Condemned to Combat 2020. Welcome to the future. It’s gonna suck. It’s the first edition of C2C for the new decade, and I’m pourin’ it on thick. This is The Best Of The Worst: So here’s a heavy dose of the music you love to hate.
Chronologically (as usual) we start with Kicker Boys self-titled ’89 LP. A classic of US Oi! This is really the only music they recorded.
There’s another record out there, but it’s just this entire album backed with another full length by Moonstomp. So it’s a weird kinda mega-split. Anyway, Kicker Boys are both beloved by fans of early American Oi! and also criticized for recording an album that was the the same song over and over again 14 times with different lyrics on each track. But that’s completely untrue. There’s actually 3 songs on this record with one of them being repeated 12 times. But who gives a shit about that. Kicker Boys kick ass! I recommend the tracks Handgun, Out From The Underground, and the anthem I Don’t Scare.
From 1995, Toughskins are up next with their debut Raised in Anger. The original Toughskins line-up on this record shows you what it means to be the Best of the Worst.
Rough and tumble Oi! dripping with aggro, plus lo-fi recording and don’t-give-a-shit attitude. I’m ready to kick down the fuckin’ walls every time I hear the lyrics
“He might smile and greet you / Or he might pull a knife / He’s not having a bad day / He’s having a bad life / ‘Cuz he’s a Skinhead!”
I think Adrian’s vocals were the glue that held this record together. Subsequent recordings by the Toughskins were decent, but the change of vocals ruined it for me. I believe Adrian has another band now, but I don’t remember the name. So look that up yourself. In the meantime – jam this in your earholes.
“To all you stupid people / Who think we sound like shit…”
Third in the line up is The Complete Studio Recordings of Warboots from ’99. This is basically just a full length LP being packaged as a compilation record for whatever reason.
Aside from this, Warboots only released one EP and a split with Guillotine, so this is the go-to recording. It’s raucous ugly Parisian Oi! that sounds wonderfully awful. Snare-march stomping tracks with belligerent gang vocals and French lyrics I don’t comprendre, with the exception of “Boot boys!” and “Skinhead!” naturally. So dig this, if you parlez-vous or not.
Get ready to have your cochlea abused because It’s A Thugs Life with Tattooed Mother Fuckers in 2005. I don’t know if this record is their best or their worst or both. They’re all astounding and they’re all horrible. Here we’ve got heavy-handed formulaic Oi! some pissed off booze soaked shopworn lyrics and a cover of my favorite Discharge song. Featuring long time British Oi!/R.A.C. vet Jonesy, it’s T.M.F. – the Pantera of Oi!
Next up is an episode from the strange saga that is Denver’s Total Annihilation. The Great Patriotic War finds them smack in the middle of their journey from shit-tier crustycore band to the first ever American SSS band. The first time I heard T.A. was on the Leaders of Today compilation from Charged Records‘ Punx Unite series.
At that point Total Annihilation was in their late 90’s-style streetpunk and commie sloganeering phase, and they contributed the track Hasta La Victoria Siempre from their ’03 album The Glorious Five Year Plan. Needless to say I was too busy digging into Raid and 86’d to pay attention to T.A. at the time. Prior to that they had put out a recording called Revenge! on Dead Baby Records which no one has ever heard and which has since been lost to time. Probably for good reason. Fast forward to 2008 and Jimi and crew had retooled and were laying bricks of patriotic American Oi! trending towards the skinhead rock n roll sound. The 180 degree ideological swing may seem odd at first glance, but if you know anything about the politics of working class Oi! it’s actually a fairly common progression. Their most recent album Total War showcases the heavy unabashed Sledgehammer influence and solid hard rock leanings and is probably their best album to date. But this is Best of the Worst, so it’s gotta be The Great Patriotic War with slammers like American Pride Skins and Stomp the Crust. Other highlights are slow jam The System and the Bring It Back cover of lesser-known Denver brethren Hardsole. From full-blown hammer and sickle studs and leather punks to all-of-our-records-are-banned-on-discucks Oi! Total Annihilation is bona-fide Best of the Worst.
“Proud to American proud to be working class / Skinheads go to work all day while crusties sit on their ass”
Last and not least but possibly worst: Smart Violence – For the Glory Days of R.A.C. from 2016. I don’t know much about this band. I’ll describe the album like this: It’s not good, but I like it. Smart Violence gives you standard issue Euro Oi! While it’s unoriginal, it is at least of the older-school German sound – as opposed to the truly awful contemporary shaved head pop punk travesty style regularly supplied by the continent – hence the album title. Lyrically it’s a mishmash of German and English. I don’t really sprechen and the English is rough, so you can’t even sing along much. The album art is terribly awesome.Their earlier stuff was even worse than this, and I’m hoping their newer shit is better (just got their album Hergestellt In Deutschland from 2019, but haven’t listened yet). Either way For the Glory Days of R.A.C. can close down The Best Of The Worst without any reservations. Von Nietzsche, Droogs, Und Ludwig Van!