In 1983, punk got ultra-serious in Philadelphia. The grim, gritty underbelly of the city was exposed for what it was by one group of punks out to dismantle the system: The Dead Milkmen.
OK, so that’s totally not how it was. The Dead Milkmen was a band that created jokey, jangly music behind the guise of awesome nicknames. As one of my colleagues aptly put it, “They’re terrible, but they’re amazing.” What he meant was that they’re not the type of band who middle school punk bands cover because they’ve got the sneered lip attitude toward the government. They’re the band who sneers at Jerry Lewis on Labor Day. They’re the band that goofs on The Doors. They’re the slacker punks whose sense of humor garnered at least some mainstream success in the early ’90s.
The Dead Milkmen – “If You Love Someone Set Them On Fire” (from Death Rides A Pale Cow)
After their reunion show at the Fun Fun Fun Fest last year in Austin, The Dead Milkmen have reunited for a few more shows and, fingers crossed, maybe some new material. This week, they’re playing two shows as part of Riot Fest (the festival that brings us shows from NOFX, Butthole Surfers, Screeching Weasel, and many others). The first show is at the Congress Theater on Oct. 9, and the second show is on Oct. 10 at the Metro.
Here’s a list from Joe Genaro, also known as Joe Jack Talcum.
1) The Bassturd – “Bling Ballz” – “A catchy rap about bedazzling your testicles. I was on tour with The Bassturd for two weeks this month and heard this song almost every night. Now I have it in my iTunes.”
2) Samuel Locke-Ward – “Making Lemonade” – “This songs cheers me up when things are going extremely wrong, which is most of the time. It’s by Samuel Locke-Ward who was also on tour with The Bassturd and me this month. I heard him perform it just about every night, a different way each time. The album version caught me completely off guard when I first heard it, with a bass line that was never in the live version, but I eventually came to accept and enjoy it.”
3) Wilco – “Everlasting Everything” (from Wilco The Album) – “This is like the ‘A Day in the Life’ of the recent Wilco album, both grand and ethereal, and I tend to latch on to those types of songs for a while.”
4) Death Vessel – “Block My Eye” (from Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us) – “I have no idea what the lyrics mean, but I like the sounds, the voice, and the light, happy sounding tune.”
5) Radiohead – “Reckoner” (from In Rainbows) – “I like most of the music Radiohead makes, but this one has been sticking out for me recently. Maybe it’s the percussion in the beginning. It fits my many moods.”