The Muffs: Blonder And Blonder (1995)

I was saddened to read of Muffs' singer/guitarist/songwriter Kim Shattuck's passing yesterday.  While never achieving quite the level of success they deserved, the Muffs were a reliably solid band both in the 90s and upon their recent reunion (they have an album due out shortly).

1995's Blonder And Blonder, their second, is the perfect encapsulation of pop-punk:  two minutes, three chords, raging energy, and fun lyrics, only without the macho, sophomoric crap that muddies up much of the genre.  But what really sets them apart, of course, is Shattuck's gale-force vocal delivery, ranging from charming restrain to full-on lung-shredding shouts (without ever losing the tuneful hooks).  Back when this came out, it was my go-to rave-up album, the disc I'd pull out if I needed to jump-start my morning commute or wake myself up before a night out.

The album is pretty consistent from start to finish, with plenty of stand-out tracks perfect for your 90s mix-tape.  Personal faves include the relentlessly infectious rocker "I Need A Face," a vocal tour de force; the cleaner-sounding, 60s retro-pop of "End It All"; the rapid-fire one-two crunch of opening anthem "Agony" and follow-up track "Oh Nina," the latter with more of those throat-shedding vocals that have gotta hurt; and the jangly straight-out pop of "Won't Come Out To Play," reminiscent of late 80s indie pop groups like the Primitives.

The album's definitely worth checking out, but their whole discography is loads of fun.  She'll be missed.

Here's the video for "Sad Tomorrow":
Here's a fun little bit for "Oh Nina":
And here's a live take from a few years back on "I Need A Face":