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5/45s With Graeme MacKinnon of HOME FRONT

For our 5/45s feature, we ask musicians to walk us through some of their favorite singles. Whether they be influential, impossible to find, or just a prized possession, we love discovering the 2-3 minute tunes that inspire some of our favorite music.

In this week’s feature we get a walkthrough of Graeme MacKinnon’s current favorites. Not only is Graeme the frontman of Edmonton heroes Home Front, he’s also a serious collector and a wealth of punk knowledge. Check it out!

Photo: Kate Suter @rumble.rose

Undertones – Teenage Kicks (Good Vibrations Records, 1978)

“I can only speak for myself here, even though I feel many share this feeling, but when Billy Doherty’s opening snare-kick-snare-kick explodes from a speaker pure euphoria washes over me. “Teenage Kicks” is a promise to your body and soul that the next two and a half minutes are gonna be pure sonic bliss. Doesn’t matter how shit things are going in your life, or how bad a DJ is or how bad a mixtape is going, or how annoying some punishing dickhead is, because as soon as this bad boy starts it’s pure escape (probably why my band Home Front sampled Doherty’s drums for “Slice Of Paradise”). The Irish Pina Colada. Even though my sleeve is a bit roughed up, every little thing about my Good Vibrations copy is just perfect. The layout. The Good Vibrations odd shaped sleeve. The track order. The production. Their clothes. The photos. Goddamn these Irish lads nailed it and they were just babies. “Smarter Than You” is the ultimate Dr.Marten pogo launch pad, “True Confessions” is the tune you can robot to and “(Everybody Hates) Emergency Cases” is a bar room brawler to level whatever shithole this song is played in.”

The Cigarettes – They’re Back Again Here They Come (Company Records, 1979)

“Another perfect intro. The fade in piano with some cackling laughter hidden in the tape is such a beautifully devilish way to lead into an absolute scorcher of a tune. It’s the ultimate mix of Buzzcocks style power pop punk with a hint of Mod flavouring. Another super cool wrap around sleeve with fantastic photos and surly looking geezers in suits and turtle necks. The B-side “I’ve Forgot My Number Now I’m Telling You My Name” kicks off with one of the best caveman style drum and bass intro which makes you wanna bang your head through the speaker. But it’s the groove on “All We Want Is Your Money” that kills me. Again not the best musicianship, but it works and it grooves hard. Lyrics on this platter are also pretty tough and making fun of “punks” with swastikas is always welcome in this household. Great single that is pretty scarce these days. Detour records, put out a beautiful double LP reissue in 2002 that has this and their other singles alongside a gang of burly b-sides and live stuff.”

Discharge – Decontrol (CLAY RECORDS, 1980)

“This is definitely not an obscure title, but very autobiographical to this guy…and this single is not only a royal ass beater but my favourite Discharge release in an untouchable early discography. My older brother Luke got this mixtape from an older Punk guy in Edmonton we looked up to named Ter Ostapchuck (played in Glory Stompers, Systematics, Riot 99, Enchanters). This tape unlocked so many secrets for us young dummies. Chaos UK, Disorder, Crass etc… but it was the dubbed full “Decontrol” 7” that made me and my brother lose it and destroy our parent’s basement in full couch mosh fury. The out of tune guitar at the beginning of “No T.V. Sketch” is pure heaven. And talk about staying power. Over the years my brother and I have purchased this single several different times. Probably because we wear the shit out of them and need to re-up. I mean all the Discharge singles are essential, but this one with the collage artwork you can stare at for hours and the rough ass production (I think this is their first time attempting guitar overdubs?!!?) is so punk, it even motivated me mum to start huffing glue with us. Perfect noise.”

S.O.A. – No Policy (Dischord Records, 1981)

“This might be my number one favourite USHC slab. I mean it changes a lot, but currently Dischord No.2 gets the gold star. From the second the needle hits the grooves to “Lost In Space” it’s on and doesn’t let up until “Gonna Have To Fight” gets you tossed in the slammer. Henry Rollins is on point. Don Zientara’s production is perfect. The opening riff to “Public Defender” is one of the roughest riffs in DC history, which is saying a lot. My “Green Vinyl” original copy I scored off a lovely older punk in my hometown who decided to dump his Dischord singles to pay for new tits is one of my prized possessions. So thank you for that- love you. A jewel in my collection that gets played a lot. People who let historical punk singles sit there and gather dust are fucking dorks. Punk rules so play it loud!!!”

Malibu Kens – Be My Barbie (Exploding Debut, 1981)

“My hometown Edmonton Alberta is definitely a place most people couldn’t give two shits about and that’s just fine with me. Home of some great noise like S.N.F.U., Down Syndrome, Scattered Bodies, Rock & Roll Bitches and Modern Minds, but it’s this slab “Be My Barbie” by Malibu Kens that holds the secret anthem to all us northern punks and skinheads. The tune “Crude City” with it’s chorus ‘You don’t know what it’s like to live in Crude City…’ speaks to me and still gives me chills. Mike MacDonald who goes by “Mike Sinatra” on this (would later go on a drunken rampage with Jr. Gone Wild) is perfect snot-nosed youth on this. The music rips and the layout, particularly the insert poster, is extra special. Designed by “Kenny Chinn”, who you might know as none other than Mr. Chi Pig, the mayor of our sweet little greaseball home. Love the sick photo of the Alberta legislature grounds from our High Level Bridge in 1980, also a touch of class. Rest In Peace King Chi Pig, who has inspired a nation in this Crude City.”

Written By

Chicago based.

Sentient 51423

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