Notes From The Underground – The Lawrence Arms’ Mixtape

Okay, this is a list of some songs I’m super into. Right away, I’d like to point out that none of these are ironic choices, these are all songs I genuinely dig.

‘Rags And Bones’ by Nomeansno
‘Attitude’ by Misfits
‘Stronger’ by Britney Spears
‘No Control’ by Bad Religion
‘I’m Me’ by Lil Wayne
‘Back To The Youth’ by Cobra Skulls
‘Lilith Avi’ by The Menzingers
‘Pancho And Lefty’ by Townes Van Zandt
‘Pet Sematery’ by Ramones
‘Skate Or Die’ by Teenage Bottlerocket
‘I Was Stabbed By Satan’ by K’naan
‘Ray’ by Millencollin
‘Arrhythmic Palpitations’ by Dead To Me
‘Old Friend’ by Rancid
‘Die While We’re Young’ by A Wilhelm Scream

I heard ‘Stronger’ by Britney the other day and I was blown away by how amazingly she riffs with her improvised vocals at the end. Truly awesome note choices. Likewise, ‘I’m Me’ by Lil Wayne is one of the singularly most awesomely strange songs I’ve ever heard. When he says “No, I’m not positive, I’m definite” I feel a little bit humbled as a lyricist. That’s an attention to detail that you don’t usually expect dudes that are drunk off their dicks on cough syrup to have.

A lot of the other choices here are either really definitive songs by bands that need no introduction (‘Attitude’ by the Misfits) or by bands that should need no introduction, but unfortunately do (‘Rags And Bones’ by Nomeansno) and a few of my faves by some up and comers that I think are really, really worth hearing. Every one of these songs has legitimately blown my mind at one point or another. K’naan is one of the most uplifting and awesome artists I’ve heard in my life. He’s a Somalian guy and his songs are about overcoming the most impossible obstacles that this world has to offer, and this particular song has a mind blowing chorus and bridge.

‘Pet Sematery’, while not a hugely popular choice is my absolute favorite Ramones song. It’s somehow dark and Ramones-y at the same time. No easy feat, man. ‘No Control’ is the song that completely changed my life. Hearing it for the first time, I was suddenly made aware that music could be cool, tough and smart at the same time. ‘Die While We’re Young’ may be the most uplifting and triumphant song that any Massachusetts auto mechanics have ever written about complete failure, and ‘Arrhythmic Palpitations’ might be the danciest song ever written about shooting coke into your dick.

When I heard the chorus of Teenage Bottlerocket’s ‘Skate Or Die’ for the first time, I was pretty fucking stoked. The phrase ‘don’t be a pussy’ isn’t thrown around in rock’n’roll nearly enough. ‘Ray’ by Millencolin is just such a fun song that it can’t be denied. Even after a long, grueling day of (for example) being called a pussy by mechanics shooting coke into their dicks, this song will always bring a smile to my face. The Menzingers are the masters of the slow build, and ‘Lilith Avi’ is the best example of that restraint and ultimate explosion that punk rock has seen in a long time. The Cobra Skulls are probably the coolest young band out there right now and the acoustic breakdown and subsequent ass pummeling in ‘Back to the Youth’ is absolutely the most uplifting ten seconds on this entire playlist. ‘Pancho And Lefty’ is probably my favorite song in the world if I had to pick one at gunpoint. Also, Townes Van Zandt gets points for huffing airplane glue until he had to knock his stuck together teeth out of his face with a hammer. That’s rock’n’roll.

Some of my favorite bands in the world haven’t made this list (Propagandhi, Judas Priest and Rolling Stones are obvious absences) but these are a few of the songs I’m really digging these days. Enjoy!

Click here for more info on The Lawrence Arms’ upcoming EP ‘Buttsweat And Tears’

Click here for Brendan Kelly’s blog