Treble’s Top 100 Punk Albums

top 100 punk albums Raincoats40. The RaincoatsThe Raincoats
(1979; Rough Trade)

Sometime earlier this year Audrey Gelman’s Brooklyn-based girls-only club The Wing began selling keychains with the phrase “girls doing whatever the fuck they want in 2017” etched into them. The Raincoats could have easily called their debut, self-titled album “girls doing whatever the fuck they want in 1979.” The Raincoats were an all-woman punk band that traded in the masculine aggression the genre was known for in exchange for intimacy and their trademark use of violin. That kind of daring revolution is the foundation upon which punk is built. – Wesley Whitacre


top 100 punk albums Siouxsie and the Banshees39. Siouxsie and the BansheesThe Scream
(1978; Polydor)

While Siouxsie and the Banshees is credited for helping to develop the post-punk genre, their debut LP, The Scream, introduces sonic experimentation to the existing British punk sound, kind of a pre-post-punk. Siouxsie Sioux was also responsible for a new style of vocalization—more of a call than a shout or a scream, infusing a sense of desperation into their raw sound and influencing a generation of Riot Grrrl acts. The Scream is bookmarked by anomalies to the genre: the slow, wailing opener “Pure” and the 7-minute Velvet Underground inspired “Switch.” In between is a wide range of innovation that stems from the naiveté of forgotten youth. – Chad Gorn


titus andronicus top 100 songs of the decade so far38. Titus AndronicusThe Monitor
(2010; XL)

Any guitar band with “heart” from New Jersey has probably been compared to Bruce Springsteen at least a dozen times, something Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles does not shy away from (even referencing it by name on the epic closer “The Battle of Hampton Roads”) on The Monitor. In the same way The Boss can move an audience to tears during a one-man Broadway show, Stickles and company connect just as deeply to fans while embodying perhaps a more powerful DIY aesthetic. Punk music has always thrived on untethered emotion, and The Monitor masterfully moves through both highs and lows. – Matt Perloff


essential Boston albums Modern Lovers37. The Modern LoversThe Modern Lovers
(1976; Berserkeley)

Not so much a punk album as it was a document for the future of punk, The Modern Lovers’ self-titled debut—and only official studio album—introduced the world to Jonathan Richman’s bizarre persona, paving the way for art-rockers and sensitive punks for years to come. Originally produced by Velvet Underground bassist John Cale, The Modern Lovers was heavily influenced by Cale’s previous work, finding a happy medium between sad-boy freak folk, proto-punk and stripped down, finely produced garage-rock. The nervousness and self-destructive tendencies of The Modern Lovers, simply put, is unlike anything else ever recorded, but it sure does help make sense out of Richman’s bizarre presence throughout the following decades. – Timothy Michalik


220px-Fucked_up_-_the_chemistry_of_common_life_(small)36. Fucked Up The Chemistry of Common Life
(2008; Matador)

Toronto hardcore punks Fucked Up sound exactly and nothing like a band called Fucked Up would sound. With a name this ostentatious and grating, the ambitiously orchestrated melodies, ideas and words poured into The Chemistry of Common Life seem unbelievable yet self-aware. The album’s overwhelming anthemic consistency and brainy lyricism makes it a true outlier on the hardcore punk spectrum. What sets Chemistry apart from its contemporaries is its incredible sense of atmosphere and immediacy. The warm pre-chorus tones on “Days of Last,” the boot-stomping vitality of “Black Albino Bones” and the invigorating transcendence of opener “Son the Father” all prove the timelessness of Fucked Up’s brilliant sophomore effort. – Patrick Pilch


Damned - Machine Gun Etiquette35. The DamnedMachine Gun Etiquette
(1979; Chiswick)

The Damned appreciated camp better than most. While The Misfits would pick up on their ghoul-rock aesthetic just a few years later, the UK punks were well into thrashing their way through cartoon goth with an extra helping of Halloween wink via vampiric, charismatic frontman Dave Vanian. That camp value is what makes third album Machine Gun Etiquette fun, driving the narrative of creature-feature love story “Plan 9 Channel 7” among other standouts, but the songs are uniformly brilliant throughout, whether taking the piss out of love songs in “Love Song,” diving into gothic psychedelia in “I Just Can’t Be Happy Today” or accomplishing their new wave epic “Smash It Up.” Machine Gun Etiquette is high-concept lowbrow, an art-punk statement that’s only meant to be taken as seriously as the listener cares to. – Jeff Terich


top 100 punk albums Descendents34. DescendentsMilo Goes to College
(1982; New Alliance)

This first full-length from the Manhattan Beach quartet is a pillar of Southern California’s multifaceted punk scene. Inspired by Milo Aukerman’s decision to (already) leave the band, it started to ascribe the band’s near-cultish philosophy around nerdist isolation. All The Descendents wanted was to drink coffee and play music—not sleep around (“Bikeage”), not fight with family (“Parents”), not be generally dysfunctional (“Suburban Home,” “I’m Not a Punk”). From this seed, the roots of pop-punk and emo sprung. – Adam Blyweiss


Bikini Kill pussy whipped33. Bikini KillPussy Whipped
(1993; Kill Rock Stars)

If you’re not totally committed to the cause after listening to “Rebel Girl” then I seriously question your punk rock credentials. Here is Pussy Whipped, the riot grrrl album. If you ever need a blueprint for punk rock feminism, look no further. Kathleen Hanna was the defining punk rocker of the ’90s and this is why. Touching on rarely explored topics such as female companionship and serving as a rallying cry to take down the patriarchy, Pussy Whipped is the feminist statement that keeps on giving. It sucks that its lessons haven’t all been learned by the listening public, but it’s still here to right those wrongs. – Wesley Whitacre


Richard Hell Blank Generation reissue32. Richard Hell and the Voidoids Blank Generation
(1977; Sire)

Both a foundational art-punk record (alongside Television’s Marquee Moon and Patti Smith’s Horses) and a rough draft for the outre prankster-like nature of Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys, Blank Generation is one hell of a good time. The anthemic title track, centered by Richard Hell’s warble-singing and the bluesy guitar interplay between Ivan Julian and Robert Quine, carries the weight of a demographic so thoroughly disaffected and furious at the betrayal foisted upon it by the powers that be. But the album isn’t all social despair. Tales of bizarre assignations and wild nights also abound, with Hell as the demented master of ceremonies leading the proto-punk band hired to play at a gig for lesser demons. – Liam Green


American post punk Mission of Burma Vs31. Mission of BurmaVs.
(1982; Ace of Hearts)

The line between punk and post-punk isn’t an arbitrary one, but it’s dotted. Boston’s Mission of Burma exist on both sides, expanding the former’s aesthetic possibilities and songwriting structures while maintaining its raw, primal energy and aggression. Vs., the sole full-length Mission of Burma released before a 20-year hiatus, is one of the heaviest post-punk albums of all time, all the while somehow managing to be its most nuanced. Listen between Roger Miller’s sharp jabs of guitar and Clint Conley’s concrete-brick basslines and the peculiar effects of Martin Swope’s tape loops reveal some odd sonic treatments that are more Eno than Albini. For all its innovations, Vs. still comes hard with its share of roaring, screeching rave-ups, ending with “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate,” as perfect an exclamation point to ever close an album. – Jeff Terich

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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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