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1976–1983: Military dictatorship years
1976 is the year in which punk music started to emerge in the United Kingdom with bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash. That same year a military dictatorship known as National Reorganization Process began in Argentina. The repressive policy of the military government against the dissidents was to kidnap them (the disappeared and became desaparecidos), torture, and murder them in illegal concentration camps.
Considering the political background and the obvious censorship, the anarchic and revolutionary ideas of punk rock where prohibited and so from the first years of the Argentine punk rock are poorly documented, mainly because it took place in an extremely underground scene. Because of this adverse context, the birth of punk rock in Argentina has an heroic and almost mythical status. In 1982 Argentina lost the Falklands war to the United Kingdom. This did not help the popularity of UK-inspired punk even after the censorship was over.
The first Argentine punk bands were:
- Los Laxantes (1979–1983): featured Félix Sagnia (bass) and Gamexane (guitar) among their members. Both of them would later become the founding members of the infamous Todos Tus Muertos in 1985. The band only recorded one demo.
- Alerta Roja (1981–1987) : Bandmembers Pablo Strangler (guitar) Fernan (drums) Daniel (bass) and Mongo (voice) later Chiflo(sax)and Ucci (guitar) who replace to Pablo Strangler. One most popular band together to Los Violadores in the begin from the movement and maybe the most political group. Discography: "Derrumbando La Casa Rosada" 1983 and "El Llanto Interior" 1985 recorded in independent way.
- Los Baraja (1981–1984): their sound could be compared to the Sex Pistols and Dead Boys. Along with Los Violadores, they were the only ones to play UK punk rock in Argentina. The bandmembers were Basura (drums), Alejandro (bass), Marcelo "Vil Baraja" Montolivo (Guitar), Marcelo Poca Vida (voice). Poca Vida would later become a member of the punk band Cadáveres de Niños.
- Los Testículos (1979–1981): according to urban legend, this band was offered the first punk gig in Argentina in 1979. The band featured among its members Hari B., Stuka and Sergio Gramática, who would later become Los Violadores.
- Los Violadores (1980–1992, 1995–2011): the band was the result of Pil Trafa (voice) meeting the members of Los Testículos. They would become the most important and influential punk band from the early years, probably because they recorded several albums and managed to stay together for a while. They were the only ones to dress up like The Clash and Sex Pistols and their early lyrics would often criticize the military dictatorship even during the time of repression. Their songs "1, 2, Ultraviolento" (inspired on the movie A Clockwork Orange) and "Represión" became official anthems of the punk scene.
- Sumo (1981–1987): they never wanted to be considered as a punk rock band, but many people consider them so. Their singer Luca Prodan had lived in the United Kingdom until 1981 and had experienced the birth of the punk movement. Their style was based on a mix between the sound of The Clash, reggae music and post-punk or new wave bands like Joy Division (Prodan was a close friend of Ian Curtis). Their legacy in the history of Argentine punk is that they brought new musical styles to the ears of the local punks that would later influence many bands that came after them.
When the military government ended in 1983 and Raúl Alfonsín's democratic government (1983–1989) started, a new generation of punk bands was born in Argentina. An important album from those years was the compilation Invasión 88 released by Radio Tripoli Records in 1988; a year in which several punk bands started to become popular, and yet most of them were unable to release an album due to financial circumstances. Invasión 88 featured songs by earlier punk bands that had already split up, such as Los Laxantes and Los Baraja, and newer bands such as Attaque 77, Exeroica, Rigidez Kadaverica, Flema, División Autista and Conmoción Cerebral. For many of those bands, those are the only recordings left to this day. The album was criticised by some bands who refused to participate in the album (such as Cadaveres de Niños and Todos tus Muertos) because the compilation featured two songs by far right skinhead Oi! band Comando Suicida.
Bands of the period
Some current bands are:
- Argies (1984–present): Band from Rosario, often compared to The Clash. The name "Argies" is the pejorative apocope for "argentine", expression extensively used by the English soldiers during the war in Malvinas (Falkland) in 1982. Even though their musical root is the British punk from the seventies, the band's lyrics have a testimonial style and, nowadays, turning to a deeper search into the inside of human ethic. Unlike most bands, which have fixed members, Argies works as a cooperative of independent musicians. Each member that comes into the band plays until their personal and free decision to leave, helping to create a cultural movement across the years. Performances in 42 countries: With many shows in Argentina, Argies also has played 891 shows in Europe, 66 shows in Latin America and 36 shows in Asia (14 shows in China) between 1996 to 2013.
- Morgue Judicial(1983–1987): Sound like mix of Sex Pistols & Dead kennedys. Nihilism to the extreme and too much power in live gigs. Risk (frontman), MLT (Guitars), Jeronimo Punx(bass), Morbus(sax), Magoo(drums). Their songs:"Fecundación", "Anarquistas" and "Piether Botha" are the powerful sample of their sounds.
- Todos Tus Muertos (1985–present): most of the early bands tried to emulate The Ramones but Todos Tus Muertos wanted to go further and incorporate new styles. At the beginning of their career, their sound was heavily influenced by early hardcore punk bands such as Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains; death rock and goth rock bands such as Virgin Prunes, and reggae bands. Quite soon, they became the rulers of the new generation of punk bands in Argentina, but moved on and ended up playing more reggae than punk.
- Cadáveres de Niños (later Cadáveres): its members were Lula (drums), Jorge Gipsy (guitar), Marcelo Poca Vida (member of Los Baraja), Pablo Strangler (guitar) and Patricia Pietrafesa (bass). Pietrafesa would later move on and start She Devils; she was also the publisher of the fanzine Resistencia, the very first punk publication in the country.
