Never Heard of 'Em
Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.
Finally, these famous skull guys! I'm glad to get around to them. Their signature janky skull-print back patch is so ubiquitous, it seems funny to realize I've absolutely never heard the music. I didn't even know whose skull art that was until it finally appeared in a K-pop video a couple years ago, and I had to look it up. Once your fashion is being appropriated in Asian pop music, you've really made it, y'know?
And it turns out the Misfits are totally palatable for someone like me who isn't so patient with punk. I did have to listen to them on literally the lowest volume my computer would make (one little volume dot!). So what? I can hear it just fine like this, thanks! They have good driving drums and "whoa-ohhh"s and they're not using a whole garage worth of tools to make sounds. It's just dudes hanging out, having some semi-angry feels, and trying to sound tough.
I'll warn you, though, it's not innocuous. Bobbing your head along, you may realize you're rocking out to the peppy "Last Caress," with lyrics like "I got something to say/I killed your baby today... Well I got something to say/I raped your mother today." Erm, okay. Kind of a predictable direction for your shock value. But each song is only like two minutes long, so you just zing along to the next one and forget he was ever killing anybody.
For all their back-patchery and the grodiness of some of their lyrics, I expect 'em to be way more screamy. But they hold it together for the whole album, just punking along and singing over actual tunes. The beginning 10 seconds of drumbeat on "Come Back" is almost worth listening to the whole album; it's a thing your brain gets stuck on but can't repeat by itself. It's okay to replay it a bunch of times.
According to all relevant research tools, the lead singer of the Misfits is Glenn Danzig, who sounds familiar. Apparently he was really into horror movies and had a resulting devilish hairstyle. I wanted to find a lot of earnest rebellion and political leanings in their biography, but found only skulls. So while this is a good Halloween pick, it was disappointing, since I turned to it in a rebellious mood, hoping for a little substance. I listened to it outside in the cold and fog drinking whiskey and chain-smoking, but all that happened was Danzig crowing, "Little Angelfuck, little Angelfuck" and something about wounds. Not revolutionary. Still, if you're looking for an old punk band to start with, this is a totally listenable choice that your ears can survive and enjoy. Don't hurt your neck nodding along—it's contagious.
I give it a "just wait for the rock piano" out of 10.