Five For Friday: Musical Release Valves

It ain’t the easiest time to be young in America.  FR dig music.  Sometimes, the loud kind.  Or at least the angry sort.  Or just straight cock-grabbing badassery.

Tyler: Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters have released three great albums thus far into their career.  At their best, they’re melody meets rage.  I love them.

Nathan: Gang of Four, Solid Gold

In preparing my list, I realized that I don’t listen to a lot of angry music. I tried to get into Pantera and other metal groups in Jr. High, but I was doing it more to be cool with certain people than as an honest reaction to the music. Gang of Four never sounded exactly angry to me, even if there is a righteous indignation to their stuff. As with Rage Against the Machine, I don’t really get off on their politics much (some of it borders on the hilariously simplistic), but they are so much fun to listen to. Only James Brown did funk music better.

Travis: Blood for Blood, “Spit My Last Breath”

This song, a slow hardcore dirge, is like waking up with a hangover wondering if you killed someone the night before, the kind of music a favorite blogger of mine has termed “regretcore.” When you reach a point in your life where you realize every single decision you’ve ever made has been wrong, it’s time for this song.

Tyler: The Hives


Nathan: Helmet, Betty

For “Street Crab” and “Wilma’s Rainbow” alone this album deserves to be on my list. I know they pissed off a lot of metal fans with this album. Oh well.

Travis: Trash Talk, “Explode”

This is a fairly new entry in my musical release valve repertoire, having only come out last year, but its powerviolence blast is the kind of rush that makes me want to break everything in sight.

Tyler: Stones, Exile On Main St.

If this entry requires an explanation to you, dear reader, you need to get after it and get after it now.  Very possibly the best, very certainly the dirtiest, absolutely the nastiest rock ‘n roll album ever made.  Bonus: Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville is pretty fucking magnificent, too.

Nathan: Nirvana, In Utero

Nirvana was always more angry/depressed, which seemed to suit me better than straight angry. In Utero is far messier than the more popular Nevermind and it feels more direct for it. One of my fondest musical memories is of lying awake at night in sixth grade, after I was supposed to be asleep, listening to this album at full blast on my walkman cassette player. For confused teenagers, Nirvana didn’t exactly help you with your problems, but they gave you a chance to blow some steam…and feel sorry for yourself at the same time.

Travis: Fucked Up, “Baiting the Public”

Fucked Up are a hardcore band that has become the hardcore band that music critics and rock snobs like, and have done so by making epic, polished albums that are as much Use Your Illusion as they are basement show-friendly blasts. Don’t get me wrong, I like the direction they’ve taken, but when I need to blow off steam I don’t need the punk rock version of Bat Out of Hell, I need a song that starts out: “I want to smash your house / I want to scratch your car / I wanna fuck your wife / I want to break your life / I want to feel you snap / I want to hear you fucking crack!”

Tyler: Oasis

Oasis matured into one of the best, more contemplative rock bands of their era (before Our Kid went and fucked it all up, as ever), but their first album, Definitely Maybe, is a straight cannonblast of cocksure confidence, kicked off by one of the most badass, fuck-you-world-it’s-on songs and opening tracks of all time.  I’m a rock ‘n roll star.

Nathan: Sonic Youth, Evol

Dissonant music is a great release valve, and Sonic Youth are the reigning champions of dissonance. Even if Sonic Youth were never really pissed off much lyrically, the music could give you the wrong impression.

Travis: Refused, “New Noise”

“Can I SCREAM?!”

Tyler: Dr. Dre

Once upon a time, my n-wor’ ‘Pac would’ve topped this list, due to various wondrous tracks, most prominently, “Hit ‘Em Up,” which might be the angriest piece of music ever recorded.  (Which reminds me.  Senior year of college, one of my roommates brought in two of his Northern Kentuckian friends for a weekend that coincided with the NCAA Tournament.  Bearcat fans all, we were rather quite amped for the second-round tilt between UC and UK.  One of the friends revealed to us that he’d gotten fired up and either said or thought in the presence of some Wildcat friends, “Yeah, fuck you, motherfuckers, die slow.”  The other friend, eyebrows crunched, muttered “Jesus.  It’s just a basketball game.”)  Then I grew up and released that 93% of 2Pac’s material is torpedoed by the interminable misery that is OUTLAWZ.

Then I finally ripped my sister’s ancient copy of The Chronic onto my computer.  Game, set, motherfuckin’ match.  2001 kicks almost as much ass.  Seriously, Andre, I know they pay, but enough with the commercials and the headphone business.  It’s high fucking time we Detox.

Nathan: T. Rex, The Slider

There’s nothing even remotely aggressive in this album except Mark Bolan’s awesome guitar. If you wanted to give me a healthy way to deal with my anger, The Slider would be it. This is an album filled with intoxicating guitar riff after guitar riff. For me, it’s like a shot of adrenaline; it takes the angry edge off and leaves me feeling energized.

Travis: Black Flag, Nervous Breakdown EP 

American punk at its best packs a brief but lasting punch, and Black Flag’s first EP (and only with future Circle Jerks and OFF! frontman Keith Morris on vocals) does just that. Four songs in six minutes. The titles say it all—“Nervous Breakdown,” “Fix Me,” “I’ve Had It,” “Wasted”—but what many miss about Black Flag, and punk bands in general, is the dark sense of humor lying under the raw exterior. This is cathartic music, but it doesn’t only make you want to bust through a wall Kool-Aid Man-style, it also makes you laugh, and sometimes that’s the second-best medicine to crushing the skulls of your enemies.


One thought on “Five For Friday: Musical Release Valves

  1. Pingback: Five For Friday: Extended Players’ Club « Fully Reconditioned

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