- Attaque 77 (1987–present): their style was quite close to the style of The Ramones.
- Flema (1987–2002): when several bands were becoming overtly political, Flema decided to celebrate the most self-destructive side of punk. Attitude, alcohol, drugs and sex were the topics of their songs. Ricky Espinosa was often so drunk during their concerts that he could barely stand up. They probably became the most legendary and influential punk band from Argentina. The band ceased to exist in 2002 when Ricky Espinosa committed suicide.
- División Autista: had its origins in the Caballito neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in mid-1986 with influences from punk rock, but for their first show in 1987, their sound was influenced by American and English Punk and Hardcore American, the first of his country HC band and the first to promote a questioning attitude StraightEdge with automatic social attitudes and a clear anti-materialist concept.
As an idea favored unit of cultural movements, punk, metal, etc. His influecias were The Clash, Crass, Joy Division, Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies, 7 Seconds, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Dagnasty, Cromags, etc.
Its members were, Fabian (Pil) Guitar, Paul (Bonzo) Bass, Emilio (Iguana) Voice, Martin (Tano) Battery. His first appearance was in the late Bar Container. They then shared the stage with several Palestinian Massacre, corrosives, Judicial Morgue, antiheroes, etc.. In that same year they recorded in studio with Massacre Palestina, six subjects not yet published, that would be part of the fourth seal EP Music Radio Tripoli, were separated after the agreement with Radio Tripoli, recording in the studio chair the Buccaneers, three themes "Nobody will change me", "StraightEdge" and "the Killing Fields", the last two would be part of the compiled Invasion '88.
1990 and later
In the late 1980s, a new musical scene started: the Buenos Aires Hardcore.
New bands like Existencia de Odio (E.D.O.), No Demuestra Interés (N.D.I.), Differentes Actitudes Juveniles (D.A.J.), Minoría Activa and Fun People started to bring new styles to the local scene of Argentina.
- Drogadictos(1999–present):Probably the most raw band the buenos aires rock scene has ever witnessed.
- 2 Minutos (1987–present): One of the most famous punk bands in Argentina during the 1990s, highly influential across the Spanish-speaking world, and the only one who got to play in the USA. Quite soon they became extremely popular due to some radio hits like the anti-police song "Ya no sos igual". They became targets of criticism by older members of the scene like Pil Trafa (singer of Los Violadores) because their 'mediocre' lyrics were always about beer, football and getting drunk.
- Fun People (1989–2000): Their lyrics and style introduced new subjects that the previous punk bands had often ignored: criticism of the traditional gender roles, vegetarianism, the right of legal abortion and gay rights. However the band would often mix their political ideas with nostalgic love songs that made them get closer to The Smiths than to any punk band. They toured the USA many times. In 2000, Fun People ceased to play and its lead singer started a solo project as Boom Boom Kid, however the other members of the band have joined him in a few gigs as guests, and Fun People has played that way a few times after the year 2000.
- El Otro Yo (1989–present): some people classify their music as punk rock, others as grunge music. Now it is better described as alternative rock, which in Argentina is different from alternative music in the rest of the world. The became commercially successful and have released many records through their independent label Besotico Records. They have a huge following and their fans define themselves as alternative people. They share a lot of their fanbase with Fun People and both were responsible for the development of the "alternative" subculture.
- Minoría Activa (1991–present): they started to play in the Buenos Aires Hardcore scene. Their style is a mix of metal, punk, hardcore and hip-hop with strong influences from bands like Sick Of It All and Agnostic Front. One of the particular things about this band is that it has two lead singers.
- She Devils (1995–present): it was the first queercore band in Argentina. They started to play in the mid-1990s. Their lead singer Patricia already had a long tradition in the scene (she had been the bass player of Cadaveres de Niños and the publisher of the fanzine Resistencia).
- Mal Momento (1987–present): this group was in the second wave of Argentine punk, with voice Hermann Frederico Pertusi on guitar, Ricky De Leon on bass and Daniel D'Angelo on drums. After years of performances under, came to edit the first record in 1994. The second board, "Fin de fiesta" (1995), incorporates elements of rockabilly and unusual melodies to punk.
- Doble Fuerza (1987–present): formed in the city of Quilmes. Their lyrics make up a rock with punk overtones and influences of rock and roll from the late 50's and 60's, and legendary English punk groups of the '70s. Over the years they were brewing their own style, accompanied by a personal voice, melodies and riffs rockers lasting in time, in his early years their style oi! / Street punk, attracted fascist skinheads to his concerts, which made them abandon this sound.
- Cadena Perpetua (1990–present): with a traditional punk rock sound, between 1993 and 1995 were presented as support band of the Ramones, La Polla Records (four shows) and Steve Jones, while continuing with shows pubs. Then appear in a 2007 disc that celebrates 30 years of punk, along with Los Violadores and 2 Minutos.
- Massacre (1985–present): pioneer skate rock band in Argentina, Massacre Palestina (original name of the band) is formed by high school students in Buenos Aires, bands influenced by the West Coast to fuse hardcore punk-surf-to late seventies and early eighties. (T.S.O.L., Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, etc.). For their attitude based on self-management for over twenty years is considered one of the few bands truly cult of Argentina.
- Bulldog (band) (1989–present):Bulldog, was formed in Rosario, the group was gaining ground and popularity for more than ten year career under, thanks to his style of punk and rock, beginning to reap laurels and make a name nationally with his work "Circus Carousel "a separate disk of 2000 that reflects best sounding punk roots, old hits and also more elaborate songs.