by Dan Taylor
In my 36 years on this planet, I’ve lived a fair number of places in the US. From San Francisco, to Eugene, Oregon to New York City, and I can say in all seriousness that West Virginia is a punk rock mecca. We have such an unknown and wonderful history here, as well as so many current DIY punk venues and bands. Throughout my youth in the late 90s to mid 2000s, I recall all ages spaces and house venues in Saint Albans, Huntington, Charleston, Montgomery, Morgantown and more.
Still today there are great spaces like the Queer Agenda and Kinship Goods in Charleston, the 505, the Cricket Cave and Fort Nothing in Huntington, Locust Street in Hurricane and many other spaces I know nothing about where bands are playing and keeping this scene alive and thriving.
But, I wanna take a minute to honor the history of punk rock bands in West Virginia by listing my personal top three albums. Here goes!
Top three classic West Virginia punk albums from third to first:
3. Truck Grind Your Face – S/T – 2001
Morgantown crusty hardcore at its finest. Throw in some skate punk and thrash elements, you have a true banger of an album. A cassette only release, but available to stream online nowadays, this classic features songs such as “Bite the Hand that Feeds You,” “Wake Up, America,” and “Take Back the Night.”
2. Th’ Inbred – Legacy of Fertility – 2009 compilation
Another Morgantown band, formed in 1984, the Th’ Inbred combined punk rock and jazz-like virtuosity into a high energy, turn on a dime, tour de force. They released two full length albums, Family Affair’ and ‘Kissin Cousins’ and the ‘Reproduction’ EP, all of which are contained on this anthology released by Alternative Tentacles, the record label started by Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. A must have for any West Virginia punk fan. Highlights include, “Scene Death,” and “Baby, Let’s Play Exile.”
1.Appalachian Terror Unit – Armageddon won’t be brought by gods… – 2007
Huntington crust punk legends, Appalachian Terror Unit’s first release came right out of the gate swinging! Hyper heavy, hyper political, this five piece version of the band was a force to be reckoned with. One of the most important and influential crust bands period, they are also one of the most important bands to come out of West Virginia period, punk or not, and are still going having recently toured Europe in July. Intense dueling vocals belt out tracks such as, “Enslaved,” and “Endless Bloodshed.” Must have for all collectors and their label, Profane Existence, is now based out of Huntington!