce Manor’s Epitaph debut clocks in at a shockingly brief 19 minutes. During that time every hook continuously builds on the last, getting bigger and yet surprisingly more intimate as the album progresses. Like insight into a journal of youth and its perils, the album is not quite angry, certainly not quite happy, but occupying a wonderful middle space of ennui. Boredom and pain have never sounded so wonderfully joyful and catchy. – Brian Roesler

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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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