Gizzi Erskine is a food writer, chef and television presenter. She is best known for presenting Channel 4’s Cook Yourself Thin and also co-wrote the bestselling book of the same title.
She also wrote kitchen magic and her new book skinny Weeks, Weekend Feasts which is out in March and her show, Cooks To Market is back on TV in April.
> 1. Rancid – And Out Come The Wolves
One of the great punk albums and an album where very track is brilliant, Rancid are living proof that punk rock didn’t die the day the Clash split up. The band’s third album changed the game on its release in 1996 and reinvigorated a punk scene that was already rushing with blood after all the the new recruits form the Nirvana generation. Rancid were the the unapologetic wing of the new punk wave dressed in second wave British punk finery and not the skate punk gear of their contemporaries- their music was the same…heartfelt gutter punk songs with great, rousing tunes.
‘As I got into punk late a lot of the bands I loved were a little past their prime, shall we say, but there was an influx of American punk bands that took influence from British punk and oi that were cropping up. Rancid being the biggest and the best. I am a proper Rancid fan girl. Every single song on this album is badass.’
2. The Cramps – Bad Music For Bad People
The Cramps were a complete one off. The invented the term psychobilly which became a form of music that sounded nothing like them. When they first appeared on the scene in the fallout of the New York punk scene, their dark, stripped down rock n roll sounded like nothing else- it still doesn’t.
‘Most of my youth was spent listening to psychobilly and as much as I’d love to put a Demented Are Go or King Kurt album here and support the smaller British bands from the scene I couldn’t not put the kings of psychobilly here. It’s hard to chose one album from a band that release so much but after lots of head scratching this is my favourite.’
> 3. The Dwarves -Come Clean
Formed in Chicago, the Dwarves schtick was to offend everybody, something that they have managed to do for years.
‘The voice, the music, the attitude. The Dwarves were assholes but amazing live if you ever got to see them. I swear they cancelled about 6 shows I got tickets for. I got to see them when they were touring with this album. It was unforgettable. One of my best ever gigs. Another example of America doing superbly produced punk.’
>4. The Libertines – Up The Bracket
The Libertines saved british indie music from itself, adding a craziness and drug addled madness into the career orientated mix of the times. Unfortunately their druggy adventures have masked their knack for writing great songs and lyrics which were all produced by the great Mick Jones from the Clash.
‘So late in life after I had gone from punk, to psychobilly to rockabilly to 60’s garage, I found a band on the mainstream who blew my mind. The Libertines. It was the first time since a teen that I got an album and learnt all the words. When indie meets punk. Doherty and Barat’s synergy was so franetic and it made me feel like a kid again.’
> 5. The Damned – Machine Gun Etiquette
The Damned were one of the inner circle of the original punk wave. Their debut album was a classic – one of the great british rock n roll records- speed guitars and brilliantly written songs by guitarist Brian James, the underrated follow up album was nearly as good but been curiously underrated by the punk historians. When James left it looked like the band was over but they reformed swiftly and grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat with this great manic, celebratory fantastic mess of an album.
‘I saw the Damned when I was 14 just before they closed the Marquee club on Charing Cross Road. The truth is that I’d just started hanging out with punks and I didn’t really know any of their stuff when I went but it’s the gig that I believe changed my life musically. The next day I bought this album and it’s still one of my favourites to this day.’
Part 2 of Gizzi Erakine’s great top ten albums is here