The Minutemen (1984)
With its underground subcultures, the 80s boasted a lot of interesting groups that, despite their vision, led nowhere, influenced few, and became relegated to obscurity. Many of these injustices were corrected once word spread about their respective scenes, and the Minutemen were one such singular mutation.
This album’s confluence of styles is so unique (and would be so influential to the 90s indie scene) that it almost functions as a bizarre diary; a very personal, idiosyncratic look into the mind of its creators. Not that it’s a difficult listen; though sprawling and somewhat monotonous, every last track has at least a couple fun details. It exudes personality, cataloguing the band’s politics, personal lives, sense of humor, taste in music (via some random cover songs) and much more. The presentation of the material is constantly entertaining, even when all the angular riffs start blending together in your mind.
Alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ early work, the Minutemen were experimenting in funk, a typically black genre, and adding in a little punk, metal and jazz. This slick, rhythmic white modernization of such genres as ska and funk would be a huge trend in 90s rock, but it reached its peak with underground groups like the Minutemen. Double Nickels would prove to be their messy, overreaching masterwork after tragedy cut the band’s career short.
Key tracks: “Viet Nam”, “Jesus And Tequila”