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The Modernettes

The Modernettes - Teen City - 12

Teen City - 12" EP
Quintessence - 1980

Michael Panontin
The Modernettes were latecomers even to Vancouver's already unfashionably late punk scene, thus missing out on 1979's scene-defining comp, Vancouver Complication. Nonetheless, the following year's punchy Teen City EP made them critical darlings on the west coast, as well as regulars on the Vancouver club scene. Subsequent tours up and down the U.S. Pacific corridor would shore up their reputation as a straight-up pop/punk combo along the lines of the Ramones or the Nips.

Now highly collectible, with punters forking over in excess of $200 for mint copies, the Teen City EP is a fount of no-nonsense pogo-friendly guitar pop. The band had an indefatigable leader in John "Buck Cherry" Armstrong, who strafed the crowds live with his buzzsaw guitar and frantic vocals. And with the leggy, mini-skirted blonde Mary-Jo Kopechne also front and centre on bass and vocals, there was probably as much drool as sweat on the dance floor at their gigs. The highlight here is of course the bouncy, beer-soaked ode to teenage lust, 'Barbra', an underground hit out in British Columbia at the time. As the title cut itself so passionately proclaims, "Ten thousand teens can't be wro-o-ong!" Indeed.

Armstrong of course went on to front Los Popularos throughout the eighties, and recounts those debauched days of early Vancouver punk in his 2001 book Guilty of Everything, while most of the Modernettes output can be sampled on Sudden Death's compilation Get it Straight.

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