Six Best Lookout! Records Releases
3. Operation Ivy - Energy
If I am not mistaken, you get a free copy of this album when you buy your first skateboard.
2. Green Day - Kerplunk
Kerplunk is great, and it's functionally Green Day's last full blown, undeniable punk record. With that said,Kerplunk is not Green Day's best record, or second best record. It might be the band's third best, depending on your opinion of American Idiot. But it's an exciting record, because it documents a group on the brink, both creatively and commercially. "2000 Light Years Away" is so very close to being a hit song, and "Welcome To Paradise" only needed a major label budgeted re-recording to find a home on modern rock radio (back when there was such a thing). The only downside to Kerplunk is the superiority of Dookie, which is Green Day's best record (or second best, depending on your opinion of Nimrod). For Lookout!, this album bankrolled hundreds of subsequent releases and bankrupted the label when Green Day finally demanded its overdue royalties. It's easy to look down on Billie Joe Armstrong and friends for this move, but Lookout! was notorious for bad business with its bands and Green Day was reportedly tired of playing nice. And as they say, nice guys finish last.
1. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - The Tyranny Of Distance
The Tyranny Of Distance is not the most important or successful entry in the Lookout! Records catalog (see: #2 on this list). It is the most solid and endearing one, the early peak of one of the greatest living voices in punk rock. Yes, punk rock. Although the powers that be tend to shade Ted Leo under the indie rock umbrella, Leo is a believer, and it comes out so purely and effortlessly on Tyranny. He's Joe Strummer and Elvis Costello and Ian MacKaye and probably Bob Marley, too. With Tyranny, we get a sparkling sea shanty ("Biomusicology"), a too-fast New Wave cut ("Dial Up"), and a few sassy midtempo cuts ("The Great Communicator," "Under The Hedge"). And then there's "Timorous Me," a bouncy story song that turns into an Irish jig and then turns THAT into Steely Dan funk and, oh man, it shouldn't work at all but it totally does. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists sound nothing like other Lookout! bands, but the group fits in with the aesthetic of rock bands comfortably embracing their own pop. As far as legacies go, you could do worse.