19. Minutemen Double Nickels On The Dime

(SST, 1984)

A sprawling and thrilling double album with over 40 songs, the Minutemen’s Double Nickels On The Dime is one of the best records to come out of the punk rock explosion.

The title of the LP is a clever mocking of US conservatism, specifically the US highway imposed speed limit of 55mph (the cover depicts Mike Watt driving exactly 55 approaching their hometown of San Pedro). The band’s defiant left-wing politics feature heavily in the lyrics of many of the songs, but the strong melodies and constant stylistic changes are the most immediately noticeable facets of the album.

D. Boon sings and plays lead guitar as if his life depends on it, and the driving, elastic bass of Mike Watt and frantic drumming of George Hurley are a perfect foil for the big man. There are so many gems here, not least the moving and funny ‘History Lesson, Pt. 2′, ‘bluesy lament ‘Jesus and Tequila’ and pounding ‘Two Beads At The End’.

The anthemic ‘Corona’ – which became the band’s most well-known song after the MTV prank show Jackass used it as its theme – is arguably the album’s ultimate highlight.

Tragically, the Minutemen would come to an abrupt end following Boon’s death in a van accident in December 1985, but their indelible mark on punk rock was already well made. A must-have record that is great for punk fans hitting the road.

Try also: Minutemen 3-Way Tie (For Last) (SST, 1985).