The Dead Milkmen, Beelzebubba

Never mind the Sex Pistols, here's the Dead Milkmen, determined to out-Rotten John Lydon and out-Clash Joe Strummer, but you would be wrong to be dismissive. The band's earlier efforts were admittedly uneven, some high points here and there, but finally on this one they actually bring together decent production values, consistent jams and some amusingly offensive, truly inspired songwriting. Do you find other punk bands bland? How about one that grinningly dives into fraternity excess ("Brat in the Frat"), domestic violence ("RC's Mom"), homophobia ("Stuart," probably the album's satiric peak, with such deathless lyrics as "Have you looked at the soil around any large US city with a big underground homosexual population? Des Moines, Iowa, perfect example!"), prostitution ("Sri Lanka Sex Hotel"), suicide ("Bleach Boys"), income inequality ("Everybody's Got Nice Stuff But Me," laying the groundwork for the 99% in 1988), public broadcasting telethons ("Born to Love Volcanoes"), armed rebellion ("Ringo Buys A Rifle") and death ("Life Is Sh*t"). This kind of commitment to controversy makes the album's popular single "Punk Rock Girl" seem unforgivably anodyne by comparison, when really it's merely the lighter track among heavier ones, leavened with a heavy dollop of smirky snark and unapologetic shock value. Heck, they namecheck Bob Crane in "Life is Sh*t," for crying out loud, the final track, which amazingly manages to be both incredibly poignant and callously insensitive all at the same time. This album is not for everyone; take "RC's Mom" as a for-instance, as the horns and the bass boogie and Rodney Anonymous howls, "Gonna beat my wife! Gonna hit her with a 2-by-4!" If that made you stutter and fume, you should find something else. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be finding out what the queers are doing to the soil. (Content: stylized violence, explicit language, sexual and drug themes, incredibly amusing bad taste.)