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The Criminals



Not to be confused with the '70s New Wave/punk group Sylvain Sylvain started after leaving the New York Dolls, these Criminals are an Oakland band which combines the street-punk sensibilities of the Gilman Street set with the acrimonious politicism of their Bay Area punk ancestors Dead Kennedys. Musically, The Criminals aren't as tuneful as many of their East Bay brethren, assaulting you with a nerve-wrackingly trebly, slashing attack that always sounds like the wheels are about to fall off. The band is led by Jesse Luscious, aka Jesse Dangerous of Blatz, who's got a classic gravelly punk caterwaul. Behind him, The Criminals feature a somewhat unstable lineup that has included members of The Grups, The Hi-Fives, and Black Cat Music.

The Criminals have put out a few records on Lookout: Never Been Caught and The Last Great Thing You Did in '97 and Forward 'Til Death in '99. In '99 they also released Burning Flesh and Broken Fingers on Adeline. They're a solid punk band: musically raw and rough, full of leftist vitriol, and often acerbically funny, as evidenced by the featured anti-poseur rant, "I'm Vintage Baby."

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